upgrade from Thorens TD320 MKII
Jun 28, 2008 at 10:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

stimpy67

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Hi,
about 15 years ago I purchased a Thorens TD320 MKII (about $800 back then) and have been enjoying it almost daily. I guess with modern technique and use of new material like carbon and acrylic, seperate motor etc. I can improve on my Thorens. But I've got no idea in what range I should look to really improve. Will a VPI Scout or a Michell Gyro SE be much better? Or which Clearaudio? The price for the Gyro + tecno arm is about $4000 here in Belgium, which is about my max. budget.

Thanks
Rudy
 
Jun 29, 2008 at 4:00 AM Post #2 of 11

Lazarus Short

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Any deck you buy today may be no better, unless you spend oodles of money. Consider upgrading your phono cartridge or your phono preamp first. It may be money better spent.

Laz
 
Jun 29, 2008 at 7:44 AM Post #3 of 11

stimpy67

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lazarus Short /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Consider upgrading your phono cartridge or your phono preamp first. It may be money better spent.


The last years I've been using a Sumiko Blue Point Special but next week I'll receive an Ortofon 2m Black. After reading some raving reviews I think it'll be a good match for my Primaluna Dialogue Two which has an MM preamp builtin.
Rudy
 
Jun 29, 2008 at 10:04 AM Post #4 of 11

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by stimpy67 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi,
about 15 years ago I purchased a Thorens TD320 MKII (about $800 back then) and have been enjoying it almost daily. I guess with modern technique and use of new material like carbon and acrylic, seperate motor etc. I can improve on my Thorens. But I've got no idea in what range I should look to really improve. Will a VPI Scout or a Michell Gyro SE be much better? Or which Clearaudio? The price for the Gyro + tecno arm is about $4000 here in Belgium, which is about my max. budget.

Thanks
Rudy



The other decks you mention have superior more modern tonearms than your thorens but I would not assume that the decks themselves are better. In fact,Thorens always seemed to have the best platter bearings in the business so a new turntable may actually be a downgrade in this respect. I was just looking at an upgraded Thorens 320 at theanalogdept which included an SME IV tonearm. It would give you an idea what can be done with your deck.
 
Jun 30, 2008 at 5:55 PM Post #5 of 11

memepool

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The TD320/321 is basically an updated TD160, with a leaf spring suspension a la Bang & Olufsen.

Thorens have recently released the new TD350 and TD160 HD which cost a pretty penny and the main differences are an acrylic platter, which I believe you can get separately if you want, superior damping and a Rega derived tonearm. I think the motor may also have some kind of electronic speed control like the TD125.

Is yours the version with the Thorens TP16 tonearm? If so I'd probably start by upgrading to an Origin Live modded Rega tonearm. Now the UKP has dropped against the Euro it's a good time to buy!

Also while you are there you could also consider their DC motor upgrade and external PSU box which is pretty reasonably priced and should be another easy upgrade.

Acrylic platters are a matter of taste I feel and will change the character of your deck quite a bit, not necessarily for the better. Personally I would get a better platter mat than the stock one. SRM Design make a nice silicon mat which does a great job of damping the platter on my Thorens TD125 allowing a lot more detail to come through.

If you like the sound of your Thorens I think you might find it better to upgrade than start again with a new deck.

If you want to listen to some new decks other than those by Thorens I'd start with the traditional suspended subchassis decks made today which offer a similar sound but offer further scope for refinement.

Obvious contenders are the Linn Sondek LP12 which costs around 1000UKP without arm or motor and the Roksan Xerxes , about 2000UKP + motor.
You could put together a Linn with Origin Live arm and motor quite cheaply as above or else there are plenty of motor options from the likes of The Funk Firm and Stamford Audio

There are dozens of other new turntables around now but I'd listen before you buy as they mostly sound quite different to all of the above.
The Michell's are also suspended subchassis and very nice but do sound either colder and more modern or not quite so coloured depending on your viewpoint. VPI's aren't quite such a bargain in Europe but you could definitley check out the Scout on your budget.
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 7:23 PM Post #6 of 11

stimpy67

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Quote:

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Is yours the version with the Thorens TP16 tonearm? If so I'd probably start by upgrading to an Origin Live modded Rega tonearm. Now the UKP has dropped against the Euro it's a good time to buy!

Also while you are there you could also consider their DC motor upgrade and external PSU box which is pretty reasonably priced and should be another easy upgrade.



Thanks for all the info. My Thorens has the TP90 arm. According to several sources on the internet it's one of the better arms of Thorens, but I certainly take a look at Origin Live. But I don't know if it's possible to install them on the TD320MKII.

I just bought a new PSU for my Thorens on Ebay. Even if I should buy a new turntable I'm keeping the Thorens for my hobby room. If upgrades can give me more satisfaction, it'll stay in my main setup. It's not that I'm unhappy with the sound, it's just that I thought that new turntables would benefit from new materials and more engeneering knowledge.

Rudy
 
Jul 4, 2008 at 10:45 PM Post #7 of 11

KonstantinT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by memepool /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The TD320/321 is basically an updated TD160, with a leaf spring suspension a la Bang & Olufsen.

Thorens have recently released the new TD350 and TD160 HD which cost a pretty penny and the main differences are an acrylic platter, which I believe you can get separately if you want, superior damping and a Rega derived tonearm. I think the motor may also have some kind of electronic speed control like the TD125.

Is yours the version with the Thorens TP16 tonearm? If so I'd probably start by upgrading to an Origin Live modded Rega tonearm. Now the UKP has dropped against the Euro it's a good time to buy!

Also while you are there you could also consider their DC motor upgrade and external PSU box which is pretty reasonably priced and should be another easy upgrade.

Acrylic platters are a matter of taste I feel and will change the character of your deck quite a bit, not necessarily for the better. Personally I would get a better platter mat than the stock one. SRM Design make a nice silicon mat which does a great job of damping the platter on my Thorens TD125 allowing a lot more detail to come through.

If you like the sound of your Thorens I think you might find it better to upgrade than start again with a new deck.

If you want to listen to some new decks other than those by Thorens I'd start with the traditional suspended subchassis decks made today which offer a similar sound but offer further scope for refinement.

Obvious contenders are the Linn Sondek LP12 which costs around 1000UKP without arm or motor and the Roksan Xerxes , about 2000UKP + motor.
You could put together a Linn with Origin Live arm and motor quite cheaply as above or else there are plenty of motor options from the likes of The Funk Firm and Stamford Audio

There are dozens of other new turntables around now but I'd listen before you buy as they mostly sound quite different to all of the above.
The Michell's are also suspended subchassis and very nice but do sound either colder and more modern or not quite so coloured depending on your viewpoint. VPI's aren't quite such a bargain in Europe but you could definitley check out the Scout on your budget.



Sorry, the TD320 is not only an upgraded TD160 with leaf suspension.
The plinth of the TD3** range is a thick board (MDF?) instead of a plywood box of the TD1** and the subchassis is MDF too (TD1**: steel sheet).
Speed changes electronically by changing motor frequency (TD1**: mechanical shifting, two-step pulley).

Some people like the TD3** range because it sounded smooth, other prefer the TD1** for its lively sound. Thorens went on building and upgradind both the TD1** (TD160, TD146, TD166) and the TD3** (TD320, TD318, TD316) types. The later top-of-the-range TD520 and TD2001 are based on the TD320.
 
Jul 7, 2008 at 11:36 AM Post #8 of 11

memepool

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Quote:

Originally Posted by stimpy67
I just bought a new PSU for my Thorens on Ebay. Even if I should buy a new turntable I'm keeping the Thorens for my hobby room. If upgrades can give me more satisfaction, it'll stay in my main setup. It's not that I'm unhappy with the sound, it's just that I thought that new turntables would benefit from new materials and more engeneering knowledge.



On the whole I don't think turntable motorboards have improved that much since the 1980s. Most of the innovations in materials which are so common now were being used by designers like Transcriptors and Michell in the UK as far back as the 1960s. You also find the use of exotic materials on many high end Japanese turntables from the likes of Micro, Sony and Kenwood.

Tonearm design improved a lot during the 1980s with Rega and SME but this has lead to move away from suspended subchassis plinth mountings as these arms dump a lot more energy into the suspension than earlier designs.

Which brings us to the TP90, by all accounts one of Thorens best arms so it's probably best to stick with it. You could get it rewired by someone like Audio Origami as availability of very high quality wiring is something which has definitely improved in recent years as a byproduct of the computer industry...


Quote:

Originally Posted by KonstantinT /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Sorry, the TD320 is not only an upgraded TD160 with leaf suspension.
The plinth of the TD3** range is a thick board (MDF?) instead of a plywood box of the TD1** and the subchassis is MDF too (TD1**: steel sheet).
Speed changes electronically by changing motor frequency (TD1**: mechanical shifting, two-step pulley).

Some people like the TD3** range because it sounded smooth, other prefer the TD1** for its lively sound. Thorens went on building and upgradind both the TD1** (TD160, TD146, TD166) and the TD3** (TD320, TD318, TD316) types. The later top-of-the-range TD520 and TD2001 are based on the TD320.



Ok well the TD160S has a composite board plinth, I was't aware of this being used in the subchassis on the 320/321. Surely a retrograde step as it would be less rigid than steel? I know Roksan used wood in the subchassis of the original Xerxes and had a lot of problems with warpage.

Anyway the point was that a TD160 or 320 is a fine turntable with a lot of potential and you'd need to spend thousands of Euros today to get anything significantly better.
 
Aug 17, 2008 at 5:38 PM Post #9 of 11

copland35

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I guess the best way to see the 320 series is alongside the Phonosophie turntables. I would imagine that there are parts that you could get for it that you could buy from Phonosophie. I dare suppose that you could go for the Roksan Nima tonearm, a worthwhile substitute for the Naim ARO. Combined with a strong phonostage and either an AT150MLX or a Denon DL304 you'd actually find a purposeful high-end turntable. There'd be a jump in bandwidth and dynamic range and resolution. Never underestimate, as they say.
 
Aug 17, 2008 at 7:05 PM Post #10 of 11

searchenabler

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What is the bearing quality of that TP90? Really, the only thing really to improve, if not already(afraid I don't know much about the TP90 unit), is go to an arm with very low friction, extreme precise bearings, if the Thorens arm does not already have such ultra low friction bearings. The ClearAudio Satisfy(available in several tube materials from aluminum to carbon fiber, and starting at $1200 USD) uses three point saphired Swiss jeweled bearings against tungsten for ultra-low friction and extreme tolerances. I don't know if this arm can be fit on the Thorens, but it's a standard mount type arm. The Satisfy arm has full range of adjustments including azimuth. And the anti-skate control, a very nice magnetic system, can be disabled if you don't want anti-skate, by simply removing the outer adjustment screw (which contains the primary pivoting repeller magnet for the anti-skate system), a 5 second reversible process. Now, not to say this is necessarily the arm for you, but just for a considerable upgrade, perhaps look for one with such extreme low friction and tight tolerances, to make some sort of real upgrade in some objective manner.

I am no expert on tonearms. I am just throwing some alternate suggestions out for consideration.

-Chris
 
Aug 18, 2008 at 9:00 PM Post #11 of 11

lini

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Rudy: I wonder who recommended you the 2M Black for your Thorens. A cart with 22 µm/mN and 7.2 g on a 17 g arm, hmmmm...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
 

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