May, 2018 | Steyning, England – SME, the British engineering and specialist Hi-Fi company, has acquired the rights to the Garrard audio brand from IGB Gradiente S.A. of Brazil. A British brand synonymous with the design and manufacture of class-leading Hi-Fi products throughout the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s, including the iconic 301 and 401 transcription turntables, Garrard is a much-admired audio brand whose products are eagerly sought out and traded worldwide.
Commenting on the acquisition, Stuart McNeilis, CEO of SME, said, “It is with great pleasure that we can announce the acquisition of the Garrard audio brand. Responsible for true icons of vinyl reproduction with the 301 and 401 turntables, in many ways, Garrard’s legacy mirrors SME’s, with precision engineering, design and manufacturing, based in the UK. Many of these great turntables were paired with SME tonearms and there has always been a natural synergy between the two company’s products. As an iconic British brand, Garrard deserves to be enjoyed by a new generation of audiophiles.”
To support owners of existing Garrard idler drive turntables, SME has also acquired Loricraft Audio, the only authorised Garrard service agent. Responsible in many ways for keeping the Garrard legacy alive, Terry O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Loricraft, and his team has serviced and re-built Garrard products since 1997, along with manufacturing support products, including its renowned range of vinyl record cleaning machines. “With years of experience and expert knowledge that will be crucial as SME develops the Garrard audio brand, the acquisition of Loricraft Audio was essential, as it enables the continued ability to service and maintain existing products.” added McNeilis. “We are delighted that Terry and his team will join the SME family and bring their vast experience with them.”
There will be further announcements regarding the development of the Garrard audio brand in the near future. For the time being, Loricraft Audio, now supported by SME, will continue offering its re-build and repair service for Garrard 301’s and 401’s, along with the supply of its accessories and record cleaning machines, from its facility in West Berkshire, England.
SME was formed in 1946 under the name “The Scale Model Equipment Company” to manufacture scale models and parts for the model engineering trade. During the 1950s SME moved away from model making to precision engineering, principally parts for aircraft instruments and business machines.
In 1959 Alastair Robertson-Aikman, the Company’s founder, required a pick-up arm for his own use and an experimental model was built. It received such an enthusiastic reception from friends in the sound industry that it was decided to produce it commercially and the first SME precision pick-up arm appeared in September 1959. At this time the company’s name was changed to SME Limited, a less committal title to suit its new activities.
SME is a precision-engineering company based in Steyning, Sussex, England. We are a manufacturer of high-end, precision-made audio equipment and high-quality precision made components for Aerospace, Formula 1, and Medical Equipment industries.
For further information about SME and its products, visit www.sme-audio.com
For further information about Loricraft Audio and Garrard, visit www.loricraft.com