I would change the mat. Thorens tended to have platers prone to ringing and the standard mat is not very good. The Linn mat is about $25 and should be a very worthwhile improvement. The various copper, carbon , carbon fiber etc would probably be even better at a considerably higher cost. If one of your friends had a center weight or clamp I would try that, sometimes gives a good improvement but not always. I have had several Thorens but in the days before clamps or weights were used.
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AFAIK, heavier weights and clamps can be a problem for suspended 'tables like the TD-160. I am using an Ortofon OM-30 Super on my all-stock TD-166 MkII with pretty good results. I am also thinking about trying a Denon DL-160. I know the stock TD-16x series tonearms have a poor reputation, but mine has always tracked well and sound pretty good. Just my $0.02.
I've spent some "quality time" playing around with my TD160 a few years back. My approach was to look for a plan of attack. I had remembered that, back in the 80's and 90's, there was a company called "Chadwick Modifications" which offered an upgrade service for the various Thorens turntable models, including the TD160.
Fast forward into the early years of the 21st century, and I was now interested in seeing how to improve the TD160. I could not find very much on the web about Chadwick Modifications, but did encounter one magazine article that made a comparison between a Chadwick modified Thorens player and a VPI HW19 in which the Thorens fared well.....and at a lower price.
I wrote about that here:
It is also worth noting that Thorens themselves offered a "hot-rodded" version of the TD160. It was called the TD160 Super. They produced that model in the late seventies/early eighties in the Mk II iteration of the model. That version used a more solid plinth, added some dampening material to the underside of both the motor plate and the sub-chassis, came without a tonearm so that the owner could specify it, and replaced the plastic armboard with a wooden one. Other changes included some higher quality dust cover hinges, etc.
First order of business:
1) make sure that the drive train is operating up to its best. Not much to it.
2)Oil in the main bearing.
3)Make sure the motor shaft spins true and hasn't been bent.
4)Add a few droplets of lube to the motor bushings.
5)Replace the belt with the correct model. The new Thorens does offer a correct belt replacement.
See Acoustic Sounds for belt replacements. Avoid cross referenced belts, such as sold on ebay at reduced prices. These tend to have the wrong thickness, width and length, tension.
6) suspension adjustments See above link for a couple of tutorials on the subject.
7) Yes. The original rubber platter mat can be improved upon. Especially now that it is 40 years old and not as supple as it originally was.
Hi, I bought an TD 160 super for my son and added an new
Rega 301 + aluminium base (from the UK). Steve described the whole issue very precise. One should be very careful with the belts.I am still looking for 'the best'mat but,alas, without much succes. But for the price this is still an fantastic TT.
I went through the same thought process and decided to sell the TD160, and get a TD125. Unfortunately the YTD 160 ws a budget deck in its day, and IMO not really worth upgrading. The TD125, on the other hand, is a tank, and withe the SME 3009 series 2 tonearm, is 10 x the table the TYD160 ever could be, no matter how it is modified. The god news is you can still get up to 300 for a TD160 in giood working order, which will get you a TD125 w/o an arm... more worthwhile upgrade however... my $0.02