restore my old Thorens, or upgrade to a new turntable (and which one to choose, Rega or Audio-Technica

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
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Hello everybody,
10 years ago, I bought a second-hand Thorens TD-160.
It is equipped with the tonearm of a TD-165 (TP11). I swapped the original cartridge for an Ortofon 2M (which I mounted from above, whereas the original cartridge was mounted from below). However, I can't get it aligned perfectly, so I hear a lot of distortion when spinning records.
Cables are all original so old. Switching from 33 tot 45 rpm doesn't work any more, only works when I manually put the belt into place.

I want to improve the sound quality of my vinyl, so now I am in doubt: do I put my money in restoring the old Thorens (have it aligned, RCA connectors, new housing, new power cables...) or do I just invest in a decent, fit-and-forget turntable like the Audio-Technica AT-LP7 or the Rega Planar 3?

Current set-up is a Pioneer VSX-521 receiver paired with a TC-750 phone preamp and Klipsch RF-52 floorstanding speakers.

I don't think the TC-750 is a high quality preamp, although it does a decent job.
As the Audio-Technica has a built-in preamp (that can be ruled out in case of further upgrades), this one looks appealing to me.
However, I can't find it in Europe, whereas the Rega is widely available here.

I am also planning in investing in new speakers (higher quality bookshelf speakers in stead of the current floorstanders) and maybe in a dedicated stereo receiver.

What would be your choice?
 
I am curious as to why you cannot get cartridge to align properly. However I would suggest the cost involved in getting the Thorens into good order and it's actual resale value might be prohibitive.
For a hassle free set-up I would suggest you look at new Project turntables and one of their cheaper phono preamps if you are in Europe.
The Debut Pro is excellent and not much more expensive than a P3
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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Investigate how much it will cost to refurbish as you will need to spend well over a grand to better the performance of a fully working 160.

If it is uneconomical to repair have a word with a dealer to try a few out to see what will suit your system best.

Bill
 
Investigate how much it will cost to refurbish as you will need to spend well over a grand to better the performance of a fully working 160.

If it is uneconomical to repair have a word with a dealer to try a few out to see what will suit your system best.

Bill
True, but there seems to be an issue with cartridge alignment and it has a non original tonearm.
It is never going to be a 'fully working 160' without refitting the correct tonearm.
 

EricLeRouge

Well-known member
Jan 15, 2020
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I would definitely keep a TD160 over a Rega P3 or AT.
I have a TD145 (a semi-automatic version of the 160) and I took it to a specialist workshop run by an older guy who knows Thorens from back then, to have everything checked, set up and fine-tuned. It cost me €100 and it works like a charm eversince.
 

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
I am curious as to why you cannot get cartridge to align properly.
I just had another go at it using the protractors from Vinyl Engine.
When I use the Thorens Baerwald Arc Protractor, I cannot find a setting where the stylus nicely follows the arc.
Using the 'stupid protractors' I think it is about right (although using these I have the feeling that I can get it aligned no matter how far I slide the cartridge front and back). However, I still have a lot of creaking when I play a record.
 

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
I would definitely keep a TD160 over a Rega P3 or AT.
I have a TD145 (a semi-automatic version of the 160) and I took it to a specialist workshop run by an older guy who knows Thorens from back then, to have everything checked, set up and fine-tuned. It cost me €100 and it works like a charm eversince.
If I could find someone to do it for € 100 and I know it works perfectly afterwards, I wouldn't hesitate.
I was planning to bring it to Dr. Thorens in Holland (I live in Belgium), but he charges a lot more.
 
If I could find someone to do it for € 100 and I know it works perfectly afterwards, I wouldn't hesitate.
I was planning to bring it to Dr. Thorens in Holland (I live in Belgium), but he charges a lot more.
I am concerned that you cannot align the cartridge properly is due to the fact that the tonearm itself is not original and may be causing the problem.
 

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
Just got the response.
Apparently there are some parts missing (compensation weight for the arm, among others) and the element is not mounted correctly.
Tone-arm should not be a problem with the TD-160.
Rough costs estimation is € 355 to get it in perfect playing condition.
What do you guys think, would this be worth it or do I look out for another table?
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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Nothing out today that costs around €355 (Or a lot more) will come anywhere close to the 160 so in my opinion worth it, however try negotiating as you may be able to get it lower, also have a look around elsewhere to see if anyone else can do it for a better price. (Make sure you get some form of warrantee)

Bill
 

Gray

Well-known member
Just got the response.
Apparently there are some parts missing (compensation weight for the arm, among others) and the element is not mounted correctly.
Tone-arm should not be a problem with the TD-160.
Rough costs estimation is € 355 to get it in perfect playing condition.
What do you guys think, would this be worth it or do I look out for another table?
That's a lot of money.
I can only say that I fitted RCA sockets on my 160S. It took ages to do it right - without any harm to the nice wooden plinth (they're mounted below it).
It takes effort to do things neatly.
So I do understand how someone could charge so much to do all that you require.
 

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
This guy seems busy, he has a waiting list so it will be end '22 or beginning '23 before he can do it.
But I do think the Thorens is too good to let go, so I'll probably have it restored. I'll have a look around first to see if I can find quicker (and hopefully cheaper) alternatives.
In the meanwhile I will look out for a second-hand turntable to help me out until then.
 
Nothing out today that costs around €355 (Or a lot more) will come anywhere close to the 160 so in my opinion worth it, however try negotiating as you may be able to get it lower, also have a look around elsewhere to see if anyone else can do it for a better price. (Make sure you get some form of warrantee)

Bill
I would agree.
 

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
So, because the waiting list at Dr. Thorens was a bit too long for me, I took the TD160 to the local HiFi specialist (a passionate man of age and an LFD Audio dealer).
I just picked it up and it is really singing now.
I heard it playing through an LFD amplifier and a pair of Fischer & Fischer speakers and wow, that sounded good.
But also through my more modest home system (Pioneer VSX-521, TC-750 preamp, B&W 660 speakers) it sounds really good.
It is not a complete restoration as Dr. Thorens would do, but for € 90 I am happy with it.
 

Rui

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2021
57
11
545
hope i didn´t arrive to late but restore the old thorens the other are just for the moment not well built as your thorens that can be improved ,i´ve listen to the other brands but they look weak not a well built thorens ,i still use my 79 SL-1000MKII and a SL-3310 from 76 with a stylus released in 79 from technics and sound great ,the only option i can make is in a pioneer from 79 i own that is more look a like this modern ones but better and spending 1.000€ or a litle more to install a 2m black from ortofon ,i only know ortofon from the revox turntable of my father that is coming to me when i have the time to go to his house and get it, but there were other perfect needles brand,i have to do a research, for many years i used thorens with shure professional needles but this with a very expensive system and a equalizer with several frequencies (around 20 or more per chanel)from early 80´s DBX
 

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
Well, I'm on the waiting list for a complete restoration at Dr. Thorens.
The TD-160 is a turntable that is too nice to let go.
 
Last edited:

_anonymus_

Active member
Oct 5, 2021
18
6
25
Also, in the meanwhile I have sold the TC-750 preamp and got myself a Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Communicator to replace it.
This greatly improved the sound, I must say.
Happy I kept the Thorens.
 
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dwelltested

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Jun 15, 2022
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I'd rather have a TD160 than a Rega P3 or an AT. I have a TD145 that I had examined, set up, and fine-tuned at a specialized workshop operated by an elderly person who knew Thorens back then. It cost me €100 and has been working flawlessly ever since.
 

Rui

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2021
57
11
545
Restore your thorens ,the other options are not well built and the rega seems a sample of a turntable ,i have technics turntables and they do deliver loud sound the same i can not say of the pioneer from 75 and the turntable that i´m still to see if i´m going to use it the pl-514 from pioneer if upgrade it , a tube pre-amplifier i already have but i have to choose between a 2m black verso from ortofon or the nagaoka mp-300 with respective cartridges the turntable itself is very simple and well built more or less the same or better than some new turntables with prices around 1.000€, but my 1970 thorens professional uses a good shure stylus and delivers a perfect sound, only had to re-wire it due to excessive use
 

Rui

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2021
57
11
545
That's a lot of money.
I can only say that I fitted RCA sockets on my 160S. It took ages to do it right - without any harm to the nice wooden plinth (they're mounted below it).
It takes effort to do things neatly.
So I do understand how someone could charge so much to do all that you require.
Just got the response.
Apparently there are some parts missing (compensation weight for the arm, among others) and the element is not mounted correctly.
Tone-arm should not be a problem with the TD-160.
Rough costs estimation is € 355 to get it in perfect playing condition.
What do you guys think, would this be worth it or do I look out for another table?
the other option with the same quality would be much above the 355€ ,invest and you´ll have decades of good sound
 
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DiggyGun

Well-known member
Mar 2, 2021
13
6
525
Nice deck, the Thorens TD-160. I looked at one back in the 80s, as well as the Pink Triangle, but ended up getting a Linn Sondek LP12.

A mate of mine has the TD-160, but not using it at the moment and it is in storage, but he won’t ever part with it.
 
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