Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

radio, tape, stands and accessories
Post Reply
sausagecreature
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Oct 2019 20:42

Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by sausagecreature » 17 Oct 2019 07:19

Hello everyone,
I've had my deck five days, and having picked up a solid oak table for my hifi I have struggled to level the TT.

1) The table is not level due to the floor.
2) There are three adjustable screws in the top of the plinth for levelling. The deck has leaf springs. one of the screws doesn't seem to want to adjust.

So, I wondered about.

1) A levelling and isolation platform.

2) Levelling the new wooden table by some means, i.e. packing under the feet. I don't really want to drill and screw the table to fit levelling feet. Also the heavy table will severely damage the carpet with those little round levelling feet that can be bought from DIY places.

3) Oiling the levelling screw I cannot adjust. (I am worried about applying oil and the effect on the plinth wood (MDF I think)).


The 321 manual states that the way to adjust it is to put the floating part of the plinth (that holds the arm) in the "same plane as the rest of the plinth". I'm not even entirely sure what that means, and whether this means I dont need to level the TT itself - there is no mention of setting up the TT to be level in the manual - maybe this is considered to be so obvious they don't mention it. However, with one of the adjustment screws not moving, I cannot get the floating plinth to line up flat, same height and horizontal in relation to the main plinth.

Advice/ideas please?

I imagine my first step should be to free the seized adjustment. Any guidance folks ? The plinth is MDF, oils could adversely affect the MDF as far as I can see. The coiadjustment screws can be adjusted using a 10 pence coin, or similar, or a really massive giant screwdriver. I don't own a screw driver that large, have never seen one that big. It is hard to get good purchase/leverage on the screw with a 10 pence coin and do not want to damage anything.



Many thanks
Mark

vanakaru
senior member
senior member
Posts: 580
Joined: 24 Mar 2015 09:05

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by vanakaru » 17 Oct 2019 09:47

How badly off the level is? I see no reason to go to extremes with it.
I would level the plinth first with shims or install adjustable cone feet. Then if necessary follow with floating chassis.
BTW some people do away the floating all-together and fix it solid to the plinth. The reasoning is to use the mass of the plinth to dampen motor vibration.
If you are not able to hold the coin to undo the screw grab the coin with pliers(better with wise-grip) and with two hands one holding the coin in place and turn with the other try to undo it gently but with jerky movements. The size of the coin should match the crack as closely as possible. Be aware that it is possible to brake off the stem/top of the screw if is really stuck. Some kind of "runny" lubricant like white spirit may be needed. just put few drops on and let it soak few hours.
Or heat with hairdryer - sometimes there is dried up oil in the treads that will get softer when heated.

sausagecreature
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Oct 2019 20:42

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by sausagecreature » 17 Oct 2019 16:55

Hey Vanakaru,
I thought I had levelled the table it all sits on - simply just adding some dense cardboard under the legs until the table was level. Wow that is a really heavy table to lift anyway and even heavier with the gear on. I almost could not lift it.

I was then able to adjust the front of the floating plinth to be what I think is "In the same plane" as the fixed plinth.

I then realised the little level I bought to check the level is not right. Time to find a metal ball-bearing or a marble and a new level and then check levels and try again.

Thanks for the tips on the levelling screws, I would be so upset if I broke one of them.

I really want to get it right, the idea of creating any excessive wear on a 30 year old deck is my main motivator. Shure stopped making these things, so I cannot get a replacement stylus for my cartridge without paying £250 on ebay for something I assume is already 2nd hand, $844 for the cart + stylus. That is a lot more £££ than the deck cost me :)

vanakaru
senior member
senior member
Posts: 580
Joined: 24 Mar 2015 09:05

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by vanakaru » 17 Oct 2019 17:21

Shure stopped making these things, so I cannot get a replacement stylus for my cartridge without paying £250 on ebay for something I assume is already 2nd hand, $844 for the cart + stylus.
What Shure this could be that cost 844?

vanakaru
senior member
senior member
Posts: 580
Joined: 24 Mar 2015 09:05

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by vanakaru » 17 Oct 2019 17:28

And do not get overly obsessed with levelling. "In the ballpark" is good enough.

StephDale
senior member
senior member
Great Britain
Posts: 660
Joined: 10 Feb 2004 10:22
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by StephDale » 17 Oct 2019 17:52

Actually...

Mark,

It's worth taking as much time as you are comfortable with to get the table level, using cardboard or whatever else is fine if you don't have an engineered solution. Once the surface is good, place the turntable on top and make sure the top of the plinth is level, it might be right first time if you're lucky. Then adjust the suspension so that the platter and armbase are level; it's the latter point that Thorens have covered by saying it should be in "same plane as the rest of the plinth" - both are level. All of those adjusting screws will move, but some can be very stiff. In general, you'll only need to adjust two to get the floating section level. You may remember me mentioning a comedy screw driver in a previous thread/post...?

Once you've got the table/plinth/floating bits level you'll note that the bounce on the platter will be truly vertical and even, the belt will track the pulley and inner platter reliably (still may need a little nudge on start though) and the tonearm weighting and anti-skate will perform better. All of these things are affected to a greater or lesser extent by gravity. @vanakaru is right in that the '320 family are fairly benign in that the table will still perform well if it's close enough, but you'll only get the best out of it if you take the time to get the set up right, whether it's levelling, cartridge alignment or any of the tonearm parameters. This is all in the realm of 'marginal gains', but getting this stuff right will surely give you better performance.

Of course this could just be the ravings of a madman. Or not.

Steph

sausagecreature
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Oct 2019 20:42

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by sausagecreature » 19 Oct 2019 10:59

Hey guys,
thanks, as always for your replies.

Firstly, what Shure for $844..well, over the week I have seen the same page a few times whilst searching for info, spares etc. However, I cannot for the life of me find it again, whether searching with Duckduckgo, Google, on my laptop or my desktop, I've checked my history. I know I did not dream this. I'll update the thread when I once more find the same article. It should not have been hard to find, the web is hardly littered with pages about the ML140He. Anyway, I did find one where there is the cart for sale at £497, which is about $650. Perhaps the $844 I saw was not USD. I didnt look that closely because there is no way I am paying that kind of money for a replacement.

Here is one at £497
https://snvinyl.co.uk/Shure-ML1420HE-Ca ... -Magnet-MM

Lots of places where the stylus alone is > £200.

I have just gone through the tone arm set up process. I did go a little cross eyed at the instructions from Linn. Apparently I needed an Alien Key! Allen Key not an Alien key! Also, step one was set the tracking weight to 0, then step two tells you to completely unset the very thing just completed. Quite a poorly written document and quite confusing at times. However it is now done, and footfall issues seem to be a lot less. I am not going to test until I find the thresh hold of when it jumps, but enough to say it is not as sensitive as it was. So that is a happy moment for this morning.

Stephdale, thanks again for input..Interestingly after a few days my belt would slip at start, possibly due to all the fiddling I was doing to try and set it up. So I ordered a replacement belt, and then set about cleaning my belt and where it contacts the pulley and platter, and it then stopped needed a little nudge at start and would start itself ok. Then after more levelling it started to need a nudge again. It is however reassuring to read that this is not entirely abnormal.

I am slowly progressing through a youtube vid by Vinyl TV called "Very Detailed Turntable Setup for Beginners" an whilst he uses a AT deck it seems to cover the basic concepts and steps. The process I am going through is being supported with the manuals for the deck/cart/arm from the VE library (thank goodness for that resource!).

However, rather annoyingly my newly purchased spirit level is not level at all. So I have to "level my level" and then have another try at it all. However, I think the increased resistance to footfalls is sign the arm is better set up now. So, yes, slowly but surely I will try and be diligent through all the right steps.

What is left missing from my project? Comedy screwdriver :-))

Very grateful for all the help :) Thank you all.
Mark

sausagecreature
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 18
Joined: 11 Oct 2019 20:42

Re: Levelling a TT - Thorens 321

Post by sausagecreature » 23 Oct 2019 10:00

Update, just managed to source a new stylus N140HE for $50 CAD, which is cheap as chips compared to the prices I have seen elsewhere. It is being sold as a new one as well, which is great news for me. The downside, $80 CAD postage to UK. However, I have now future proofed my arm/cart set up for about £77.

Post Reply