Another Turntable Offering:
The Ultra ~ Thorens TD-160 Super Reproduction, new SME M2-9 arm, custom Caribbean Rosewood plinth, Origin Live Ultra Motor, full mods, $2995 plus shipping
Why buy a restored vintage Thorens turntable from Vinyl Nirvana?
When you buy a restored turntable from Vinyl Nirvana, the table has undergone a multistep inspection, tuning, and detailing regimen. The work is performed by me, someone who has worked exclusively on belt driven, suspended subchassis turntables such as Thorens, Linn, and AR for over a decade. I know these models intimately, and have developed techniques over my lifetime to restore them to the best condition possible.
In addition, since I have probably the largest selection of parts for these turntables in North America, if it is determined by inspection that something needs to be replaced because it is missing, broken or worn, it happens. Though all of the turntables I sell will be 100% functional, because of their age, cosmetic condition will vary. It is my pledge to you that any and all cosmetic defects will be pointed out in the item description, and whenever it is possible, photographs will be provided. When you buy from me, it is not like eBay where you have to wonder if you are getting what you are really getting. If there is a flaw cosmetically, you will know it is there.
As a potential buyer, you should know I don’t just service these turntables, I love them. Though I have restored hundreds of them, I still find great joy in bringing a vintage turntable back to its glory. Likewise, if the turntable has been customized, I care deeply that those items are the best possible ones I can source. For example, my custom plinths are built by a finish carpenter with over 30 years of experience, someone who cares as much about their sound construction as their beauty. Likewise, when something is custom painted or powdercoated, I go to a professional company, one of the most highly regarded in New England. Those are just two examples, but I have made it my mission, when I do farm out work, to get people who care about their finished product the same way I do.
Finally, because none of the above will matter if the turntable doesn’t reach you in one piece, I have extensive experience in safely shipping vintage turntables. I know the tricks and the techniques to get your turntable to you without incident. I literally ship over 100 turntables per year, and my success rate is over 99%. In the fractional amount of cases where there is a problem, it is always resolved with your complete satisfaction as my goal. A lot of businesses make that claim; with me you will find it is a way of life.
This Week’s Custom Thorens TD-160 Super Reproduction
Hands down, the turntable for which I receive the most requests is the Thorens TD-160 Super. Unfortunately, this premium Thorens model was not manufactured in great numbers, so there are just not that many that come to the used market. For those who don’t know, what made the Super model the Super was 1)a beefier plinth and bottom; 2)underside damping; 3)heartier hinges; 4) a cleaner (and sexier) top plate that allowed changing arms without the vestigial cueing lever or armrest holes.
Having worked with a metal sheet fabricator and silk screener last year on the 125 Long Base project, I decided to undertake having high quality replica top plates manufactured. I knew that both companies were up to the task after the truly astounding job they did on the 125LB fascia plate. What you see pictured is the result. The plates are identical in every way except for some instructional printing in the area covered by the platters.
Meeting the other “obligations” for the Super designation were simple. The damping is something I’ve been doing to various tables for years, mostly at the request of customers. The plinths are our own custom plinths, which exceed the quality of the Thorens in terms of being solid wood, not veneer. Finally, the dustcover is set-on style, eliminating the need for hinges altogether.
Performance-wise, having both a genuine Thorens TD-160 Super and my reproduction sitting side by side on my bench, it is easy to argue that this reproduction should actually exceed the performance of a stock TD-160 Super because of the increased mass and density of the solid wood plinths.
“Having been a reviewer for almost fifteen years, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to hundreds of turntables and cartridges and only a handful left enough of an impression to warrant a purchase. So what does a jaded ex-reviewer who crossed over into the world of public relations listen to at home? Only two turntable brands grace my home. VPI and Vinyl Nirvana. My Thorens TD-160 Super [Reproduction w/Upgraded RB-202] is a stunning piece of work and there are few that can match Dave’s dedication to perfection and customer service. He’s a mensch who goes the extra mile for his customers and it’s hard to imagine buying from anyone but him or the legendary Harry Weisfeld. Yeah, he’s that good.”
Former Staff Writer – Digital Trends, SoundStage, TONEAudio, EnjoytheMusic, BigPictureBigSound & Audio360
This Week’s TD-160 Super Reproduction: The Ultra
I am really excited by this offering because it comes with the Origin Live Ultra Motor kit. (Retail $850USD) The Ultra is their most advanced motor, so sophisticated that it actually incorporates features that compensate for the momentary slowing of the motor under sudden changes in load during, say, load bursts of music. OL claims the cartridge can amplify this effect 100,000 times resulting in, according to Origin’s literature, a loss of dynamic impact, particularly in the bass region.
With the typical Super upgrades, the inclusion of the Performance Enhancement Package, the new SME M2-9, and the OL Ultra motor, to my ears, this is the best performing deck with a nine-inch arm I have offered. Comparing this unit (with an Ortofon 2M Black) with a TD-125 MKII, (also with SME M2-9 and 2M Black) the Super had noticeably better in terms of tonality, detail retrieval, and pace. Rock, Blues, Jazz, Classical…this combination exudes musicality…and it’s a combo I will surely revisit.
Also enhancing the performance (and beauty) is the use of 3/4″ solid Caribbean Rosewood in the plinth, one of the most dense woods we use. The extra mass, I am sure, is also contributing to its performance.
Finally, one extra mod on this table is all of the original speed changing apparatus has been removed. All those parts that can potentially produce resonance are gone! (Note the chromed bubble level covering the stock power switch.)
Cosmetically, this table is a solid 9.5 on a scale of 1-10. With the new plinth, new top plate and new cover, it really is museum quality, with not one single cosmetic flaw to report. (Why not a 10.0? I just don’t feel comfortable listing a vintage table as a 10.0.) As described above, it is 100% functional.
All in all, this table has the looks to match its performance…own the Ultra
The SME M2-9 Tonearm
The SME tonearms have been lauded for their excellence for over 40 years. The M2-9 is their latest arm. (Retail $1595) It incorporates many of the classic SME characteristics, yet belongs solidly in the here and now. It can easily handle cartridges in a multi-thousand dollar range. (All box, packing, and literature is included.)
More detail on the SME M2 Line-up
Overall, this is a stunning table with a serious arm capable of handling cartridges in the $600 to $2000 range with ease. I would be happy to mount any cartridge for the new owner for $30. If I install the cartridge, it makes set-up incredibly easy for set-up. I am a also dealer for Dynavector, Ortofon, and Grado. If you buy the cartridge from me, the installation fee is waived. (If you are interested in mounting your own SME tonearm to your vintage Thorens turntable, visit here for a custom Thorens armboard.)
The Origin Live Ultra DC Motor and Speed Control
New for 2015-16, I will be offering more turntables with the amazing Origin Live DC Motor option. The Ultra motor, their top performer, retails for $850USD. Origin Live started offering their DC Motor kits in the mid-90s and have continued to refine and improve them for over twenty years. The Ultra is the culmination of that knowledge and labor. In addition, the upgrade DC200 motor is included. An additional $200 value! Much more on Origin Live here. And here’s an in depth review of the Ultra version.
New for 2016
I had original Thorens TD-160 Super springs reverse engineered and manufactured by one of the premiere spring makers in the US. Every Super will now have the old springs replaced with this new replacement spring kit.
Likewise, I have sourced damping rings for the platter bearing well and the original Thorens motor. These damping rings help eliminate unwanted resonances from reaching the tonearm and platter shaft. You can read more about the Thorens motor and platter bearing well damping rings here.
The shipping is not included. This table will be packed like it is a fragile pane of glass. I simply care too much for these tables to just shove them in a box. I will carefully pack the table in extra sturdy boxes. and bubble wrap.
I love introducing someone new to the joys of vinyl, getting someone back into vinyl who left it for the “superiority” of cds, or helping someone else who does appreciate it to “move up.” In that regard, I do what few sellers do…if the buyer needs it, I can supply up to one hour of help by phone with set up. (At a mutually arranged time.) In general, most buyers don’t need it, but if there IS a problem, I am there.
Your table is guaranteed to look and work as described, or you may return it within ten days of arrival for a full refund, minus return shipping charges and a 5% restocking fee. After ten days, all returns are for merchandise credit only.
Read what Ben Folds and others have had to say about buying from Vinyl Nirvana.
The Ultra ~ Thorens TD-160 Super Reproduction, new SME M2-9 arm, custom Bloodwood plinth, Origin Live Ultra Motor, full mods