Thorens Introduces New TD124DD SPU Turntable

Using what it calls "modern approaches", Thorens just introduced a new limited edition TD124DD SPU turntable that has the look of the original classic but the company says has been "massively improved upon", beginning with a switch from the original's friction wheel and belt to a new "High Precision" Direct Drive motor.

The height adjustable aluminum chassis now rests on vibration-damping rubber elements. Included in the purchase price is a special Ortofon SPU (SPU TD 124). The TD124DD includes an external power supply along with both RCA single-ended and balanced XLR outputs. The new turntable comes with an original product signed certificate and is shipped in a flight case. MSRP is $14,000. Availability in The United States will be "end of December/beginning of January".

COMMENTS
Tom L's picture

on the face of my friend who owns three Thorens turntables. He has repeatedly told me that no direct drive table will EVER match the Thorens wheel-and-belt for speed accuracy and "smoothness".

volvic's picture

I remember many moons ago someone in my Facebook Idler Group bringing this up, some dismissed it as not a real Thorens. But it's certainly a better table than the original one. I used to own one, I got rid of it as quickly as I bought it. As iconic as it is, it's reliability and gremlins were maddening. This new one will be reliable. Will be interesting to see if it even remotely has the TD-124 family sound.

PeterPani's picture

Since there are enough vintage TD124 around, I think, it is the riht approach to make this as direct drive. Since I made a lot of upgrades to my original TD124 and since I am fully satisfied with its sound I will not fall for this one.
It was back in the 90's I owned am Oracle Delphi Mk iii with Graham Tonearm and Lyra Clavis MC. I found a used, not very well looking TD124 with a cheap non-original tonearm without chassis for ca. $200. I bought that one out of curiousity. Put it on the kitchen table (without chassis or suspension) with an Ortofon MC. And It blew the Oracle Delphi out of the room to the second hand dealer. I am still playing my records on this original TD 124. It got new platter bearings, a chassis, than a new platter, 3 tonearms, an inboard tubed first MC phono stage, the motor was removed from the top and put on its own rubber bearing at the bottom. A Falcon power suplly and speed control was added to bring an incredible improvement of the speed running stability. Fixed are an EMT mono OFD for modern mono records, an Ortofon mono for old records exchangeable with Ortofon for schellacs, and for modern stereo an Ortofon Jubilee.

pessoist's picture

This will easily find it‘s customers, just like any ultra-expensive toy.

I will keep rotating my Garrard/Shindo/EMT turners without wasting my time with a DD.

Too much control destroys the analog sound.

;-)

PeterPani's picture

Control everything, but leave the belt and idler wheel free to breath with the music-flow.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I am surprised that the likes of SME get little recognition for their line of very high quality turntables as now the market of $10K and up turntables keeps rising everyday.

If I was in the market for a TT of this price range and would get an SME in a heartbeat.

volvic's picture

Just finished listening to the new Ella album. With a good MC and phono preamp it is very good. I loved the sound of the TD-124 but the cost was way too much to warrant the investment. What owners don't tell you about the TD-124 is how capricious it's performance can be. It will work beautifully for a particular period of time then will develop noise and can be frustrating to sort out. For those who use it solely for mono recordings, this is not an issue but if you want to enjoy stereo recordings then I do not think the TD-124 is the right choice. Do not mean to be insulting to those that own them, I am only reflecting on my experience. I do have acquaintances that have had theirs done by Chris Harban who can apparently work magic on them, and they swear by their TD-124s, I wasn't one of them. Sold it and moved on. If this can offer finer detail than an idler and reliability then it might be worth a look. But is it better than a 1200G or the more expensive Technics? At this price level, the competition is quite fierce. Also, Thorens' history of coming out with new models then abandoning them doesn't leave me with much confidence.

ArcAudio's picture

I would really like to read how it stacks up to other tables in the price range

Michael Fremer's picture
Someone else at Stereophile is getting this one. I can't hog everything! Maybe after they are done with it I can get "sloppy seconds". I think it would have been a natural for Art Dudley to review since he has an original but of course....
In Baltimore's picture

A quick glance at British hi-fi sites finds this table can be found for 6,667 British pounds (about $8,800) or about the equivalent of $11,000 with the SPU attached. So, why in the world is U.S. MSRP $14,000? In the words of Johnny Rotten: "Do you ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

Glotz's picture

"The Great Rock n Roll Swindle"..

Philipjohnwright's picture

The £6.667 price is without the 20% VAT (sales tax)

In Baltimore's picture

Meaning?

In Baltimore's picture

As I wrote: The cost is $11,000 with the nice cartridge, so I'm still asking - because I don't know - why a $3,000 markup for the American market? Is that typical?

hockeyyo's picture

Volvic states "For those who use it solely for mono recordings, this is not an issue but if you want to enjoy stereo recordings then I do not think the TD-124 is the right choice." I'm not sure I understand what you meant from this statement ?

volvic's picture

Because they are noisy, and in my case, while it was quiet in the beginning, it got worse with regular use. The bearing was not optimized for low noise; while it was an excellent high precision bearing, it was not designed to have low vertical vibration because mono records were not sensitive to it. This is why these turntables fell out of favor when the stereo disc arrived. This is not to say they cannot sound good, they can, but I realized early on that it would cost a lot of money, and in the end, there were better avenues to spend my money to get a good sound. I found out from people in DIY audio site that the motor had poor speed control. I realized this only after I bought it, it required at least 15 minutes for the speed to become steady, and even then, it was sensitive to the frequency of my building's current. I needed to get a PS Audio regenerator to lock into the frequency, and NO the VPI SDS does not work on these motors. Try running the Feickert app on a TD-124, not that great. So as you can see, I would need to spend a lot of money to make it sound nice, but it wouldn't have the inner detail modern decks can provide.

This is my experience with the TD-124 there are other idlers that people prefer, like the Garrard 301, 401, and the Lenco. I hear from people who own them that they are quieter and can be made more silent with a bit of work. I don't know; I have never owned one, but I trust and respect their opinion. Maybe someday, if one becomes available for the right price. But right now, my experience with tables from that era is not for me. I don't have the patience to lift the table and see where that clicking sound is coming from. I have five tables and maybe a sixth along the way, all modern tables, and aside from an issue with a new PS that the dealer solved by giving me a new one, none have given me any trouble. Life is too short to be lifting platters and sub platters to see what's going wrong. Which is why this new TD-124 DD is so appealing.

NNowinowski's picture

I totally understand not wanting to down the rabbit hole. I committed to tweaking an early TD-124 for sentimental reasons as it had been my uncle’s. It was found in an attic and despite getting it as a gift I have sunk more money into it than I’d like to admit. 3-4K. It sounds incredible now with a rebuilt bearing and top platter and motor springs and idler wheel and a ac regenerator controlling the current. After the initial “full restore” I was not so impressed and it took another year tweaking on my own to get a good sound and silent noise floor. So I get your frustration. There are much easier ways to get great sound and direct drive is one path. The one double this table still has is it takes about 15 minutes to warm up lock in it’s final .5% of speed. Direct drive sounds nice when I don’t have long to listen. Maybe they’ll send me one to compare. Lol

NNowinowski's picture

Foible not double

volvic's picture

Straight out of the box it had that great big in your face sound that was addictive. I loved it but then I started to see areas where it would need improving. This had been refurbished and done quite well, but like I said above the bearing needed changing to something a little more modern. There was a fella out of California who is an excellent machinist who designed platters and bearings only the weight was long. So I looked at Schopper's products which were mouth watering but the prices yikes! I calculated what I needed and it approached the price of the new 1200G and LP-12 and made the decision. One day like I said I woud love to get a 301 or even a TD-124. The looks are timeless and classic. Have a look at this video, I salivate over that 301. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qLJmajdI-s

volvic's picture

only the wait was long not weight. I should turn off autocorrect.

Anton D's picture

I am at the age where I have seen plaid, bell bottoms, Birkenstocks, etc...come, then go, then come....

Turntables are no exception...

Idler drive
Belt drive
Direct drive
No, wait, belt drive!
No, wait, idler drive (even VPI jumped on that bandwagon with their rim drive!)
No, wait, belt drive, for sure!
No, wait, direct drive.

I hope we can see a period of time where any drive goes before the next sonic fashion wave back toward belt drive crashes on Audiophile Beach.

Next up: servo controlled tonearms and back to linear tracking arms like B&O!

OldschoolE's picture

For $14k one can get possibly a slightly better DD table and have enough left over for at least 50 records at $30 each. I don't think this is a bad table, I don't know anything about it outside what I just read, but I think Thorens is missing the mark at that price.
Personally, I love vintage gear, maybe the fact that I grew up with it is part of that, but I never cared for the Thorens stuff. My parents had a Thorens table (built into a mid-century console). I called it "the chopper".
I run vintage DD tables in my systems personally. They are stock and you can't set SRA, but they are built like brick houses and perform exceptionally well. I would not want to have to replace any one of them today though. To get the equivalent today would run at least $8000 and that is too tall for me.

OldschoolE's picture

Come to think of it though, the flight case is $1000 of the price.

MrRom92's picture

Beautiful, no doubt... but when this costs almost as much as a fully kitted out SP10R... surely performance isn’t the priority for anyone genuinely interested in purchasing one of these

rwwear's picture

Why can't Thorens make the plinth large enough so the counterweight doesn't hang off the edge while playing?

dcbingaman's picture

If you want a retro-look and direct drive, I recommend the Denon "flying saucer" tables which sound great and are nearly bullet-proof. The DP-100 may be the best turntable ever made but they are very hard to find. The DP-80 and DP-75 are available on eBay and sound as good or better than the Technics DD tables and are a lot better looking. I have a DP-75 in a stacked plywood / black acrylic plinth and with a Jelco 750 arm and it sounds very good. It gives my SOTA Sapphire / MDC-800 a run for its money, and has better bass drive. Cyrus Chestnut has never sounded better, (except maybe on my Blusound Node 2i streamer with in HD from Qobuz......sorry Mikey but its true.)

Bomac's picture

$14K for this TT is a BIG loaf of bread. I think I'll keep my SOTA rig, buy more records and keep a stash of hard earned cash for LIVE music when we're able to go to concerts again.

X