Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference Turntable

I saw this in a high class junk shop last weekend. Anybody got one? Or maybe used to own one? And the the 64000$ question, how would it stand up today against, say, a Linn Majik LP12, Gyrodec or Rega Planar 8 in your opinion?

As well as the looks, I was really intrigued by the mechanical, as opposed to electrical, speed control.

It’s gone by the way. I didn’t ask what for.


How much were they asking?

I haven’t heard one for DECADES, and then in an unfamiliar room with a pair of Yamaha NS1000s and an amp I can’t remember.

I would love to get one on the front of a decent system and have a listen …at the right price & in a decent condition.

I did say ‘high class’ junk shop! Price labels far too vulgar!


It was a well-regarded deck back when I was a lad and something I wanted at one time, for the looks mostly, I only ever heard one play once at a hi-fi show in far from ideal conditions and whilst impressed it was not enough to make me seriously consider buying one, choosing the LP12 route when funds allowed. Mitchell TTs did keep appearing in TV shows and the occasional film as I recall, where they wanted to reinforce a luxury hi-tech or sci-fi image.


Back in the late 1960s, yes I can go that far back, a good friend no longer with us bought a Transcriptors TT.
I went round to his house and it took us the best part of a Saturday afternoon to get it going. From memory it came with Transcriptors own uni-pivout arm. Took some getting used to as it wobbled all over the place until the stylus hit the groove. Not sure if it had a lift/lower device or not.
As its 60 odd years ago and my audio memory doesn’t go that far back I can’t say how it really sounded. At the time I had a 301/SME. Decca FFSS and theTtranscriptors certainly did not disgrace itself.
A unique product that’s for sure. Worth a fair amount to the the right sort of person.

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The badge on this one read: ‘Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference Turntable’ .

Looking on the web, the only badges I found read, ‘Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference Turntable by J.A. Michell Eng. Ltd.’ so I took the one I saw to be an early 60s one, as I have gathered from the web, possibly made in Holloway Rd, north London.

Not quite the same, but I think that the Garrard 401(and 301…?) had/has a electrical eddy current ‘brake’ to trim its speed…? One for @Richard.Dane to comment on…?

It got his reputation since appearing in the famous Orange clock movie.
I guess it would however not be at the level of the decks you cited. But I may be wrong.

Yes, Garrard used an eddy current brake (essentially a magnet and disc assembly) to control the speed.

IIRC Transcriptors used a paddle in a trough of silicone fluid to regulate speed - hence the “hydraulic” in the name.

That looks like a really nice example Chris. I’m not surprised it got snapped up fast.

Interestingly enough, my ex father-in-law ran a couple of TV and film prop businesses on the Harrow road in London. I visited a couple of times, and the first time I entered his office I immediately noticed a lovely Transcriptors turntable. I asked whether he knew its history. He wasn’t sure except that it had been used in “some film or other” many years earlier. I always wondered whether it was the “one” used in a Clockwork Orange…


History here


(Obviously, replace dot by a full stop)

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The shop was shut when I peered in. There was no arm lead nor belt. Not the end of the world.

The feet matched the ones in film stills, on the web.

Yep, but the one in the film had the original Transcriptors Fluid Arm (see the history I linked to).

The one in the shop has had the Fluid Arm replaced with an SME. I’m sure that Dante has reserved one of his circles of Hell for such people. :laughing:


The SME 3009 arm was probably fitted from new. That was an option, AFAIK… (I am that old…)

They’re are at least 4 for sale on eBay right now if anyone fancies trying one!

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Way more that that… 8, I think - and most are extremely expensive… :astonished:

I stopped looking after 4. Not least as they were all extremely expensive and I have enough problems with virtual HiFi gear :wink:

Serious point about the value though, I suspect it’s a deck where that is hard to determine. It isn’t just about its ability as a turntable I suspect?

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I suspect that we may be talking about ‘Collectors’, here. Makes buying a used Linn seem rather easy, by comparison… :thinking:

I will join you, in not looking further… :crazy_face:

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I felt that I don’t have the right sort of home for it. But in somewhere with lots of steel and glass and concrete…

For 2k, the average price, I wonder if a vintage Technics SP10 mk2 would not sound better, for similar second hand prices.

At least the Technics SP10 comes with a plinth (AFAIK…?). A Garrard 401 (or 301) is just a Motor Unit - no plinth or arm. And 301/401 plinths are far from cheap - for ‘good’ ones… :astonished: And then your 301/401 probably needs to be serviced, before any real use… And - you still need an Arm & Cart for it…

An LP12 is a lot simpler… :expressionless: