It's hard to think of a good reason to spend any kind of money
restoring a Gates turntable. As a category, the performance of those
old rim-drive transcription turntables was much worse than later
direct-drive and belt-drive machines, and among the transcription
tables, the Gates turntables were notorious for rumble problems --
much worse than comparable turntables from Rek-o-cut, McCurdy, RCA or
Fairchild . They might have been okay for heavily-processed lo-fi AM
radio circa 1958, but most FM stations that cared about sound
quality got rid of them as soon as a practical alternative became available.
Even if you need a turntable that would play 16-inch transcriptions,
there are much better alternatives.
A lot of that old technology was indeed wonderful -- RCA ribbon
microphones, McIntosh tube amplifiers and so forth -- but Gates
turntables ain't in that category.
Gates Radio made a full line of radio studio equipment, from
turntables and consoles through to transmitters. It's my impression
that much of their market share was achieved through creative
financing of package deals -- buy everything from us and we will give
you a good price and affordable terms -- but they were never the
choice when quality was more important than price. Based in Quincy,
Illinois, they were widely known as "The Quincy Tin Works."
Disclaimer: I'm talking about their reputation in the 1960s and 70s.
Gates is still in business, but their designs and quality levels are
almost certainly better than they used to be.
At 8/9/2005 02:59 PM, Dr. Cheryl Thurber wrote:
>I am trying to find information about the Gates
>transcription turntable. This is a radio station
>turntable with a large platter. A few years ago when I
>first got this I did an internet search and then had
>communicated with someone in I believe NC who restores
>these, and knew immediately which model I have and
>information about it, and even had a manual. I was
>wondering if anyone on this list might know the
>person, or might know about the turntable. I am
>probably going to sell this in the near future, since
>I have not had the time to restore it, and it is very
>large and heavy (I mounted it in cart so it moves
>about and there is no pressure on the underside. I
>live in the Baltimore area in case anyone is
>interested when I do get around to selling it.) As I
>looked for information recently I could not find much
>about it. Gates seems to have been a key person in the
>development of the transcription turntable. This
>particular one had been in use in radio stations in
>the south central PA, the last use was at a gospel
>station according to the man I got it from.
>We seem to focus so much lately on current technology
>that we often forget about the importance of the
>Any information would be appreciated.