Martin Krauhs' Thorens TD166 MKV
Short description of the Thorens: A Denon DL-103 is mounted between the
Denon and the Headshell a rigid aluminium plate is installed to "emulate" a
heavy tonearm and to correct the VTA. This works great. The (genuine) tonearm
is rewired with Cardas tonearm-cable, the phono-cable is replaced by a vdH
cable. The bearings of the arm are serviced an adjusted. The rest of the
turntable is modified, too. The pulley is by Phonosophie (very expensive for
a simple CNC-Part, but it is worth every penny!). The subplatter is filled
with "plastic-fermit", the bearing oil is replaced with ball-bearing-adipose,
subchassis and plinth are damped and made rigid with acrylic. The baseboard
is removed, I've glued an aluminium cone in each corner.
Further modifications to the TD166 mk V
I liked the Thorens and preferred if to my other tables but the weak point
was the Thorens arm. So I tried to find an economic upgrade. The Rega arms
have a good reputation but in my experience the are not good partners for
Thorens decks with suspension. The sound gets dull and compressed in some
points worse than the original arms. Same for the LP12 - considering that it
is nicely engineered but hopelessly over-priced Thorens-plagiarism. In the web
I've found some articles about the matching of Rega arms on Linn turntables.
Thus, rewired and modified (counterweight) RB-250/RB-300 seems to work very
well on Sondeks, much better than Ittok/Ekos (IMHO nice but extremely
overpriced arms). So I've tried this experiment on my TD-166 Mk V: I've
ordered an RB-250 with Incognito wires and the Michell TechnoWeight. It's an
OEM RB-250 with the 'Moth' label. There are rumours that the quality of OEM
Regas is worse compared to original Regas - mostly diffused by Rega dealers.
;-) I don't know if this is true but I am fairly sure that there is no
difference - apart from the price. I've owned lots of RB-250/RB-300
(original and clones) and I did never recognize any difference between
them. Back to the experiment. I've mounted this arm on the TD-166 which is a
pretty challenge because I had to modify some parts of the Thorens (the
RB-250 is much heavier than the original arm and the big mounting-nut of the
Rega touched the top plate.) but after some hours it was done. The cartridge
I've mounted is the Audio Technica AT-110E. I like this cartridge and prefer
it to nearly all other cartriges irrespective of their price.
So how does it sound? For my taste almost perfect. It outperforms my much
more expensive LP12/Lingo/Ekos/Grado in every (really every!) aspect. If
anyone is interested to buy the Sondek, please send me an email - no
kidding! The Thorens now has an excellent tracking-ability even with
difficult records, has a fine resolution, a great soundstage (in x, y and z
direction), a very fast, deep and tuneful bass and killer-dynamics. All
things you expect from a $$$-turntable. I can recommend the modified RB-250
(but only the modified one!) to all Thorens owners who want to upgrade their
turntables. The fully modified RB-250 is about EUR 400,- - lots of people
pay much more for their phono-interconnects. After this (easily reversible!)
upgrade you wont recognize your old Thorens again.
My next step is to install a DC-motor.