Garrard, the legendary turntable company founded more than 50 years ago is back. Well, not exactly back as it was not entirely extinct. Garrards were still made by Loricraft but it was no more than a small evolution of the well-known recipe. SME, the iconic tonearm brand from the UK acquired Garrard in 2018 and we have all been expecting to see their next move. Personally speaking, I wasn’t expecting, I was eager to know what is up with Garrard. My main turntable is a 401 and for historic reasons, I have used it with an SME 3009 series II improved before going for an SME V-12. My personal reference packs an after market grease bearing and an external motor controller so you might call me a Garrard aficionado if not down right fanatic.
Enter the High End 2019 show in Munich. Me going straight to the Garrard booth on the ground hall. After a quick introduction, I start taking pictures of what appears to be a typical cream Garrard 301 oil bearing turntable mounted on a simple wooden plinth and mounted with an SME M2-12R tonearm, reminiscent of the glorious 3012.
And that was it.
Me: So do you guys plan on making a new model?
Garrard guy: We don’t know yet.
Me: Is this 301 a brand new one?
G guy: Yes! (But as it turns out this is new old stock parts from the Loricraft stash put together by the new ownership)
Me: Grease bearing or oil bearing?
G guy: Oil (as Loricraft had a stock of oil bearings and they are still producing nothing or close to nothing)
Me: Retail price?
G guy: We don’t know yet.
Me: I heard a rumor about a 12.5K retail with tonearm included
G guy: Nahhhh, nothing is official yet. It might be more than 12.5K
Long story short, there was no word on what’s the next move, if something new is coming any time soon, nothing. The plinth is made by Spendor (or maybe just the veneer?), the two samples at the show were not even that particularly well put together and there is no story to be told yet. Nothing to write back home about, hopefully, they will know how to take advantage of the ginormous legacy that the brand name Garrard carries. What coverage, eh?
You’ve read it here on PTA first.