Thorens TD 160 or 126? Which better?

Hi All-
Ok, so a friend's family is doing a house clearance-and there are a couple of tables up for grabs-
Choice of a Thorens TD 160 or TD 126..Not sure if Mk1 2 or 3 though.
The 126 might have a Stanton cartridge as i recall... I have to verify they are in working order, but assuming both operate, what is the better deck?
I already have a nice table (but modern) and am intrigued if a Thorens would be a good back up...Which one to go for!!!?
Also a NAD 3120 available too..(I have a 320 BEE right now)
the 126 is more "solid" and was more advanced TT......
Tough quiestion, I have owned both. Sonically, the 126 is better, and better built, so that should make it a shoe in. Well....maybe not.

The 126 has extensive electronic control and can require capacitor replacement on the circuit board. At this stage of the game the electronics are getting very old. Complex circuits can lead to more refurbishing and repairs.

On the other hand, the 160 has no electronic control at all and is a very simple turntable. So, if you go for the 126 just budget for some bench time in the future; if it's not in the budget, get the 160. You will still have a beautiful turntable.
seems to me there was a TD 160 Super as well which was supposed to be better

Grab the TD160 if its a Mk1. The TD 126 is quite complex and therefore more prone to drama. (tweaking, possible electronic failure & mechanical fussy operation, ect.) Besides, if the Td160 is a MK1 it will have a better bearing and platter than the TD126 which was made with alot of bells and whistles but not with high quality like the Td125's were before it.
it all depends on the condition.
Thanks to all-
I am not sure which TD 160-will check next time I get a chance...
It does seem like the complexity of the 126 could end up being expensive..(I really just wanted this as a back up to my Funk t/table ...)

Wonder if any of you know if there is a good knowledgable Thorens repair guy in Los Angeles who could give it the once over?
If all it says in front is "TD 160" and looks like this -

then it is a Mk1 and is good news as this was the best TD160 variant. (Aside from the Super)
Nothing complex about the TD160 mk1, all you need to do is a little digging on the net about how to check things over. Try here for starters -

The TD126 though is a mechanical and electrical rats nest of parts. More trouble than its worth really. imo

The 160mk1 can be modded to go head to head with new entry level hi end tables (rega, Music Hall, Project ect.) but needs some work first (better plinth and bottom, dampening, ect). Not too mention a new arm..
If you need to repair the Thorens than you have the wrong
one. The TD 160 mkI may be cheaper than repair cost. I agree with Jeremy reg. his qualification 'entry level hi end' for 160 mkI. But by the TD 160 Super one can live the word 'entry' out. Assuming ,say, Rega 300 included. No idea about US prices but in Europe one can get both together for 400-500 Euro.

Awesome stuff guys-And thanks a bunch for the links to pics and further information-greatly appreciated too-
Sounds like the 160 is the fave -and I am all for simplicity too!!
The Rega 300 is a completely inappropriate arm both sonically and mechanically for the 150/160 Thorens series and Linn LP12, IMHO. Better choices are the Linn arms, SMElll, Grace 707/747, Black Widow, Mayware, Hadcock and ADCs.
Viridian, You should add 'according to my opinion'. I use
Rega 300 on my Thorens 160 Super as do many others. This is about price-quality relationship. I have the Triplanar on my Kuzma Stabi Reference (my main system) but never thought about swiching them. BTW the qualification 'completely inappropriate arm both sonicaly and mechanicaly' despite this long description contains not a single argument against Rega. Ie only your opinion. There may be some other opinions, you know.
Nothing wrong with using a Rega RB300 with the TD160 especially since you can get solid aluminum adapter plates for them from England or from Artisan Fidelity.

Better yet, use a modded RB251 with better internal wire and upgraded end snub/counterweight.

Some of those vintage arms mentioned are low mass anyway and less compatible with many modern cartridges.

Jeremy 72, I agree with your first statement. I also bought
this solid aluminum adapter on ebay. uk. The other two statements are questionable. Because of the Rega construction it is easy to rewire the arm by yourself.
This should be cheaper then the modded RB 251.
Your latst statement is unclear because 'some' is not a name . Think of: some(one) has stolen my car. The problem seems to be obvious.
Guys-is the stock arm on the TD 160 dreadful? It looks pretty gnarly, but how does it perform?
My main t/table has a modded RB300, but I really would be getting this as a back up-I imagine the cartridge is either shot -or possibly missing...
What would be a good budget (sub $100) one to fit on the stock arm?
Ortofon? Denon perhaps??
Nandric, come on I don't need your chiding; what do you think the IMHO in my post means? You are free to disagree but spare me the drama.

As to the reason that IMHO the Rega is a poor choice, the rather over controlled upper midrange in the RB-300 is a bad match to the conceit in the upper bass/lower midrange of the TD150/160 series, leading to an overall dark sound leading sparkle, again IMHO. I-M-H-O. Additionally, the arm is too heavy for the standard springs leading to a lower primary resonance in the suspension and a further increase in the loseness in the same upper bass-lower midrange region. Again IMHO. I-M-H-O. I-M-H-O. IMHO.

And completely agree with Jeremy72 that many of the arms that I mentioned are not compatible with medium/low and low compliance cartridges, however very few arms are compatible with all compliances of cartridge and I don't think that it is justified putting an arm on the table that is too heavy for the suspension just to match a cartridge. Usually the cartridge is purchased to match the arm, not the other way around. The RB300 is also not compatible with many modern cartridges, so I am not sure of the point here, IMHO. I-M-H-O. IMHO. IIIMMMHHHOOO.
ok,so how is the stock arm on the 160???
and-good $100 cartridge?
The TP16 MkI w/ Magnesium headshell is somewhat underrated for a vintage arm imo but would need total rewiring to really sound its best at this point. It used good quality horizontal bearings and at med. 16.5g eff mass is compatible with alot of carts. Only thing is the headshell is a bottom mount only which can be a pain in the neck.

As for total arm mass, compared to say a RB300, I don't think its much lighter but could be wrong? The suspension springs on the TD160 are also adjustable, so a little weight variance in arm should be of no consequence.

My experience is the opposite of the poster above in that the RB300 at 11.5 grams eff mass being a med mass arm is compatible with a broad range of cartridges, cart mounting is also a breeze. I like the sound also but prefer a modded/upgraded RB251 over a RB300 anytime.
Please don't misquote me, I never said that the RB300 is not compatible with a broad range of cartridges, since I do believe that it is compatible with a broad range of cartridges, what I said is that (hey Nandric)IMHO that it is not compatible with many modern cartridges.

And I will be happy to list a few of them, both at the high compliance end of the scale, Music Maker, Grado, and at the low compliance end, Koetsu, Miyabi, Denon 103 series (though some use these and enjoy them, they only really come into their own in arms over 15 grams effective mass), many Van Den Hul, the top end Benz, Transfiguration, Lumiere, etc.

I guess that, in some ways, it comes down to how "compatiblity" is defined. If "compatibility" means that the cartrdige will create sound and not mistrack, the Rega is probably "compatible" with almost any cartridge out there. If one defines "compatibility" as extracting most of the available potential from the cartridge, I feel that the field of cartridges that mate with the Rega arms narrows quite a bit. IMHO Nandric, IMHO.

And for reference, I currently own a RB600 though I am not using it on any of my turntables, and I have owned several RB300s and an RB250 in the past.
Hi Viridian, You can repeat your 'IMHO' as many times as
you like but it is obvious that you have very strong opinion about Rega. The question is: who cares? The Rega has already established status as the best arm for the money.
Regarding the compatibility question there are many unsolved issues. In the other threads one can read about the havy weight FR-66 s used with MM carts with fantastic
resuls ( see: Halcro in MM thread). So your 'theoretical' assumptions are refuted by experimental results. Because of the price tag (one need to save somewhere) the only thing one need to improve is the wiring. To be more specific from the collar on. This part is worthless and the ground wire is connected to one of the RCA connectors. One can change this part by installing 5 din connector in the collar tube and then use the regular phonocable of his choice. Or, if one is brave, replace the whole with a new
wiring form tags till the phono-pre.

The only reason that I keep saying IMHO Nandric is you took me to task for not saying that my beliefs were opinions:

"Viridian, You should add 'according to my opinion'."

when that is exacly what I said in my post:

"The Rega 300 is a completely inappropriate arm both sonically and mechanically for the 150/160 Thorens series and Linn LP12, IMHO."

Why don't you actually try reading the threads before posting your insightful comments? It would make far more sense.

I don't have any problems with your contradictory opinions. I have a problem with your lack of understanding what you are reading.

For what it's worth my opinions are not theoretical, they are based on actually owning, or having owned, many of the products discussed, Including two TD160s, a TD160 MKll, two TD150s, a TD150 MKll, TD125 MKll, TD126 and most of the arms mentioned, but I certainly understand that this is not the majority opinion, as if majorities are what matters.

Other opinions are just as valid; that's why they are opinions and I am always interested in hearing with those whose experience is different. I think that helps those who seek guidance from the forums.

I can't speak to your modifications of the product, though I have no doubt that you enjoy them. I could certainly tape a few pennies to the headshell of my RB600 and say that it now has greater effective mass than it used to. But, as you say, "who cares"?
Viridian, I have read those statements you made twice. Your
categorical statement ''The Raga 300 is a completely inappropriate arm'',etc, make no sense with your 'IMHO'.
I have never seen any negative comment about this tonearm
ever. It was btw an groundbreking design when introduced.
It was/is the most succesful tonearm ever. The designer
was able to build a factory thanks to this tonearm. And then comes Viridian who in all his 'IMHO' knows better.
I use this tonearm in my second system with Thorens 160
Super. I deed the rewire myself. One can find on the iternet all the needed info with pictures, etc,. If you can solder then you can do this job yourself.

Nandric, OK if what you are saying is true:

"Your categorical statement ''The Raga 300 is a completely inappropriate arm'',etc, make no sense with your 'IMHO'."

Then why would you bother to ask me to add IMHO, as you did:

"Viridian, You should add 'according to my opinion'."

So you were asking me to add something that makes no sense. How can you have it both ways?
Viridian, Anyone is entitled to like or dislike whatever
component provided he adds 'in my opinion'. But your what
I called 'categorical statement' is of different kind. Such statement pretend objective technical knowledge which is not meant to be subjective. Ie one need to address,say,
the geometry of the tonearm, the bearings, the construction,etc. and proof that there are shortcomings in the tonearm. This technical part is not supposed to be subjective. Say 'the geometry of this arm is IMHO wrong'. This last statement make no sense.

You know Nandric, I think that you are intentionally partially quoting me. I never said that the Rega was a poor arm, after all, I own one. So no need to link to praises of the arm. The part of the quote that you left out above reads, "both sonically and mechanically for the 150/160 Thorens series and Linn LP12, IMHO."

What this means is, I believe that it is not compatible with the TD150 and 160 turntables that I own. I never said that it was a bad arm, which is what the partial quote and the links imply. Not that it won't work on those tables and, not that it is a bad arm. Just that the two products don't mate optimally. I explained exactly why I believe this above. So, I completely respect that you disagree, but the rest of the partial quote that you made above reads, "...both sonically and mechanically for the 150/160 Thorens series and Linn LP12, IMHO." I think that the arm is fine on many turntables.