Get my turntable fixed or buy a new one?


Here's the situation.  In 1988 when turntables were dissapearing I bought a Thorens TD-320 for $600 that included a signet cartridge.   It has served me well over the years.  It was In Storage for about four years along with the rest of my system.  I recently unpacked everything, hooked it up and found that the turntable wasn't working.  I am faced with this dilemma, I can probably get the Thorens fixed.  Found some guys in the Philly area that work on them.  On the other hand it's almost 30 years old.  Is it worth getting it fixed or should I get a new one.  If you vote for new, give me some ideas as to what brands and models you would recommend of comparable quality.

My current system includes:

Krell KRC-3 pre, Krell KSA 200S amp, Parasound Z-Phono phono pre, Revel Performance F32 speakers and Ayre CD Player
pipebro
You sure the belt hasn't fallen off? Depends how much they charge... But I'd say hold on to it. Maybe replace the cartridge with a AT95 or MP110.
Thanks for the response. I took it apart to clean connections.    The belt is fine, the motor isn't turning.  Thanks for the cartridge suggestions.
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$1500-2000

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Pipebro - I think the question that you should ask yourself is - how serious are you about TT's and vinyl???

If it's just to play existing albums - then my vote is to get your existing TT fixed and add a new cartridge like noromance suggests above

If you have been bitten by the vinyl bug - then go for a new TT/cartridge/phono stage - but that will probably cost you more than your budget.

My preference right now (if I had to replace my TT) would be a VPI - although the SOTA is a very nice option also.

I am a long time Rega user, but it's taken 35 years and many  $$$UPGRADES to get it to the point where I am happy with it - so Rega does not get my vote these days, especially when there are several  options available that appear to be "less work"

I got the bitten by the bug...
- Started with the Rega Planar II + many upgrades = $$$
- My cartridge is a Soundsmith rebuild of the Denon DL103 MC
- The arm is the Audiomods Classic Series II
- The Phono stage is the MOON LP5.3 RS

So it really depends on what your end goal is.

Having said that your TT is a "classic" and capable of providing great sound - with the right cartridge/phono stage combo.

I would set a budget for the repair (e.g. $400) and if the guys that work on them fall within that budget I would be tempted to go that direction first. It will give you some "breathing space" to determine the answer to the question above.

You can also take time to investigate and "upgrades" that may be available for that turntable

You will also have a working TT that can be sold later to "collectors" :-)

Hope this helps - Steve
Thanks for the response.  It was very helpful.  Everybody's definition of "Serious" is probably different.  I bought my first album in 1959 and have been collecting through the mid 80's.  In total I have about 700 lp's.  The majority of them are in good shape since about 1969 when I got my first quality turntable, a Garrard.  I think I'm going to have the Thorens fixed if the price is right. They also have upgrades available.   Worse case scenario I can trade it in on a new one.
Pipebro, I would have the motor checked out. Does the spindle turn by hand?
Yes it does.  Probably the motor or it's not getting power.

FWIW, My TD-166 MkII that I purchased new in 1984 was mothballed from 1990 until ~1998.  All it needed was a good cleaning and a new belt.  I have since had it slightly modded, and I am thrilled with it.  Once, at a Stereophile show, I asked a panel how much I would have to spend to get a new 'table that improved on my Thorens.  Predictably, Mike Fremer suggested something like a VPI Scout, and Art Dudley suggested I keep the Thorens.


I find it hard to believe your belt is okay after all that time in a stationary position.  But if the motor isn't getting power it could either be a simple repair (power cord replacement) or major one (new motor).  But, man, those Thorens 'tables were built like tanks, like Swiss watches.  I would at least get an estimate from a qualified repair facility.  I found one through Thorens.

Thanks for your response.  That was very helpful!

Here's the strange thing.  When I first unpacked the Thorens it didn't work.  I used some good old radio shack contact cleaner on the power connector and the on/off switch and it started working.  About three weeks later it stopped again and I can't get it going.  That tells me it's something sinple like a short or something since the motor was turning for a period of time.  I'm going to see about having it fixed.
There is a frequency generator circuit board underneath which could be faulty.

Pipebro - You are doing the right thing getting it fixed.  It's a fairly simple unit from am electronics point of view and quick internet search shows that there are plenty of parts available and that more often than not, the power connector or switch is the likely culprit - should be inexpensive to get going and you could probably fix it yourself.  

For example you could test the output of your power supply with a multimeter to verify it's function, then perhaps bypass the connector or the power switch and see if that solved it.  Either way it's probably worth investing some time and money in to get it going.

All of that said, if I were you and had 700 LPs in my collection I'd also consider getting a new table regardless.  Since your collection goes back to the 50's, it might be fun to set up the 320 with a decent mono cart and get a new table for more contemporary recordings.

Perhaps I'm just a hoarder, but that's what I'd probably do :)

Greg

Thanks for the response.  I thought about getting a multimeter and doing some testing myself.   I used to be an aviation electronics tech in the Navy.  But it's been so long I might not remember what to do. I still might try that.
Nice system. U have a repair estimate? 
Side note: performance wise, how does the parasound rate? 
No estimate yet.  Won't get one until I send it in.  Before I do that I'm going to replace the power cord in case that's the problem.  Tough to rate the Parasound.  I recently got it on audiogon and listened to it for about 15 minutes when I had the turntable working.

P.S.  Thanks for the system compliment.  I really enjoy it because I love music.
I would imagine you should be able to get your turntable fixed for $80 - 150, if it is someone that knows what they are doing. It doesn't necessarily have to be a shop, even though that helps. But, I have heard enough stories about shops that don't know what they are doing, to be careful about getting solid recommendations. You mentioned "sending" it in. I hope you don't plan on shipping the turntable to someone for an estimate, unless you pack the table extremely well, and know you will have the work done, no matter the estimate. Otherwise, you might be wasting money.

The cool thing about turntables, is vinyl is hot and here to stay for awhile. So that means there are many options on the market, but new and used. If you decide to replace your turntable, you can get some good deals on Rega tables. For the money, I don't think you can do better on new. I have my Dad's first turntable, an AR XA that has been modified with a Rega RB250 tonearm. That tonearm is rated the best value for it's sonic performance and price point. I bought a second one for the turntable I'm working on now.
Pipebro, Good Luck with the process. I vote fix, keep and buy another new one later . I am in the Philly suburbs and have looked for a local reliable vintage Thorens repair person/shop. Would appreciate hearing from you who you found to do the work . I have a beautiful restored TD160 by Chris Thornton between 10 and 12 years ago. It seems to have a grounding issue and have tried a number of trouble shooting methods,  from cables to grounding to a different phone pre but believe  it is the TT. I have no desire to take it apart myself. I get a moderate but distinct  HUM. Using a Rogue Sphinx v1.
The Thorens repair shop I found is as follows:
BC Electronics
2346 Bristol Oxford Valley Road
Levittown Pa.
215-547-7600
I found them online.  They specifically work on Thorens turntables.  Too bad my turntable went bad after I moved from Pa.  Lived in Phoenixville for 11 years.  Also found a place called Vinyl Nirvana but he's not accept any new jobs until May.
Thank You pipebro
I like the idea of using the 320 for mono records and getting a suspended, perhaps vacuum SOTA with at least the Rega 330 arm (dynamic balance) with a neutral to warm MC cartridge. I don't know the PARA phono preamp so I don't know if you need a high output MC or not. Consider a VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine if you don't have one. When I was in grad school had a P/T job working in a HE store. First piece of kit I ever sold was a TD 160. How do you like the Ayre? Which model?

When I bough my first album in '59 I was pretty young.   As a result, I don't have a lot of mono records so the two turntable idea doesn't work.  The Parasound phono pre handles MC cartridges so that's not an issue.  I have a VPI record cleaning machine.  The Ayre CD player is a CX-7.  It was on the Stereophile recommended components list.  I think it was class A or B.  I love the sound.  It's warm (class a output) and detailed.  When I bought it I compared it to the Krell at $10,000.  I preferred the Ayre.

I am in the exact same situation and have opted to get my 320 repaired, mostly for sentimental reasons, since my first real turntable buy was a TD-160 back in the mid-70s. My vinyl collection is fairly modest, maybe 300 or thereabouts, but I have four turntables in 2-channel systems that I use to spin them. The 320 will make five, meaning one will get replaced. When a component is manufactured with as much care as the older Thorens were, I feel almost a duty to keep mine going if possible. Oh, and mine even has a Signet cartridge on it, too.
Wow!  Small world.

I had some projects that kept me away from the turntable.  Wanted to close the loop.  I bought a multimeter and checked the input voltage from the power cord.  Zero.  Found a replacement on Amazon, plugged it in, table started to turn.  I am so glad I don't have to buy a new table.  Thanks for your help.