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
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
Digger: The old 33⅓,
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
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
Digger: Isn't that amazing that
a lot of these things came out of the war?
Terry: Hi-Fi came out of the
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
Digger: Funny that what you're
doing has its origins in the 1940s.
That's right, it's like The BBC - bless their cotton socks.
They did a little article the other day on the rebirth of
put a record on and it has to have snaps and crackles on it.
chap from a record shop
a laudable job explaining the
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: 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
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?
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!
that's right. I was only talking to somebody else last night
and being 68 now
we like to go down to
'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
who is our
actually. He organises
a lot of the
mechanical parts of the cleaners and
the final assembly of the record cleaners for us. We do
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
Lorraine is nine
years younger than me.
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
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
Terry: We're quite fortunate on that score.
got purpose-made packaging and everything gets put in and fitted
The boxes may
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
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
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.”