Actually the Thorens tables are worthy upgrade units. They can be upgraded in the following areas: Sound deadener on the bearing and top plates, as well as the inner platter to reduce noise and ringing, sturdier bottom plate to add rigidity to plinth as well as adding more mass to the plinth it self. Other upgrades include installing new thrust plate in the bearing as well as polishing the bearing, arm board replacement, and upgrading tone arm. As far as why the factory did not do these upgrades, Thorens did offer a TD160 Super which addressed several of these items at an increase in price. Most manual tables of that era were designed to a price point, and these modifications just lower the background noise of the presentation. Less Noise = more information retrieval is audible. IMHO
Due to the Blacker background and the lack of surface noise picked up by the Sumiko Blackbird, it is some times startling on the most dynamic Classical pieces. The real improvements are in the articulation of the mids/highs, the detail gained in the upperbass, and the increase in decay time. Classical and Jazz piano are particularly impressive in this regard. This table is driven through a DB Systems DB8 Phono preamp upgraded in input to match the Blackbird. The power is Solid state Acurus A200 amps (3) driving Tri-amped (active crossover) Hardwood (Maple) framed Magnapan MGIIIa's. With 1000 watts driving each speaker, headroom is not an issue. Regards, Jim
This area of discussion is of particular interest to me at the moment. I'm just getting back into vinyl after abandoning it as a teenager. Currently, I'm restoring an Ariston RD40 turntable with a Grace 727 tonearm. So far, all I have done is clean it up, put a new belt on it, get a new old stock H+ Grado cardridge with an H+/s stylus installed, and align it with a Feickert protractor. I'm waiting on a stroboscope to test it's rpm rate. It's pretty good the way it is, but I have this nagging feeling it could be a lot better. Perhaps, all you vinyl gurus out there could teach me a few things about how to get the most out of this set-up. What else should I be looking into? A new tonearm, a new mat, a new clamp? I'm not sure where else to go with it? Any thoughts?
Ed, Good luck with the Ariston RD40, they have a solid reputation as does the Grace 727 arm. On the TD160, I dampened the sub chassis that the bearing resides on as well as the inner platter, Built a heavier plinth, and cut a sturdier bottom plate for the plinth to add rigidity. These are things you can do to the Ariston I believe. There are other things that are probably only common to the Thorens models. The TD 160 is pictured in my avatar. FWIW. Experiment with various mat materials, and get a good weight or clamp to match the bearing weight capability of the bearing in your table. Good Luck, Jim