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Thorens TD-124/II restoration / upgrade

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. 337alant

    337alant Negatively Biased

  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Thanks, I’ll grab some for the next time I rebuild the motor.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Worth noting it can be found on eBay here, which is far easier to navigate than a German language site for many of us!
  4. mjkelshaw

    mjkelshaw pfm Member

  5. djdstone

    djdstone pfm Member

    Hi Shuggie - How much does Martin charge for his PSU? Do you have a contact number for him? I believe that Deco Audio are also developing a PSU with the same idea.
  6. Shuggie

    Shuggie Trade: Ammonite Audio

    I'm not sure if Martin is currently making any adjustable PSUs for idler decks. That said, I do recommend keeping a touch of eddy braking - the E50 motor is a shaded pole design that likes a touch of constant, linear drag, and the old TD-124 sounds plain 'wrong' with the eddy brake removed entirely
    user510 and djdstone like this.
  7. djdstone

    djdstone pfm Member

    Okay Shuggie - how is the eddy brake adjusted? BTW Terry Rubber Rollers will remake the idler wheel for $35 plus shipping. Doesn't sound too bad - or am I better off ordering a new Audiosilente one?
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator


    I picked up this neat bit of vintage Thorens memorabilia at the local auction last week, an AD30 clockwork musical box that plays little 4 1/2” metal disks. It is in immaculate condition, boxed with manuals and 6 disks. This model has a design issue where one little plastic gear (the only piece of plastic in the thing) that drives the governor cracks as it ages, as this one had done. Thankfully a US musical box specialist makes replacements. I ordered one last week and it turned up today (and much to my surprise I didn’t get hit with the usual customs and collection fee), so I stripped the clockwork mech right down, cleaned everything, replaced the gear and it is now working perfectly. No idea what I’ll do with it, not something I needed, but its a interesting bit of Thorens history.

    The auction was fascinating last week, a shed-load of wind-up gramophones etc including a very rare Thorens Exelda protable from the 1930s-40s in a really cool green crackle finish, but sadly that went for more than the bid I left so I didn’t get it. There was a nice tidy Lenco 75, but that went for more than my offensively low-ball bid (it was part of a real low-end ‘Metro Sound’ system that I’d have had to dispose of as it had no collector value). There was also a neat Garrard display piece showing a disassembled clockwork 78 motor, though it was incomplete and missing its glass so my low-ball bid didn’t get that either!
  9. awl

    awl pfm Member

    What are the six tunes?
  10. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Zürchur Sechseläuten Marsch, Edelweiss, Two Hearts In Waltz Time, Merry Widow, Santa Lucia and Annie Laurie (the latter being a bit corroded). Apparently there are about 170 disks available for the thing!
    awl likes this.
  12. Nate Nowinowski

    Nate Nowinowski New Member

    wow. what an amazing thread. quite the journey with one pice of gear. I can relate as I got mine for free and I have my moments where I think I'd be most of the way to a Technics1200G which would never need looking after. But this deck was my uncles and its a thing of beauty.

    i'm experimenting with a speed controller and am wondering what voltage people like (of 120v) I've been using 108v 60hz.

    The speed controller is also helpful because the speed takes about 20 min to stabilize (i think as the motor warms up) and i can give it 120v on start up and then drop it down a bit as it warms up. I leave the eddy brake set for 108v when warm. Very solid and extremely quiet when warm.
  13. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    You are lucky being on 60Hz, it will make for a much quieter running belt! 20 minutes to warm up isn’t unreasonable. I likewise set mine for when it is warm. Initially I rebuilt the motor using very thin Schopper oil and that ran a little fast until it warmed up, I’ve since rebuilt it with a very slightly thicker oil and that’s shifted it so it starts just a little slow and is stable after a side or so. By fast/slow I just mean a very, very slight drift of the strobe, I can’t hear it being flat or sharp. I have tried dropping voltage a little (down to about 220V) and it is certainly enough to need a lower eddy brake setting. A bit quieter, but a bit less punch/slam, so I still don’t know which I prefer. I’d like to try 60Hz at some point, though it would obviously need an external PSU of some kind. Just dropping the belt tension would be a huge win.
  14. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Hat and Beard member

    Not on topic, I apologise - but I decided to get a new neon for my TD125 earlier as the old one was getting very slow to fire up. I bought from (I thought, an individual) eBay seller in CH, who, when the invoice came through, turned out to be Schopper in disguise. I don’t know why this should bother me, but for some reason I feel misled.
  15. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Hat and Beard member

    There was a really odd post here earlier, I think in response to mine above, about a Swedish actor who played Charlie Chan in a film. I read it several times a few hours ago but didn’t understand it, so I came back to try again - only to find it gone! Now I’ll never work it out - I feel cheated!
    Craig B likes this.
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    An interesting thing someone on one of the Thorens Facebook groups noticed recently is the mat of the TD-124/II is actually conductive. I’ve just tested mine and get 2kOhms with the probes about an inch apart and a resistance in the mOhms to the centre spindle (i.e. chassis/mains ground). I suspect this is a very good thing from a vinyl static perspective and may be a contributing factor as to why I have absolutely zero issue here.

    PS A long-term user report is no doubt overdue as it has been quite a long time since I last did anything to my TD-124. It is running really well, seems to have settled down into a reliable daily driver, I guess all the Audio Silente sintered bushings I installed have bedded in etc and it seems to all be working really well and very quietly now. It’s been a somewhat long and obsessive journey, but it is a great turntable for sure.
    Hook, matt j, Seanm and 3 others like this.
  17. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    Tony is the new platter you presented in 2011 a non-magnetic one..?
    I'm asking bc I see stainless steel ones popping up here in Germany now.
    Heavy like the magnetic ones and better sounding than the alloy ones that replaced them.
  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The black one was a Swissonor non-ferrous one, though I eventually returned it for a refund as the idler path wasn’t perfectly finished and translated to audible rumble. I believe they have addressed this on the current version. I’m using the original green Thorens iron platter now which sounds superb IMO, though obviously does have some magnetic attraction should one wish to use a MC cart. I’m perfectly happy with my MP-500 so no issue.

    To be honest one thing I learned over the course of this thread was if you genuinely like a product keep it as close to original factory spec as possible. All the parts of this journey that with hindsight I view as mistakes involved over-paying for boutique replacement parts. By saying that I do definitely rate either iron platter as being obviously sonically superior to the lightweight alloy.

    I’d want to know how stainless steel behaved from a resonance perspective before assuming it was an upgrade on the iron. There is something very ‘right’ sonically about the original green iron platter IMO. I’d recommend it to anyone with the alloy one and if you use a SPU or 103 you can just back tracking force off a quarter gram and it works fine. Just don’t go near it with Deccas or modern MCs with really strong neodymium magnets.
    user510 and torstoi like this.
  19. torstoi

    torstoi pfm Member

    My assumption is, as the mass of the iron and stainless is pretty close, I think the resonance is mostly connected to the mass & hence I would not expect it to be significantly different.
    The advantage of the stainless is not in the resonance as I understand it, but merely in the fact it doesn't attract MC cartridges..but as you say..if you're perfecty happy with the 500 which I have little doubt, then perfect.

    The stainless one is 700€ a piece,,not really cheap.
    And I also think the old style green looks much better, the stainless has the same yellow colour you posted in 2011.
  20. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    I am no expert in materials resonance but as I understand it although density and mass are involved the major factor is the Young`s modulus of the material which is effectively the stiffness.

    Although they are roughly the same density a steel tuning fork and one made to the same dimensions from cast iron would behave very differently.

    As an aside the turntable used on the old MSS disc cutter was solid Brass. Unsurprisingly it rang like a bell, whether this affected the recordings I have no idea.

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