Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

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KING-OLE
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Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by KING-OLE » 25 Nov 2019 14:40

Found a Thorens TD 203 Entry Level Turntable with Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge on amazon (Rutherford Audio) for about $700 with shipping. Besides it being difficult (according to the reviewer) to adjust the tonearm and anti-skate weight, is this a decent buy?

Thanks.

bernard1
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by bernard1 » 25 Nov 2019 15:09

You are not interested in second hand turntable ?

KING-OLE
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by KING-OLE » 25 Nov 2019 15:26

bernard1 wrote:
25 Nov 2019 15:09
You are not interested in second hand turntable ?
Not sure, as I don't know what to look for, so won't be able to determine if a used one is good quality.

Any comment on the one I listed above?

bernard1
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by bernard1 » 25 Nov 2019 18:34

My comment is that if I had $700 to put in a new turntable, I wouldn't put them in that model. The arm is unipivot, perhaps it is good, I don't know, but the platter is made of ABS, and is light. The plinth is made of mdf, and the feet are supposed to isolate from external vibrations. I'd rather get a vintage Thorens.

Ripvanvinyl
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by Ripvanvinyl » 25 Nov 2019 19:52

I''ll provide a contrary view.

I bought a TD-203 a month or so ago with the stock cartridge for CDN$700. I'm very happy with it. I purchased it based on reviews from this site (and others) and, in particular, on the views of Raphael Mabo who seems particularly well informed as a long time Thorens owner. He has posts on the performance, set up and history of this tt that I found very useful.

This thread may interest you in terms of a Rega RP3 comparison. I was able to listen to both tables before buying and agree with the views expressed here.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=110925

vs music
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by vs music » 25 Nov 2019 23:08

I also have more confidence vintage machines ! There are no good players, weighing 3.5 kg . It's self deception ....

Ripvanvinyl
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by Ripvanvinyl » 26 Nov 2019 02:47

vs music wrote:
25 Nov 2019 23:08
... There are no good players, weighing 3.5 kg .
There are plenty who would disagree. Look at some of the reviews by people who have it. I was surprised as I have always had heavy tables. Putting it on a solid base certainly helps the sound IMO- personally I use a large maple wood cabinet.
vs music wrote:
25 Nov 2019 23:08
It's self deception ....
Have you actually heard it?

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by KING-OLE » 27 Nov 2019 22:29

Thank you all for your (somewhat contradicting) comments... :) I guess it was wrong of me to assume there wasn't some kind of "Ford vs Chevy fight" going on between TT geeks, but at least one person liked the Thorens w/Ortofon.

So, I don't know what I'm talking about, but when I had my last Thorens with an Ortofon MC pickup about 30 years ago, I thought it sounded awesome. Can I find a decent TT with a MC pickup for less than $1,000, or is MC not as superb as I may think (remember) it is?

Ripvanvinyl
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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by Ripvanvinyl » 28 Nov 2019 16:38

There are lots of quality MC cartridges available and lots of info on this site comparing them on different tables. As you might suspect, what counts as "superb" is, of course just as contentious as tt brands and designs! :D

A few more points. Continue your research on the TD-203 (and I am suggesting you do - don't take my word for it, read what others have to say and, if possible, comparison test the tt yourself). I again refer you to Raphael Mabo's posts on this site and elsewhere (rmabo) not only for his views on the TD-203 compared to other tables but his summaries of the history of the modern Thorens company (it is not the same company as the old one you are familiar with). The new company does rely on sound engineering principles for its designs, uses quality components and European manufacturing plants (at least for the TD-203 and its 'higher end' machines).

Happy searching!

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by raphaelmabo » 28 Nov 2019 19:30

I'm very happy with my TD203 and I use it with a Benz MC Silver (high output MC). I don't find the tonearm to be fiddly to setup, but it has a different feel than a traditional gimbala tonearm since it's an unipivot design. It's different yes, but not difficult, just different. It may have looks like a Rega P3, and it also builts on the same low mass and light principles as the famous Rega turntables, so very different design concept from the vintage Thorens - and it doesn't have a floating suspension with inner chassi.

But it's not a Rega clone. The plinth is similar, a low mass MDF board. *But* - the motor is suspended, it "floats" in rubber bands. Rega does not. And the motor is positioned at the front left, which is a very sound (! :) ) concept, because it means lower vibrations to the tonearm and that the turntable gets better balanced.

The motor is a high-quality DC motor of European manufacturing, same DC motor as used in the Thorens TD309 mid-market player, ad comes with electronic speed control.

Now, regarding the platter - the platter is of a special composite material that is choosen because of it's good capabilities to dampen vibrations. It comes without a mat, but adding a mat can help in enhancing the sound quality. I've tried different mats and have settled with a thin rubber-cork mat from Simply Analogue.

Regarding the tonearm: It's an unipivot design, this means it "floats" on one point, so it can feel woobly in use, but it tracks superb.
It's very easy to change cartridge, unlike many vintage Thorens :). The cartridge is in a headshell with two holes, you simply screw in the cartridge. Now, the headshell is angled, it has the correct angle from start, and is connected to the tonearm tube with one screw. When you have screwed the cartridge on, you simply move the headshell back and forth until it has the right position and then you tighten one screw. It's a similar idea as some Clearaudio, Acoustic Signature and Funk Firm tonearms.

You have two weights at the back, the bigger one is used to set the tracking force, the smaller one has an offset hole and is used to set the azimuth. The turntable comes with a simple mechanical stylus gauge but I use a Tonar digital one. You don't have to balance the tonearm since the weights doesn't have a scale for tracking force, so you have to use the gauge.

It has been well rewieved European magazines, only real criticism is that the factory mounted cartridge (a Thorens version of the AT3600) doesn't show up the turntable at it's best, it's simply a cheap and cheerful cartridge. I've changed it to a Benz MC. :)

The TD203 was designed and engineered by Finck Audio Team, lead by the charismatic Karl Heinz Finch, in co-operation with Heinz Rohrer who owned Thorens at that time. Last year Thorens changed owners and moved to Germany again. The Finck Audio Team is one of the worlds leading hifi-designers, they are most famous for their loudspeakers and work for Tannoy, Q Acoustics, ALR Jordan and many others, but they also work with turntables and tonearms. As Mr Finck has said "As loudspeaker designers we know everything about vibrations, and designing a turntable is all about controlling the vibrations".

The TD203 is the "little brother" to the TD309 and TD206/209, also designed by Fink-team. It was designed from a "clean sheet of paper".

Heinz Rohrer was CEO of Thorens Export Ltd when the old Thorens company got into troubles in the late 90's, he got the chance of buying the Thorens stocks and he started up a new organisation from the Thorens Export company. Thorens Export company was the surviving part of the old Thorens, it was their international export and distribution company with their base camp in Switzerland.

Last year, Heinz Rohrer sold the company to Gunter Kürten, who previously was CEO of Elac Germany and who has had a long background in German hifi-world. Gunter is a Thorens enthusiast and after he bought the company he has released new Thorens products with a design that continues the Thorens DNA of the 70's.

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by raphaelmabo » 28 Nov 2019 21:14

Note that it’s common in this forum that die-hard vintage fans bashes new turntables, it’s simply a tradition here. :)

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by raphaelmabo » 28 Nov 2019 21:19

As for MC cartridges, well the TD203 has an 11g tonearm so it is compatible with a wide range of cartridges. It works with low cost MC cartridges such as the Denon DL-110, Benz MC Silver/Gold and LP Gear Bin 215, among others.

It’s a matter of taste...
Benz MC Silver/Gold has quite a neutral and open character with great detailing and sense of presence. But I wouldn’t call it a hard rockers dream. It works well for the music that I listen to...Mostly soul, jazz, 80’s pop, new instrumental and funk. 😊

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by cafe latte » 28 Nov 2019 21:48

raphaelmabo wrote:
28 Nov 2019 21:14
Note that it’s common in this forum that die-hard vintage fans bashes new turntables, it’s simply a tradition here. :)
Not really, I will be getting a new sl1200G soon, so nothing against new turntables at all, but when budget it 700 dollars for turntable and cart new does not buy good quality. Buying used gets you into a totally different quality level. The 2m blue also is a hard and thin sound, kind od a cd sound and not in a good way. The blue is better than the red which is not hard as the red is one of the only carts I really hate as it has some spine shivering sibilance that is just not nice.
The TD 203 has no published rumble or wow and flutter specs which means it is very likely very high indeed ie nothing to boast about.
Buying used you will have a lot of good quality option which will perform in another league to this very entry level turntable.
Chris

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by Issuesman666 » 28 Nov 2019 22:33

raphaelmabo wrote:
28 Nov 2019 21:14
Note that it’s common in this forum that die-hard vintage fans bashes new turntables, it’s simply a tradition here. :)
I agree.

Calling a 700 dollar turntable 'entry level' reeks of snobbery and vintage bias. Not everyone who wants a turntable is dripping money.

We know the usual suspects.

The Thorens has rave reviews. I would advise the guy to buy vintage only if he is a good tinkerer but new turntables are almost hassle free with warranty.

Auditioning is advisable if possible.

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Re: Thorens TD 203 with Ortofon 2M Blue

Post by Ripvanvinyl » 28 Nov 2019 23:26

Issuesman666 wrote:
28 Nov 2019 22:33
... I would advise the guy to buy vintage only if he is a good tinkerer but new turntables are almost hassle free with warranty.

Auditioning is advisable if possible.
Sadly, this is one of the issues I have with the vintage market locally. I love the look and sound of vintage tables but at the $700 price point it is rare that you will find a quality vintage table that will not need some of its components tinkered with or replaced to get it running at its best.

I love my music but it is not a "hobby" for me as it is for many on this board. When my 30 year old table failed to survive a recent move I wanted to replace it and I wasn't prepared to wait months (or longer) on the off chance a reasonably priced restored vintage table came along.

I also strongly agree about auditioning before deciding as well.

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