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Thorens v Rega

Discussion in 'classic' started by gassor, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. gassor

    gassor There may be more posts after this.

    Might get me a turntable and after reading Robert's comments on the Thorens TD160 BCII, I wondered how one with the Mission arm would compare with a new Rega P1?

    Getting a turntable means not having to worry about the best way to get rid of hundreds of albums :)
    Rockmeister likes this.
  2. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    Personally I'd go for the Thorens every time. I had a TD160 years ago thought it was very good. I could have got a Planar 3, but thought the Thorens offered better value for money.
  3. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    The Thorens is a real turntable, with proper isolation, a better motor/belt and real metal platter.
    The RP1 looks like a gadget next to it.
    Side by side comparisons were back then largely in favour of the German decks.
  4. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I have an off-spec Thorens TD125 with a 774 on it and IMO it’s in a completely different league to a P1 (which I’ve heard in a friend’s system) and to an old P3 (heard in my own). Almost certainly better than the RP6 I used to have, but I only heard that with one cart. I think a 160 in good nick could probably match my 125. No-brainer if you can get the 774 for a reasonable price.
    matt j likes this.
  5. gassor

    gassor There may be more posts after this.

    Thanks for that. You seem to have given up on the off topic section (solidarity I suspect) which I also have taken a rest from. Always thought your contributions were well worth reading.
    Seanm likes this.
  6. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Thorens wins. No contest.
  7. fried

    fried Member

    Deciding to get a Thorens td125 rather than upgrade my rp1 was the single best (and most expensive...and time-consuming) decision I've ever made.
  8. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    The Thorens, not even close. But I think you will struggle to pick up a nice one with a 774 for the same price as a new P1.

    I may just have that exact combo available in the near future if you're interested? Although location may be stumbling block.
    DAVEDWACK likes this.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The TD-160 is a lovely deck, a real sleeper IMO. The TD-125 even more so, though they can be rather awkward due to the speed control etc. With either of them just make sure the motor works as spares seem to be unobtainable and very expensive used.
  10. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    FWIW.. which may not be much... many of the Thorens decks were actually made for them by the legendary EMT!
  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I had a EMT-made TD-150 for a while, it came with my £140 ‘buy it now’ full Tannoy MG15/Quad system! I donated it to charity here, so it bought a gorilla or some sea turtles, can’t remember which. I can’t remember who bought it, but hopefully it is delivering the goods somewhere.

    PS Thorens history is as complex as any in audio, checkout this timeline on AnalogDept!
  12. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Both my TD150's are EMT made:)
  13. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The one I’ve always been curious about is the EMT 928, which looks like a over-engineered broadcast version of the TD-125 or TD126. I suspect it’s rather undervalued and unloved as it isn’t one of the legendary EMT idlers or direct drives, but I bet it is good!
  14. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    I had a good listen over the weekend with a Grado F1+ and Goldring Elite MC with no complaints whatsoever.
    It reminds me very much of the early Linn, there is a nice balance of natural ease and slight warmth to compliment the 774, yet also good dynamics.
    Very pleased with it, and at no point during listening was I hankering after better.

    At around £200 for clean examples these are certainly bargains at the moment.

    I have looked at the 160S retrofit updates but these seem mostly to consist of plastering the thing in damping and replacing the thin base board with substantial MDF. Neither tactics constitute 'upgrades' IME when tried on various other decks over the years so I'm highly doubtful.
    TBH the deck as standard has its own charm - a slightly warm, bouncy, blousey quality which I'd far rather balance with complimentary arm/cart choice than damping.

    Perhaps the most obvious cost saving over things like the old LP12 and Ariston is the substitution of the harwood plinth with veneered particle board. If I wanted to 'improve' that I'd be inclined to add a little bracing, not damping. But, it's just lovely as is.
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That is a seriously nice turntable/arm/cart combo, I bet it sounds great!
  16. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    It does, I love vintage Grados :)

    I have implored John Grado to issue a version of the current Gold with a ML or Gyger tip, but sadly it falls on deaf ears.
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I owned a few Grado carts of that period including an F1+ which found its way into the brutal high-mass Lenco 75 arm and actually seemed to be fairly happy there (much to my amazement in hindsight). I agree they should make one with a decent tip now, they are all shank-mounted ellipticals aren’t they? I certainly remember Grados having a great warm and fun sound that just got out of the way. I had a cheap grey one a few years later, can’t remember what it was called but it was a great budget cart.

    PS I assume they stick a nice tip on the fancy wood ones? Some of those cost serious cash. There is an interesting Stereophile or Analog Planet factory visit on YouTube somewhere. A totally old-school family business, a real time-warp!
  18. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    I find modern Rega decks extremely neutral and clean - very like good digital with a good cartridge.
    Definitely a different presentation to the older floating subchassis decks.
    However there is much to be said for a well sorted original Planar 3 with R200 arm, and I'd say that's closer in balance and tonality to a classic Linn/Thorens/Ariston than the later Rega decks. Not heard a P1 though.
  19. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    Yes a pretty bog standard shanked elliptical - pretty much what you find on an AT95E.
    I'm not a fan of the 'coffin' models which look to me like Prestige series bodies in wooden overcoats. Just take the £250 selected Prestige Gold, fit a nice nude line stylus and bump the price to cover. In other words, reintroduce the F1+ which is exactly that.
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That is such a shame, after living with high end tips for many years now (2M Black, 540/II etc, currently an MP-500) there is no way I could go back! It’s arguably worth buying a Grado and getting Expert or whoever to stick a decent tip on it. Probably would be far cheaper than the stuff I list! Do Jico do anything interesting for them? A SAS would be good!

    PS Factory tour here:


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