Thorens 124/125/126 vs Rega P3/MMF-5

It looks like 40~30 years old Thorens 124/125/126 models are still very popular. How are they compared to today's most popular models at under $1000, like P3 and MMF-5?
My last turntable was a 30 year old Dual. I upgraded to a Rega P5. TT's have, in my opionion, improved dramatically in a reduced noise floor and speed stability. YMMV. Regards,
you would have to spend several thousand dollars to come close to the vintage thorens, or get a new comparable thorens 35o which sells for 3.5k with an entry arm just for starters
Check out the home despot thread.... Idlers are where it's at.

You mean the thread with topic "Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot II"? I have not followed the thread. Thre are 332 posts. I searched for Idlers, but I still don't get it. Is it hard to tell -- Thorens 124/125/126 are as good (better/worse) as Regar P3/MMF?
I would love to know the answer as well. I sold my VPI HW 19 MKII, Premier arm with a Grado green cart & substituted a Thorens 160 with a Grado blue & original arm. I have to say the Thorens can not even come close to the VPI.

I was hoping to downsize but honestly I was so disapointed in the Thorens that I had to turn it off last night, listening to the Grateful Dead Europe '72. Whenever the full band would start to pick up the intensity the Thorens would just start to get congested, at some points it sounded like white noise or static. I tried a Garcia album I also had handy & found the same thing when the music picked up. I was so disapointed I had to turn it off & switch to digital. YUCK!

Needless to say the Thorens is getting sold & replaced ASAP.

Yes that is one of the threads.... the original is 3000 posts long (or something similarly crazy). Not all Thorens 'tables are idler drives. I am not real up on all of their models (maybe someone else can chime in), but I know the 124 is an idler. Prices for these, along with Garrard 301/401, and Lenco's have pretty much gone through the roof. However, if you do your homework you can still build a phenomenal rig that rivals those costing thousands more. I had a VPI Aries.... Now I have a Garrard 301. That should tell you which I prefer.

Go for the TD124. Get rid of the original flimsy thorens or sme2000 plinth and buy a proper solid plinth. It will wipe the floor with most decks that cost USD 2k. I replaced my TD124 4 years ago with a PLatine Verdier at 5 times the price. But you have to go to these extrenes to notice a significant improvement over the TD124.

I would take all response as "Thorens 124/125/126 models are not only superior to P3/MMF-5 (which cost under $1000) but can be as good as those new ones costing ~$3000 with some extensions/upgrades."
Hi Chris, the TD-124 is actually a quasi-idler-wheel drive, being an idler driven by a belt. It is immeasurably better than a TD-125 once mounted to a solid plinth, and can indeed duke it out with some very serious belt-drives. The MKI has an iron platter, which is heavier, and I believe sounds better too, as it has more momentum, and I think iron has some very interesting sonic properties (which I believe accounts for the phenomenal detail it extracted when I set mine up with a glass mat), which I will investigate further down the road. If you want further details of problems to overcome and extracting the best from a TD-124 Ihcho, then fire me an e-mail. My Thorens project is posted and viewable by clicking on my "system".
Hi Ihcho

I owned Thorens 124, 125, 150 and 160’s. Of all, the 125 was best, the 124 was the worst. None of them can compare to a well set-up HW-19, not even close.

Antique turntables is very much a niche thing, and I am sure a very enjoyable pastime to some. Personally to me it is about music and not tinkering around with a TT, and I have not heard any produce music with the level of realism to capture my interest.

Pauly, if you haven't heard any "antique 'tables" which can rate, then you haven't heard any which are properly set-up. As for the TD-124, either you hadn't the knowledge to properly set it up, or the skill, or were too prejudiced to give it a serious go, take your pick. As Topox above wrote, who seems to have a very serious rig up there and so good context, properly set-up the TD-124 and other "antiques" should be taken very seriously, try some swabbies in your ears. HW-19? Puh-Lease. Try a VPI TNT vs an antique: Egad!.

Hi Johnnantais.

Yes I know – I just don't know how to set them up. I have the same problem with CD players. I just don't know how to play them CD's right. Whatever dude.

I don't begrudge your hobby, I think it is cool that folks resurrect old tables. But I guess since my ear is trained from live opera and live recitals, and not battery powered transistor radios, rumble wheels ... er sorry, idler wheels don't really work for me.

I downsized from a Well-tempered Classic to a Rega P3. The P3 was very enjoyable in my system. I lived with the P3 for a year before I tried downsizing further to a Thorens TD-145 mk1 (same as TD160, but with auto-stop), but could not live with the poor sound. I then tried a TD 125 mk1 with RB300 arm, and liked it a little more than the Rega P3. The TD125 had bass impact the P3 did not deliver.

After a year or two with the TD125, I upgrade to a Michell Gyro SE. I do feel the GYRO is substantially better than my TD125.

So, in my experience, the TD145 and TD160 does not measure up to the P3, but the TD125 does. The TD125 armboard is easy to fabricate, and it can host a wider varity of arms that the MMF-5 or TD160 or P3. These machnes are old, so there may be a lot of sample to sample variation - in other words YMMV.

The Absolute Sound reviewed a Chadwick modified TD-125 and felt it came close to a VPI hw19-mkiii in as head to head comparison.

If you don't dig the idlers that's cool. However, I think you are making some blanket statements about "antique turntables" and being rather condecending to some of the people who own them.

FWIW, I once owned a VPI HW19 Mk3. I liked that table very much. It was reliable, built well, and performed well for the money. I had a chance to get a VPI Aries w/JMW tonearm. I liked that table as well. Again it was reliable, built well and guess what? It sounded A LOT better than the HW19....

About six months ago I had the urge to try a Garrard 301 (antique idler drive table). I figured it would be a nice project and worst case scenario I could use it for a mono deck. Long story short... I put it on a Birch ply plinth and swapped my JMW tonearm over and let it rip.... Then my jaw hit the floor, my friends who visited jaws hit the floor.... It really wasn't much of a contest. I sold the VPI Aries and the guy who bought it is very happy.

BTW Did you perhaps buy my old HW19??? Maybe you should try an Aries ;-)

02-22-07: Cmo "BTW Did you perhaps buy my old HW19??? Maybe you should try an Aries"

Yeah, I remember that well. I bought it off you the same time you dug that Garrard out the dumpster ...