The Dual 601 Turntable - An affordable, rarely recognised classic.

The Dual 601 is one of Dual's best belt drive turntables. It has a common problem with its motor that may require fixing.

The Dual 601 is one of the better belt drive turntables that Dual produced. It is an upgrade to the original 505 series turntables.

Like the 505, it is belt driven. The Dual 601 does not seem to have the charm of the 12xx series turntables from Dual, primarily due to its fairly average looks. There is nothing that would make the Dual 601 stand out at a yard sale, and one would be forgiven for passing it by. However, the Dual 601 may be an ugly duckling in that regard, for it truly is an excellent belt drive turntable, and one of Dual’s best.

Dual produced a lot of turntables intended for multi-play purposes, such as the 1229. Multi-play was always clunky, worthless technology though, and even on the turntables that make it possible it is certainly not worth using. The 601 is a little more stripped back than other Dual turntables, as it does not provide a multi-play option. However, the automatic features common to most Dual turntables are present.

The real problem with the Dual 601 turntable is its motor, the SM-840. It has a problem whereby when started up at 33 RPM it will play at 45 RPM. The problem can only be solved by switching the turntable on and off a few times.

In 1985 the turntable was recalled to fix the motor issue. If the previous owner of a second hand Dual 601 did not oblige with this recall request, then the motor on the table might be a lemon. It’s worth asking if buying second hand, or consulting a service history if available. A new motor will cost around $100, which really explodes the price of the turntable. Alternatively, if you have a 504, 521, 1245 or 1246 lying around you can use the motor from that (a SM-860 that does not have the same problem).

Dual 601 Turntable Specifications

Drive type: belt drive

Platter weight: 1.3kg

Wow & flutter: <0.08%

Rumble: >63 dB weighted

Tonearm: tubular aluminium in pivot bearing

Cartridges: Accepts standard mount cartridges with weight 2-10 grams. Available tracking force 0-3 grams.

Dual 601 Cartridge Recommendations

Since the Dual 601 originally shipped with a V15 III, any Shure cartridges work well. The quality of the Dual 601 turntable justifies at least an M91, right up to an original V15 type III or a M97xE.


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One Response to “Dual 601 Review”

  1. Paul says:

    I have used this 601 turntable for transferring my vinyl to CD-R’s for about 10 years now. Originally, I had to replace double speeder motor with similar motor. Recently bought a Technics SL-D1 turntable at $65.00 for hopefully slightly better vinyl transferring quality that the Dual 601. Working again on the Dual 601 has not been a very happy experience. Learning the comings and goings of Duals German design(s) is a pain! Finding replacement parts is now in question. I need part number 227-068 (bearing) plastic cuing item. Also, I have not been able to remove motor armature from brass pulley because cone bearing at end of armature is fuzed in place. This problem keeps me from being able to pitch up or down platter speed. The need for Steuerpimpels is another problem because replacement items are not sized and made to exact original manufacturer specs. If you don’t own any Dual(s)it would be best to consider something made by Technics in the late 1970’s – 1980’s. Get something that has quing and direct drive that is more reliable. Dual’s just pack too much baggage to be a better value anymore.

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