Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

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toby-lerone
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Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by toby-lerone » 09 Nov 2018 19:19

I recently acquired a Thorens 166 MKII, w/ TP 11 III / TP 63 wand, currently fitted w/ a Grado Black. It sounds good. But, not great in my opinion. (Not like one of my father's tables, which I nostalgically remember from my youth.)

I'm looking to replace the cart... wondering if I should upgrade the tonearm as well (which isn't exactly in the budget at the moment). So perhaps a cart to get me by with this arm.. later to be transferred to a new tonearm? The TP 11 III w/ a mass of 7.5 seems to be a concern from what I have read whilst perusing thru old posts... I'm still left scratching my head.

Contemplating Ortofon 2M blue, OM 20/30 (only because the seem to be orig to the table), perhaps Bluepoint #2, or Denon DL 110. (Some of these are out of my immediate price range, however willing to wait and/or maneuver budget if necessary.)

I'm not really certain which direction to go, as my knowledge base concerning turntables is not huge. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Cart? Tonearm? If anything I am thinking is foolish, or I'm heading in the wrong direction, please let me know.

Thanks in advance. Great forum here!

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by macshifi » 09 Nov 2018 21:06

Okay, first things first. I have a TD 165, directly below what you have. It has it's original TP 11 arm and as such is a low mass arm which should be used with a high compliance cartridge for best results, such as a higher level Shure or Stanton cartridge or perhaps a Grado. You might also consider replacing the arm with something having a higher mass to it, such as a Rega 300 or similar, although you could still use the original Thorens arm, by just adding a little more weight to the headshell and rechecking the tracking force of the arm before actually using it to play records with.

Mark

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by bernard1 » 09 Nov 2018 21:31

I'm always confused by the numerous versions of Thorens tonearms / headshells. Could you post a picture ?

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by toby-lerone » 10 Nov 2018 00:19

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toby-lerone
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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by toby-lerone » 17 Nov 2018 21:33

Bump.

My apologies for the bump. I'd just really like some more advice here if anyone is willing and knowledgeable in the area.

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by noisefreq » 17 Nov 2018 22:39

The Grado should be a nice cart for that tonearm.
How old is the stylus?
If it needs to be replaced look for a "version 2" stylus in your price range.

To maximize the sound of the Grado, you may need to concentrate on tonearm height adjustment to get the proper Vertical tracking angle and the cartridge alignment.
Hopefully that will give you what you seek.

I don't think the Denon would be a good compliance match.
Haven't used a Sumiko but the compliance numbers look good.
Ortofon just doesn't excite me but would be a good match.
They are way different from the Grado sound, so might be just the ticket.

Something to consider, the Ortofon M series cartridges work on a headshell with top fit screw holes in the headshell, unlike the TP63. Look for the "verso" type cartridge to fit the Thorens headshell.

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by theclosetguy » 17 Nov 2018 23:28

Toby-lerone
I had this same table/setup for a 4 years. Same issue. What I ended up doing was buying a new arm wand from a seller who I believe is called Schopper? It weighed about 5 grams more. The Headshell had a heavier flange and bolt on it. The new arm wand handled a Ortofon 2M Mono very well. It sounded great.
Mike M

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by theclosetguy » 17 Nov 2018 23:29

The arm wand was around $100.00. Well worth it in sound quality improvement.
Mike M

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by reynolds753 » 18 Nov 2018 18:20

I believe that the arm is a Thorens TP 63. Schopper is the Swiss made after market arm.

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by bernard1 » 18 Nov 2018 22:20

This TP11 III has the same bearing than the TP11 I, with "crapaudines" or plain bearings and not ball bearing, no ?

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by theclosetguy » 19 Nov 2018 02:35


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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by theclosetguy » 19 Nov 2018 02:40


toby-lerone
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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by toby-lerone » 21 Nov 2018 01:37

Thank you all. Still much to think about.... @noisefreq I played with the VTA on my current Grado, big difference, thank you. @theclosetguy I've looked at the Schopper wand in the recent past, yet was not sure if it 'was worth it.' The price seems to have gone up significantly over the past few years. Would the Schopper open up cartridge options? I'm still not fulling grasping compliance.

@noisefreq, again thank you. I'd love to hear your thoughts comparing Grado to Ortofon.

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by theclosetguy » 21 Nov 2018 01:45

Yes, a heavier arm will allow you to use a more diverse bunch of cartridges. In my opinion the 166MKII and TP11 arm is a good mid-level Vintage Table. The cost of the wand will pay for itself in versatility. I used it along with a CJ Walker CJ5 for years.
Mike M

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Re: Thorens 166 MKII w/ TP 11 III Tonearm

Post by noisefreq » 21 Nov 2018 17:02

Compliance is the springiness of the needle.
With a TP63 cartridge wand, the mass weight is 7.5g, so since it's on the light side.
The springiness (compliance) of the stylus can be higher, say 15cu to 25cu.
Grado, Shure, Ortofon, ADC, Grace... are good high compliance cartridges (generally speaking).

If you added the Schopper arm wand, it is heavier and would increase the tonearm mass to 16.5g (or there abouts).
So you would need a needle that is less springy, stiffer, because of the added weight on it.
A medium compliance cartridge, say between 8cu and 16cu.
Audio Technica, Stanton, Denon, many moving coil cartridges are medium compliance.
Often "DJ" type cartridges have low to medium compliance.

Some cartridge manufacturers include this information, some do not.
An internet search usually has some kind of revelation about this.

I'm no Grado expert, there are several here that are.
My experiences have been that they have a somewhat narrow sound stage with detailed highs and full, accurate lows.
An excellent choice especially if you get into the upper end of their Prestige V2 range.

I've owned an Ortofon Super OM20.
It has a wide soundstage with silky highs detailed midrange and tight lows.
It's a laid back cartridge that tracks well, it just doesn't grab me like some other cartridges do.
Kind of lacking in the low end.
Haven't heard the 2M Blue but it's an updated version of the OM20.

Personally, I like Audio Technica and Shure cartridges on my Thorens.

But since you've got a Grado...
Is the stylus worn?
What's your budget?
You really won't know what you like until you have compared a couple of different cartridges.

And you can adjust the tonearm height, as you know.
You can also add a spacer to the headshell to change the VTA.
I would make sure the platter bearing is clean and properly oiled.
A new belt is always a good idea.
A digital scale is very useful when setting tracking force.
Having another cartridge wand set up and ready to go, wouldn't be a bad thing.

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