Information on balancing tone arm

Hello, I must admit that I know very little about turntables. I had a cheap direct drive, and just bought a used Thorens TD 165. It is in very good working order, and I was able to find some useful info. on the website. Now comes my question - I have read about balancing the tone arm and how doing it incorrectly can ruin records in one play. This has me worried, as I do not want to ruin my vinyl collection. I have seen some manuals on ebay, would that be the best way to go? I also downloaded a manual on, but it didnt prove to useful. It seemed to lack basic information. Any help that anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated. I've got this great turntable, but I'm afraid to use it.

Thanks in advance.

corporationtshirt, stupid bloody Tuesday, man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

Sorry. Couldn't help myself.

Tony, does the useful information you obtained explain "zero balancing" the tonearm first, then setting tracking weight and anti-skate?

If it does, and assuming that the cartridge alignment is correct, there is really not a lot to due after that. I would suggest using a stylus force gauge, such as a Shure SFG-2.

The Shure is inexpensive yet very effective. Although, there are other devices of this type available, the Shure is usually readily available and would work fine for your application. I don't know if I would trust the tonearm tracking weight adjustments, unless their accuracy was confirmed.

I do not believe that the Thorens tonearm of your variety utilizes a vertical tracking angle adjustment, so that would be a step that would not even be required.
The counterbalance has to be set so that, without antiskate, (that is setting the antiskate to zero) the tonearm with cartridge installed "floats" when put over the outer portion of the platter. That is "zero" tracking force. Normally (I never owned a Thorens), you then adjust the counter weight ring (the one with the markings) by aligning its zero mark to the mark on the rear portion of the tonearm shaft where the counterweight fits onto. You then dial in the tracking force your cart requires by turning the counterweight and ring, together, to align the marking of the required tracking force for your particular cart with the reference line on the arm tube. Using the minimum recommended force can cause more woes than need be (mistracking is more harmful to record grooves than a bit more downward force), so set it maybe a quarter gram more to err on the safe side. A gauge is the best way to be sure that the tracking force is correct. The Shure gauge probably offers the best price/performance ratio. If you are on the neurotic end of the audio spectrum (i.e. an "audiophile") you would want an electronic gauge (which probably costs as much, if not more, than your tt, so I wouldn't bother) and some kind of alignment tool to make sure that the cart is properly aligned in the headshell and that overhang (very important) is also properly set. The rest is stuff that audiophiles relish, but which is marginal in terms of improvement, such as VTA, which cannot, at any rate, be altered on your tt. I am guessing a bit since I don't know exactly how the Thorens is designed, but most tts in that range are along those lines. Hope this makes some kind of sense. Regards.