Thorens TD-125 MK II TurnTables

TD-125 MK II

Vintage suspended belt-drive

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
Tim Ring   AudioPhile [Aug 11, 2010]

I Bought mine for £50 about 15 years ago. It was fitted with an SME Series 3 arm and I fitted a Nagaoka cartridge. I bought it in Noel Cloneys and he wouldnt let me check it out before I bought it (bought it as seen). I brought it home and it worked perfectly immediately (only thing missing was a small balance weight for the arm, replaced with a handy nut). I have it on a heavy glass shelf (made from glass chopping board for EUR5!). The whole thing needed very little setup.

This deck works perfectly and is as good as any I've ever heard (including a few exotic multi-thousand pound setups).

I use it with a Quad 44 + Quad 606 setup. I also have an older Qaud 44 which I use with a Quad 405 MkII and this setup delivers a warmer sound which suits the deck well. Along with a pair of ELS 63s the whole setup has a very engaging &effortless sound. The last LPs I bought were in the early nineties and some of these are DMM and the sound on these is very good.

I don't use the deck as much as I used too as my current CD/SACD setup easily outclasses any analog setup.



OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ampheat   AudioPhile [Jan 22, 2010]

A great turntable for any price. Bought mine for € 249 to replace my Dual CS 606 that I had had for nearly 30 years.

The TD 125 MKII came with the original tonearm (the TP16) and an Empire cartridge which I removed to mount a Denon DL110 MC(100 €), I then adjusted the springs for a floating-like suspension, changed the capacitors on the PC board, cleaned the dust cover and oiled the wooden plinth.

The result: a sound of high definition with a wide soundstage rivalling modern turntables many times the price.

Regarding sensitivity to footfall vibration, the problem stopped after i readjusted the springs for maximum suspension and put some audio-grade shock absorvent rubber feet on the bottom.

I love the look as well as the sound. Haven't played a CD ever since I got it. I listen to Jazz and classical mainly but it equally sounds fine with rock, blues, vocal or acoustic music (bossa nova, Indigo Girls, Al Di Meola, etc).

I use it with either a Quad 44 pre-amp and a 405-2 solid state set up or with a tube driven Dynaco PAS-3 pre amp and a pair of Quad II tube monoblocks.

Probably the best hi-fi bargain I've ever found. It has brought new life to my vinyl collection. If you are thinking of getting one, think no more and grab one while they are still affordable.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rmihai   AudioPhile [Jul 06, 2005]
Strength:

.

Weakness:

.

By far the best turntable for the money. If you can find one get it - soon they will reach $1000. Forget about Rega's, Project's and other similar turntables.

Similar Products Used: Lirpa
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dave Gregg   AudioPhile [Mar 24, 2003]
Strength:

Superb, refined, transparent sound.

Weakness:

Prone to interference from footfalls on the floor!

My TD125 was purchased second hand in 1982. It is fitted with a Grace G707 arm which in turn has been modified to take a George Hadcock headshell. With this combination, it was obvious that almost any decent cartridge would return excellent results. I've used cartridges ranging in price from £15 to £100 (in the 80s!). It is a least as good a turntable as the Linn Sondek, and though more fiddly to level and set up is a much better value alternative to the Sondek. It's only weakness is the isolation from vibrations in the floor; it really needs to be mounted on a lightweight (but strong) shelf which is screwed directly to a solid wall.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Kevin Kennedy   Audiophile [Nov 05, 2001]
Strength:

Excellent speed stability, low noise, relative lack of resonances. Excellent isolation at audio frequencies.

Weakness:

Somewhat difficult to level, sensitivity to footfall frequency band. (Typical for all brands with suspended or floating subchassis/motorboards.)

I have aspired to own one of these tables since the early 1980's, and finally managed to find one locally.. After some very tedious re-assembly since this table was in pieces, I am delighted with the result. This one came with the excellent SME 3009 arm, and I installed a Grado Signature 8MR cartridge which I have been using on the above mentioned TD-166.. Well it is more than a world of difference between the two despite using the same cartridge.. Careful setup of this table and arm really pays off. Definitely the best analog I have ever heard in my system, subtly better in all respects than my Lambda Drive/Assemblage combo on well recorded material. If you want great analog for a reasonable price this combo would be pretty hard to beat.. Initial impressions indicate a substantial increase in the width and depth of the sound stage, greater presence, and more detail, almost like it highlights all the little things in a performance that make it more interesting. Did I say more detail?? Tight, well defined bass.. Clearly the arm/table combination are allowing my cartridge to perform at its best, I have a much better impression of this cartridge now - it is a real performer.

My system consists of all custom tube electronics, and JBL Rhodes speaker systems.

Notes:
My table has a two piece wooden plinth which addresses some concerns about resonances in the stock plinth. Note that SME and others offered wooden plinths for these, and I think that would be the hot ticket.

The SME arm appears a little intimidating at first, but isn't particularly hard to set up, as long as you have a good set of instructions. Set up requires patience, and a 1.5mm allen key. This arm might not be a good choice for the hamfisted amongst us - I was quite nervous setting it up, and glad when it was done without incident, but in reality it probably isn't that fragile.. The stock SME wiring is good.

Similar Products Used: Thorens TD - 166 MKII, AR-XA, Mitsubishi DP-EC7, Aureus Helius arm, AudioCraft 3000MKII arm.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Joel Tatelman   an Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 1999]

Recently picked up a nonfunctional TD 125 MK II, without tonearm, for US$50. Spent another $120 fixing the electronics and mounting a Grace 707 MK II arm with Ortofon OM-30 MM cartridge which I had lying around. As another reviewer said of another Thorens model, except for the cartridge, I doubt one could do better for under $1500. The 125 MK II weighs in at about 40 lbs. with an 8-10 lb. platter. I've mounted it on a 1 inch MDF shelf which is screwed into a brick wall. On a well pressed and recorded LP it sounds as good or better than my (originally) $1600 Sony CDP-X779ES CD player. May eventually replace the Grace arm with the arm most often paired with the TD 125 Mk II -- the venerable SME 3009 Series II Improved, which I am presently using on a Fons turntable. Associated equipment: Meitner PA-6 preamplifier, Bryston 4B power amplifier, Tannoy System 12 DMT loudspeakers, Canare StarQuad 4-conductor microphone cable with Neutrik Pro Fi RCA jacks (for interconnects), XLO Pro 1200 biwire speaker cable with silver spades and Deltron banana jacks. Used vintage equipment is definitely the way to go!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Alan   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 03, 2001]
Strength:

Solid platter, adjustable speed, decent looking cabinetry, and quality sound

Weakness:

old belt, confusing tone arm adjustments, vibration problems when I walk by on the hardwood floors.

I got this Thorens TD 125 MKII from my brother for free, and he got it for free when someone was tossing out some junk. Thank goodness I got it! When the old BSR proved to have channel problems that couldn't be easily fixed, I swapped the Shure cartridge over to the Thorens (that had a broken needle). I had to cut off part of the bolts to keep them from dragging on the LP since the two turntables had slightly different cartridge mounting systems. After cleaning off the dust and plugging the system in, it sounded remarkably better than the BSR. However, I have problems with the old belt as I sometimes have to change the speed setting for a moment just to get the platter to get moving. Also, there are various features on the tone arm which I can't figure out, and so I wonder whether maybe I have a weight missing or something. Nevertheless, the needle positions and tracks very well and very lightly. Unfortunately, I have to adjust for a little more downward force than I would like because simply walking by the unit in the stereo cabinet causes a skip.

Similar Products Used: BSR automatic
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Chris Fagas   Audiophile [Nov 02, 1999]
Strength:

Solid Musical Performance

Weakness:

Speed Control Switch needs to be bypassed.

I am using a Thorens TD 125 MkII with the current (new) Thorens Acrylic Platter and Record Weight (Stabilizer), a Helius Aureus Tonearm, and a Sumiko Blue Point Special HO MC Cartridge. Mine also has a custom smoked acrylic arm board, and the whole affair is supported on a custom wall-mounted shelf. It is a visually attractive system as the wall shelf and the turntable are both Teak.

This turntable system images extremely well, is very musical, suppresses record noise well, and has pitch accuracy/consistency which is as good as if not better than the best turntables ever produced. Thorens used a "Wein Bridge Oscillator" circuit to set the speed of this model! This was very progressive for its day, especially when other companies were utilizing servo based circuits for better long term speed/pitch accuracy without regard for the greater importance of short term speed/pitch performance. Almost every good turntable today now incorporates an advanced or upgrade speed regulation circuit, and the good news is that some of them even approach the excellent performance of this quarter century old Wein Bridge Oscillator circuit.

The Bass Performance of this LP playback rig was superb with my old Grado Signature 8 MM Cartridge, but around 10 years ago with a cartridge change to the Sumiko Alchemist HO MC and then more recently to the BPS HO MC, I traded away some of the deepest bass for improved imaging and airiness. Today this system is very competitive with 24/96 DVD-Audio and good HDCDs with the exception of deep bass, which is just a little light because of my cartridge compromise. Maybe a new cartridge...

Current System: Classe Model 30 Preamp, Bi-amped Sonus Faber Concertos with Push-Pull 6550C Pentodes on the tweeters and Push-Pull MOSFETs on the woofers.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
David R   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 10, 2000]
Strength:

Extraordinary build quality and durability; resistance to mechanical and acoustic feedback; crispness of controls; well-designed subchassis suspension; impeccable looks!

Weakness:

The two pieces of the cast aluminum platter should fit together tighter; under certain circumstances, the platter rings

In 1974 I bought new a Thorens TD 125B Mk II with removeable dustcover and SME 3009 Type II Improved arm with non-detachable headshell. It gave impeccable service with a wide variety of cartridges. But I got stupidly got "bored" with it in 1987 and traded it in on a B&O 8002 with the MM1 cartridge. I was taken in by the sleek appearance and operation of the straight-line tone arm. By 1999 the B&O had cratered due a bad chip somewhere, so I bought a Pro-Ject 6.1 with the Sumiko Blue Point cartridge. Although that combination had a very accurate sound, something was missing. So I started looking around for another Thorens TD 125 with SME arm, and got lucky about a month ago and found one for sale on this web site. I have now done a thorough tewaking and "reinstallation" of my favorite turntable, and am delighted to have my old friend back. I plan to keep it forever.

Similar Products Used: Pro-Ject Model 6.1 (one-year); B&O Model 8002 (1987-1999)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Pat Marafiote   Audio Enthusiast [May 18, 2001]
Strength:

Suspension, Speed stability, quiet

Weakness:

tonearm

OK - I recently swapped out the original Thorens arm for an SME 3009 and I have to revisit my earlier review.

The SME has changed everything! My LPs have never sounded so alive. The difference in coherence is nothing short of incredible. The soundstage is exponentially larger and and the instrument detail is now very precise. Even with an MSB Link DAC, my CDs sound thin and pale by comparison. It's now very clear why you see so many Thorens TD 125s with SME arms - it's a great combination and a natural match.

If you own a Thorens table, I strongly recommend that you lose the garbage stock tonearm and opt for a high-end alternative, like and SME!!

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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