I'm excited to write about a project I've been working on for a few months. In the back of my mind I knew that there was a Thorens TD-125 turntable that accommodated a 12 inch tonearm, however, it wasn't until a faithful customer named Scott D started talking about the “Long Base” model that I realized it was something that Thorens actually produced themselves, direct from the factory. At first, I spent a few weeks trying to search out a TD-125 Long Base that Scott could purchase. There were various owners who had pictures of their prized possession on various forums and websites. One long base model even came up for sale on eBay, but it turned out to be just a chassis, with no plinth.
In my research, I began to realize that there was very little difference between the stock TD – 125 in the Long Base model: 1) larger plinth; 2) larger armboard; 3) larger aluminum switch/fascia plate. The first two differences were very minor, a matter of woodworking. However, the larger switch/fascia plate was going to take some planning to implement. First there was the actual manufacturer of the plate, and then there was the reproduction of the silk-screening. After three months, working with a variety of companies getting estimates and discussing various plans for implementation, the switch/facia plates were done and looked fantastic.
While that process carried onward, I had three extended plinths made and a series of extended armboards. The plinths were three-quarter inch mahogany, African mahogany, and black walnut. The armboards were three-eighths birch plywood painted satin black. As a final touch, because I have always hated the battleship gray/green color of the 125’s top plate, I had three tops sandblasted and then powder coated in what's called “Grey Sparkle.”
The projects are almost at their completion point now. Scott has been sent pictures of the three plinths, and once that is done we will order his SME M2-12R tonearm. (There is also the choice of the more contemporary looking SME M2-12, but Scott prefers the vintage look of the 12R.) Within the next couple of weeks, I'll have pictures for viewing by everyone. Like the “Baby Grand” AR projects, this will be a turntable of which I only offer two or three on an annual basis.