The Garrard Sl95B - Was It Junk?

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Foxhound
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The Garrard SL95B - was it junk?

Post by Foxhound » 05 Feb 2009 18:12

The first turntable I ever bought was a Garrard SL95B in the early 1970s. It was either going to be that or the Dual 1219 and I went with the Garrard.

It seems to me though that the SL95B has not withstood the test of time very well. It's not one of those "prized" vintage turntables as far as I can see. Was my Garrard SL95B truly a piece of junk therefore?

:?:

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Post by Chambi95 » 06 Feb 2009 10:37

SL95 B was a good machine, Garrard said "transcription", it is not false.
Maybe not so nice than LAB80, but if it was correctly re-lub, it works well.

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Post by timspell » 18 Feb 2009 03:55

It's a great-working and good-looking machine. Mine runs fine.

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not junk by any stretch

Post by stickershock » 28 Apr 2009 02:03

Look.... don't throw around the term "junk" when in this day and age most everything you buy is JUNK, ie disposible or otherwise.

And by any stretch do not EVER think the SL95B was or is JUNK. You could do a whole lot worse then or now.

I bought mine at a high end audiophile shop second hand in the late sixties, 1960's that is. I have never regreted the purchase and had a collector to my home by a Dynaco amp who marveled and drooled over my wonderful wood based SL95B. This was a fellow who knew his stuff.

I am playing the Garrard right now, and while it currently takes a few minutes to warm up to speed, it still is my pride and joy.

Hope this answers your question. You made the right choice getting the Garrard. Dual? so what.

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Post by Foxhound » 01 Apr 2010 18:06

I'm not the one who thinks it was junk. I had years of pleasure from mine between the time I bought it in 1974 to when I finally replaced it with a Thorens TD240 in 2008. The only thing that didn't work on it anymore was the auto-start mechanism.

But I've often seen the Garrard turntable line from the late sixties derided as lightweight plastic junk.

:cry:

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Post by emd-253 » 01 Apr 2010 22:52

Foxhound wrote:I'm not the one who thinks it was junk. I had years of pleasure from mine between the time I bought it in 1974 to when I finally replaced it with a Thorens TD240 in 2008. The only thing that didn't work on it anymore was the auto-start mechanism.

But I've often seen the Garrard turntable line from the late sixties derided as lightweight plastic junk.

:cry:
Compared with the 301, 401, 100 the plastic tables are insubstantial in build and sound quality. Not junk so much as mass produced to a price.

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Post by aardvarkash10 » 02 Apr 2010 09:49

perhaps, but the SL95B is not plastic - or at least not the tt itself. Its genuine recycled Birmingham steel. Mine is in a timber plinth apparently from new.

My zero 100 is in a plastic plinth - depressing.

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Post by Vox T » 02 Apr 2010 17:04

Please send the turntable to me. PM me for my address.

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Post by timspell » 03 Apr 2010 02:58

But I've often seen the Garrard turntable line from the late sixties derided as lightweight plastic junk.
Garrard did start making some trade-offs during that era and the longevity of the 95B's auto cycle is questionable, but compared to most mainstream turntables that followed, it's a Sherman tank. My still looks and plays great.

The Dual 1219 you mentioned is especially well-built, and Dual, like Garrard, later started cutting corners.

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Post by Foxhound » 06 Apr 2010 17:18

Right now my SL95B has a Shure M91ED magnetic cartridge. The M91ED was a highly recommended cartridge in the early seventies but I guess it's not so highly regarded anymore. It doesn't sound as good as my Thorens TD 240 turntable with an Ortofon 2M Black cartridge.

What's the best moving magnet cartridge my Garrard SL95B can handle? Could I go with an Ortofon 2M Black or Brown cartridge? Should I stick with a Shure cartridge?

:?:

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Re: The Garrard Sl95B - Was It Junk?

Post by chrissywit » 09 Jul 2019 08:57

Hi,
In the current Ortofon range they recommend the 2M blue for the Garrard Zero 100 so I'm guessing it would also be fine for the 95b. I'll be installing one in my 95b when I get my next pay cheque.

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Re: The Garrard Sl95B - Was It Junk?

Post by DSJR » 09 Jul 2019 11:33

After owning a truly hideous example of the AP76 in the early 70's (mine was a Friday afternoon job bought from a discounter)* I bought a 'run out' SL95B 'Module with silver trimmed plinth in the mid 70's. This one was delightful, with decent tonearm friction, a trip mechanism that didn't bind up the arm at end of side as that first AP76 did and very quiet running by idler standards. I fitted a Stanton 681EEE to it (minus the crude brush assembly) and tracked at 1.25g with no difficulty.

A 2M Blue won't fit as you screw down from the top and all Garrard carriers screw up the cartridge from underneath. If you can find a 500 body and fit a 520mk2 or 530mk2 stylus to it (Ortofon's VM range are pricey but basically the same thing I believe) or more likely, a OM20 Super or OM30 Super cartridge, I think you could be very happy. My choice would be an Audio Technica AT530 with naked elliptical stylus although the 540 may be fine (fine line styli and special Shibata types may need more fine tuning in VTA and tracking force than a 95B will allow).

As long as the motor grommets are sound and not allowing the motor to 'drone' into the stylus in quiet music passages and the mech is properly serviced and so on, I think this family of decks would make a lovely retro turntable system.

P.S. * - I was given a 'glued-up' AP76 from later production a few years ago and once sorted out, this one is marvellous despite the flimsy feeling tonearm (the 95B is far more rigid)! Quiet running through the stylus, excellent tonearm behaviour and clean tracking down to 1.25g to side end, this one runs an AT110E (predecessor of the 530) at a smidge under 1.5g and sounds delightful, especially on dull 60's orchestral recordings where the 120E's more assertive high frequencies help no end...

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Re: The Garrard Sl95B - Was It Junk?

Post by DSJR » 09 Jul 2019 11:41

P.P.S. I do have to add that the detail and ergonomic engineering in a top line Dual deck of this era was in a different plane (Plessey penny-pinched Garrard, the designers here doing their very best with the important bits to be fair, the rest often being flimsy feeling plastic). A 1219/1229 was a total joy to operate, nice massy platter and the tonearms really were in a different league, especially today. Operate the flipper controls and all works with Germanic precision, where the Garrard's often plastic flippers (75/95) and tabs ('B' models which followed) were never quite as slick feeling. Garrard fought back with the non changer 'SB' models, these getting back the cast platters, close tolerance main bearings which earlier versions of this chassis didn't have and the pre-loaded tonearm vertical bearings were more finely set, allowing less friction/drag. The 86 and 100 SB tonearms benefiting from Dual-esque auto trip assemblies too.

The thing with the Dual 1219/1229/1249's though today, is that they also need a damned good sorting out now and there's a part to do with the two-position tonearm height adjuster that can fail spectacularly now if a rubber sleeve isn't replaced first. repairs are time consuming and not for the faint hearted, although they can be done now.

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Re: The Garrard SL95B - was it junk?

Post by anmpr1 » 11 Jul 2019 00:09

Foxhound wrote:
05 Feb 2009 18:12
The first turntable I ever bought was a Garrard SL95B in the early 1970s. It was either going to be that or the Dual 1219 and I went with the Garrard.

It seems to me though that the SL95B has not withstood the test of time very well. It's not one of those "prized" vintage turntables as far as I can see. Was my Garrard SL95B truly a piece of junk therefore?

:?:
I don't think it was 'junk'. What could that even mean? You have to consider things in context. The late '60s and early'70s witnessed a lot of changes in the thinking about Lp reproduction. My only concern, today, would be alignment of the cartridge: can you level and twist the cartridge for proper geometry? If you can get it pretty close to what Erik Lofgren was talking about, back in 1938, it should not be a problem.

Wow and flutter ought not be a problem, either. However rumble on an idler drive will usually be more obvious than with belt or direct drive. That said, rumble effects are typically masked by record noise. YMMV

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Re: The Garrard Sl95B - Was It Junk?

Post by DSJR » 11 Jul 2019 10:06

Re geometry. Garrard weren't daft and aligned the headshell to the length of the arm. Thoughts have changed as to the suggested null positions from disc centre (it used to be around 60mm give or take a smidge and now it's nearer 65mm give or take - audible? nah ;)).

PLEASE don't go anal and audiophile with these decks. I expect little and am then surprised how fair they are. No way could they claim any audiophile pretensions whatsoever and maybe that's part of the charm...

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