“If” I upgraded my TT to the 1980’s

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Stratman55, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. theprivateer

    theprivateer Active Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    I currently use a professionally restored Thorens 160 which in its incarnation with heavy plinth etc is said to rival many modern decks in its price range or slightly above.

    Despite the amazing restoration job done, my nagging doubt whenever I notice a small issue (which every analog system has from time to time) is whether the suspension and other bits are tuned perfectly, if wear and tear is causing some degradation.

    I wonder if I’d have more peace of mind if I’d gone the “modern” route. True I forget it all when the music begins and the table sings....
     
    patient_ot, timind and Stratman55 like this.
  2. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    You've got your answer.
     
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  3. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Linear trackers are for masochists, and those who love tracking error unless air bearing. Servo arms are out of error as much as they are accurate. Garrard Zero 100 is a guaranteed PITA to get running again from the storage, the attic, or the barn. You must get rid of every bit of hardened up grease, every bit of it, no shortcuts. And unless idler, why bother? Also why put up with it's cartridge slide, it's many intermittents and dropped channels waiting to happen. Get a Garrard, get a Laboratory 80 (same amount of degunking and labor, worth it) a 4HF, a 301 or 401, or don't bother. Thorens TD 150 and 160 I can and do recommend, that is worth love and labor. Repair man hates to tell you reality. If I had to charge full labor rate to repair most Garrard changers, they'd cost you $350 labor, and rebuilt idler wheels. They're time consuming to repair properly. PITA to do so also.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
    Daddy Dom, timind, Stratman55 and 2 others like this.
  4. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    Yes, there is something special about suspended-chassis turntables -- not easy to describe.

    If you seek a similar design to an LP12 at a much lower price, look into a Thorens 160 Super from Vinyl Nirvana.
     
  5. theprivateer

    theprivateer Active Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    Second the Vinyl Nirvana recommendation, if you’re going with a suspended design.
     
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  6. Stratman55

    Stratman55 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rotherham
    I’ve always had a soft spot for Thorens 160’s. I’ve seen them in the U.K. from £150 to £2300. Quite a big price gap. If I went that way I’d obviously be leaning towards the low mid end for a labour of love.
     
  7. Yost

    Yost Always Wondered How Other People Did This

    Thorens 160 have the reputation, but a Thorens 320 is a very enjoyable table too. Top of the line from the early 80’s. Yes, I have one.

    Only awkward thing is the headshell where the M2 (!) bolts must be screwed in from below.
     
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  8. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Uh, do you know why these were made in the first place?

    My Technics SL-6: Tracking Error - +/- 0.1 degrees

    Your turntable's tracking error if you set it as precisely as possible:
    [​IMG]

    Also, the phase locked direct-drive speed is a bit more stable than gears running a gummy rubber wheel rubbing on the edge of the platter.
     
    PhilBiker, nosliw, Stratman55 and 4 others like this.
  9. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    I would skip that decade and go back to the seventies or earlier.
     
    Stratman55 likes this.
  10. Achn2b

    Achn2b Forum Resident

    Location:
    N. Conway, NH
    Rather than a new table, if you like your Pioneer, I'd look into a major phono preamp/cartridge upgrade. Maybe moving coil.
     
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  11. fortherecord

    fortherecord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Upstate, NY
    The Linn LP12 and the Roksan Xerexes were the top tables in the 80s. They blew away any of the direct drive tables in musicality, still do.
     
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  12. Zensound

    Zensound Forum Resident

    Thanks classicrocker; I'll look into it if I have some time...think there's about 8-12 screws on the bottom if I remember to take off, oh well, built like a tank as they say.
     
  13. Stratman55

    Stratman55 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rotherham
    I just changed the yellow AT to an Ortofon 2m blue and I’m waiting for a Rega Fono Mk3 & QED wire to turn up. Further upgrades to this one are a while away. But.... they can go on another TT if I decide to do that.
     
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  14. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    SL10 owner here. These things are something else! Nothing quite like them for sure.
    Sadly no real nice stylus options available any longer
     
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  15. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    I'd add Pink Triangle to that list, whether they blew away the top end Japanese direct drives I can't really say as at the time they were conspicuously absent from the shops and shows I visited.
     
  16. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Unstable Member

    Location:
    Pacific Beach, CA
    Whut?
     
  17. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    Seems like you have chosen a good path. Nice upgrade, not too costly. Enjoy...
     
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  18. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I have a close cousin the SL-J33. I just had it serviced so it's running perfectly. Last year I picked up a NOS Audio Technica cart with a nude elliptical that tracks as well as my old AT440MLa on its best days. Very nice and I'm very happy with it; it's good enough for me. Nothing truly "high end" in P-mount carts though unfortunately.
     
    Slick Willie likes this.
  19. Achn2b

    Achn2b Forum Resident

    Location:
    N. Conway, NH
    I'd also add the Acoustic Research ES1, or even the cheaper The Turntable. The poor man's Linn
     
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  20. Andy Saunders

    Andy Saunders Forum Resident

    Location:
    England
    Reading between the lines PT blew a lot of things away...…years ago had an extensive listen to an Anniversary...…:drool::drool::drool:
     
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  21. Of course it was back in 1972, but I bought a new Pioneer PL-12D-II . I found it to be the best turntable I've ever owned. Sure wish I still had it.
     
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  22. I should have also said that when I bought my Pioneer TT, they talked me into also buying an Audio Technica AT12S cartridge. I thought that it was a good idea because I wanted to get into quadraphonic records eventually and the AT12S, even though a high frequency cartridge with a Shibata stylus, they told me that I could play almost any modern record with it. That ended up being a big mistake. With both the Shibata stylus and a cartridge that had a frequency response up to 50khz, it brought out every tick, pop or other imperfection in the grooves. With many great cartridges, back then, prices ran from around $15. U.S. to $50. I think that the AT12S was $20. U.S. I then tried an AT14E and it was better sounding. After that, I tried a Grado cartridge and it sounded even better. With prices lower and much more reasonable back then, Radio Shack had a special on their Realistic/Shure RXT5 for around $25. U.S., so I figured I'd try one. Talking about hitting the honeypot, this was one of the best cartridges I'd ever heard. Years later, I found out that these were actually Shure V15's and I wish that I'd bought a hundred of them. I still have it too! I was smart enough to not get rid of it. Even after 100's of playing hours and being mounted on many different turntables, that last time I used it a couple of years ago, it still sounded great. I found that the latest replacement for it was the Shure M97xe and because I didn't want to take a chance on damaging my RXT5, I bought several of the M97xe's. I use this for my main cartridge now. I have tried other cartridges from AT, Stanton and Pickering, but I've found the newer AT cartridges to be inferior. Production of the more common ones has moved to China and can be found on those Chinese TT's that are sold under many different names. Some of those TT's are great, like the AT-LP120 and AT-LP5, but the AT cartridges leave a lot to be desired.
    I kick myself in the butt everytime I remember letting that Pioneer PL-12D-II and would love to find another one in like new condition.
     
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  23. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Location:
    Chesnee, SC, USA
    If you like the way it sounds and you're happy with it, spend your money on a cartridge or phono preamp upgrade. Just a thought.
     
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  24. Stratman55

    Stratman55 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rotherham
    When I found mine it was pretty much like new but I risked having it posted. The guy taped everything down that moved, packed the gaps and wrapped it with about 100 yards of bubble wrap. Unfortunately the courier must have thrown it in the van and the plug was separately wrapped and taped the back of the dust cover. Yep, that’s the side it landed on punching a nice hole through the back. The broken price was inside and gorilla glue has held it for the last six months. It’s not really visible from the front but if I ever find a new one or see a broken TT with a good lid I’ll buy it. Lesson learned.
     
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  25. Stratman55

    Stratman55 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Rotherham
    I’m about there I hope for a while. Ortofon 2M Blue fitted & a Rega Fono Mk3 is landing tomorrow.
     
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