In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at the Thorens brand. We’ll walk through five of their turntables that I really like, and why they are the best options to consider if you’re looking to buy a new turntable.
It’s important to note that all turntables in this article are fantastic. The things to consider that make each record player the best Thorens turntable for you are a small handful of things, such as:
- Sound Quality
- Ease of Use
So to bette help you, please check out our interactive table below, which will allow you to directly compare some of the most popular turntables on today’s market (and see how well they compare to the Thorens turntable’s we’ll be discussing throughout this article):
|Marantz TT-15S1||$$$||Solid Plinth Belt-Drive Design|
|Music Hall MMF 1.5||$$||Built-In Phono Preamp|
|Music Hall MMF 2.3||$$||8.6" Carbon Fiber Tonearm|
|Denon DP-400||$$$||Supports MM and MC cartridges|
|Music Hall MMF 5.3SE||$$$||Dynamically Balanced Alloy Platter|
|Music Hall MMF 7.3||$$$||2-speed (33/45 rpm) pulley|
|Pioneer 990||$||Full-Automatic Operation|
|Crosley C200A||$||Direct-Drive Turntable|
|ProJect Classic||$$$||Metal/MDF Chassis|
|Project Debut Carbon DC||$$||8.6" Carbon Tonearm|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB||$$$||Pro-Ject Speed Box Built-in|
|U-Turn Orbit Special||$$||Solid hardwood plinth|
|Audio-Technica AT-LP120USB||$$||USB Direct Drive|
|Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB||$$||USB Direct Drive/DJ Table|
Thorens: An Overview
Thorens uses a tagline that rings true to their method: traditional values – reinterpreted. The golden age of vinyl is at the heart of the creations from Thorens, and for many, it’s nice to see tradition honored rather than trampled.
The ways in which Thorens goes about their designs is kind to what came before, but also does not attempt to ignore technological advances. Although Thorens does not have a huge following in the States, Europe is no stranger to the brand and quality.
There are quite a few Thorens tables that have stood the test of time, but as the company states, things need touching up to stay relevant, so a push for new turntables has been going on for quite some time now.
Overall, Thornes is a great brand for beginners, but also offers room to grow with their extensive lines and better-than-most quality.
We’ll take a look at 5 of their best tables out today, and given the categories listed above, we’ll rate each table on a range from 1-5 stars. Let’s get it going.
Thorens TD 158 – ★★★
The TD 158 is what you would consider to be a plug-and-play rig. That means that upon bringing the 158 home, you should be able to plug in the turntable and play a record immediately. This is usually a sign to many that it’s going to be easy to use, but others may see this as a limitation. Without the ability to adjust the table easily, many seasoned vinyl fans would consider this to be an issue of user barriers. Nevertheless, if this is your first turntable, you’re in good hands.
The 158 plays at 2 speeds, 33 and 45. This means you should be good to go on playing new records and anything made relatively recently. You won’t be able to play old-time 78s, but that’s not really something a lot of people spin nowadays anyway. That being said, this is a specific thing to look out for if you’re a fan of older music.
The dual cartridges allow for a quick stopped-to-start transition time. A belt drive combined with the dual-cartridge system allows for a really smooth playback that is much better than other beginner turntables. A proprietary low-noise bearing system makes sure that there’s limited humming and buzzing if any, and an automatic arm-lift and shutdown means you won’t damage your needle manually starting and stopping your records.
The 158 is a great table, and although its a bit bare bones, you do have the ability to plug it in and spin immediately. This is an option you should consider if you’re dipping your toes in to the vinyl world.
Thorens TD 240 – ★★★
A few of the limitations of the 158 are solved in the 240, and the slight jump in price may be worth it if you’re looking for a specific listening experience. At the very least, a high quality build meets a classic look and makes the 240 look timeless.
A love for details and characteristics that Thorens is known for is really shown off in this automatic table. The design utilizes a massive wood plinth which comes in a wood finish or a piano lacquer finish. There isn’t a single living room or bedroom that wouldn’t benefit from this incredible design.
The 240 is equipped with the new TP 19-1 tonearm that runs silently still and smooth. It’s incredible that a turntable at this price point is even packing the quality of the 19-1 tonearm, so if other characteristics of the 240 peak your interest, great. If not, the tonearm is a wonderful piece of tech that you would be able to rely on for years.
Underneath the belt drive, the precision platter runs so technically smooth that the turntable itself is almost inaudible. That leaves much more room for what matters: the music. Connecting this to a set of speakers and getting everything set up allows you to play within minutes. It’s not technically plug-and-play but it doesn’t take much knowledge or time to set up your 240 for playback.
The 240 is a step up above the 158, and if you can spring the extra cash, the tonearm and silent playback is almost worth it. Plus, you can spin at 78 rpm, a feature not included in our last entry in the list. Take the 240 home, and every record is fair game, and in an enjoyable experience at that.
Thorens TD 2035 – ★★★
A wonderful option if you’re on the more visual side is the Thorens Acrylic series. The construction of the Acrylic series is meant to be visual as well as a huge step in the right direction using audio technology. No mechanical contact is made with the plinth, meaning vibration is not a concern here. The entire turntable rests on specially designed feet that effectively dampen the vibration. Any airborne or footfall vibrations are also killed thanks to the platter, so not only do the Acrylic series turntables look great, but they sound amazing as well.
The TP 92 tonearm is included on this, ensuring ultra-low friction and innovative magnetic anti-bias systems that allow for zero stiction. In all, the tone arm and dynamic design of the table make for a smooth-as-silk playback. The arm tube is constructed from aluminum that is rolled to dampen sound with RMR, or reduced modal resonance. A brass counterweight at the end of the tone arm is actually double-decoupled, which means the tonearm is meant to find its own center of gravity and balance. That takes work off your plate and puts it on the turntable, and it does a wonderful job too.
The 2035 looks amazing, with choices in colors all over the rainbow. Personally, the blood red design and deep purple are two that should be considered as great options. No matter the color, you’ll be in good hands with the 2035, and every spin will be an absolute treat.
Thorens TD 350 – ★★★★
Compared to the last three turntables, the 350 is a huge step up. A legendary design of past Thorens tables is utilized here to show off the technology of a suspended chassis. The ingenious design allows a mass platform to take the brunt of the work and allow the chassis to float suspended and provide an amazing experience. The design is satisfying and productive, not to mention that the high tech materials inside the table are worth every penny.
The 350 is equipped with a proprietary Thorens Independent Double damping suspension system which dampens both horizontally and vertically in order to cover all oscillations. A 4kg platter means that a low-friction bearing is able to run smoothly and provide exceptionally sonic stability. Integrated motor control also allows for circuitry to take care of handling highly precise rpms utilizing electronic stabilization.
Three colorwaves make the 350 very dynamic, and if black and red seem to tried and common, a cream colored 350 is a favorite of mine and a sleek look for any room design. The table’s wood-like design is thick, but doesn’t seem too bulky and to be honest looks great as a piece of furniture as well as a reliable turntable that will last you years. If you can spend the money, the 350 needs to be yours.
Thorens TD 550 – ★★★★★
Everything from the plinth to the front panel of the TD-550 is rich with amazing technology. Operational buttons may sit on the face of the front panel, and can come finished in either chrome-plated or black anodized aluminum. The plinth itself is refined with black piano lacquer in order to ensure that the color matches perfectly with the variable side cheeks. The construction of the 550 is similar to the 350, and features its suspended chassis and belt drive that sit at the outer rim of the platter.
The TD-550’s tonearm platform is made from extremely stiff carbon that is compounded with the fiber to ensure rigid coupling in the platter and tonearm. If it comes to it, the suspended chassis can be adjusted conveniently in height by using the thumb screws on top of the plinth.
Sturdy footing thanks to the unique design allows for a similar adjustment to be made if need be for a level positioning. Thanks to the electronically controlled start-up, the motor jumps to speed within no time, meaning that signal connections are as fast as can be and help to make sure your music is clear through balanced output jacks to your choice of listening.
All in all, the 550 is a step up above the rest in the list, and rightfully, it costs the most. That might scare you into thinking a lower model is best, but consider this: the more money you put into a turntable, the more you get out of the experience. Experiencing the 550 is something you can’t read about; you just have to hear it for yourself.
Thorens is a powerhouse for turntables and audio fidelity. The turntables mentioned above are all amazing options when you’re looking to go for the best turntable to buy. All in all, Thorens is a brand that doesn’t let the listener down, and with models to fit every need, it’s easy to see why the brand is a favorite in Europe, and around the world.
Whether its the ease and plug-and-play of the 158, the design of the 2035, or the power of the 550, all 5 turntables here are great options for you. The question is, what are you looking for? At the very least, your standards should be high quality, durable, and exquisite listening experiences, and look no further than Thorens for an audio quality that cannot be bought or matched by any other.
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