The Thorens TD 309
Look: I mean, listen: I mean, look: I'm the sort of guy who is comfortable with the idea that there's more than just music to this whole hi-fi thing. It's not all about the music. That's bullshit. It's also about friendship and peace and art and beauty. It's about belonging. You can get into hi-fi even if you don't listen to music. What? Yes! It's about getting drunk and high and lost. It's about girls and boys. It's also about the gear. But you can get into hi-fi even if you don't like gear. What? Yes! It's about more than just what the gear does. It's also about how the gear looks when it does what it does. Hi-fi is a full-on sensory attack, a blissed-out mind-fuck, an ocean, a sky, a lion in the tall, yellow grass. We feel with our heads and our hearts, with our ears and our eyes and every little bit of our little human selves.
I mean, I haven't even heard this new Thorens turntable, but I can tell just by looking at it that's it's the kind of thing I'd want to have in my listening room. At least for a little while. Amazing, right?
The Thorens TD 309 Tri-Balance turntable is the result of over 18 months of research and development. Only 18 months? You'd think it'd take decades to pull off this kind of beauty. Technology these days: it's like faster than god. The TD 309 uses a three-footed suspended sub-chassis, said to be easily adjustable with a hex driver. Initial models will be delivered with a switch-mode power supply; an upgraded linear power supply will be offered later. The sub-platter is precision-machined aluminum while the chassis is built from MDF. The included TP 92 tonearm is manufactured from an aluminum extrusion cold-worked and rolled for strength and blah blah blah. For other technical details and random audio stuff (and beauty shots!), you can visit AudioPlus News and Views.
This all represents Thorens's promise to "re-establish a pre-eminent position" in the analog marketplace. Hallelujah! Are you wondering about the brief?
The brief was simple: remember the past if possible but do not let that stop you designing something brilliant. The target customer was a music lover but not necessarily a total audiophile. At the same time, audiophiles should also feel comfortable with the turntable. The primary goal was performance, the secondary goal was performance, and after that came the normal constraints: great looks, ease of use, flexibility, price.
Clever, right? I like that bit about the primary goal and then the secondary goalhow they're like, you know, the same goal! Funny! Ha ha. I also like the idea of targeting both the music lover and the audiophile, although you'd think this would go without saying. Why wouldn't a manufacturer of hi-fi components want to target both? I would have to guess that by "performance and performance," Thorens is speaking to the audiophile. And that by "great looks, ease of use, flexibility, and [a reasonable] price," the company is trying to address the needs of the everyday music lover. But doesn't the music lover also crave performance and performance? And doesn't the audiophile like those other things?
I don't know. I'm just throwing stuff out there. Anyway, this pretty turntable was introduced to the world at the Munich High End Show. You can read more about it and other cool stuff in the September issue of Stereophile. The TD 309 comes in red and black and will be available by around September, when the leaves start changing colors. The price will be about $1500, which isn't all that crazy. I mean, that's around $1100 more than the Rega P1 and $148,000 less than the Continuum Caliburn, and it's better looking than both.