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Thorens BTD-12S Reviews

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Thorens BTD-12S

9/10 by tnsilver

The BTD-12S is a superb tonearm. That said, high/medium mass tonearms were the sign of times and the BTD-12S is no exception.

What makes the BTD-12S a remarkable instrument is the machining and level of craftsmanship. The vertical pin type bearing is an early version of the same bearings used with the TP-16 tonearm. However, the bearing pins are adjustable on the lateral axis, detachable and probably replaceable.

The VTF fine tuning is adjustable via a spring loaded lever mechanism that applies force on a brass/copper leaf plate that's attached to the tonearm bearing. The copper leaf is of a 'floating' design and the degree of compliance is also adjustable by tuning the gap between it and the set screw it's attached to. This can synchronize between the actual force applied and the markings on the tonearm cover.

The counter weight slides across an extension at the back of the tonearm and is locked by a set screw. The extension on which the counter weight slides is attached to the tonearm by a long screw from the back, which is connected to a dampened tube at the back of the tonearm. This tube piece is mounted on rubber that tends to rot and fall apart but can be replaced with appropriate diameter rubber tubing.

The lateral motion of the BTD-12S relies on a ball bearing design. The standalone BTD-12S design is well documented but the TD-135 variant comes with a fixed tonearm that's directly mounted in the turntable's deck. This mounting includes two sets of ball bearings, each composed of a cup, balls, brass/copper washer, shield washer and tightening spring.

The upper cup, at the base of the tonearm, is a mirror image of the lower cup (located under cue lift), such that the pillar is suspended between the two springs that compress the contents of the bearing cups.

Decades of use may cause scratches and etched bearing cups. The good news are that it can be easily made smooth again with 2000 grit sanding paper and a dremel tool. Once the cups are scratch free, and the 9 balls are inside and retained by the brass/copper washer - it's as good as new.

It is well known that the BTD-12S does not have provision for dampening it's decent. However, a simple mod can change all that. On the bottom of the cueing pin theres a little spring held in place by a washer and a 'C' clip, that will pull the tonearm down as soon as the cueing lever is turned. In fact, the user is expected to control the decent speed using that lever. Turn it slowly, and the tonearm will drop slow.

Another issue with the BTD-12S is the lack of anti-skate. The original wirings can deliver enough twist torque to counter skating forces. I managed to adjust that angle to make the wires apply enough anti-skate force.

The BTD-12S seems to like the Denon DL-103 a lot, rather more than the Shure M75 that's so commonly associated with it. Give it a shot. If it's properly set you won't be disappointed. I love mine!

9/10 by budulinek

we use it with an TD 135 with a Shure M 75 E type2 sounds really great. It was also used on TD 124.

8/10 by zwarte-romantiek

Perfect arm. Easy to set up. Sounds great with any vintage old cartridge! Even with a DENON 103!


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