A note from Rev. David Thompson: "As former owner/manager of RTC I cannot go one step further without acknowledging Mr.Russell Friend, engineer, master designer & builder of the now famous line of Russco turntables and other associated audio equipment. As Mr. Timothy Goodrich [aka "Skeeter Nash"] takes the reins of RTC (07/31/2009), it is through the knowledge and direct input of the folks mentioned below and many others not named directly that RTC has grown and prospered."
These Studio line models of turntables--especially the 2 speed Studio-Pro Model B and the 3 speed Cue-Master--are not only collectable in their own right but much sought-after for custom re-builds. Mr. Friend unselfishly gave of his personal time with his vast knowledge of Russco turntables, their legendary history and all the inside facts and stories of how Russco tables came to be, sharing this information with all who asked. Over his 91-plus years, he had forgotten more about his designs than most collectors will ever know. He offered consultation and helped RTCwhenever we had any questions, no matter how simple or technical. Mr. Friend was instrumental in helping to get this small site up and running, without his advice and suggestions there would be noRussco Turntables.com. His wealth of information and insights into the Russco line of units, amps, pre-amps, mixers, line match-boxes and tonearms as well as other idler-drive manufacturers' equipment with whom he was associated (i.e., QRK) speaks volumes within the audio industry.
Mr. Friend's innovations and simplicity of design have kept Russco turntables and other "branded" units spinning more than 25+ years. A true "show by example" of how to keep things simple, yet functional; the main criteria: a great unit for your dollar, well-built, working under almost any condition, all this and more standing the test of time. Around the globe, day after day, thousands of these vintage idler wheel tables are still working with minimal maintenance...proving the simplicity and ruggedness of their design. As a tribute to Russell C. Friend's original design and modifications, it could be said he made them so well, the basic units almost never break down! Click here for Russ' Thoughts On Russco.
We (RTC) are not affiliated with other units "directly" other thanRUSSCO. Most of the information concerning "other units" has come from interested parties who wish to share, in order that others may benefit. We also hope to preserve the history of these great pieces of broadcast equipment. It's not a stretch to say that without the quick-starting, dependable, deejay-proof design of these tables, radio would have sounded very different in the years from the mid-1950's to the early-80's! All are well known, and their names speak volumes in the idler-drive community: QRK, Collins, Harris/Gates, ROK, Presto, RCA, Thorens, Garrard 301-401 and many more. Our objective is to help supply parts and technical materials for the Idler wheel "Rim-drive" turntables. This original endeavor has expanded to include many of the tables from the QRK line (like the QRK 12-C), as well as other fine 'branded' units which were built from the 1950's to the 1990's. Many Russco units were "badged," and sold under such names as Micro-Trak, LPB, Sparta, and Spotmaster. There are a number of "other"Russcomodels out there made and distributed in quantity besides the two mentioned, including a dual-idler-drive unit (one idler for 33 rpm, the other for 45 rpm). Also, a couple of examples of units that were sold in very limited numbers (because they never caught on in the market), such as the Russco RT700. This rare unit used an under-platter etched GLASS wheel with a strobe for setting the speed! More information is forthcoming concerning the Russco designed BID-12, along with info on the venerable radio station-usedRussco 16" Transcriptionunit.
Thanks To Our Many Other Contributors
This entire undertaking--from technical information to our sales of parts--would have never been realized without the help and encouragement of a number of invaluable people and companies who have given of their time and knowledge so generously. From all walks of life and disciplines their knowledge and help shows everywhere within this site. Studio engineers, collectors, re-builders, audiophiles, custom "modlers", the "every-day-person" who desires to learn and teach or share, contributing information to everyone, asking and giving answers to all who ask. RTCcould not have done without their knowledge and help that shows all over this site, this undertaking is from many, many sources and contributors. Special acknowledgements are in order to the following people:
Mr. Ed TrombleywithMunn-Reese®, who has taken many a phone call from me when I was clueless or stumped about something...whether it concerned boards, tables or tape equipment answering questions concerning studio or broadcast equipment only years of experience and hands-on-time brings. Mr. Trombley time and again has helpedRTC and me personally with parts and acquisitions of parts and sources as well as donating some hard-to-find Russco and other audio equipment to help those who wish to learn, understand and be informed about equipment and it's place in the studio and station. Mr. Trombley is one of my 3 or 4 "go-to's" when it comes to Ampex equipment used in stations, recording studios and live, on-site recording for some serious groups as well as just plain old everyday station playback.
"Fresno Bob" Martin (RIP), longtime QRK and Broadcast Electronics sales and trouble-shooter back in the day. Much of Bob's sharing with RTC shows within the piles of irreplaceable documents concerning the inner workings of major builders/suppliers of all types of electronics which have been posted on theQRK page of this site. His sharing of information and insights of "how" things were done--especially where other fine idler-drive units are concerned--would fill a very large book! He knew QRK and Ampex Reel-to Reel units and the how-to's of great recording. Sadly, after a long battle with cancer, Bob passed away in 2012. His knowledge and friendship will be missed.
Partial Update 11/29/2016 0630UTC
Located in the U.S.A.
Email:parts (at) RusscoTurntables.com
RusscoTurntables.Com--a division of ValleyRidge Audio