My Grandad the Audiophile

S Bibby

Novice Member
Hi,
I always thought that I was the only one to take these things seriously but it seems that one of my predecessors had a similar interest in home entertainment. Having grown up with Record Players, Midi decks, boomboxes and old CRT TVs I couldn't have imagined that anyone in my family would qualify as a home entertainment nut. That said, my recent purchases in Hifi pulled up some interesting facts.

It turns out that my paternal Grandfather had quite a few pieces of equipment, and some hobbies I hadn't even known about. After a few conversations on the subject, my Dad told me what I wanted to know. Apparently some time after my Grandmother died in the late 60s, he started putting together a Hifi. These included a Leak Amp and Wharfedale Speakers, plus a Record Deck by another company. Having looked through Hifi World I showed my father a picture of a Garrard Turntable in their buyers guide. He told me the Deck looked familiar, and that my Grandad had one like it made by someone called 'Thorens'.

I was now intrigued as to what happened to this kit, and whether it was in working condition. From reading Hifi World I understand that some people are still interested in early equipment, and if the Leak was a Tube Amp, it might be worth something. I also believe that Thorens still exist as a company in Switzerland, but I don't know whether parts or service are still available. All in all, I don't know whether I should bother about this since my own setup is much different but would anyone take a guess whether or not this is worth looking into?

Also, I learned that he and my Great-Uncle (the latter still going strong), played the organ in a local band. I'm really glad to hear this because I gave up playing an instrument a few years ago and I had thought few in our family had any musical experience. Just for the record, he was also a BT Engineer and line man by trade so he could work his way around electrical issues (current affairs, if you will).

Apologies if this was all boring and useless information but it makes me smile all the same.

Simon
 
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Marcus20VT

Standard Member
I had a Thorens TD160!
It's still with me but up in the loft waiting for when I get that "play room" that I've always promised myself!!
It was (and hopefully still is!) a great deck, very heavy balanced turntable and an ash wood design. Mine had originally a moving coil cartridge - can't remember what - but it sounded the dogs bits through my sugden amp and MS speakers.
You're grandfather had good taste!!
 

Arfa

Active Member
Thorens are still going strong, yep started out in Switzerland, but later moved to Germany where they still operate. If its one that looks similar to a Garrard, my only guess its a TD-124 which is similar looking to a Garrard 301 or a TD-125 which is similar looking to a Garrard 401. Both were idle wheel'ers, that is rather than a belt or direct drive motor, a motorised wheel would move up to the platter to make it spin, or away to let it come to rest.

All are very sought after and will certainly be worth a few bob. Although it will depend a lot on what tone arm it has.

The more common later Thorens are all suspended decks, that is they have the platter/arm on a sub chassis, suspended by 3 springs. The TD-160 first came out in the '60s. They later released a supe'd up version; the TD-160 Super in about 1980, one of which I'm currently running to great effect. A couple of years ago, they re-released this deck again as the TD-160HD, which currently goes for around €3000.
 

S Bibby

Novice Member
Thanks all,
I'm getting more interested now - perhaps he had some fairly basic equipment but there a few things I would like to look at. I don't know whether the Leak would be an Amp or a Receiver (no Tuner was mentioned) but even so I would like to see a decent Tube Tuner from era. If only he had a Troughline or Marantz Model 10 FM - I'd give my right arm to listen to one of those, valves or not.
 

Arfa

Active Member
Yeah the Leak amp could be a gem too. If it is a nice Stereo 20, then it will be veritable goldmine! One of them and a Thorens TD-124 would make for a serious family heirloom. However if its a newer solid state Delta amp, then its probably only worth £30 ish.

That said, I picked up a Leak Delta 30 amp and tuner off Freecycle a few years ago, although not terribly valuable, they did sound good, the tuner in particular.

Hunt the stash down! Of course the big question is, what happened to his vinyl collection?! :eek:
 
lol - I still have some Leak amps from the 1940s and havent heard anything to beat them given efficient speakers.
 

ukcooky

Standard Member
I don't think td160s came out in the sixties I bought a new td150 in 1970 very good belt driven turntable some say its what the linn was based on.
 

S Bibby

Novice Member
Just to update - I have tried all week to get hold of my Dad's relative but she seems to be away celebrating her 80th birthday (congratulations by the way). So, I'm left without much of a clue until I can get on the phone.

Talking it over with my parents it seems likely that most or all of it has moved on by now. I do know that the organ stayed in the house for quite a few years but I don't know what happened to the rest.
 
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S Bibby

Novice Member
Arfa,
The more common later Thorens are all suspended decks, that is they have the platter/arm on a sub chassis, suspended by 3 springs. The TD-160 first came out in the '60s. They later released a supe'd up version; the TD-160 Super in about 1980, one of which I'm currently running to great effect. A couple of years ago, they re-released this deck again as the TD-160HD, which currently goes for around €3000.
I've just had a look at the Thorens website and I think it might have been a 160 or possibly a 145. My Dad's description was that it had a fairly large wooden plinth. I don't know whether it was suspended or not but I have a feeling it was one of the later models.

Thorens seem to be doing quite well and their website is a great help -

Repair/spare parts for devices with date of manufacture before 1999

In the event that you request information on Thorens devices manufactured before 1999 please contact the following service partner:

Futurecat
Hermannstrasse 161
D-12051 Berlin
Germany

Internet: http://www.futurecat.net

Contact: Mr Michael Karek
 
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Jimholt

Novice Member
Some of the old stuff is very sort after so do some research. I just brought my old Tannoy speakers down from the loft. They are not in cabs just drivers and crossovers. When i found out they were 12" Monitor Golds i couldn't believe how much they are going for on Ebay. Only cost me £35 in the early seventies. Jim.
 

S Bibby

Novice Member
Jim,
Only cost me £35 in the early seventies.
Still a fair amount of money when you take the crazy mid-70s inflation into account. Seriously, I don't know how my Grandad could afford some of this stuff.
 

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