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joytoyz

Thorens upgrade

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I wish to start collecting suitable components to upgrade my stock standard TD160.
 
I have already posted in WTB for a SME3009 S2 improved tone arm which alone should be a big improvement over the original Thorens.
 
Would it be a better option to start with a superior TT like the TD160 Super or would there be little gain. :wacko: My TD160 is in really nice shape both cosmetically and mechanically.
 

Anyone used the kit below and would it be a value  added (in terms of performance) upgrade?

 

 http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/331551531486?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

Keen to hear other members thoughts.

 

cheers

Edited by joytoyz

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I made my own teflon thrust bearing (if yours is a 10mm bearing I could send you one too), and bitumen damping for the inner and outer platter. No real idea whether it made any noticable difference to the SQ!

 

Have used the motor thrust bearing from SRM which did quieten it somewhat. Apparently the ProJect Speed Box makes a dramatic difference as well. I have one on its way right now and getting a single speed motor pulley turned up too. Should be interesting.

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I can't comment on the kit you linked to, but I have owned a stock TD 160 and a TD 160 Super in the past.

The Super was definitely a class above the TD 160.

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I can't comment on the kit you linked to, but I have owned a stock TD 160 and a TD 160 Super in the past.

The Super was definitely a class above the TD 160.

 

With the possible exception of a more finely toleranced bearing, one could DIY a Super from a stock 160. Certainly interesting to hear from someone who has done a direct comparison.

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Do you know what the exact differences are between the 2 units?

 

I have read that it was bearing and shaft tolerances as well as dampening (bituminous or other )but I don't know where this was applied internally. ie; under the chassis or around inside the plinth?

 

Could I replicate the refinements DIY?

 

Cheers and thanks for your input.

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What about the 'Super' designation....why is it so super..? Here's a little story.

The story begins with a UK Thorens distributor called Metrosound, and later to be known as Cambrasound. Metrosound was the kind of company that listened to its customers comments. When they began hearing numerous comments from TD160 owners who claimed to have modified and indeed improved the sound of their samples, Metrosound decided to investigate on their own. They set service manager Charles Trayhorn on a mission of producing a modified TD160 in an effort to persuade the manufacturer, Thorens, to produce such a version.

What Trayhorn built used a different mat, used no foam damping in the springs, and the undersides of the motorboard and sub-chassis were damped with bituminous felt. The plastic TD160 armboard was replaced with a high density version and left blank to incorporate many different tonearms apart from the standard Thorens TP16. The standard cabinetry surround was replaced with a larger, more solid one and the plastic dustcover hinges were replaced with metal ones and the top trim facia received a slightly different paint scheme. This is essentially what Thorens themselves built, dubbing it the TD160 Super. The factory TD160 Supers were all based on the TD160 mkII model.

Typically, the TD160 Super came without tonearm so that the customer could choose his/her favorite arm and allow the dealer to drill the armboard to fit. Metrosound/Cambrasound was just such a company that could do this. The TD160 Super sold in limited quantities and always cost significantly more than its standard TD160 MkII brother. Even without a tonearm

 

 

Lifted from The Analog Department, which is an invaluable resource with regard to mods, upgrades and maintenance. Has a step by step guide to suspension tuning which makes a big difference in my experience.

 

 

I think the differences to imitate are- the chassis damping (cork or bituminous on the underside of the top plates) and base board (mine was about 20mm particle board, from memory. I've since replaced it with 40mm corian).

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Try here for info:

 

http://best-turntables.com/thorens-td-160-review/

 

http://www.theanalogdept.com/thorens_dept_.htm

 

It's been over a decade since I last had a TD160 Super, but the following paragraph seems accurate from my recollections:

 

Throughout the production of the Thorens TD160 there have been numerous tweaks and after-market modifications available. In 1983 Thorens finally bowed to pressure from the UK distributor and produced a factory-tweaked version of its TD160 MkII, this was known as the TD 160 Super. Although this deck used the standard motor, plinth, top plate and sub-chassis they were all slightly changed. The motor was a more closely toleranced version of the 110v 16-pole synchronous AC unit used previously. The plinth gained a thick, heavy fibreboard base plate and the top plate and sub-chassis were both treated with dense black bituminous felt material; all to reduce resonances in the structure. It is believed that the main bearings were different to the stock item; they neither look nor measure any differently when compared to a TD160 B. However, the TD160 Super in my collection is somewhat quieter than the TD160 B, which raises a suspicion that the bearing units may have been specially selected.

 

That paragraph taken from this page:

 

http://www.oocities.org/vesm_halle/audio.htm

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Great stuff!

 

Both post have nailed the facts re factory refinements.

 

Its interesting Thorens took on board the customer/dealers requests and delivered the goods!

 

I think the TD160 would make a great unit when suitably tweaked.

 

I am going to cost out giving mine the full monty versus buying a sorted TD160 super.

 

May be putting up a mint original TD160 complete with original manual for sale.......

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I know of a TD160 Super for sale in Brisbane. On Gumtree, and fitted with SME III arm. Table is apparently new and unused.Seller wanted $1680 for combo, but stated they would settle for $1300.

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Is that seriously market value for them these days? Seems a lot.

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Is that seriously market value for them these days? Seems a lot.

Not sure. It is new, but I wouldn't pay it, even with the SME III arm (which I do prefer to the 3009 I or II).

Edited by soundfan

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I'm in the process of moving and came across a couple of arms that I had forgotten about.

They are packaged up but when I peaked into one box, it looked like it might be a 3009.

That means I might have two of them.

 

If you haven't found one in a month's time, remind me, as I should be well into unpacking!

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Google Chadwick mods.

My 160 had new base board, dampening on sub platter and main platter, platter rings, cork applied to base, new mat. Same arm but various carts.

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I have been seriously thinking of another option regarding a turntable.

 

While I really like the old Thorens tt's I am now considering either a vintage Linn LP12 or a Wison Benesch Act 2.

 

This opens up yet another can of worms. Checking out the forums and various Audio web sites it looks like the sky is the limit regarding upgrading the Linn. This poses yet another question. Are they lacking in the original design or is it that the passage of time has left them wanting? If you calculate the cost of the initial purchase of a really nice LP12 then add up to at least $2000 in upgrades  the cost of the tt is enormous.

 

I am also considering a mint Wilson Benesch Act 2 timber plinth model. How would one of these perform as compared with the Linn given the Linn I'm considering has a SME3009 tonearm. The rest of it is original.

 

 

Please share your experiences, really appreciated. :)

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Edited by joytoyz

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Whilst the various TD160 models are good mid-fi decks in their own right once you begin spending money to upgrade them it quickly becomes a pointless exercise.  For $5 or $600 u can pick up an early LP12 which will take things to a level that the TD160 can never reach with any amount of modification.  The quality of bearing, platter, sub-chassis & suspension, even on the early LP12s, is way beyond anything available for the TD160.  I run two LP12s, one I purchased in 1977 complete with a Grace 707 & Shure V15 III & it now fronts my vintage system along with a Technics SL1500.  Only upgrades it has ever had are a Narvana kit in 1981 & Valhalla psu a few yrs later though it has hosted many carts over the yrs, mostly MCs, & currently holds a Denon DL103.  Even in that basic form it will embarrass some quite expensive decks & these older Linns now represent amazing bang for your buck. 

Of course, the big bonus is that every single part is readly available & there is a clear upgrade path that can be followed, as funds permit, should u wish to do so.  My 2nd Linn is a later model (tho still old now) with further upgrades mostly sourced from the rich 2nd hand market & fitted with an Akito arm & Dynavector Karat 17D2, an excellent combo.

Incidentally, the Akito can be picked up for $3-$400 & is an excellent arm, superior to an unmodified Rega 250 or 300 (which need rewiring at the very least), has easy height adjustment & really do feel nice to use.

 

I have owned several Thorens decks over the years from the TD150, original TD160, TD160 Super with SME Series 2 imp, TD125 Mk2 electronic & TD126, all  nice decks, but none can compete with even a basic Linn.

 

Not saying the LInns are the be all & end all of vinyl spinners, they aren't, but the older ones have now become great value for money & I believe quite unbeatable in that area.

 

I have no experience of the Wilson Benesch, but from what I've read & heard, they are a true high end deck, but price would be a factor here.  Also not sure how u would go if u needed parts even simple things like belts.

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Rockman

 

Thanks for your valued input. Really appreciated.

 

Reading through detailed Linn LP12 factory revisions over the years it seems the LP12 went through a considerable amount of change (for the better) I would imagine. This takes me back to my earlier question. Is an early Linn a technical/mechanical dinosaur compared to one manufactured 10 to 15 years later?  It does not seem to matter which year (1972- on) you pick there are substantial changes to arrive later.

 

Given the aftermarket and Linn upgrades available ie: chassis, power boards, power supplies Lingo Majik etc etc it is obvious they either need upgrading or were built to a budget at the time? All of these upgrades must be in recognition of deficiencies in the original design.

 

If you know of any early Linn LP12s in the $5 -$600 bracket show me the way! I am only seeing them in Aust at $2500 t0 $3500! Which I think is ridiculous!

 

I think I will scratch the Wilson of the list as well.  A little niche for me.

 

cheers

Edited by joytoyz

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I have owned several Thorens decks over the years from the TD150, original TD160, TD160 Super with SME Series 2 imp, TD125 Mk2 electronic & TD126, all  nice decks, but none can compete with even a basic Linn.

 

Not saying the LInns are the be all & end all of vinyl spinners, they aren't, but the older ones have now become great value for money & I believe quite unbeatable in that area.

 

 

 

My milage varies wildly. :)  I once owned a TD 160 S with a rewired Rega RB 300 arm that IMO easily outclassed a Linn LP12 that I auditioned around the time of purchase.

 

 

Each to their own. :)  

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I am pleased, soundfan, to see that u used the term "IMO", & I would be the last to deny u that opinion.  However, I suspect you'd have a lot of difficulty finding many folk to agree that a TD160 S + rewired RB300 would "easily outclass" a well maintained LP12 of any vintage, at least amoung those that had actually heard the comparison.

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I am pleased, soundfan, to see that u used the term "IMO", & I would be the last to deny u that opinion.  However, I suspect you'd have a lot of difficulty finding many folk to agree that a TD160 S + rewired RB300 would "easily outclass" a well maintained LP12 of any vintage, at least amoung those that had actually heard the comparison.

 

Well I have heard both, and stand by my comments. And I suspect that there might be a lot more people than you think that would agree with me. 

 

But hey, I'm not going to get into a pi**ing competition here with a Linn fan, just had to respond to your initial post because I believe a lot of it is inaccurate.  It's YOUR opinion.  ;)

Edited by soundfan

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I wish to state I respect the passionate owners of both Thorens and Linn products and I also firmly believe (IMO) that what we each hear musically (tone pitch etc) can be extremely subjective.

 

I reference to Mr Rockmans post of course it is reasonable that  Linn factory upgrades are part of the ongoing R&D over the years. My original point was that it is a pointless exercise purchasing an expensive early Linn as they all are and then spend thousands on upgrades. My estimations are the cost blows out way over a late example.

 

Yes I did start out considering upgrading my Thorens. Correct. Is it ok then to consider other options? Yes it is. I never stated a budget, (you have made an assumption it was hundreds)  I am merely considering all of my options including starting with a superior tt.

 

 

Rockman:  Linn LP12's for between $5-$500 where exactly? 20 years ago possibly or trashed out junk. Take a look around at the prices being asked. Try near $3000 for #088 ridiculous! another 80s model on Gumtree @ $3500.

 

Edited by joytoyz

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Just to set the record straight, I am not a particular "Linn fan", indeed I have been quite critical of the hype & BS that has often surrounded  the LP12 over the years.  I have a collection of turntables some of which are clearly better than the Linn, & I consider that the current Linn's performance is no where near commensurate with it's now high pricing.

 

Joytoyz, OP suggested that he was looking at getting a Thorens TD160 + SME series 2, & I assumed from that his budget was in the hundreds of $ not thousands.  I have been involved in this hobby for 60yrs now & as a huge quantity of gear has passed thru my hands over the years I felt my opinion may be of some value to him.  However, I am now confused as joytoyz, is now talking about a late model TT & suggesting early Linns must be deficient because they have had upgrades etc. etc.  Clearly, if the budget can stretch to a late TT then u should get the best u can afford.

 

I don't understand why it should follow that because there have been upgrades over the years early Linns must have been particularly deficient.  Aren't upgrades & improvements quite normal in this world.  Surely this pratice isn't unique to the LP12, how about cars, planes, boats, all types of appliances & technologies, hell man, everything gets improved, the market demands it.  How do iphone users feel, new models appearing all the time.  Was the original iphone deficient, not particularly, does it still work OK, probably, can u upgrade it, NO, sorry, must buy a new one mate. Everything is subjected to new ideas, evolution, ideas building on ideas, progress.

 

My original point was that at the price early LP12s can now be picked up for they represent excellent value for money.  The bonus is that unlike the evolution of most other products the Linn can be updated to any point of its evolution should one wish to do so.  The basic concept & layout has not changed, Linn have stayed true to their original idea & not asked their followers to shell out for a completely new & totally different TT as all others makers have, that is, if the others are still in business.

 

Finally, & this is my last post on this thread, if your budget is beyond $2k I would suggest u should look elsewhere than a Linn LP12, but if it's somewhat less I don't believe you can do better than an older LP12, both from a SQ standpoint & build quality/upgradeability/parts availability standpoint.

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On 22/05/2015 at 3:57 PM, soundfan said:

 

My milage varies wildly. :)  I once owned a TD 160 S with a rewired Rega RB 300 arm that IMO easily outclassed a Linn LP12 that I auditioned around the time of purchase.

 

 

Each to their own. :)  

Hi,
I have such a combination.
I have a modified TD-160 Super - armageddon-type step down transformer, plus silver wired Rega RB-300, with Expressimo Audio 115g drop weight; tonearm tail Furutech FR-222.

To my ears, in my system, sounds more musical than 2 LP-12s I had in my system in 2018; one Valhalla, one Mose Hercules; with Linn Asak & Denon DL-103 cartridges respectively.

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On 13/05/2015 at 1:45 PM, Grizzly said:

 

With the possible exception of a more finely toleranced bearing, one could DIY a Super from a stock 160. Certainly interesting to hear from someone who has done a direct comparison.

Having had both 160 and 160 super the only difference is the chassis has a damping material on it. 

A good mod but I doubt a major difference to the sound

Like most TT "snake oil" mods

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