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 goal—how 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.

COMMENTS
selfdivider's picture

I don't know... call me boring but I don't love its styling. A little too gimmicky-seeming, no?

Stephen Mejias's picture

I think it's cool, but I refuse to call you "boring."

Henry's picture

Thanks for saying that about beauty, etc. So true. I won't by a component that does not look right, I don't mean high style al la whatever but it needs to have a look like someone cared deeply about the appearance of the thing as a function of performance. For example the Advent 300 receiver looked beautiful to me. Anyway thanks.

Robert Koda's picture

That's a spunky machine. At the price too, I just might get into vinyl!Mission accomplished ?Have to see if it sounds as good as it looks...

Jim Tavegia's picture

This is the kind of TT and the pricepoint Thorens should have been targeting all along. The 850 series is excellent, but way over priced. They need to add the better power supply to compete with the likes of the colored P3-24 with the TTSU. I can just see the "dustcover guy" sitting in the corner of the marketing meeting having an aneurysm.

Jason Stroud's picture

I looks like a shield.

KBK's picture

Yes, it is a shield. You strap it to your arm and attack digital full on.

rvance's picture

It reminds me of a Mazda rotary engine rotor with a vestigial lobe growing where the tonearm mounts. The pics show lots of cool billet aluminum pieces. My dreams of a Marantz/Clearaudio or Music Hall MMF 7 just got interrupted by this little beauty. Lots of nice features for the $$.

Doug Bowker's picture

Man oh man I wish I could just collect TTs! That thang is SUWeeeet.

JSBach's picture

PULEEEZE Mr SM, Spare us the creative writing - "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" Yes it's also about the gear but do disabuse yourself the delusion it's all about 'girls & boys' . Putting aside for now the fact that not all audio designers are straight (Pink Triangle) and that guys such as myself were introduced to hi-fi by their boyfriend at an early age, consider the number of females who have any serious interest in audio gear ( as opposed to music itself) evidenced by the % who post on audio news groups and forums. OK, we've got a few wonderful exceptions in the industry such as EveAnna Manley but she's one in a million.Getting drunk and high and lost is often part of the whole thing but I hope you don't get that way while installi

rvance's picture

Steve, Love the creative writing! "It's about girls and boys" instantly conveys the way music shaped the emotional landscape in our youth- and the ability of music to express the yearning for sexual acceptance. Of course, to be REALLY creative you'd need a phrase that included gays, lesbians, bisexuals, cross-dressers, post-op cross-genders and declines-to-states, but that would just be pandering to all the politically correct hall monitors that need a disclaimer for every gender-specific term in the language. The way you write to your own experience, with complete honesty and courage, speaks universal truth to all of us.

JimA's picture

It's a BO Diddly turntable!

jsbach's picture

Posted Sat Jul 4,2009, 10:41 AM — By rvance"It's about girls and boys" instantly conveys the way music shaped the emotional landscape in our youth- and the ability of music to express the yearning for sexual acceptance. "No, the simple and very effective use of one work,'ROMANCE', would have done the job without having to even think about all that PC nonsense.

mauidj's picture

Your wide eyed childish polemics are getting very boring. Also, anyone that needs to resort to using four letter words to convey his message is either on a rant or has little command of the English language. Either way the message gets lost. Creative writing. No, just plain old bad writing.

Doug Bowker's picture

To mauidj- it's a blog- creative and personal. If you don't relate, and are offended by the passions of a twenty-something who actually gets excited about what he wants to share, then why read it? Someone like you and JSBach need to spend some time removing that long stick out of your lower orifice- it clearly doesn't allow you to hear the Now. If you want polite and demure, then go read some fart's blog about the joys of obscure neo-romantic string quartets. In the meantime, we'll side with Stephen and be happy to let hi-fi and music be fun.

rl1856's picture

Ummmm....how does it sound ?

Oriciu's picture

Posted Fri Jul 3,2009, 11:21 AM — By KBKYes, it is a shield. You strap it to your arm and attack digital full on.Wow. I am touched. You could not add more meaning in those few words.

Staxguy's picture

Wow! That makes me want to buy another turntable!