Turntable advice-thorens questions

Hello! I'm looking at some of the restored Thorens units here for sale in the $1500.00 range. My question is-am I going to get the most bang for my buck by doing this or should I be looking at a new unit? Right now I have a fairly nice 2 channel system I have around $12k invested, so something that will do justice to my $$ spent.
Thanks for your advice.
Even in the 60's and 70's Thorens were using quality metal platters. The TD125's had balanced metal platters and subplatters which were made from cast zinc alloy + aluminum and the actual top chassis plates were made from super heavy thick cast aluminum. The TD124 idler platters (depending on the era) were made from Zinc alloy, aluminum or cast iron.



At some point during the 70's Thorens started to get el cheapo with their tables and internal parts starting with the TD160 MkII, MkIII, TD165, 166, TD126's,MkI, ect..... which lead to their ultimate demise. imo

Very very few (if any) VPI's will ever stand the test of time like the famous Thorens TD125, TD124 and LP12. imho

Looks wise, imo a super modded td125 looks way more boss in comparison to a vpi classic. That artisen Maple frame plinth or whatever you call it is waaayyyy nicer than the super cheapo medium desity fiberboard plinth on the Classic. C'mon a cheapo mdf plinth & lame finish on a table that costs that much? Really man?? And those wobbly arms, geesh.

Boss td125


VPI Classic


VPI makes some cool looking tables, ill give em that, they were one of the first commercial made high end tables that every caught my eye when I first started looking at high end audio gear. Show, sure. But Go, not really... imho
Viridian go to the VPI website and click on Accesories and there you will find a whole host of HW 19 parts and supplies. Anyway time to call Sheila and get my quarterly dose of New York/New Jersey accent. Gotta love it reminds me of my CBS days in the city.

Prowling around my storage bin and trying to clear out some needless crap I have kept. Came across a Thorens TD 115 turntable. Its been there awhile thats for sure. I can't remember where it came from now or how I acquired. Not a very impressive Thorens. Anyway dragged it home to clean it. Belt is dried out, so it needs that. Looks like a mid seventies offering. Maybe a trade in when I had a store. But really don't think I would have taken this Thorens as a trade though. Can't be worth much though. Has a Shure V15 IV cart on tone arm.

I don't have solid information about this, but was told by someone years ago, that when Thorens was acquired, the new owners disposed of all the existing parts for previous tables and dumped them in a landfill. However just do not have concrete relaible source to document what actaully happen when Thorens was acquired.
I have owned several VPI decks as well as many Thorens units, including a TD-124 rebuild I just completed. I would say that, in a nutshell, the VPI Classic (for example) and the Thorens TD-124 (also for example) are very different in both design concept and in sound reproduction.

VPI sells a turntable system: a deck, platter and arm as a matched set. It works very well, for the most part. I would have to say that the best single turntable I ever owned was my (gone and lamented) Aries 1. But I grew tired of the limitations regarding the unipivot JMW tonearm, although the newer and the 12" models are substantially better than my original 10" unit.

The TD-124 is a turntable project. Acquiring a TD-124 will almost certainly mean a substantial investment in time and money if you want to wring out all that the unit is capable of. First, you must match an arm and cartridge (and possibly an arm mounting system). Then there's the plinth. Motor rebuild? Almost assuredly. And then there's the strobe system, which is probably the easiest and least expensive modification. The result? A turntable that simply excels in reproduction of well recorded analog music.

Is it worth the trouble? For me, yes. I compared the TD-124 (Schick tonearm, Ortofon SPU G II) last night to a friend's fully loaded VPI TNT V (Ortofon Kontrapunkt B). While listening to a mix of music that included everything from jazz and blues to opera; the Thorens deck provided a much more palpable timbre to instruments and voices. And the Thorens didn't have or require any of the fiddly bits (rim drive, platter ring) that were deemed necessary for best performance on the VPI deck. It wasn't until we switched to jazz fusion and rock that I preferred the VPI, although in reality I believe that what I preferred was the Kontrapunkt B cartridge for these pieces.

If I had a large collection of mostly rock/pop recordings, I would probably just take the easy route and buy a Classic. But id I had a substantial investment in older recordings, classical or jazz music I believe that the old idler wheel magic has something to offer. There is a good reason why there is a robust market for used 124s and Garrard 301/401 decks.
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