When less is more...10 reasons to own Thorens

I KNOW my Thorens TD-160 series is not the last word. I've pereviously owned an Oracle Delphi with SAEC arm, and a Rega P25, and can vouch for the superiority of both over the 166, but...

1. I can listen all day to my "simulated stereo" LPs and it STILL sounds good.

2. Fake reverb sounds convincing as intended by the record producers

3. Warp wow and off-center pressings are not usually an issue when motor cogging obscures these faults-- two wrongs DO make a right!

4. Motor, bearing, switches and everything else will stll work fine 20 years from now.

5. Bouncy spring suspension forces you-- the listener to stay put and listen to the entire side of your LP or risk walking across the floor and sending the tonearm and cartridge flying across the record surface.

6. Works great with Grado cartridges!

7. Sounds better than most CDs (*IMO) when comparing the LP to a good digital reissue

8. Easy tonearm upgrade, accepts many cheap used arms (Jelco, Linn, etc)


10. Like a drug, only safer and still legal to own and operate
Brilliant ! Just why I keep my 166 MK II, "better" is usually worse,
Thorens was the master of synergy,they plain just knew what they were about.
I feel the same way about my AR XA s. I love those turntables they are so simple yet so good.
I like everything except #5. No, I don't have Thorens, I have Nottingham.
Well done! TD-145 was my first TT in 1976; my sister still owns it today and it
sounds great!
My Thorens table arm returns after playing the record. We can put a man on the moon, we can have a decent sounding turntable that stops at the end of the album.
We can no longer put men on the moon let alone build that kind of turntable. I think, Chinese will do both very soon.
I can see it now, a Chinese reality show based on "Space 1999", building sub-chassis suspended turntables in low-gravity on a moon base. Shipping rates to Earth would be expensive though. :-)
I picked up one at a garage sale and was amazed at just how well it played music.... no tricks. Really pleasing turntable!
They will ship it for free to the first ten buyers.
11. Lotsa real wood veneer.

12. Belt-driven, suspended sub-chassis tables have that "it" sound...that airiness around the notes that simulates...gulp...live sound

13. More aluminum and wood than plastic can not be a bad thing.

14. It's elegant simplicity provides an excellent platform
from which to learn about tweaking and turntable

15. In tweaked form it's performance can be stupefying :)

You betcha! I've got two TD 125 MKII's and they perform flawlessly and exquisitely. Don't think I'll be letting these puppies go any time soon. Hurrah for Thorens! Consider me a believer.
Yes Dean - I have had my TD 166MkII modded (but not the arm, which is all-original), and the performance has been brought up to another level. I owned it 26 years in full stock form, before the mod, and after the mod, I have no interest in TT shopping. Cartridges, that's another story!

And if your floor is solid (mine is a basement cement floor), you can do jumping jacks without distrubing a playing LP.

At this point, nothing below the level of a VPI Classic would be an improvement, IMHO.
I just returned to Thorens after a 20 year hiatus. What cartridges did you like in your TD-166mkII? I just purchased the same.

I had a TD-160 in the 70's and loved it!

There is something I can't describe with words that I love about those tables.

I am presently limited to MM or HOMC by my preamp. I have two arm wands, one with an Ortofon OM-30 Super, and one with a Denon DL-160 HOMC. The Ortofon tracks a little better, but the Denon offers a wider soundstage, more detail retrieval, and is smoother from the mids on up.

And you? What pickups do you like in your 166?
I have a Shure M97Xe mounted. I have a new in the box Denon DL-103R that is not mounted yet. I always liked Denon pickups but I received guidance from Vinyl Nirvana that the Denon may not be a good choice on the TD-166MKII arm.

I may need to figure out what will substantially out perform the Shure, be a good match for the arm, and be in trading range of the Denon.

Hififile, I used to have the M97he on my Thorens TD166, but switched to Grado-- a big improvement in my opinion. Even the entry Grados (Black, Green, Red) are quite good, the GOLD offering a smoother, more refined sound and better tracking than the lower priced ones, but neither are as good a tracker as Shure. Grados can hum if placed too close to a big power amp (magnetic field). There is ALWAYS a very low level hum with all Grados, but I've never heard anything that sounds as nice on this table.

Stanton 681EEE sounds great, but I did not like the more expensive 881-- too analytical for me.
indeed! i bought a 166mk2 back in 1996 for $40. took it apart and damped the under platters with dynamat, cleaned it out and all that. it was sounding just a little more luscious than my ciaudio dac. i then switched the cart from a clearaudio wood classic mm to a denon 103 mc. can't believe what i had been missing all those years. i then bought a $2000 new table thinking it would give me more of that analog sound and was soooo disappointed! sounded only slightly more detailed - but not more involving at all!!!! sold that sh** !

im using the 103 in a wood body now - listen to the music baby!
Because the good vintage models can be modified and updated to run neck and neck with new tables - ex. TD124 (I or II), TD125 (I or II), TD160 (MkI only) If I had the extra dough I'd grab one of those wicked Artisan Fidelity modded Thorens with the solid Maple plinths in a heartbeat.


No, not true. Many models (most in fact, including td160's & 125's) used wood veneer over pressed wood particle board in the chintzy factory plinths. just look under the factory plinth, you'll see along the bottom edge.

I'd grab a td125 and have AF put a new dc motor in that table, then you'd have a modern turntable with the heart of a REAL Thorens.
Strange that nobody mentioned TD 160 Super. This one was/is
highly regarded in Europe and considered 'the best' (the
Reference not included) of them all. I use this one in my
second system for testing purposes.

Jeremy 72, The suspension of all belt driven Thorens consists of 3 springs (by Linn the steel-plate is part of the suspension). I don't believe that 'exotic plinths' will
improve the performance much but they will considerable add to
the price. This way however the most important adavantage
of the 'old Thorens' (aka price-quality relationship) will be lost. Or so I thought.

Nandric, Read their ads. Artisan Fidelity modifies the TD125 from the spring type to a fixed suspension. This mod/option was mentioned also in the td125 owners manual. So, they actually do benefit very much by having those high mass plinths.

I read somewhere the same outfit also converts TD160 MkI's from standard to Super. The only difference between the Mk1 and Super was internal dampening, better armboard and thicker vennered particle board plinth. Same bearing was used in each, ect...

http://www.theanalogdept.com/thorens_gallery.htm (read 160 Super description halfway down)

Bet with that new dc motor mod they offer, one of those Super converted 160's would be really something.
Hi Jeremy 72, I was not able to find this dc motor for the
160 Super on the site you provided. However I deed try Origine Live dc motor on my
(then) Linn LP-12. If I remember well +/- 500 GBP. Well despite of all the prease in HIFI Magazines to my mind this was a perfect example of wasting our money.Besides such mods expenses one will never get back by resell.

Check the gallery pics for super modded td160's. I think you might have to contact them for new motor info. My experience with Thorens dc motor upgrade has been just the opposite, heard an Origin live dc200 on a td125 and it was awesome. More impact and life + energy over stock. Far from waste of money imo.

Maybe your lp12 dc motor was not setup right? Its not as easy as 1 2 3, it does take a little skill to do properly.

Putting a high quality new dc motor in these vintage decks can only help resale value, if its done right. imo No, you won't get all your money back of course but thats with anything you buy new then sell used in audio.

Hi Jeremy 72, I deed find the 'source'. NB a countryman of
my. But the motor in casu is the Orgine Live DC . More expensive then the whole 160 S. I am using the 160 S in an second system and think that those AC motors are ok.