Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

music box
Post Reply
Thomajon
junior member
junior member
United States of America
Posts: 22
Joined: 23 Feb 2019 12:25
Location: Indiana

Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by Thomajon » 02 Apr 2019 01:15

Hi,

Just got this turntable today, and setting it up has proven to be a headache. There is a counterweight for tracking and a weight for the azimuth and I just cannot seem to get them set up properly. Any suggestions?

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1888
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by raphaelmabo » 11 Apr 2019 07:56

It has two counterweights, the smaller one is for fine-adjustments and for azimuth control. And it comes with a tracking force gauge, so there's no tracking force scale on the counterweights and you don't need to balance the tonearm first as with tonearms that has a force scale.

First, put on the big counterweight (this should be put on first) and then the small one and make a rough adjustment, check the tracking force with the included stylus gauge. Then use the smaller one to fine adjustments of tracking force and azimuth. It can be helpful to have a mirror under the cartridge to see the azimuth. Set the azimuth with the tonearm lowered on a record, on the protractor or on a mirror.

Antiskate: The bias shaft has six grooves. With the included cartridge Thorens recommends to use the third or fourth groove. Note that the included cartridge has a tracking force of 2.3. (23 mN) I would say that if you use a cartridge with a tracking force at around 2 (20 mN), use the third groove. If you are at > 2.5 / 25 mN then clearly use the fourth groove. If you have a cartridge with VTF >3 (30 mN) use the fifth groove. Use the 2nd groove with cartridges at around 1.5 / 15 mN (such as Ortofon OM).

But feel free to experiment. Ideally one sets the antiskate with a test record.
With the bias-on-a-string antiskate, it doesn't have to be exact. It's ok anyway.

(I have replied to you in PM, but I post it also here so it could be of help to others)

2002afan
senior member
senior member
United States of America
Posts: 414
Joined: 29 Jan 2018 01:45
Location: Gainesville, Virginia

Re: Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by 2002afan » 11 Apr 2019 12:20

raphaelmabo wrote:
11 Apr 2019 07:56
It has two counterweights, the smaller one is for fine-adjustments and for azimuth control. And it comes with a tracking force gauge, so there's no tracking force scale on the counterweights and you don't need to balance the tonearm first as with tonearms that has a force scale.

First, put on the big counterweight (this should be put on first) and then the small one and make a rough adjustment, check the tracking force with the included stylus gauge. Then use the smaller one to fine adjustments of tracking force and azimuth. It can be helpful to have a mirror under the cartridge to see the azimuth. Set the azimuth with the tonearm lowered on a record, on the protractor or on a mirror.

Antiskate: The bias shaft has six grooves. With the included cartridge Thorens recommends to use the third or fourth groove. Note that the included cartridge has a tracking force of 2.3. (23 mN) I would say that if you use a cartridge with a tracking force at around 2 (20 mN), use the third groove. If you are at > 2.5 / 25 mN then clearly use the fourth groove. If you have a cartridge with VTF >3 (30 mN) use the fifth groove. Use the 2nd groove with cartridges at around 1.5 / 15 mN (such as Ortofon OM).

But feel free to experiment. Ideally one sets the antiskate with a test record.
With the bias-on-a-string antiskate, it doesn't have to be exact. It's ok anyway.

(I have replied to you in PM, but I post it also here so it could be of help to others)
Excellent write up Raphael. :) Makes me want to get a Thorens. :P
Cheers,
WillO

Thomajon
junior member
junior member
United States of America
Posts: 22
Joined: 23 Feb 2019 12:25
Location: Indiana

Re: Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by Thomajon » 11 Apr 2019 17:28

2002afan wrote:
11 Apr 2019 12:20
raphaelmabo wrote:
11 Apr 2019 07:56
It has two counterweights, the smaller one is for fine-adjustments and for azimuth control. And it comes with a tracking force gauge, so there's no tracking force scale on the counterweights and you don't need to balance the tonearm first as with tonearms that has a force scale.

First, put on the big counterweight (this should be put on first) and then the small one and make a rough adjustment, check the tracking force with the included stylus gauge. Then use the smaller one to fine adjustments of tracking force and azimuth. It can be helpful to have a mirror under the cartridge to see the azimuth. Set the azimuth with the tonearm lowered on a record, on the protractor or on a mirror.

Antiskate: The bias shaft has six grooves. With the included cartridge Thorens recommends to use the third or fourth groove. Note that the included cartridge has a tracking force of 2.3. (23 mN) I would say that if you use a cartridge with a tracking force at around 2 (20 mN), use the third groove. If you are at > 2.5 / 25 mN then clearly use the fourth groove. If you have a cartridge with VTF >3 (30 mN) use the fifth groove. Use the 2nd groove with cartridges at around 1.5 / 15 mN (such as Ortofon OM).

But feel free to experiment. Ideally one sets the antiskate with a test record.
With the bias-on-a-string antiskate, it doesn't have to be exact. It's ok anyway.

(I have replied to you in PM, but I post it also here so it could be of help to others)
Excellent write up Raphael. :) Makes me want to get a Thorens. :P
Cheers,
WillO
I'm super happy with it! I feel like I get a really clear, open picture of what the artist was trying to convey. Sounds great. My only gripe is with the dust cover, which only covers the tonearm and platter; furthermore, it can't be used while a record is playing. A tad annoying, as my stylus acquires a bit of dust after playing each side of a record. Other than that, I would definitely recommend this table. It's a bit of a bitch to set up--at least, it was for me. Once everything is dialed in (definitely use a digital stylus pressure gauge), it's a wonderful audio experience.

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1888
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by raphaelmabo » 12 Apr 2019 09:32

Playing without a dust cover gives better sound quality than playing with one, a dust cover can resonate and this has a negative impact of the sonical quality. The TD203 is all about sound quality, it's a "sound first"-design.

Now, regarding the setup. With other turntables you have to balance the tonearm first (not needed with the TD203) to find the '0' position, and then applying tracking force by the counterweight. But the force scale on counterweights are unprecise, so it's best there to use a gauge anyway.

Azimuth on other turntables are adjusted by releasing a screw and then turning the tonearm wand or turning the headshell and then tighten the screw when azimuth is right. I find this far more fiddly than simply using the 2nd counterweight. As you can see, the 2nd counterweight does not have the hole in the middle, it is offset so it's more weight to one side than the other. This means that the position of the 2nd counterweight will adjust the rotation of the wand (the arm is a unipivot, so it is mounted on a ball and can move freely in any direction). So one rotates the wand by setting the 2nd counterweight, and then it holds it's position. No need to loose and tighten a screw. Just turning the weight. Nothing more.

Also, with other tonearms you have to adjust the angle of the cartridge. It usually has two holes so you can move the cartridge within the holes, and you adjust both the offset angle and the overhang, by moving the cartridge in those holes. Not so with the TD203. The angle is fixed, so no need to adjust. Just put the cartridge on and the screws. The overhang is adjusted by moving the headshell front and back, it is fixed to the wand with one single screw. When you move the headshell front and back, you don't change the angle. But with other, more traditional, headshells the angle is changed when you move the cartridge. So you have to re-align the cartridge when you set the overhang. You don't have to do this with the TD203. So it's much simpler and quicker.
Last edited by raphaelmabo on 12 Apr 2019 09:38, edited 2 times in total.

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1888
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by raphaelmabo » 12 Apr 2019 09:35

A tip: Don't use the stylus to collect dust and clean the records. :) Clean the records before you play them. :) I use a special fibre carbon brush for that. I also wash my records to get them free from dirt.

stoli_man
United States of America
Posts: 1
Joined: 15 Sep 2019 20:58

Re: Thorens TD 203 set up frustration

Post by stoli_man » 15 Sep 2019 21:09

Hi -

This is great info! I got a 203 a couple years back and was also frustrated with the set-up. It's my first proper turntable where setup was required (had a Audio Technica AT-LP60, that was a great entry system for me).

I was playing around with my set-up today and realized there still aren't videos for how to set the TD 203 up.. I'm not confident in my set-up to post one. Could one of the experts here do one..? :D

Just second guessing if I have it all (or any of it) done correctly.

I have the ortofon blue and I want to make sure I'm getting the most out of it.

Sidenote: I am also bummed there isn't a proper dust cover... Didn't consider it when making the purchase, but it's a pain to keep the turntable dust free when not in use. I'm looking to get a generic acrylic box to put over it when not in use (I installed a Q-up automatic tone arm lifter to save my needle from nights where I fall asleep with the turntable on.. so the provided cover doesn't fit anymore anyhow)

Post Reply