A new Thorens era coming?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LakeMountain, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    It’s all about sound. The specifications of the motor and the design of the motor control was choosen to meet the sonical demands of Thorens. Also note that the torque was set lower than usual for direct drive motors. The goal was to get a smooth sound, so it sounds like a Thorens should sound like.

    Again, the motor is not constructed by or bought from Hanpin. The turntable was a collaboration between the engineer Walter Fuchs, the product designer and developer Helmut Thiele - both of them are head of R&D at Thorens - and John Jian, head of R&D at Ya Horng electronics, with additional input and support and control of the project by Günter Kurten, CEO Thorens.

    It has been awarded “Turntable of the year” in EISA awards, Thorens also won the award last year for the TD1600/1601, and when the TD309 was introduced ten years ago.

    The tonearm was made in a collaboration between Helmut Thiele and the classic German company EMT, famous for it’s broadcast tonearms and MC cartridges.

    Stereophile compared the new 124 to the old and found that the new one had better dynamics, a tighter and more rhythmic sound with better control. It’s a modern take on the smooth and airy Thorens sound.

    Years ago, Thorens released the TD160 HD. It looked quite much like a classic TD160 but with updates in the form of a new acrylic platter and new suspension. It was Thorens first retro model, but it failed on the market. I personally believe this was because it was too analytical and biting in the sound, it was too much of a departure from the classic Thorens sound.

    One buys a Thorens because it sounds like a Thorens. And a Thorens that sounds like something else is not a Thorens.

    The new Thorens has a smooth and airy sound, but with better control and handling of fast transients than before. The bass is tighter and better controlled. More punch and slam. Still, there’s a touch of warmt there as a Thorens should have. It’s not a Rega nor Technics and doesn’t pretend to be.
     
  2. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    This sounds a bit like hyperbole. I can't see why anyone designing a new type of direct-drive turntable would use a cored motor instead of a coreless one in 2021. Unless that cored motor was an off the shelf unit and not actually designed for this table, which I think is closer to the truth, regardless of where the motor was made.
     
    McLover likes this.
  3. RPM

    RPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easter Island
    Can you tell which brands are they? I'm not familiar with other examples besides Thorens and Dual.
     
  4. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    They choosed the type of motor that they found most suitable for their vision. I guess that you haven’t heard the TD 124 DD. I think that you should listen to it before you dismiss it and compare with the old TD124 with idler drive.
    The famous speaker designer and genious Karl-Heinz Fink bought one, he uses it in his demo room and for his private enjoyment together with his own Fink Team Kim.
    He sold his high end Transrotor to make room for the TD124 DD.
    There are obvious those that likes the sound from it and this is the most important thing.
     
  5. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    Here you have Fehrenbacher’s own brand -Black Wald.
    Home | BlackWald

    There is also a local German retail chain that sells this turntable under their own name, I found it by accident when I searched for a cartridge. I don’t remember the name of the store nor did I saved the link.
     
  6. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    I don’t think Fehrenbacher will survive. They had an output of 15 000 turntables per year, the majority was for Dual and Thorens. They released new turntables under the Dual name just before Dual Gmbh withdraw their license, designs such as the CS600 and 800. These are no longer made. With Dual and Thorens no longer making turntables at Fehrenbacher, this must have meant a huge drop in production.
     
  7. RPM

    RPM Forum Resident

    Location:
    Easter Island
    That's a shame. They offered some nice turntables, especially in the affordable range, like the Dual 455/Thorens 190.
     
  8. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    They were old designs from the 90’s and not competetive in today’s market. Dual has released a new automatic - the Dual CS429, and Thorens has released the TD102A. They are new constructions.
     
  9. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    Thorens is working on a new turntable that will be called TD1500. I’ve only seen two cropped teaser images. It has XLR output, and a standard DC connector so not the big power box as the 1600/1601.

    Subchassi with suspension. Seems like 4 feets underneath not 3 feet.

    It has a new tonearm and it seems like it’s rolled aluminium but not the cartridge carrier of the TP92. Headshell seems more standard looking. Perhaps SME contact. It has a Thorens traditional knob on the front right of the plinth. On the 70’s and 80’s models this knob was used for the tonearm lift. Perhaps it’s the same here or it is simply an on/off knob.
     
  10. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    Ok, just now Thorens released a new cropped teaser image. The tonearm has a standard tonearm lift at the side of the base. Also notable is that it has the same antiskate arrangement as the new tonearm for the TD124 DD. With a string connected to a rubin rod. The whole tonearm is still not visible, but the cropped images released makes me think that the new tonearm is a version of the tonearm on the TD124 DD. Perhaps a bit simplified.
    I don’t know if this is a replacement model to the 1600/1601 or below or above. I asked Gunter Kürten (CEO) and he only said ”It’s a new model…”.
    Well, we just have to wait and see…
     
  11. LPhound15

    LPhound15 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greenville SC
    I think it's a travesty that the real Thorens did not survive and went out of business in the late 90s. It's such a shame that a "Swiss" company is now making their products in Taiwan and doesn't even own their own factory. Furthermore the TD124 DD isn't a real TD 124, everything that is attractive about the original is gone, in my opinion.

    I wonder how things would be different if the real company had survived, maybe they would actually still be supporting the original table unlike this facade we have now
     
    csgreene, HiFi Guy 008 and bever70 like this.
  12. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    Thorens-Franz AG in Wettington, Switzerland, filed for Bankruptcy in 1991. Thorens Audio HiFi Vertriebs GmbH sales/distribution move to new premises at Lahr and Berlin. New owner Herr Helmut Leitner.

    In 2000 Thorens was refused to claim Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the German government. Thorens is then looking to move their operations back to Switzerland and are searching for new investors.

    2002 - Restricturing of ownership and shareholder organization. New management appointed to re-launch the brand "Thorens". Thorens Export Corporation Ltd. Kaiseraugst / Switzerland, has been appointed to manage the OEM - production sector.

    Thorens Export is the sole survivor of the previous Thorens company. CEO is Heinz Rohrer. Rohrer gets an offer from the Thorens family that owns the rights to the name and he releases new turntables under the Thorens name.

    In 2018, Gunter Kürten, former CEO of Elac Germany, buys Thorens from Rohrer and move the HQ back to Germany.

    He starts developing a brand new line up of turntables with his German team (Walter Fuchs and Helmut Thiele) in collaboration with John Jiang R&D chief in Taiwan.

    Thorens has no blue prints left for their old players, they were all burned in a factory fire in the mid 90’s. So when they began work on the new TD124 DD the bought a renovated 124 and measured and anslyzed it and moved it into a digital CAD/CAM system. Then Walter Fuchs and Helmut Thiele worked together to tweak and adjust and developed the design further.
    For them, this was a labour of love.
     
  13. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    Thorens has now released info on two new turntables:

    1. Thorens TD1500.
    This is a lower priced version of the highly acclaimed and award winning 1600. It features a version of the tonearm on the 124, here called TP-150 with 14g effective mass and SME connector.

    Other changes are a DC motor instead of AC. It does not have the big external power supply as the 1600 but this is not that needed with an AC motor.

    The platter is thinner and the turntable weights 3kg less than the TD1600. It still keeps the XLR outputs and it has the same suspension.
    Price is 2 000 euro, so 800 euro less than the TD1600.

    It comes with an Ortofon 2M Bronze pre-installed, included in the price.

    2. Thorens TD 403 DD.
    This is an upgraded 402 with the new TP150 tonearm (same as on the 1500) and with a heavier platter. The DD is the same. No semi automatics nor built in phono pre. This is a fully manual turntable.

    Price 1400 euro, including a pre-installed Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge.
     
    HiFi Guy 008 and bever70 like this.
  14. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    I would expect the TD1600/1601 to get the TP150 tonearm soon. This a lighter (14g instead of 16g) version of the TP128 tonearm on the TD124 that was developed by Helmut Thiele in collaboration with the high-end German firm EMT, famous for it’s broadcast tonearms and cartridges.

    I’m sad to see the TP92 go. I have the TP92 on my TD309 and it’s a great tonearm that won the German ”Golden Ear” award for best tonearm. It has resonance damping and double decoupled and underhung counterweight. Designed by Helmut Thiele with the help of Fink Audio Team’s Laservibrometer and measuring equipment to identify and cure resonances and vibrations.

    But, it has a very German-styled cartridge carrier (also used by Acoustic Signature and Clearaudio) and the market demands standard headshell with SME connector.

    I’m also sad to the see the glass plattern going away in favour of a more traditional aluminium two part platter with an aluminium subplatter and a thick rubber mat on top.
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  15. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
  16. rischa

    rischa Where'd Dizzy go?

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    There's just something about these new Thorens decks that looks chintzy.
     
  17. Davey

    Davey NP: Broadcast ~ The Future Crayon

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Really? I think they look pretty nice, though not the look I normally go for, I don't generally like aluminum tables, but I think still done with a respectful nod to their past ... they are getting a bit expensive, not sure how well they compete in the market, or whether it is a good idea including a relatively high cost ($400+) cartridge as standard, though probably an attractive package deal to many, seems to be a well-liked cartridge...


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
    rischa likes this.
  18. VintageVibe

    VintageVibe Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Joisey
    Already owning two Thorens decks, one with a 16.5gr arm, the other with an 11gr arm, a 14gr arm doesn't really move the needle for me. :)

    That being said, the new TP 150 arm does look intriguing, as it's fully adjustable and that removable headshell is a winner.
     
  19. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I thought the TP92 looked very thoughtfully designed.
     
  20. Davey

    Davey NP: Broadcast ~ The Future Crayon

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I doubt it's going away soon, it is still shown on the current production TD 1600/1601, and is used by some other manufacturers as well, such as Perpetuum Ebner. But I could see the 1600/1601 going with the new J-shaped arm in the future, that would probably make sense.
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  21. rischa

    rischa Where'd Dizzy go?

    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I think it's mostly the glossy base. Shiny things always look cheap to me.
     
  22. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I always liked the look of those J-shaped arms, too.
     
  23. HiFi Guy 008

    HiFi Guy 008 Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England

    Why? Have you compared the sound between the two?
     
  24. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    Gunter Kürten has said in interviews when the new TD124 DD was released that the 1600-family would get a version of the tonearm on the TD124. Now we know that this version is the TP150.

    I prefer the styling and handling of the TP92.
    Installing a cartridge is easier since the angle is pre-set. You just drop the screws in the cartridge holder or carrier, than screw it on with one screw and you can slide it back and forth.

    With a SME type of headshell the cartridge can be misaligned more easily, one has to adjust one of the screws and then the other one and when one adjust one of them the other goes out of alignment and then one needs to adjust the other screw and this screws up the first screw so back to the first screw and then back to the other screw…

    I just can’t do it.
     
    HiFi Guy 008 likes this.
  25. Raphael Mabo

    Raphael Mabo Music nerd

    Location:
    Gnesta, Sweden
    You may not know this but the TD309 is not my first Thorens. I’ve had Thorens since 1988 and in that days aluminium platters ruled the day.

    An aluminium platter needs to be damped. (That’s why the thick rubber mat is there). There is no such need with a glass platter.
    I enjoy using different mats and I’ve never liked rubber mats.

    I’m much happier with the more modern sound on my TD309 than the pipe’n slipper sound on vintage Thorens.

    And aluminium platter looks too ugly.
    The new Thorens has for me just boring and conservative looks. Not exciting nor interesting. Just old fashioned styling. No interesting solutions.

    The TD309 is much more innovative.
     
    HiFi Guy 008 likes this.

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