When you’re buying a Thorens TD 160, vintage turntable – you getting a design classic. Thorens were the foremost turntable manufacturer in the world when they launched the Thorens TD 160. It proved to be the affordable high end turntable of the seventies HiFi boom. Thorens adapted and improved the suspended sub platter concept, believing it possessed enduring promise. Over the years enthusiasts have implemented improvements and upgrades that informed later versions of the turntable and Linn built their edifice on its very simplicity.
Buying a TD 160 remains the proven portal to quality vinyl reproduction, It is everything, vinyl lovers, will ever want. As a vintage or contemporary turntable the TD 160 is still a leader in its class. Most TD 160s have been well cared for and handed down as heirlooms. In the nineteen seventies buying a TD 160 was a significant purchase but, so many years later, it remains a valuable machines and a consummate sonic performer.
Cosmetically, TD 160s vary greatly. Teak veneered chipboard was fashionable on even high end 1970’s furniture and vintage turntables. It does not age gracefully – it fades and chips. The wooden plinth discolours from exposure to UV light and that discolouration penetrates through the veneer, don’t bother trying to restore it. If you like this vintage turntable look, leave it, otherwise install a new plinth. This is very easy to do. In any case if you are buying a Thorens TD 160, the plinth shouldn’t be your major concern.
Buying a Thorens TD 160 turntable is an easy decision to make because all the parts are still available. You get any part you need on ebay used or new. The dust covers are a very elegant design but the hinges do snap. You can replace the dust cover with a new one or buy metal hinges to repair your original dust cover.
The hinge is a grove cutout at the side of the acrylic/styrene cover and that slips onto to a pair of metal studs, one on either side of the plinth. This allows the dust cover to pivot and suspends it about 70 degrees. There is no friction in the hinge so it flows freely and sits firmly when tilted back. It is possible to close the dust cover while the stylus is being lowered on the record without causing vibration or disturbance. This is what makes it a very clever design.
Dust cover with both hinges intact is unusual but there are plenty out there to testify to their longevity when carefully handled. Taking them on and off during playing sessions exposes them greater risk of damage.
Listening with the cover down protects the record from dust during playing, however, the dust cover in the this position resonates causing sonic distortion to the music. A trade off where the devil always wins.
The springs do lose their elasticity. Some still retain a decent amount of bounce while others are completely flat. A turntable with flat spring will still function but it will not be the best turntable around. From what I’ve seen the elasticity springs is unaffected by whether turntables that were sparingly used or well used, even abused. Some retain their the elasticity and others don’t
Springs need to be tuned to get the best turntable performance you need. Start to fresh new springs if you are in doubt. Tuning the the springs requires a some knowledge and a great deal of patience.
Buying a Thorens TD 160, I wouldn’t consider the springs a deal breaker. Replacing the springs is a medium to high skill DIY operation. Mostly, it requires you have the space and time to work methodically.
The motor, I believe, was made by Sonceboz, in Switzerland. The motor was designed for the Thorens TD 125, the top turntable in the Thrones range and in the late sixties one of the best turntables on the market.
In it’s time it was a very sophisticated motor and it is still very silent. Forty five years later it would not be a match for contemporary high end turntable motor. Electric Warrior is attempting to rebuilt the motor with some contemporary parts that could improve on original. At the very least we hope to be able to rebuilt the motor to its former glory.
If you are considering buying a Thorens TD 160, look for one with a perfect motor.