Refurbishing Thorens belt-driven, floating sub-chassis turntables
Models: TD-160, TD-165, TD-166, TD-150, TD-145, TD-146, TD-147 (service on the electrical circuits is not included – it is limited to cables) – Your turntable is supposed to be in working order. Generally I don’t do repairs – it depends on the TT’s status.
Though many of these turntables are easily found in the used market, they are rarely offered in top working conditions: a suspended turntable from the 70s may still be aesthetically perfect but it is almost never correctly adjusted and fine tuned, which is critical to achieve the surprising performance old Thorens turntables can still provide today.
Vintage Thorens turntables MUST be perfectly adjusted and tuned to top performance, with greatest care to suspension adjustment and tonearm alignment.
Why an old suspended Thorens turntable?
The first answer is “class”. Old turntables have a look, a design (and, well… sound) that most modern counterparts lack. Thorens used top quality materials at the time. Those turntables can still work very well today and their performance can even surpass modern technology turntables – provided they are set up correctly. A well adjusted and fine-tuned Thorens from the 70s can still feature a sound quality that may rival that of modern decks. But it is mandatory that it is hooked to high quality stereo equipment and installed on a perfectly horizontal and rigid/isolated surface.
Many companies today offer affordable and easy to use turntables. Most of them are not suspended turntables but are based on rigid plinths. We could argue about which is the better design philosophy, but keep in mind that modern suspended turntables offered by Thorens cost more than 2000 Euros. Therefore, Thorens also offers a choice of cheaper rigid plinth turntables. Like all modern rigid plinth decks, they are ready to play, you just hook them to your system and start spinning records. Old suspended turntables do require adjustments and fine tuning before operating – but when this job is carried out correctly, you’d be surprised by what you hear!
What an old Thorens lacks that modern turntables have?
Build quality in 1970s Germany was top class. Still, those years’ technology and materials can show the signs of time.
What needs to be done to an old Thorens to recover over 40 years of progress? I would suggest the following to be always upgraded:
- Rubber mat
- Mains and phono cables and plugs (depending on working order)
- Headshell leads
- Bottom board and feet