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Thorens 160 Mk 1
You could be forgiven for concluding that TD160 is in fact another version of the TD 150, as it works in the very same way, so much so, I thought it would be interesting to make the comparison between them. Though there are differences between them, these differences are more to do with the type of components used (that do the same job) and the way it's put together, rather than the way it works. Gone is the heavy gauge steel top section and the 't' section sub chassis of the 150, to be replaced by light gauge, pressed steel panels, making it a lightweight version of the 150.
Where the chassis of the 150 is secured to the plinth with small screws that were countersunk into the metal top plate and neatly concealed by the aluminium cover trim, the 160 chassis is just screwed down at the four corners, directly through the top plate (including cover trim) into the four wooden corner blocks that brace the corners of the plinth. Because these fixing screws are fed through holes in the top plate, the screw heads are clearly visible and need to be disguised with aid of plastic caps which fit over the heads. The corner blocks are recessed below the top plate to a distance equal the size of plastic spacers that sit between them.
As with the 150, the chassis of the 160 has the two tier arrangement where the top section is fixed in position into the plinth. All the controls, motor and speed change mechanisms are fixed to this section, while the bearing, platter and tone arm are fixed onto the suspended section below (the floating chassis). The weight of the floating chassis rests on three coil springs, these are held in position by three threaded fixed pins that hang from the underside of the top section, so that when the platter and arm are in place, the two sections are automatically separated by the weight. Each spring is isolated top and bottom by rubber washers which ensure that there is no metal to metal contact between the two plates were vibrations could otherwise be transmitted.
The belt drive system is driven by a 40mm 16 pole ac motor, which has the plastic carrier that is stepped to accommodate the two speed 33 and 45 positions which is fitted onto the motor spindle. The belt is lifted or lowered to these positions by the 'claw' that the belt travels through and is operated by the speed control knob.
platter is the now well know Thorens two sections arrangement, where
the smaller inner section that carries the drive belt, has on its top
outer edge, a small stepped recess machined into it; this allows the
larger outer section (with its corresponding recess to its inner
underside) to fit on to it. The weight of the outer steel
platter is sufficient to prevent it from slipping while the inner
section is driven, which demonstrates the tight tolerances in the
machining process. On it's underside the inner section is the
spindle that fits into the sleeve bearing, the tip of which has a
honed tip. As for the spindle on the 150, the tip has a captive
bearing on which
Though I did not initially like this deck, I have to admit that I have now taken to it, though not as heavily built as the 150, it still has everything going for it. It has a good motor, belt drive system and a well machined and balanced heavy platter. Because it uses all the tried and tested attributes of its predecessor, it had a good head start. Thinking about it, in the days when turntables were all the go, it must have been a very competitive market, where Thorens felt that rather than lead, they had to follow the crowd, using lighter materials and adopting more 'assembly line' methods to survive. However, I feel that this was the beginning of the end for them, for as the record shows, this trend continued with models further along the line which I feel played a big part in their demise. Perhaps had they stuck to their guns and maintained their standards, they could well have survived to this day, in the specialist field, as indeed they are beginning to do now.