Turntables, Arms & Cartridges

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Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 14, 2022
hfnoutstandingA handful of turntable brands lay claim to the first suspended subchassis model, but few, unlike Thorens' TD 150 from 1965, were mass produced. Here's its great grandson

Thorens CEO Gunter Kürten is true to his word: when we first met at the Tokyo High End Show in 2019, he hinted that the hugely-important, wildly-popular three-point suspended-subchassis, belt-drive TD 150 of 1965 might make a return in updated form. This wasn't your typical case of just exploiting retro because the TD 150 was more than a best-seller for Thorens. It was a breakthrough in the evolution of turntables.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 03, 2020
hfnoutstandingOne of the oldest and most revered names in vinyl's history is back, refreshed and under new ownership, and with a deck that mixes modern materials with classic design cues

How many audiophiles ten years ago would have thought that come 2020 you would be able to buy a brand new Leak amplifier and a pair of Wharfedale Linton speakers? Not many, I'd bet. And it's now possible to front a system comprising these components with a belt-drive, suspended subchassis turntable made by Thorens, and one with 'TD160' in its name. It seems the onward march of 'retro' is unstoppable!

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 25, 2022
hfncommendedBudget-conscious vinyl fans wishing to digitise their prized record collections will want to sample this sleek, affordable turntable solution from an illustrious German brand

Like any company that can trace its lineage over one-and-a-quarter centuries, German turntable brand Thorens has had its share of high and, well, not-so-high points. Now under the ownership of ex-ELAC MD Gunter Kürten, the last three years has seen a revolution in the brand's ambitions, with a burgeoning product range to match.

Andy Whittle and Paul Miller  |  Feb 04, 2009
The TD 2030 sits just below the top of Thorens current range of turntables and retails for £1725 including the TP 300 VTA tonearm, but no cartridge. Thorens, thoughtfully, includes a pair of cotton gloves to keep your dabs off the acrylic plinth during setup, so gloves on and off we go. Since the acrylic plinth has no suspension, it’s a simple matter to position the deck on a suitable surface/table, and the plinth can then be levelled by screwing in/out the tip of each of the three feet. The heavy platter is an aluminium affair, weighing in at a substantial 6.
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 17, 2023
hfncommendedThoren's range of 'all-in-one' belt-driven turntables – complete with arm, cartridge and integral phono stage – tops out with the TD 204. It's a no-fuss solution for vinyl starters 

After a few years of uncertainty, turntable specialist Thorens has clearly regained its mojo. When Gunter Kürten, the former CEO of fellow German brand ELAC, took over the company in 2018, he felt its existing range was 'too broad, with far too many models and variants'. He also believed the quality of the finished products was not to a level that befitted a manufacturer that had, at the time, been making musical instruments for 137 years, and turntables for 92.

Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Jun 15, 2010
Looks can be deceiving. At first glance, you might think that the TD 309 was designed just as an eye-catcher, but in reality it is easily the most radical and innovative turntable Thorens has produced since the company was revived around ten years ago by the dynamic Heinz Rohrer. For the TD 309 project, Rohrer called in Fink Audio Consulting of Essen in Germany, best known for its expertise in loudspeaker design. But, as Karl-Heinz Fink says, ‘We are all turntable guys! We like turntables! And if you work on loudspeakers, you deal with vibration at a micro level, dealing with problems that are similar.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Jul 04, 2009
Last year saw the 125th anniversary of the oldest brand in specialist hi-fi. While Thorens actually spent its first few decades producing musical boxes, it has a remarkable audio pedigree. So even if you think the current vogue for 12in tonearms is just a craze fuelled by audiophile one-upmanship, you certainly can’t accuse this venerable German company of bandwagon-jumping with its ‘anniversary’ TP 125 Special Edition. This arm looks perfect on Thorens’ flagship turntable, the TD 550.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 16, 2011
The latest member of the Acrylic series boasts performance to match the looks Part of Thorens’ Acrylic Series, the TD2030A sports a 33mm-thick plinth made up of two 15mm slabs of clear acrylic with a 3mm blue tinted layer sandwiched between. Looking edge-on, the plinth appears clear with just a thin dark line, but from any other angle, it’s filled with gorgeous colour, like the blue of the Aegean under a cloudless sky. The plinth stands on three imposing legs. These end in small pointed feet that screw in or out for levelling adjustment.
Steve Harris and Paul Miller  |  Nov 30, 2011
From the reborn Transcriptors company comes an all-new turntable with a pedigree, a design that still follows in the footsteps of the classic 1960s and 1970s models The original Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference turntable was one of audio history’s great style statements. The story of the design and its creator, the late David Gammon, was told in our May ’11 Audio Milestone feature. Transcriptors was reborn in 2000, thanks to David’s oldest son Michael Gammon. Encouraged by American collector Don Sellers, Michael started an information website for enthusiasts.
Paul Miller  |  Mar 04, 2009
Naming a cartridge after a firebird that rises from its own ashes may be a portentous omen, given Transfiguration’s previous success in crafting high-class pickups. So maybe the incendiary title is supposed to serve more as a pointer to a fiery performance? After the revamp of the brand’s lineup, this model doesn’t have a natural predecessor, by price at least, since it’s pitched below the former top Temper model, and above the similarly obsolete Spirit. But at £1350 it sits neatly between the award-winning Orpheus (£2750) [March ’07] and the new entry-level Axia at £890, and closely resembles the Spirit in body shape. Like former Transfigurations, it uses an unusual ‘yokeless’ generator inside with ring magnets surrounding the sets of coils.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Aug 04, 2009
Valves and vinyl go together like the proverbial horse and carriage, so it isn’t too surprising that one of Italy’s best-known tube amplifier manufacturers recently decided to offer its own turntable, arm and cartridge. You could say that Unison Research has carved its own niche because, apart from the tubes, its amplifiers are notable for the use of real wood as a styling element. When British manufacturers say ‘real wood’, they usually mean a thin slice of rosewood or whatever, glued to a thicker piece of chipboard. Not so the Italians, who still seem prepared to hew speaker cabinets out of solid trees, as Unison does its amplifier ornaments.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
Van den Hul’s latest hand-built pick-up is called The Crimson and comes in a choice of natural light and dark wood finishes as well as a coloured [also wooden bodied] version. There’s a polycarbonate option too. Although nudity is currently the trend for modern MCs, with generators exposed for all the world to see, The Crimson doesn’t quite go all the way and chooses to cover at least a little of its modesty. Still, most internals are visible – and breakable, if you’re ham-fisted.
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 17, 2020
hfnoutstandingSupplied with or without a partnering MM cartridge, this new 'entry-level' deck to the Vertere range comes equipped with a re-imagining of the archetypal flat tonearm

In a world of plug 'n' play convenience, having to manually configure a piece of equipment before it can be used is felt by some to be far too great a barrier to enjoyment. And perhaps in no area of hi-fi is this truer than vinyl replay. I know of many people who have consciously shied away from exploring the ol' black stuff because they believe it to be 'just too much hard work'. So any manufacturer able to help eliminate any of the perceived faff and complexity that comes with putting together and setting up a turntable – not to mention its arm – is onto a winner.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 11, 2022
hfnoutstandingThis Brit-brand's range of audiophile pick-ups grows yet again with a sub-£1000 model slotting between its entry-level MM and flagship MC. Will the Sabre cut through?

In the heated-up marketplace that is 'LP Playback Circa 2022', and as with the ModWright PH 9.0 phono stage, we are also experiencing a surfeit of cartridges, tonearms and decks. With so crowded a playing field as this, Vertere – about as iconoclastic a manufacturer as analogue has seen in recent times – has to make its Sabre cartridge stand out from the rest. The company has chosen to address a usually neglected niche: true high-end moving-magnet designs.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 12, 2022
hfnoutstandingBased on Vertere's flagship RG-1 Reference Groove turntable, and differing only in the bearing and platter, there's a host of innovation in the brand's SG-1 Super Groove...

Anyone who has followed Vertere's founder Touraj Moghaddam, all the way back to the early days of Roksan, cannot fail to have been impressed with his iconoclasm. A lifetime later, he's still making cutting-edge turntables from left-field. I knew he hadn't mellowed as soon as he dissuaded me from using a clamp or a weight on the LP, before removing the spindle with a flourish. That was my introduction to the SG-1 Super Groove, one model below the flagship RG-1 Reference Groove.

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