Thorens TD 160 (mkii, super, mk2) Review: contemplating 2nd hand?

How many of you are fans of the Thorens turntables? There is actually a reason why Thorens is a brand that many audiophiles still consistently chase after. One of my favorite turntables – Thorens TD 160 and it is truly one of the best turntables I have fiddled with. It is so sturdy that even 2nd hand Thorens TD 160 work almost as good as new ones! Compare the trade offs below.

Brief introduction about Thorens

The Thorens brand started from Switzerland and they are widely known as a manufacturer of the high end audio equipment in the world. Their history started way before today’s many competitors – in 1883 where the Thorens family business first began. The Thorens brand is extremely well known for the range of phonographs (turntables) that they manufacture. So, you have good eyesight, if you are looking into owning a Thorens turntable.

So, what do audiophiles like most about the Thorens TD160?

The Thorens TD160 turntable is commonly known as a tweaker’s heaven: in short it means for audiophiles who love to toy and fiddle with gadgets, they will love the TD160, a lot. For most folks, there is an unofficial ranking given to the Thorens TD160: the 2nd best turntable just trailing behind the Thorens TD 124.

Why its ranked as the 2nd best turntable in Thorens series?

First of all, when you decide to buy any turntable, you cannot really discount the appearance of it, as the sheer look of it can either put you off or make you fall in love with the turntable, something that makes you want to engage and use it very often. So in this aspect, the Thorens TD160 can be said to be very well designed where to many including myself, it looks super appealing. Especially if you are the type of minimalist person, you would find its appeal and attractiveness. It doesn’t bring in additional colors except those basic colors that you would imagine in a turntable. Minimalists, if you are around, please comment if this is true for you?

When it comes to spinning your vinyl, the 2 knobs on the Thorens TD 160 does a fantastic job controlling the cueing lever and the pulley that allows you to switch between your 33 rpm and 45 rpm records. Only drawback is that it cannot entertain your 78 rpm vinyl, but its not that you have many 78 rpm records yes? In addition, it comes with an SME tonearm with the new plinth, you cannot really resist that, can you?

One of the best belt drive offering in the Thorens series

The Thorens TD 160 is your classic belt driven turntable (click here to check out latest price on eBay), also perhaps one of the best offerings for belt driven turntables commonly competing with the TD 150. It depends on the individual to say what is better than what, as different folks go after certain features right?

3 Options you have in the Thorens variations

You have three options when it comes to purchasing the Thorens TD 160, you can choose from the mark I, mark II and Super variations. Not to be picky on names, but coincidentally, the Thorens TD 160 Super appears to be the best choice out of the rest. In summary, why this is voted the best of the three, audiophiles usually attribute it to it having a heavier weight on the plinth and the bottom plate and that it has a damped sub chassis.

If you are wondering, what comes next behind the Super? For me, I would rank the mark I TD 160 as the next 2nd best choice and the mark II as the last choice. To each his own, would like to avoid a massive debate here… But here’s the interesting part, for audiophiles that are planning to upgrade and modifying your Thorens TD 160, most of them are not really concerned about the differences in between models. This is because the weaknesses viewed from different perspectives can be fixed or overcome by tweaking the necessary components.

That is why the Thorens TD 160 is still very much preferred by many, even up till today. But the issue is there aren’t many of them in the market now, in good condition for take up. Well, if you cannot find it, you can also try searching for the Thorens TD 147. Capabilities wise, it can be said to be comparable to the Thorens TD 160 Super model, with additional features and one of them which stands out from the rest is the ability that it can be switched off automatically – brings you whole lot of convenience that is.

One of the important considerations: set up

With all the positive feedback coming from users of the Thorens TD 160, especially when it comes to quality, it is difficult to put down the TD 160. And the number one factor that is behind its popularity in terms of preference and ranking lies in its versatility when it comes to tweaking. That’s why its commonly referred to as a tweaker’s heaven. Should you tweak it the right way and invest the necessary modification, the Thorens TD 160 is able to compete with other turntables in the class belt drive category.

When it comes to modification, a note of caution is that should you make a permanent alteration to the turntable material, you must be prepared to accept a lower resale price in the future. One of the smart ways that some have done is that they mount an SME tonearm on the TD 160 and it doesn’t require you to cut the material. In any case, just be aware that if the tonearm requires you to cut in to the material, then you will be subject to a lower resale price.

In conclusion

If you know your own preferences and style; are you one of the audiophiles who loves fiddling with your turntable, tweaking and modifying it to the best? If yes, the Thorens TD 160 will be a good option for you to spend many hours tweaking and enjoying the sound quality later on. But for those of you who are not familiar or do not appreciate tweaking with your turntable, probably its better to consider some other options like those modern and new belt drive category of turntables.

Another disadvantage of getting the Thorens TD 160 is that you may not be able to find the components as easily as you wish, whereas new turntables you are able to and also you are covered by the warranties, in case during shipment or during the first few months some defect occurs, you are protected. But of course if you are those vintage lovers, and love tweaking then go ahead with the Thorens TD 160, you will not regret your purchase (Click here to view on eBay).

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