Thorens & Goldmund Reference Turntables - European Expressions of the Art of Beyond

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#1
Thorens Reference & Goldmund Reference Turntables


The decade between 1975 & 1985 was very special, almost all the turntables belonging to the Beyond category were designed and produced during this time. This is when Linn ruled the mobs and magazines hailed it as THE REFERENCE while Thorens & Goldmund created uncompromised masterpieces.


The Thorens & Goldmund have nothing in common as far as their designs go but interestingly there’s a commonality in their sound. Also both have been criticized in the audiophile circles for lacking the ultimate in bass resolution and being somewhat colored when compared to the top Micro Seiki tables. While true to an extent they failed to recognize the beauty of the whole. These aren’t mere machines built according to the numbers they’re born from the sophistication and passion of a higher intelligence. Listen to them without expectation or prejudice and they’ll reveal the inner beauty and soul of the music with natural ease. The difference between their presentation vs that of their Japanese counterparts comes from the backgrounds of their creators. The Thorens & the Goldmund express European sensitivities of the arts while Micro Seiki tables are built upon Asian & Japanese values. Two cultures rich with their own history and tradition to experience, and why not?


Facts and figures of these tables can be found in many places on the net, along with positive and negative audiophile reviews. Within my limitations of language I’m hoping to share the emotional and intellectual arousal, the place Beyond the black goop and electronic signals of perfect machines, that the designers of these works of art intended to share with us. IMO, they succeeded…


david


The Thorens Reference with all its glorious German flair...


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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#2
Goldmund Reference, the Swiss Statement!


1G-L_002950.jpg


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david
 
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FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,469
0
0
#3
DDk

How do you think those compare to the Japanese Masterpieces of the 70's ... Micro Seiki, Kenwood L-09, Pioneer (forget the model) ,etc
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#5
DDk

How do you think those compare to the Japanese Masterpieces of the 70's ... Micro Seiki, Kenwood L-09, Pioneer (forget the model) ,etc
Its in the initial post above the Thorens picts Frantz. The Kenwoods, Pioneer, Technics Direct Drives really don't qualify in this category, they're very competent but only basic machines. The high end Micros and these tables are a lot more than that, they have very individual characters. The differences come from their presentation and designer's sensibilities, hard to quantify but easy to demonstrate, maybe when you come.

david
 

steve williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#6
Its in the initial post above the Thorens picts Frantz. The Kenwoods, Pioneer, Technics Direct Drives really don't qualify in this category, they're very competent but only basic machines. The high end Micros and these tables are a lot more than that, they have very individual characters. The differences come from their presentation and designer's sensibilities, hard to quantify but easy to demonstrate, maybe when you come.

david
Frantz

I you get a chance you must visit David. I know that you will love it and as David says he can easily show you how each of these sound so different. He has 2 Micro Sekei turntables that he has already described here

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...ables-Micro-Seiki-SZ-1t-SX-8000II-amp-SX-8000

Frantz, trust me when I say that I know you will love it. People need other this system
 
May 30, 2010
13,951
24
38
Portugal
#7
An old acquaintance owned a Goldmund Reference - I had the pleasure of listening to it long ago. Unfortunately, most of the times I was there it had problems with the linear tonearm.

I never listened to the Thorens Reference, but my enthusiasm was big when I found one for sale a very nice price a few years ago. The pictures looked fabulous, but soon I found it was not an original, but a replica made in China ... Surely I did not buy it!
 

steve williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#8
I know David commented to me as well about the linear tracking arm on the Goldmund and how difficult it is to set up
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
6,871
1
38
Northern NY
#9
An old acquaintance owned a Goldmund Reference - I had the pleasure of listening to it long ago. Unfortunately, most of the times I was there it had problems with the linear tonearm.

I never listened to the Thorens Reference, but my enthusiasm was big when I found one for sale a very nice price a few years ago. The pictures looked fabulous, but soon I found it was not an original, but a replica made in China ... Surely I did not buy it!
Yes the Chinese knockoff was a real bummer...
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#10
An old acquaintance owned a Goldmund Reference - I had the pleasure of listening to it long ago. Unfortunately, most of the times I was there it had problems with the linear tonearm.

I never listened to the Thorens Reference, but my enthusiasm was big when I found one for sale a very nice price a few years ago. The pictures looked fabulous, but soon I found it was not an original, but a replica made in China ... Surely I did not buy it!
There was a problem in power supply/controller of the early versions which they fixed in the later generation like mine, I never had a problem with it. I'm spoilt by the flexibility and ease of setup of the SME arms, its really a one, two, three and you're done, I also know them well enough to know when my setup isn't optimal. I only setup the Goldmund arm once when I got the table and left it for years playing without a hitch until we moved. I have to pull out the manuals and relearn it again, just haven't had the patience for it. Also I'd like to try other cartridges on it to see how they work out but, so its just been waiting for me to get motivated.

Used Goldmunds are very undervalued these days but I see the Thorens tables just keep going up...

david
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
1,902
0
36
#11
There was a problem in power supply/controller of the early versions which they fixed in the later generation like mine, I never had a problem with it. I'm spoilt by the flexibility and ease of setup of the SME arms, its really a one, two, three and you're done, I also know them well enough to know when my setup isn't optimal. I only setup the Goldmund arm once when I got the table and left it for years playing without a hitch until we moved. I have to pull out the manuals and relearn it again, just haven't had the patience for it. Also I'd like to try other cartridges on it to see how they work out but, so its just been waiting for me to get motivated.

Used Goldmunds are very undervalued these days but I see the Thorens tables just keep going up...

david
I have used for many years a Goldmund studio turntable - actually one of the latest Goldmund produced - with the T3f arm and never had problems with the latter. Then changed to the Forsell air force one turntable that beated the Studio/T3f combo in many ways. DDK, any plans to investigate the Rockport sirius and Forsell turntables in the future?
 
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May 3, 2010
191
0
16
#12
I have owned a Thorens Reference for more than a decade now. I used to be fascinated by turntables. When I received the Thorens all interest just stopped.It is probably not the best sounding but I don't care any longer. If have often wondered why this is the case. I think to me it just sounds right.I vividly remember the Saturday afternoon I stopped fiddling: I have a few production master reels of which I have the LPs cut from the same. I never play both Reel and LP in the same session as vinyl is just too far off. On this day I played both simultaneously and remotely switched between (My equipment is a separate room from the speakers and invisible from there) . After a few minute of this I got fed up and stuck with the tape,marvelling in its superiority. I was rudely awkened when instead of ending with quiet distant click I was attacked by the "Click ,Click of an end of side LP.

The Thorens is infinitely adjustable: By changing the tension of the suspension the sound changes dramatically.It is done by those flat knobs on the side of the suspension towers. Fully to one side the sound is tight with the bass dry,full to the other and the sound is underdamped and billowy . Somewhere in between it will fall in place. This varies from system to system,room to room.A friend of mine owns Ref in an Apogee/Krell system. His settings differ from my horn based system.

The amount of iron filings used in the receptacles in the armpods make a difference.Like an alchemist little amounts need to be added and removed until the magic pops . Armboard material matters. I used to firmly believe Thorens had it wrong,that an acrylic aluminium sandwich was the way to go. As my system and the Thorens setup evolved ,I discovered wood was better, then that softer wood even better and finally that the very soft original armboards (of which I had none left) were perfect once everything else is perfectly set up.

Two Tables prior to the Thorens I used to own an early Goldmund Studio with T3 arm.I still believe that arm could think for itself. I used to have an end of weekend ritual of playing older Pink Floyd,German electronica then Avant Garde Jazz on a Sunday night. I would end this session with The Carpenters. The T3 arm would work perfectly all night until the Carpenters hit the platter. The arm would then absolutely refuse to lift or move. Put another LP on and if found suitable it will play perfectly. Any ABBA LP and it would crash into the vinyl ripping off the stylus. 3 Destroyed Koetsu Onyx,Cardas Heart, Linn something and 2 tipless EMTs later the Goldmund left.
 
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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#13
I have used for many years a Goldmund studio turntable - actually one if the latest Goldmund produced - with the T3f arm and never had problems with the latter. Then changed to the Forsell air force one turntable that beated the Studio/T3f combo in many ways. DDK, any plans to investigate the Rockport sirius and Forsell turntables in the future?
There's a huge difference between the sound of the Studio & the Reference, even with the same arm. Mine is a T3 too, never had problem with it. Had a Serius II briefly, very dead sound and hated the arm, didn't care for the III when I heard it either, same dead sound, unnatural. Liked the sound of Forsell better, my friend had one but it was finicky and the sound changed with air pressure. It lacked some body too, a little thin sounding. What do you use now?

david
 
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Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
1,902
0
36
#14
There's a huge difference between the sound of the Studio & the Reference, even with the same arm. Mine is a T3 too, never had problem with it. Had a Serius II briefly, very dead sound and hated the arm, didn't care for the III when I heard either, same dead sound, unnatural. Liked the sound of Forsell better, my friend had one but it was finicky and the sound changed with air pressure. It lacked some body too, a little thin sounding. What do you use now?

david
Agree on the difference. Heard the Goldmund reference a few times. Still using the Forsell, albeit with a Walker motor drive because the Forsell flywheel drove me crazy. In addition the Walker black diamond, the Blue Pearl JEM table with Kuzma airline and DaVinci Audio Gabriel mk ii with the Grandezza tonearm.

You do not care for the Rockport turntables but what about the Continuum?

Btw, the Forsell thin sounding? Imho that is odd because the Forsell is a somewhat darkish and warm sounding table in my view (some would say: 'musical').
 
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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#15
I have owned a Thorens Reference for more than a decade now. I used to be facinated by turntables. When I received the Thorens all interest just stopped.It is probably not the best sounding but I don't care any longer. If have often wondered why this is the case. I think to me it just sounds right. It is infinietly adjustable: By changing the tension of the suspension the sound changes dramatically.It is done by those flat knobs on the side of the suspension towers. Fully to one side the sound is tight with the bass dry,full to the other and the sound is underdamped and billowy . Somewhere in between it will fall in place. This varies from system to system,room to room.A friend of mine owns Ref in an Apogee/Krell system. His settings differ from my horn based system.

The amount of iron filings used in the receptacles in the armpods make a difference.Like an alchemist liitle amounts need to be added and removed until the magic pops . Armboard material matters. I used to firmly believe Thorens had it wrong,that an acrylic aluminium sandwich was the way to go. As my system and the Thorens setup evolved ,I discovered wood was better, then that softer wood better and finally that very soft original armboards (of which I had none left) were perfect once everything else is perfectly set up.

Two Tables prior to the Thorens I used to own an early Goldmund Studio with T3 arm.I still believe that arm could think for itself. I used to have an end of weekend ritual of playing older Pink Floyd,German electronica then Avant Garde Jazz on a Sunday night. I would end this session with The Carpenters. The T3 arm would work perfectly all night until the Carpenters hit the platter. The arm would then absolutely refuse to lift or move. Put another LP on and if found suitable it will play perfectly. Any ABBA LP and it would crash into the vinyl ripping off the stylus. 3 Destroyed Koetsu Onyx,Cardas Heart, Linn something and 2 tipless EMTs later the Goldmund left
I still love tts and vintage speakers but narrowed it down to just this few. The Thorens Reference is brilliant with a beautiful warm natural sound, I can't fault it. I'm actually happy that it doesn't sound like a Micro and with a very different presentation. With these articles I'm trying to bring awareness to each table individually rather than one vs the other. At this level they're all very special and have their own unique qualities, nothing to knock! Appreciate you sharing here, nice to know about your experience.

david
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,447
6
38
Utah
#16
Agree on the difference. Heard the Goldmund reference a few times. Still using the Forsell, albeit with a Walker motor drive because the Forsell flywheel drome me crazy. In addition the Walker black diamond, the Blue Pearl JEM table with Kuzma airline and DaVinci Audio Gabriel mk ii with the Grandezza tonearm.

You do not care for the Rockport turntables but what about the Continuum?

Btw, the Forsell thin sounding? Imho that is odd because the Forsell is a somewhat darkish and warm sounding table in my view (some would say: 'musical').
I like the DaVinci table and the arm is great sounding, actually a favorite of mine, had a couple of the early ones, should have kept them. The Caliburn was a sophisticated machine and they finally managed to fix speed issues before the company folded. I know it was praised in the magazines but I found it very boring sonically, my friend claims the less expensive Criterion is the one to have, I never heard it. My tastes are in line with your DaVinci table and arm, a realistic, natural sound as opposed to the strong character of the Continuum. Like I mentioned I did like the sound of the Air Force, it was dark and musical but lacked body in the upper bass and lacked real bottom end. It could have been my friend's settings but that's what I heard on many occasions.

david
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
1,902
0
36
#17
I like the DaVinci table and the arm is great sounding, actually a favorite of mine, had a couple of the early ones, should have kept them. The Caliburn was a sophisticated machine and they finally managed to fix speed issues before the company folded. I know it was praised in the magazines but I found it very boring sonically, my friend claims the less expensive Criterion is the one to have, I never heard it. My tastes are in line with your DaVinci table and arm, a realistic, natural sound as opposed to the strong character of the Continuum. Like I mentioned I did like the sound of the Air Force, it was dark and musical but lacked body in the upper bass and lacked real bottom end. It could have been my friend's settings but that's what I heard on many occasions.

david
Yes, the Forsell lackes real bottom end, we totally agree on that. To my ears its real strength are the mids and highs. I still love its pureness and delicacy. That is of course the reason I always kept it. Changed all my other gear but the Forsell is stillwith me after more than 20 years.
 
May 30, 2010
13,951
24
38
Portugal
#18
Yes, the Forsell lackes real bottom end, we totally agree on that. To my ears its real strength are the mids and highs. I still love its pureness and delicacy. That is of course the reason I always kept it. Changed all my other gear but the Forsell is stillwith me after more than 20 years.
The Forsell has a bewitching characteristic - an absolute lack of vinyl artifacts. Once properly tweaked it is one of those components I feel it sounds natural - it is why I still keep the Air Force in my system.. I fully agree on the pureness and delicacy. IMHO the flywheel is mandatory for a more extended bottom end, although most of the time I use it with a sepaate drive. I am currently trying to add a separate motor to the flywheel. as the original drive electronics were a nightmare.
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
1,902
0
36
#19
The Forsell has a bewitching characteristic - an absolute lack of vinyl artifacts. Once properly tweaked it is one of those components I feel it sounds natural - it is why I still keep the Air Force in my system.. I fully agree on the pureness and delicacy. IMHO the flywheel is mandatory for a more extended bottom end, although most of the time I use it with a sepaate drive. I am currently trying to add a separate motor to the flywheel. as the original drive electronics were a nightmare.
Hi Microstrip,

Imho even with the flywheel the bottom end is the weakest part of the Forsell turntable. Eg, my Blue Pearl Jem absolutely kills it in the bass department. But the Forsell sound has something quite unique. It was for a reason that many moons ago some of the reviewers in TAS clearly preferred it to the Rockport sirius iii. Btw, in my set up the Forsell, Walker and Blue pearl tables are all standing on a wooden rack that is magnetically declouped through Halcyonics/Accurion devices and all tables are clearly benefitting from it. Keep enjoying your Forsell table as it is (in my view anyway) still very special.
 
#20
Are you using the JEM turntable on the mag-lev footers?
 

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