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Finding a dealer who can service turntables

radclifferoad

Standard Member
I have a Thorens TD160 dating from 1974 which has 'lain 'dormant' since about 1995. I now wish to 'reactivate '' it!

I know a new cartridge is needed. I suspect that a new belt is needed. I imagine the motor needs to be overhauled after all this time and the balance needs checking

Some of these jobs I could possibly do myself. However I would really like a more expert eye to check it over and a more expert hand to do the work

Any suggestions as to dealers/individuals who might do this type of work? I live in Nottingham

As a supplementary what cartidge(s) would you recommend? Any moving coil would need to be high output.
 

alexs2

Distinguished Member
Hi there....

A good high output MC is the Denon DL110 or 160.

There should be a good number of people able to service a TD160,although the chances are that if it has been stored carefully,all you may need is a new belt,which is readily available from a number of auctions site sources.
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
The best thing you can do, if you are at all mechanically minded, is to do it yourself.

It's not a space shuttle, it's just a record player, and there is nothing in it which is complicated or hidden. With a little research and care it's pretty easy to take care of a turntable yourself. Dealers want you to think it's a black art, I can't think why..., but you've got to think about the reality of the situation for a few minutes.

In the shop you will have, if you're lucky, the owner or other senior staffer who knows how to fettle a turntable. Great, but do you think the shop owner wants to spend all day in the back room with his head over a workbench? No. he wants to swan around like he, well, owns the place. Good chance you'll find a spotty youth in the back room prodding at your deck in a clueless daze. Exaggeration? Truth, I've seen it with my own eyes when I took my LP12 to a Linn dealer for 'service'. What he did to it I don't know but it sounded exactly the same when I got it back.

But don't they have clever bods who know about electrics and stuff? Yes, sometimes, but turntables are simple so you can let the chimps do them!

After another trip to the same Linn dealer for a 'service' I got home to discover that the packing between the inner platter and the top-plate had not been put in when the deck was boxed up. This is a major no-no as it meant the bearing spindle was bouncing against the bottom of the bearing well all the way home in the boot of my car. Yip, kid about seventeen had done it, a different one.

And can you assume that if you get a grown-up you're in safe hands? Well let's think about that now. Kid's at school, good at tech, good at maths, good head for all things practical. So he could maybe become an engineer or work in a Hi-Fi shop! Think about it, if you were technically minded at all and had half a brain would you even consider working in a shop?

Back in time again, I was getting fed up with my not very brilliant sounding LP12 so asking around on Hi-Fi forums I was advised that a certain dealer in Edinburgh was 's*** hot' with turntables. Not a Linn dealer but knew his stuff so off I went. Another fifty-quid lighter I found myself with a turntable that sounded worse than it had to begin with! Very hard and edgy with little bass.

Totally hacked off by this time I bought an LP12 service manual, talked to a few people and looked up everything else I could find about setting the deck up. When I started on the deck I found that the muppet in Edinburgh had tightened up all the fasteners like a gorilla on drugs! The bolt that holds the arm pillar in place was so tight it took my full weight on it to free it, what a bang it made when it snapped free. Do you remember that a lot of Linn Akito tonearms were ruined because the arm pillar had been crushed by the locking bolt? Well that's why. They had been fitting by idiots, probably working in Linn dealers, who had a wonky understanding of the term 'Linn-tight'. My arm was an Ittok so it was fine but I'd just paid another chunk of cash to some guy who knew less about mechanics than I do.

So honestly, if you are at all mechanically minded just do some homework and stake a claim on the kitchen table for a few hours. If you take your time and don't go mental on the fasteners it's very unlikely you'll do any harm. Over time you'll hear what differences certain changes make and soon you'll be able to set up your deck like a pro. Sorry, better than a pro! ;0)
 
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radclifferoad

Standard Member
Thanks to those who have replied so far. As regards Castle Sound and Vision they are possibilities -but they're a pretty 'up market' operation...a friend describes them as 'purveyors of home entertainment systems to Nottingham Forest footballers!'. I do wonder if a simple overhaul job would interest them.
As regards Alexs2 I hope that its just a belt/cartridge job...which even I'm up to handling! However, ideally I would like someone else to have a 'decko'...and you would be surprised -or maybe not -how 'thin on the ground' they are around here
As regards Mr Pig, the same friend(above) said much the same to me...however the trouble is I'm not really mechanically minded at all...changing a belt, sure, balancing an arm/ cartridge, probably...but beyond that, mmm! I know what you mean, and it makes a lot of sense...but I really dont trust my competence enough. Probably the real point is that that side of things doesnt interest me that much...for me its all about the music...I have around 600 albums, some rare and most in pristine condition waiting to be rediscovered...and, to be honest the biggest difference in 21 years of using the deck was when I put in a high output mc cartridge(Dynavector/Ultimo) in the late 1980's...suddenly the stereo imaging was crystal clear, and the sound was so 'sweet' and detailed...by comparison all the other tweaks had minor impact

Thanks again to all, and I'll continue to ponder
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
I was going to say that a lot of dealers won't have a clue with turntables these days, as so few are sold, but a lot of dealers never did! I would ask this Hi-End dealer you are talking about, you never know.

The problem is that taking a turntable to bits and checking it all out takes time and if someone else does it that means paying for someone else's time. Either it's not going to be cheap, it may cost as much as the deck is worth, or it's not going to get done right. Even if it's not cheap it may not get done right! I paid to get my LP12 serviced, I can't remember, but I think about four times and looking back it was all wasted money. I have no confidence in these people.

Have a look around. There is lots of information and help around for these great old record players.

LINK

LINK

LINK

LINK

That should get you started ;0)
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
Mr P

Thanks , very much , again, I'll certainly check these out. I'll let you know how it goes.
In general you're right about dealers...funnily enough though back in the late 1970's when Superfi started in Nottingham they had a real enthusiast on their staff...we'd while away hours in their demo room..often in the evenings, drinking coffee and trying endlesds arm/cartridge/amp/speaker combinations...guess I'm looking for something like that now...I know I wont find it....! I won't name names but I tried stores in Nottingham...not Castle Sound, and was
(i)Enormously depressed by how it was all about Home Cinema..which couldnt interest me less
(ii)Got the impression that they thought this was all a nostalgia/'retro' trip...in fact I know no CD player I've ever had has come close to how 'present' and 'real' my Thorens could sound
Anyway, I'll certainly check out the sites etc.
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
There are still some good people out there. I've dealt with Robert Richie in Montrose a few times and I'd trust him to fix anything. It's just that unless you know people like that you are taking a risk. As time goes by it will just get harder and harder to find people who know about turntables but they will always be there. It's a pity you live so far away as I'd be more than happy to take a look at your deck. If you do decide to look at it yourself drop me a PM and I'll give you my phone number. I'd be happy to give you a pep-talk and tell you more than I know about turntables ;0)

I agree, I've heard some very expensive CD players and they all fall short of what a good turntable can do. I still use CD most of the time though, it's just got the music I want in an easy package.
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
I've had a brief look at the links...a bit daunting in places, but maybe I'll give it a go!
Your point about knowing who to trust is well made...probably my central concern
Completely understand about the convenience of CD's...one reason why the 'deck' has lain dormant so long..but , for various reasons I now have a bit more time on my hands, and the lure of getting back to the vibrancy and immediacy of vinyl is becoming strong. I was also appalled by how poor the sound from a well respected MP3 plus 'docking' station was(bought me for a birthday)...all very 'convenient' to have hundreds of albums in one small space..and it has its place...but soundwise...useless!
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
I was also appalled by how poor an MP3 plus 'docking' station was, very 'convenient' ...but soundwise...useless!

It's sad that for many people these days these audio pollutions are considered normal. I believe that the average person has far poorer sound quality in their homes than they did thirty years ago. They have more gadgets, more options and easier access to music but the actual music itself is chronically compromised. I think that the average music centre or Hi-Fi system of thirty years ago played music much better than the mini-systems and iPod docks of today.

a bit daunting in places, but maybe I'll give it a go!

It's not too bad. Sure, if you want to massively upgrade and alter your deck then it can get quite technical but all you want to do is check it's working ok and clean things up a bit. As I say, give me a call of you want a chat about it. I'm not saying I'm a total expert but I should be able to get you through a simple service ok.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
It doesn't seem as if your Turntable actually needs to be fixed, it needs more of a 'Tune Up', and just about any competent person with knowledge of stereo equipment should be able to get it working.

Cleaning things up is easy enough.

Replacing the cartridge and balancing the tone arm, and setting the Anti-Skate is not a real big task.

Likely the motor will need to be cleaned and lubricated, that this is probably the most complex task. I has a turntable that had not been used in a long time, and the motor was basically clogged with dust and dried out oil. I clean it and loosened the bearings with Isopropol Alcohol, and lubed it with a light sewing machine oil (3-in-1 or similar).

I also lubricated the platter shaft. On this particular turntable that involved removing a screw from the platter shaft so I could pull the platter shaft out of the encasing sleeve. In my case, there was a spring and a ball bearing at the bottom. Again, cleaned everything with alcohol and used a lubricant called "Super Lubricant" that I bought at Radio Shack. This is like a very light grease.

That is, I put the 'grease' down on the ball bearing and then lubricated the spindle part with light sewing machine oil.

So, as long as the motor and the platter are spinning free, you got it made.

Again, unless I am mistake, nothing is really wrong with your turntable, and any reasonable shop should be able to fit a new cartridge, give it a tune up, and get it going again.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Roger Thornhill

Established Member
...........I believe that the average person has far poorer sound quality in their homes than they did thirty years ago...........................I think that the average music centre or Hi-Fi system of thirty years ago played music much better than the mini-systems and iPod docks of today.......................
Here, here.


I have to agree with the BlueWizzard fellow too. It seems from your descriptions that there is nothing much wrong with your deck.

I would recommend having a thorough read-through of your instructions re the 'setting up' and a replacement cartridge.

Also, you say you would be able to change the belt yourself so there you go, money saved and a working T/T, hopefully!

If it doesn't turn after all this time sat idle it is possible the grease on the internal Start/Stop switch has dried out and gone hard preventing the movement of the actuating levers. This too is a relatively simple job but the plinth needs to be raised to enable access to its underside. Still not impossible even for a novice. And the 'High-End' dealer mentioned in posts above should be able to do this if they offer a service facility. In this current economic climate i would think that 'small' jobs such as yours would be welcomed.

R.T.
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
Many many thanks to Bw and Roger T

Yes I hope that there is little fundamentally wrong with the deck...its was just that after so may years standing idle I wasnt sure....I am beginning to feel more emboldened/encouraged...
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
If it's been untouched for years, whether it's been used or not, the very minimum it will need is new bearing oil and a new belt. It may run as it is but if the bearing oil is shot it's not going to do any favours to either the sound quality or the bearing! Finding a suitable oil shouldn't be too hard, it's more a case of being careful not to use an incompatible one. I can point you towards suitable stuff if needs be or you could ask on a Thorns forum.

Oil and a belt are probably the only materials you'll need to buy, the rest is just time really. Probably about £25 for them.
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
Mr P

Thanks again...what would you suggest for suitable oil?

ps I'm really encouraged by all the helpful replies to this post..what 'message boards' should be for!
ps2 Couldnt agree more about your 'sound quality' point from yesterday...the 'victory' of quantity over quality and of 'consumer gadgetry' over a real love for music. Its also astonishing to me that people will spend thousands on 'home cinema' equipment when any good 'real' cinema wins 'hands down' as an experience at less than £10.00 a 'shot' yet wouldnt dream of spending similar amounts on music reproduction equipment when being able to see top artists live in concert is, at best, intermittent, and highly expensive!
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
what would you suggest for suitable oil?

LINK My LP12 has this stuff in it. I'm not saying any oil is perfect but this is high quality stuff and should be fine in your bearing. If you do a 'before and after' with this oil I guarantee you'll hear a marked improvement.

It also comes with everything you need to change the oil, except the solvent, a strobe disk and an alignment protractor. The protractor is not the easiest to use but if you don't have one it'll do the job. Full instructions are also included, they're not very great but hey, it's not complicated.

A Thorns forum should be able to recommend alternatives. I'm sure there will be a few oils that will work fine. You just need to make sure you don't use any oil that will react with the bearing liners. The Audio Origami oil is safe and reasonable value.

Did people really care about sound quality years ago or did they just buy what was in the shops? I do blame Alan Sugar. With his plastic Amstrad thing he sent a message to manufacturers that style sells over substance. Yet another reason to think he's a diddy! ;0)
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
Will check this out

As for 'Alan Michael' absolutely right...

As for whether folk cared more..hard to say...what is clear is that there were few alternatives..no computer games, no 'i' anything, no truly wonderful 'home entertainment' experiences! So the focus was on music and hi fi and people I know paid a lot more attention to the quality of the sound than most seem to now. Chicken and egg?
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
My son has three electric guitars, a bass and lovely old Marshall valve amp but what does he want to do? Watch TV, play computer games, and sit on the net. My other sob is exactly the same, he has a nice old Premier seven-piece drum kit, hardly touches it.

I swear we are raising a generation who will unable to do anything!
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
Thanks for the further link

You could mention to your son that this old fogey(me) also has a lovely old Marshall valve amp and an Ibanez Telecaster custom copy along with an Antoria Gibson Accoustic copy...and has every intention of reclaiming his guitar competence, now he has more time.
Guess though we have to ask what we would have been like with all these relatively easy/passive options out there
 

Mr Pig

Prominent Member
this old fogey also has a lovely old Marshall valve amp and an Ibanez Telecaster custom copy along with an Antoria Gibson Accoustic copy.

His is a 1962 Bluesbreaker Reissue, he got it quite recently It sounds amazing! It's been blowing mains fuses though and I don't know why.

Is that a 335 copy? That's one of the guitars he'd like, a 335. In fact all of the guitars he fancies are Gibsons. He's got three 'starter' guitars but they do the job. A Westfield SG, which is a perfectly nice guitar, and a Lag Roxanne which sounds a little bit better. He's also got a Telecaster copy that I stripped and rebuilt with decent parts but he doesn't like it. Says it's too heavy! He didn't like the Squire Strat he had either.

He has a couple of acoustic guitars but rarely plays them, teenager. I took him to a Paul Rose gig a while ago and had to keep the fact that it was an acoustic set secret until we got there or he wouldn't have gone! ;0)

He has a Dean active five-string bass which is a nice guitar.

Guess though we have to ask what we would have been like with all these relatively easy/passive options out there

Yip, the same as kids today no doubt.
 

Ianfromnotts

Prominent Member
Nottingham Analogue are about 5 mins off Junction 27 - no idea if they would look at a Thorens but probably worth a try - for the time a phone call takes 01773 762947
 

radclifferoad

Standard Member
Thanks Ian...j27 is only about 30 mins in the car even from where I live in W Bridgford

Mr P

Sorry that I said Gibson in a moment of madness..its actually an Antoria Martin Copy...cant remember the model but its the one that you see Presley strumming away on...distinctive 'mother of pearl' fingerboard...its not that easy to play for a beginner, but , even in the copy, has a big sound for an accoustic. I've kept my hand in on that over the years...but havent touched the Ibanez for over 15 years...I've recently polished it up and bought new strings...lovely guitar....and distinctive...its left handed like me...play the Antoria 'upside down'...which renders the fingerboard rather redundant!
 

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