Woodsong Garrard 301, Artisan Fidelity 301, Shindo 301, SME 301, or etc.?

I feel fortunate to own a beautiful Woodsong 301. Chris Harban is great to work with and has an incredible amount of knowledge. I believe he is among a handful of the best restorers. Artisan Fidelity seems to also do a great job and may even surpass Woodsong. And there are others in the cottage industry doing restorations.
Then there is the venerable Shindo version and, now, SME bought the original Garrard name and design and has come out with version using mostly original parts but saying that they aim to manufacture new. But the general view says that the SME one doesn’t compare to the great restorers. Has anyone bought any of these or others?
Congrats on your new turntable, OP!
The beautiful pictures on Woodsong and Artisan Fidelity's website were certainly inspiration for me to build my 401. When SME released the new 301 with M2-12R tonearm and a 20K price tag, I had to build a 301 as well but with a nicer plinth. There are so many plinth maker and aftermarket parts that you can custom one to your exact liking and makes a vintage turntable project fun if you're into that kinda thing.
I've always wondered how well the permanent Stillpoint and Track Audio feet that these professional builders use work. I always thought different flooring calls for different feet when dealing with idler tables, similar to the Shindo Garrard.

Thanks for posting this thread. Please post your system, so I can see pics of your Garrard.

I have a modified Garrard 301 in a Woodsong plinth as well. I am not a diy guy, but would love to hear a 301 with all of the mods made by @dover

My 301 was restored by Audio Grail. It also has an Audiosilente idler wheel, Harban eddy brake, and a Shindo platter/bearing. It is on Nordost SortFut. It came on Stillpoints, but taller feet due to the size of the Shindo bearing.

@scar972 Great looking room and turntables!

@pcosta The EMT is a big time audiophile qualifier.

Jim Perry

@jperry Thank you. I really like your Garrard 301, your Ikeda tonearm is a beauty and on my list when the time comes.
Yes the CTC rod is a good compromise - less friction and inherently more stability than a ball. Good luck with the motor switching mod, as you say it is not hard.
would love to hear a 301 with all of the mods made by @dover 

Thanks for the vote of confidence.
My 301 is not my main reference table, but it handily disposed of a Platine Verdier which I had as a second turntable ( for 78's and mucking around with arms/cartridges etc ). It wiped the Verdier and a Micro Seiki for timing and coherence and digs just as deep in terms of resolution.

Your 301 looks great. Audio Grail, Woodsong, & Artisan Fidelity all do beautiful work. The most important thing they do is actually the motor rebuild - it is not possible to relube the bottom bearing in the motor without dismantling it. After I rebuilt my motor with new bushes and truing everything up, not only was the noise reduced considerably, but it actually runs much cooler.

I run a Fidelity Research FR64S/B60 on it which seems very synergistic so I'm assuming your Ikeda would be great. Most of my audio visitors are shocked by my 301 ( in a good way ) when they hear it. 


I have also replinthed and tweaked a 401 for one of my listening buddies - starting with an Audio Grail 401 I built a custom plinth from engineered stone, did the power switch mod, and a few other tweaks - 11kg brass platter and new bearing, artisan fidelity idler wheel.

On that we've run a Helius Omega, Moersch DP8 and now a Kuzma 4Point11. The Kuzma 4Point is producing excellent results on the 401 with Kuzma CAR50 & Van Den Hul Colibri.

So thus far my 2 favourite arms for the Garrards are the FR64S & Kuzma 4Point. ( I also have Naim Aro/Dynavector 501/Eminent Technology ET2 and a few others kicking around for comparison ).