D&R Turnatbles D&R Turntable center badge

This page is an effort to bring together all information that is available on D&R turntables, high-quality turntables made by hand in limited quantities in Santa Barbara, California. The turntables were produced in the mid-to-late 50s, and are idler drive decks that have the unique design where a rubber idler wheel makes contact with the outside of the solid masonite, non-metallic platter to turn it. A very different method from Fairchild, Rek-O-Kut, Garrard, Dual and others who have the idler wheel make contact with the inside of a metal platter.

I'm looking for D&R turntables and especially parts - please email me: james[at]jamesvanarsdale[dot]com

D&R Turntable ad 1

The two known models made: DR-12A, DR-12B
Years known in operation: 1955-?
Company Location: 402 E. Gutierrez Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Signal to noise ratio: 60db net
Original Price: DR-12A $68.50 – $87.00, standard mounting, no arm. DR-12B, $108, standard plinth mounting, no arm.12A to 12B adaptor kit was sold for $49.50
Features: 21 Watt, 60-cycle Hysteresis synchronous motor (12B), or 4-pole induction (12A), mounted with 3 rubber mounts to decouple from deck. "Floating" idler wheel that sits on a triangular metal piece which sits on felt pads and is not fixed down, but rather held in place by a spring with the point sitting in the notch of the on/off mechanism, a 3/4" thick solid masonite platter with a cork/latex mat mounted on. Small metal adjusters fit over the shaft of the motor and adjust for speed, the smaller piece adjusts to 45rpm, and the larger one adjusts for 78rpm, it will play at 33rpm with no attachment in place. To adjust speed, the round metal window is slid to the side, giving easy access to the motor shaft and idler wheel.

D&R turntable advert

The ad to the left says:
Non-metallic table - solid, 3/4" thick, dimentionally stable stock - cork, latex covering - non bell-like - never needs lifting from well.

Constant speeds 33, 45, 78 - "Floating Idler" decouples motor vibration from chassis - sturdy, microbalanced 4-pole induction motor on isolation mountings, carefully positioned for minimum hum.

Complex mechanisms are eliminated in the new D&R DR-12, the most significant advance in turntable design in 17 years. A new magnitude in low noise level and IM distortion due to minimum flutter and vibration. All parts equally accessible, machined to professional tolerance, especiallt designed for the more exact requirements of LP record reproduction.

Acclaimed by Hi-Fi experts and broadcasters as the ideal combinationof laboratory quality and moderate cost.

Differences between the 12A and 12B models:

The 12A features a Genral Industries Co. of Elyria, Ohio 115 volt motor without any capacitor and has a platter that is about 1/8 inch smaller in total diameter than the 12B. The spped adaptors are smaller since the motor shaft is a smaller size and are made of brass.

The 12B had the hysteresis 21 watt motor made in Culver City, CA, with the thicker shaft and pin for holding the adaptors, which were steel rather than brass and bigger. The platter was just a bit bbigger and a Sprague capacitor was connected to the motor and the switch via pin connectors. A special metal holder apparatus was screwed to the motor to mount it, whereas the 12A had a direct mount to the motor itself. The 12B also featured a hi-lo engine power switch, this allowed the user to cut the engine speed in half so that 16rpm talking records could be played, or for slowing down a record for transcribing music if desired.

outer rim idler wheel drive

This image shows the idler wheel and motor on a 12B with on/off switch mechanism. The speed adjust metal adapters are seen near the idler wheel and model label with serial number.

The switch at left is a speed adjust which cuts the motor speed in half, thus enabling the user to play 16rpm talking records.  

Often these tables were fitted with a Rek-O-Kut S160 arm, or perhaps a Grado Wood Tonearm. Sometimes with a Gray tonearm, or Shure M16 arm.

DandR sample

sample 1

D & R turntable 1956 sample 3
motor assembly

Above left: a model 12B, right; a model 12A, at left; the motor assembly for the 12B.

Here's a 12A model with a Shure M12 tonearm.

D and R turntable model 12A with Shure M12 tonearm


advert D&R

advert 2 D&R

This one below is my table, a 12B with some 12A parts installed. It has a Grado Wood tonearm with a Grado mono cartridge, and an SME 3009 II unimproved with an Empire 2000 III/E cartridge. A two position switch switches between the two arms and the plinth is a solid, layered birch plywood base:

My D&R turntable with SME 3009 and Grado Tonearm

Another view of the main mechanism area:

D&R detail

A REVIEW:

D&R review
review2 D&R

If you have any information about D&R ltd. and D&R turntables please contact me. I'm always looking for more info, manuals, advertisements, literature, parts, and accessories. And turtables, working or not. Or if you or someone you know used to work for D&R in Santa Barbara, let me know.

JAMES VAN ARSDALE
Santa Barbara CA
email me