Thorens TD-150AB turntable and tonearm Manufacturer's Comment

Manufacturer's Comment

While we have not yet had the opportunity to check the sample TD-I50AB sent to The Stereophile, there is little doubt but that the tonearm on this unit was seriously damaged in transit or has a serious manufacturing defect. The 5°tilt in the head shell and the ½-gram vertical friction are completely beyond the design and quality control limits established by Thorens.

The speed accuracy tolerances of this unit are ±1% of the nominal speed, which corresponds to 1/6 of a semitone. On early units the speed was at the upper limit of these tolerances, and slight modifications were introduced in June of 1966 to reduce the average speed by slightly less than 1/3rpm.

The spring suspension of the TD-I50AB has also been modified to provide much improved damping, and this appears to have eliminated the source of your objections concerning bouncy floors and the operation of the cueing lever. These new suspensions are available at no charge to any owner of early-model TD-l50AB's by writing directly to ELPA Marketing Industries.

The unique dual-drive motor, by the way, is of Thorens design and is manufactured by Thorens.

Thorens, Germany
US Distributor: American Audio & Video, A Division of JAM Industries USA, LLC
310 West Newberry Road
Bloomfield, CT 06002
(856) 596-2339

John Atkinson's picture
This Thorens was my first high-performance LP player, fitted with a Shure M75EJ phono cartridge.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Fast forward to 2020 high performance audio ....... Wireless speakers like B&W Formation Duo ($4,000/pair) and streaming music :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Memorias del pasado :-) ..........

jimtavegia's picture

There are still TT's that are more than these (even counting inflation) that still don't offer the performance of this Thorens or the AR, and I do wish I had kept my AR. What a foolish soul I was for selling it.

Ortofan's picture

... Thorens TD-160 and have never regretted doing so.
The tonearm on the AR was totally inferior to the one on the Thorens.

jimtavegia's picture

I bought mine for less than $100 and with the Shure Type III it sounded so good even with the phono stage in my Fisher 500TX and my Dynaco A-25's. My first entry in to audiophile land was a nice one.

Ortofan's picture

... inexpensive receiver. Also in that price range were the Marantz 2270, the Sansui Eight and maybe one or two from Sony.
How did you happen to opt for the Fisher?

jimtavegia's picture

that was used in another system with AR speakers and it had a Dual 1209 with a Pickering XV 750. The Fisher choice was based on good sound and it had 5 present push buttons for fav FM stations. WE listened to much FM back in the day. It also had my first cassette deck, a Teac 350 with it. I used an outdoor FM only Antenna from Wingard so enough signal was not an issue. The Dual's weak link to me was always the tonearms. I still have a Dual 502 with a high torque AC motor and I replace the Dual arm with a Rega RB 251 and it still sounds great years later. I may buy a new Technics 1200 this year, but will see as my recording hobby is more important to me now. I use all Tascam SD card recorders in 2496 or 24192.

Ortofan's picture

... the Dual tonearm was a weak link?
While the arm may have had a deceptively simple appearance, the performance was nevertheless quite impressive, as demonstrated in the following test report:

jimtavegia's picture

That Dual arm is no match for a Rega RB251. Anyone who owned auto or semi auto heard that arm tube clank into the arm rest with little if any damping. Of course if you like the Dual arm please own one. I also owned a Dual CS5000 and the damper fluid dried up and the arm dropped quickly into the arm rest when the auto return was engaged.

I know what I heard going from the Dual arm to the Rega.

Ortofan's picture

... that had an auto-return tonearm function?
The CS5000 I have only lifts the tonearm and stops the motor at the end of a record - it does not have any mechanism to return the tonearm to the rest. This is confirmed by the information in the owner's manual.

The resonant behavior of the Rega tonearm is inferior to that of the Dual. The resonances are higher in frequency and of higher Q, such that they are more likely to be audible, as compared to the Dual. Perhaps they are adding some colorations that are perceived as preferable?

jmsent's picture

It had a nice heavy platter and springy suspension. The speed issue was unfortunate, and I recall that virtually all the ones I set up ran fast as well. Given the synchronous motor, it should have been possible to get the speed near perfect, and AR certainly was able to do so on a much more cheaply made player.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

This article was first published in 1966 ........

Year 1966 in music :-) ......... .........

Frank Sinatra album 'Strangers in the Night' was released ....... made it to No.1 in Billboard chart ......
Beatles release singles 'Yellow Submarine' and 'Eleanor Rigby' .........
Rolling Stones release single 'Paint it Black' .............
The Beach Boys release single 'Good Vibrations' ...........

dial's picture

It's a shame we couldn't buy cheap NEW tonearms anymore (i.e. around 50-100 bucks), of course with detachable SME headshell. I saw some interesting ones on dj decks but not available separately, unfortunately. The arm make a huge difference, if you can adjust it properly, especially in height. It's not neccesarily an expensive investment.