You are in the Special Features section - Loricraft Audio - Professional record cleaners, rebuilt Garrard 301/401 turntables and plinths, missing Link phono stages, stabilised power supplies, turntable accessories, Garrard 501 turntables

<b>Loricraft Audio - Professional record cleaners, rebuilt Garrard 301/401 turntables and plinths, missing Link phono stages, stabilised power supplies, turntable accessories, Garrard 501 turntables </b>

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Loricraft Audio

 

Loricraft Audio has been the acknowledged leader in the servicing and sale of restored classic Garrard 301 and 401 turntables since the 1980s. It also manufactures professional quality vinyl record cleaning equipment, the acclaimed, new, Garrard501 reference turntable, high end amplification and mains control equipment.

Digger talked to Terry at Loricraft about his background and the background to this thriving business satisfying the demand for quality sound reproduction for vinyl lovers.

 

 

The 301 and 401

 

 

 

Digger: Good morning Terry. 

Terry: Morning David. 

Digger: Please tell us something of the background to Garrard and Loricraft and your background Terry. 

Terry: The name Loricraft came about because my wife Lorraine used to make lace bobbins and she said "What are we going to call it?" And I said "Loricraft." We started in 1994 - no, 1984." 

Digger: It's funny how that ten years seems to disappear Terry. I do that a lot and lose ten years somewhere along the line too!

Terry: It's our age mate. I was dabbling in the fifties and sixties, we made Hi-Fi's and my dad's friend was an electronics engineer who used to make gramophones for us. I suppose I started off with my Bush record player in 1958 and then I converted that to stereo with an amplifier kit. 

Digger: The old 33, 45 and 78 r.p.m? 

Terry: Yes. It had a Garrard auto-changer - it was a Bush RC121 - I've still got it in the loft. And I always remember at that time meeting a guy who worked in the post office who had a 301. We all used to say "Cor look at that." I subsequently left school and went to the School of Building in Brixton. I did an OND course and I remember I used to cycle up to London looking in the windows of Stern Radio and the other radio and electrical shops on Edgware and Tottenham Court Roads. Looking at all the 301's in awe. And I was dabbling around and not really knowing what I was doing. I found myself at a big corporate 'do' one time - the boss of one of the major construction firms asked me what I was doing and I didn't know what I was going to do. I used to work in a Hi-Fi shop on a Saturday morning and that's where I learned a lot. He asked me and I said "I haven't got a clue" and he said "Your father keeps telling me you're mucking about with record players." And I said "Yes, something like that." And he said "Well my friend makes a lot of money from record players because he's the Chairman of one of the biggest UK record company!" So he helped me a bit. Then, in 1966, I got the Thorens TD124 and I dabbled with different decks until the 70s I got a 401 and was always playing around with them and the 301s. It subsequently happened that I was in the power tool business and I got to know Julian and Nigel from Westwood and Mason in Oxford who were Lynn dealers. I left the power tool business and I just started making lace bobbins for Lorraine in the early nineties. Nigel and Julian said to me "Why don't you start doing a few turntable repairs?" And that's how it all started really. They gave me a 124, which I made new bearings and everything for, and so it went on. Then I got some plinths made for 401s. Nigel got stuck in and we made some power supplies and then he joined me. In the meantime, I got fed up with everybody telling me "Have you thought of doing this to a 301 and that to a 401?" I know everyone in the business all started in sheds like me, so I converted a room in the house. Around about '95 I was sitting in our old campervan on Dartmoor and I thought to myself "We could make a turntable. We'll call it a 501." And I met up with a lot of the Garrard staff and I came up with a design. Then friends in engineering helped me out and we built a prototype 501. That's how it all started. We haven't made that many of them - probably about fifty over the years. They're difficult to make. At the same time in '93 I wanted a record cleaning machine and I couldn't get one. I really wanted a Monk machine but none were available so Jon suggested I make a few with a few parts. His Dad was retiring then and so I started making the record cleaning machine. That has just evolved and grown and now we just can't make enough of them.

Digger: How many are you making?

Terry: 200, 250 a year.

Digger: There's a big demand for them.

Terry: You see, what you've got to remember is there's lots and lots of turntables out there but there are trillions of records. And that's where we concentrate. We still have 301s and 401s. Back in '96/'97 I spoke to the manager of Garrards and I asked him if there was any chance of us licensing and using the name, which effectively we have still got. We kept the name going and over the years I've got to know all the staff and people have given me photographs and I've got masses of archive material. We know the inside leg measurements of everybody who worked at the factory! I do get twittery when some people tell me what Garrard could and couldn't do, because we know the full history of the company. Garrards started from the Crown Jewellers in the First World War making rangefinders for the Royal Artillery and then in the Second World War they made bomb release mechanisms for Lancaster bombers.

Digger: Quite an engineering pedigree.

Terry: That was the main item they made as well as loads of other parts. One of the reasons that the turntables were so successful was they acquired a massive grinder in 1942 and it was used for military needs. That was primarily the reason why the 301s and 401s were go good, because they used that for doing all the spindles.

Digger: Isn't that amazing that a lot of these things came out of the war?

Terry: Hi-Fi came out of the war if you think about it, didn't it? The jargon called it Hi-Fi, but you had Radar invented and Harold Leak who was probably going before the war. Of course all these technos came back out after the war from out of all the factories doing all the military stuff and said to themselves "Well, what the hell are we going to do now?"

Digger: You could also say The Internet and computers were a result of the war research as well.

Terry: Yes.

Digger: Funny that what you're doing has its origins in the 1940s.

Terry: That's right, it's like The BBC - bless their cotton socks. They did a little article the other day on the rebirth of vinyl. They put a record on and it has to have snaps and crackles on it. Thankfully they did interview a chap from a record shop who did a laudable job explaining the vinyl virtues. But they didn't go into the original basis of the recordings of the fifties and sixties when some of the finest recording engineers of all time were involved.

Digger: It's just a filler for their programmes. They don't care if it's that accurate or informational as long as it fills a space in the programme schedules.

Terry: That's right.

Digger: Who are your 'typical' customers, where are they coming from and what customer feedback/comments do you get Terry?

Terry: You name it, I've got it. I've got doctors, lawyers, surgeons, professors...

Digger: What about the youngsters?

Terry: Youngsters - I suppose we do have a few in their thirties. And we've got a couple of opera singers. Finmar and Sally are good customers of ours - Sally's a soprano and Finmar's a tenor. He's got a 301 and a power supply and we've got customers from all over the world. We must be at LEAST 95% export.

Digger: Wow, that's good, isn't it? Another British export success story.

Terry: The record cleaning machines predominantly - also restoring Garrard turntables. Unfortunately, we had a bit of an upset last year with our engineer, who fell ill, but I've got a new employee now helping to make the record cleaners for me. We're having to look at production of the power supplies because Nigel can't do them anymore. We've 'backburnered' the 501and 601 for the time being.

Digger: Are there plans for a 701 and an 801?

Terry: Probably.

Digger: What do you enjoy most about the business?

Terry: Well, if I hadn't fallen down the stairs here in October, when my mind was taken off of things because I was on the telephone to somebody and distracted... I crushed the vertebrae in my back and, of course, being me I had to grab the door to break my fall so I ripped all the muscles in my shoulder. That's coming back to normal now. It's just this backache that gets on my nerves. But as I hit '68 a couple of weeks ago everybody keeps reminding me that it will take longer to heal at my age.

Digger: What are your plans for Loricraft and the support and maintenance of the Garrard range in the future?

Terry: This is my pension, isn't it? It's me 'trading as'.

Digger: You've also got the Garrard name as well so if you really wanted to you could sell the name on.

Terry: That's right and Steve joined me as well and he's only 42.

Digger: It's funny how you're talking about these 'youngsters' in their thirties and forties!

Terry: Terry: Yes, that's right. I was only talking to somebody else last night and being 68 now we like to go down to our 'retirement' caravan down in Devon. Steve's doing a grand job here and I've got bits of other help. And I do some of the Garrard work. We've got a sub-contractor Precision Engineer, who is our Office Manager Jane's husband, actually. He organises and makes a lot of the mechanical parts of the cleaners and completes the final assembly of the record cleaners for us. We do a lot of the work down at this end and all the packing and shipping. We've four machines going out today. One for Australia, one for Hong Kong, one for New Zealand and one for Finland of all places. My wife, Lorraine is nine years younger than me. She left teaching last year, having been a Cambridge Maths Graduate, so she helps out too.

Digger: These machines must require very special packing?

Terry: Yes, we get congratulated on that. We do get a very occasional hitch, but we use UPS because we think they're the best of the lot.

Digger: Do you have to put special nuts in to stop them from moving around?

Terry: We're quite fortunate on that score. Weve got purpose-made packaging and everything gets put in and fitted with cardboard in-fills. The boxes may sometimes look a bit ragged when they get to the other end but the goods get there pretty safe. And we've got the packaging down to a fine art down here.

Digger: Thanks Terry for letting us know all about Loricraft and your continuance of the Garrard brand and reputation.

Terry: Thanks David.

 

 

The Record Cleaner and 501

 

 


 

 

Classic 301 and 401 transcription turntables are now available as officially approved "Factory Restorations". Loricraft is the acknowledged leader in the restoration of these Classic units which were launched 50 years ago. 

Garrard501 is a new high end turntable produced by Loricraft Audio who also rebuild and restore the original classic Garrard 301 and 401 transcription turntables.

The Garrard 501 is the culmination of 80 years experience in the design and manufacture of transcription turntables to maximise the enjoyment of the music recorded on vinyl records. It was named Best Classic Turntable at the CES show in Las Vegas, 2002. The 501 uses advances in technology which have come about in the years since the classic 401 ceased production, including an advanced bearing developed from and interchangeable with the original 301/401. It also used the years of experience Loricraft has gained rebuilding and restoring these classic turntables.

The Loricraft Audio PRC3/4/5/6 Professional Record Cleaners receive some great testimonials: I have over 6000 records, some are extremely rare and valuable, but after a couple of trial runs (thank you Herb Alpert) I cleaned a rare King label album from 1958 called After Dark and a friend, who was a little sceptical about my enthusiasm for the PRC 6, sat there open mouthed and silent through an entire side, he then proceeded to listen to cleaned records for the next 3 hours. We did before and after listens and the improvement after cleaning is breathtaking.

   

www: Loricraft Audio

Email: terry@garrard501.com

Tel: 44 (0) 1488-72267

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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