My Favorite Idler Wheel Turntables

Recorded on March 14th, 2016

Here are the idler wheel turntables I research repeatedly and drool over on YouTube the most. For more info about idlers and why they’re magical, read About TJN by Jean Nantais.

Dual 1219

My dad and I both have 1219s. His was the turntable I grew up listening to whenever I needed to hear something better than the 8-track stereo I had as a kid. Anytime you see people gushing over Duals, they always talk about muscle and impact. The 1219 has both, and with some tweaks to the wiring and a restored idler wheel, can be nearly Lenco-quality.

Garrard 301

When you hear piano rendered with rock-steady pitch like that, you know you’re listening to an idler. What a gorgeous machine.

Garrard 401

James Grant of Analog Instruments in New Zealand designs, fabricates, and sells his own high-end, stunning tonearms. Here’s a photo of an early version of his Apparition 12” arm, which I 100% copied for my own first DIY arm.

photo of Analog Instruments Apparition tonearm

My favorite videos of his are the ones where he demos a prototype of an arm on a Garrard 401. His designs are a perfect match for this amazing turntable. All of James’s tonearms are devastatingly good.

Lenco L75

Swiss. My holy grail. Someday I will have an L75. Because it is so great and transparent, you get two videos.

Neat Shield MO-19

I don’t have any videos of the Neat Shield MO-19, but I have it on good authority from my uncle Greg at AudioBoyz that this one is a sonic giant. If you ever see one at a yard sale, grab it!

Thorens TD124

Not strictly an idler wheel drive. It’s a combination of belt + idler, but boy, does it work well. I heard one this past summer and it is probably the best turntable I’ve ever experienced in person. Perfect combination of grace and drive. In this video, it just sails through the track.

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