Are you aware of Loricraft Audio? They own the right to the Garrard name and have developed the Garrard 501.
(Loricraft)......... beautifully refurbished my 301, housed it in one of their plinths and sold me a Lorricraft power supply too.
My system is;
I worked in my first Hi-Fi shop part time while studying at Oxford University. Westward & Mason, a Linn and Naim dealer. I learned how to set up Linn LP12s and spent my time designing weird and wonderful tonearms and loudspeakers. If my subject had been engineering rather than Politics, Philosophy and Economics I might have had the skill to actually build some of them!
After University, still very much a Linn/Naim "Flat Earth" man I went on to work for Royd Loudspeaker Company in Telford and briefly experienced the British Hi-Fi industry from the inside!
For the last 10 years I have been working for a bank but Hi-Fi is still a major hobby of mine. About 4 years ago I decided to try an alternative turntable to my LP12 and telephoned Loricraft Audio in Swindon. I couldn't afford a 501 but they refurbished a 301 for me, fitted it into one of their plinths and sold me a Loricraft power supply.
Fronting my still Flat Earth Naim Audio system the Garrard with Rega RB 300 tonearm absolutely hammered the fully loaded Linn LP12, Naim Aro, Linn Lingo source. More pace, more rhythm, stage "depth" for the first time and far more powerful and controlled bass.
I gradually moved away from the all Naim system to what I have today, however I must say the Naim CDS is a recent addition and is amazing. Along the way I dabbled with Audio Research and DNM pre-amps and owned a SME V for a while. I know lots of people really admire the V, but to my ears it lacked excitement and sparkle.
Where next? I have always valued excitement over neutrality and would like to try some Lowther or similar horn loudspeakers in my set-up as a possible alternative to Quads... we shall see.
If anyone wants to contact me my address firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone can afford a Garrard 501, or wants to get the most from their 301 then you can contact Terry@garrard501.com. or view their website www.garrard501.com.
All the best.
update: September 12, 2005
The journey continues...
I did try some Lowther horns and they sounded very good, rhythmically strong and dynamic but they just couldn't match the huge amount of detail that the Quads deliver, they do "shimmer" and "sparkle" like nothing else.
I then made a mistake. I "upgraded" the Leak to single ended 845 monoblocks. Initially I wallowed in the power, space, air and rich tonality but before long it dawned on me that the music had lost much of the rhythm, pace and vibrancy which has always been very important to me.
What to do? Well I went back to my roots! Put the valve stuff on eBay and bought a full-on "flat-earth" Naim Audio system like the ones I used to sell at Westward & Mason in my University days. Ah, nostalgia!
Naim have always been very strong on PRaT (!!), "Pace Rhythm and Timing" and this system with NAC 82 pre-amp, Hi-Cap power supply, and NAP 135s power amps is no exception.
I have some Naim SBL speakers as well as the Quads and while they (the SBL) are weak at stereo sound-staging they have fantastic bass control and top class PRaT, of course!
Naim Audio provide legendary customer service and there is a real community spirit amongst Naim owners, feel free to log onto the Naim website and view their customer Forum, great fun!www.naim-audio.com/
Have I lost anything? Yes. Rock and Pop is unquestionably more engaging but spin some Sinatra and a bit of the magic has gone. I am sure that a Super-Cap or NAC 52 would restore this but at a price!
The Garrard continues to delight but I have now replaced the Music Maker with a Koetsu Red which I am delighted with. I wonder how long it will be before I have a Naim Aro unipivot tone-arm? Hmm.