Thorens TD 148A Turntable Automatic Audio

Automatic Audio

In the days of 78s, which only offered around four to five minutes of music per side, the idea of automation to extend play time was quickly developed. Autochangers were most popular initially, with the Victor 10-50 of 1927 generally considered to be the first domestic model. As LPs superseded 78s in the 1950s and onwards, the necessity for multi-play became less pressing, but the automatic single-play turntable remained a popular choice.

In the 1960s, decks like the Garrard LAB80 and Thorens TD-184 proved that automation was no barrier to high quality. Furthermore, by the 1970s, a glance at any Japanese manufacturer's turntable lineup would reveal that, as quality and price went up, so did the level of automation on offer. The last hurrah for fully automated turntables came in the 1980s when linear-tracking tonearms caught on, this technology readily lending itself to true hands-free play.

The issue was always that the level of investment in such mechanisms was only recouped by high production volumes. As interest in vinyl began to fade in the 1990s, the outlay required for low sales volumes no longer added up, so manual simplicity became the order of the day. However, if automated decks are making a renewed appearance, Thorens is once again at the forefront.

Thorens GmbH
Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
Supplied by: Signature Audio Systems
07738 007776