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Tip of the Week, November 4, 2013

One piece design vs two piece design
One piece design vs two piece design


With mixed feelings, I must withdraw my endorsement of Thorens 16X armboards made by Sound Supports based in the UK.  I have been using Shaun’s armboards for over a decade, and in terms of customer service and one small business understanding another, the relationship has been outstanding.  However, in terms of the Thorens armboards which they currently offer, their two-piece design held together with just an adhesive, is no longer something I deem sturdy enough to endorse.

Two piece design separated during shipment
Two piece design separated during shipment.  Photo: © 2013 Scott Snyder

Over the course of the last decade, there have been three instances where the two pieces of the armboard separated, resulting in extensive damage to the turntable, tonearm, and cartridge.  Unfortunately, two of these instances happened just in the last six months. In each case Shaun was kind enough to replace the board itself free of charge, however, I lost hundreds of dollars on each transaction.

As a result, working closely with a local metal manufacturer here in the US, I have begun to have manufactured a one-piece design in solid aircraft quality aluminum.  They not only look amazing, but they are impossible to break under turntable use or turntable shipping conditions.  As a result, beginning today, all of my restored turntables with custom arms will be shipped with these armboards.

At this time, I am only offering boards for three models:  Rega with single hole, Rega 3-point design, and SME.  All will be available in my eBay store, and eventually on my sister website Vintage Thorens.  The introductory price, available through December 31, is exactly the same as what one would pay to have a Sound Supports board shipped from England.


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Tip of the Week, September 9, 2013

Thorens TD-150 MKII, Completely Stock

If you’re looking to purchase a Thorens at a reasonable price, I can’t recommend the TD-150 MKII highly enough.  (I’ve also written about this in my blog)  This model was the precursor to the TD – 160.  It shares with the 160 a 10mm bearing shaft, a heavy outer platter, and a three-point suspension.  The tonearm looks clunky, but is actually capable of producing outstanding sound once you learn its idiosyncrasies.  Google “Kugel” arm, and you will see many sing its praises.  If you are going to purchase one, be aware that all of the doodads on the arm, if missing, can easily add up.  However, if instead like to replace the tonearm, the relatively simple armboard design makes it a do-it-yourself task for most modestly experienced woodworkers.  Prices for these great tables are often under $200.

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Tip of the Week, January 7th, 2013

A small but very important part of my restoration process for a stock Thorens unit such as the TD-160, TD-165, or TD-145 is replacement of the headshell leads.  On the TP-16 headshell, this is a very do-it-yourself operation that yields great sonic results.  Sometimes it is truly like lifting a veil from the music.  All it really takes is a pair of tweezers (or fine needlenose pliers), a new set of leads, some Deoxit, and some patience.   If your leads have never been changed out, you will be amazed at what 40 years of tarnish looks like.  The metal portion will be black. Take note of the order of the old leads, remove them, and then clean all of the contact surfaces with the Deoxit.  Let those dry, and then install the new leads in the same fashion.  Occasionally, you’ll find a lead connector needs to be crimped or expanded.  For crimping, I use the needlenose pliers and a very light touch.  For expanding, you can use a small brad, again with a light touch.  Don’t forget to also clean the headshell to tonearm connectors, though they are typically not as tarnished, it’s a good idea to remove what is there.  Then, sit back and enjoy.  I think it’s because this is the first signal path from the cartridge, but it really makes a remarkable difference.  You can find headshell leads costing from a few dollars to over $100.  I would just make sure that they are gold-plated (to reduce later tarnish) and highly flexible.  Final cost is up to you.

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Tip of the Week, December 3rd, 2012

Having a small lint roller near your audio rack can be helpful.  If you are using a stiff felt mat, the roller does an excellent job removing dust and other particles from your mat.  Likewise, if you clean off a particularly dusty record with your carbon fiber brush, the lint roller is a quick way to get those particles off the brush and prevent them from floating around the room.  Finally, the brush is handy for cleaning fabric speaker grilles, especially those black ones that show every speck.

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Tip of the Week, November 12, 2012

If you are trying to get into a new vinyl rig package as inexpensively as possible, but still trying to keep your options open for easy and affordable  phono cartridge upgrade, you should explore the introductory cartridges from Grado and Ortofon.  The Grado Black retails for just $60 dollars and has been hailed for decades as a stellar value.  Likewise, the more recently introduced Ortofon 2M-Red retails for $99 and has also received many accolades for that price point.

What I think makes each an even greater value is the ability of each to accept replacement styli HIGHER in their product line.  So, if you own a Grado Black, when you have the dough, you can spring for perhaps a Grado RED stylus at $70.  No need to change/adjust your cartridge alignment, just slip the old one out and the new one in.  So, rather than spend $140 retail for a new Grado Red, you just spent half that!   Likewise, in the Ortofon line-up, the 2M-Red can be upgraded to BLUE stylus for $179, rather than spending $225 retail for a complete Blue.  And once again, you won’t have to fuss with mounting a complete new cartridge or re-adjusting your alignment!

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Tip of the Week, October 22nd, 2012

Vinyl Nirvana Thorens Motor Spindle Support Kit

One of the most catastrophic issues that can affect one of these great vintage tables is a damaged motor that knocks, disturbing the quiet operation of your beloved Thorens.  This newly introduced kit eliminates knock in your vintage Thorens motor.  You can buy the kit here.  It is intended for the vintage Thorens models listed in the eBay ad.

The Kit

The kit consists of an individually-machined nylon housing with a stainless steel adjustable pin and a stainless steel ball bearing tip.  The stainless steel pin has an internal spring that keeps consistent tension on the ball bearing, which in turn supports the motor’s spindle. The bearing is pre-lubricated for the life of the motor.


Installation is very do-it-yourself.  No need to remove the motor; it is done in place! Unplug the unit and remove the four screws holding the bottom plate, exposing the motor.  Locate the motor. Clean the surface.  Let dry. Use a small amount of super-glue (approved for nylon to metal) to attach the nylon housing to the motor. (Glue not included.)  The perfectly machined housing takes the guesswork out of positioning. Once the glue dries, plug the motor in and tighten the screw with a small plain screwdriver until the knock disappears.  Replace bottom.


I was stunned at the immediate difference this kit made in eliminating the knock in a Thorens TD-145 motor I could hear across the room!  Just a couple of turns of the pin, and the noise was gone!  I positioned my ear just inches from the motor and I could not even hear it running!   Unlike a similar kit on the market, this kit uses a nylon housing to reduce resonance, there is never a need for additional lubrication, and the internal spring exerts constant and consistent pressure.
Some have asked if the kit will help to prevent motor knock from developing in their Thorens motor, and it is my opinion it will because it raises the motor spindle off of the internal bushings.  Instead, the spindle is riding on the stainless steel ball bearing tip.

100% Guaranteed to eliminate your motor knock or it may be returned for full refund minus shipping.

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Tip of the Week, September 3, 2012

Building a Wall-mounted Shelf

Suspended subchassis turntables struggle with placement on a bouncy wooden floor.  The best solution is a wall shelf.  This video walks you through how easy it can be to make one DIY.  Please note that you can BUY trim rather than make it yourself, as the person in the video did.   Note: when buying your brackets, buy some suitable to hold over forty pounds to be safe.