Thorens Turntable Fest

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,484
73
545
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
The Pacific Northwest Audio Society 9th May 2013 meeting will feature a range of turntables from Thorens, a German company that has been in business for 130 years. Thorens was a very popular brand in the early high-end audio days when vinyl ruled. Many will remember the popular Thorens TD125 and the TD160 which are still much sought-after today. In 1979, the Thorens Reference Turntable set the high-water mark for reference turntables as much as the Infinity Reference Standard in 1978 set the high-water mark for reference loudspeakers.

The line-up will include:

1) The value-priced fully automatic Thorens TD 170-1 incl. arm and Ortofon OMB10 MM cartridge ($750)
2) The mid-price Thorens TD 295 Mk IV incl. arm and Audio Technica AT95E MM cartridge ($1,500)
3) The classic Thorens TD 350 suspended sub-chassis turntable incl. SME M2 arm ($7,200 w/o cartridge)

4) The club's Rega P5 turntable with arm and Audio Technica OC9 cartridge will be used as the reference.

In order for club members to hear the differences between the turntables, they will be placed on identical equipment racks. We will use two units of the $24,000 Burmester Ph100 Reference-line Phono Stage with both MM and MC inputs which allows us to level-match and optimize the different cartridges used. The club's Genesis I60 amplifier and Genesis 7.2f loudspeakers will be used as our members are all familiar with the sound.

As an additional benefit to fully paid-up PNWAS members, the Thorens North American distributor, Rutherford Audio will offer club members a 20% discount off the retail price of any Thorens turntable purchased in the month of May. In addition, when a club member makes such a purchase, Rutherford Audio will contribute 5% of the retail price to the club coffers!! This will surely make our next incoming Treasurer very happy.

While Rutherford Audio is located in Canada, you will still get local set-up and support for your purchase from club member Joe Pittman and Kosmic as they are the official Seattle dealer for Thorens.

You don't have to be at the meeting to take advantage of this offer, but you have to be there to get to hear this TURNTABLE FASHION PARADE!

Thorens.jpg
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,484
73
545
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
In order to have as level a playing field as possible, we used 4 copies of various albums. This allowed us to switch back and forth across the various turntables.

Blue Mind.jpg

What was particularly gratifying was that I got many more compliments for the speakers than usual - may be because we were using analog sources :D
 

audioarcher

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2012
1,344
8
395
Seattle area
Thanks for putting this meeting together Gary. It was allot of fun.

One of the things I took away from this meeting was the importance of the quality of the phono stage. I already knew that but this just reinforced my opinion on the subject. We usually listen through the clubs Acoustech phono stage when we play the clubs Rega P5. For the first time I heard the clubs Rega P5 through the Burmester phono stage. This was a very nice improvement. The sound was much more enjoyable. Too bad really good phono stages are so expensive.

Gary's speakers are a great tool for the club. They let us hear the quality of the signal coming through. It's easy to hear the differences between different gear.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,484
73
545
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
Yes, it really shows how important the source is. The Burmester cost more than the entirety of the club's system - and we had TWO of them last week. Now, if only the club could afford to buy one....

We had some very good albums to illustrate the real differences. The Anne Bisson Blue Mind is very well recorded and very natural (if a bit bass-rich for my tastes) - you should hear her singing a duet together with herself!

We also had four copies of Les Brown goes Direct to Disk and Holly Cole Temptation.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
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0
And the results???
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,484
73
545
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
We called it a "fashion parade" and not a competition, and we didn't press the club members to rank the tables - although some of them did express their opinions.... General consensus was:

1) TD350
2) Rega P5
3) TD295
4) TD170

Personally, I would have flipped 2) and 3) because of some bearing issues we have with the club's Rega made the big band record seem like the band wasn't really playing together in the same pace and rhythm. However, many listeners do not hear this. The automatic arm-lift mechanism on the TD170 caused significant wow at the end of side, and for me that was a deal breaker.
 

audioarcher

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2012
1,344
8
395
Seattle area
We called it a "fashion parade" and not a competition, and we didn't press the club members to rank the tables - although some of them did express their opinions.... General consensus was:

1) TD350
2) Rega P5
3) TD295
4) TD170

Personally, I would have flipped 2) and 3) because of some bearing issues we have with the club's Rega made the big band record seem like the band wasn't really playing together in the same pace and rhythm. However, many listeners do not hear this. The automatic arm-lift mechanism on the TD170 caused significant wow at the end of side, and for me that was a deal breaker.

I agree with Gary on the rankings. The TD170 had a big problem with wow. The Rega's bass was a little bloated and indistinct compared to the Thorens. This could have been because of the Rega's bearing trouble though. Every table had a different cartridge so it is hard to come to any definite conclusions. The Thorens TD350 had the best bass performance. The Rega's treble was pretty good. It would have been nice to have 4 of the same cartridges but it was not possible this time.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,484
73
545
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
We used the cartridge supplied as a package with the two cheaper tables. On the TD350, I put a cheapie but goodie - the Denon 103r - on the SME M2 arm. Problem with using the same cartridge would be arm compatibility as all the turntables had arms supplied as standard.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
6
0
Looks like it's time to fix the bearing issue with the Rega table.
 

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