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
The Best Thorens Turntables Available
If you’re in the mood for a quality fully automatic Thorens turntable (especially one that’s plug and play thanks to having a built in phono preamp), look no further than the Thorens TD 102A.
However, if you’re looking for a more advanced Thorens turntable, you should strongly consider the Thorens TD 1500—especially since it comes with the excellent Ortofon 2M Bronze (which costs $420.00 on its own when sold separately).
Check out both turntables more in depth below:
Thorens TD 102A
Thorens TD 1500
Thorens TD 102A – ★★★★
The term “fully automatic record player” can be met with a lot of skepticism today by those who adore manual turntables. But what if I told you that Thorens has released a good record player in the TD 102A that’s, well, fully automatic?
That’s exactly what Thorens did, as this record player will automatically turn on your turntable’s motor, move the tonearm over to the first track of the record, and place the stylus into the groove.
And for those looking for a really good plug and play turntable, I love that the Thorens TD 102A comes with a built in phono stage. So if you just want to buy a record player without the hassle of also having to investigate what the best phono preamps are on the market, you’ll definitely want to invest in the Thorens TD 102A.
Thorens TD 1500 – ★★★★
Now I’ve mentioned before how much I love the Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge, so I think it’s amazing that the Thorens TD 1500 turntable comes with the 2M Bronze.
On top of that, I really like that this turntable features a sub-chassis where the turntable and tonearm are actually decoupled from the motor by three conical springs.
One of the reasons I liked the Marantz TT-15S1 turntable is that the motor was also decoupled from the base, which severely cut down on any sound or vibration from the motor getting picked up by the tonearm and cartridge. So it’s great to see something similar happening here with the Thorens TD 1500.
Although very pricey (costing about $3,000), the Thorens TD 1500 is going to be a turntable that will last you many, many years.
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.
Vintage Thorens Turntables
Now, if you’re looking for a vintage Thorens turntable, I suggest you consider the Thorens TD 150. By all standards, this beauty is a classic. But always keep in mind that when it comes to vintage gear, individual parts can break down and be hard to replace. So just know that if you’re buying a vintage turntable, there is some degree of risk involved. But, if you can get a Thorens TD 150 in great working condition, considering yourself a lucky person.
Wrapping It Up
So that about wraps up my breakdown of the best Thorens turntable available. It’s a collection of impressive record players that range from being aimed at entry level or intermediate vinyl enthusiasts to those that are truly looking for an audiophile turntable.
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