Thorens TD 202 Turntable Package Lab Report

Lab Report

Despite being filled with features – including a USB output and built-in MM phono preamp – Thorens' TD 202 turntable/arm/MM combination still packs a very respectable performance as a 'purist' turntable. Absolute speed is a little high at +0.34% but this will be largely inaudible and provides some leeway to accommodate any age-related slowing of the DC motor. Peak wow is very low indeed for a basic DC design at just 0.02% – the absence of drift being very welcome – and while there are obvious flutter sidebands at circa ±20Hz [see Graph 1, below] the peak-wtd 0.06% is still well within Thorens' very conservative ~0.2% W&F specification. The sealed main bearing is also quieter than many at this price, the –66.7dB (DIN-B wtd) rumble improving still further to just –68.0dB when measured through-the-groove. In this respect the ~1.9kg alloy platter with its peripheral damping ring (inside the outer edge), plus generously-thick rubber mat, combine very effectively to isolate the spinning LP from motor and bearing noise.

The partnering 8.8in TP 71 tonearm includes a single-piece alloy tube (fixed into, and supported by, a sleeve in the main bearing) and fitted with a detachable headshell. The fundamental tube mode sings out a respectably high 105Hz [see Graph 2, below] and is accompanied by a trio of complex harmonic/twisting modes at 195Hz, 315Hz and 485Hz, the latter possibly associated with the headshell itself. Effective mass is moderate at 14g but suitable for the low 10cu compliance of the fitted Audio-Technica AT-95E MM. Otherwise, this statically-balanced arm shows some play at the bearing but friction is low at <15mg in both planes. PM


Wow and flutter re. 3150Hz tone at 5cm/sec (plotted ±150Hz, 5Hz per minor division)


Cumulative tonearm resonant decay spectrum, illustrating various bearing, pillar and ‘tube’ vibration modes spanning 100Hz-10kHz over 40msec

Turntable speed error at 33.33rpm 33.45rpm (+0.34%)
Time to audible stabilisation 3-4sec
Peak Wow/Flutter (Peak wtd) 0.02% / 0.06%
Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd) –68.0dB
Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd) –66.7dB
Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel. to 5cm/sec) –54.0dB
Power Consumption 2-3W (1W standby)
Dimensions (WHD, with lid) / Weight 420x141x355mm / 4kg
Price £599 (inc. arm and cartridge)

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