Thorens Turntable and L/R Balance Question - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 4 Old 02-16-07, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thorens Turntable and L/R Balance Question

Hi there,

I recently received my late father's Thorens turntable. This is the Thorens TD 150 Mk II AB (per the label), circa 1965. Made in W. Germany, my father's native country. He cherished this piece, and it's really nice to have it in my system.

I remember playing drums with this turntable as the source. I was certainly too rough on it back then, but it looks to be in excellent shape. The USPS was able to crack the back of the wooden case, but I glued it back together, and it looks decent. Not perfect, but it's in a relatively hidden spot anyway.

Aside from that, it's pretty clean. There's some sort of residue on beneath the tonearm on part of the metal housing, perhaps from a price tag or something similar; I think I can remove it. And the marking for "33" detent is partially rubbed off (the "0" and "45" are fine).

I also got some records with it. Some classical and big band stuff and some operettas. They're OK, but you can tell that they were pressed when recording techniques were a little less mature. I saw dates like 1968 and 1973. I'll have to see what else is out there. Any recommendations on websites that specialize in this type of thing (and at a reasonable price...)?

Here are some photos:

So, I have some questions. Although I've been dealing with this turntable for 20+ years, I've never really heard it set up as the front end for a decent system. Dad enjoyed audio, but he was cheap-cheap; he especially skimped on speakers. So, I sit down to listen tonight, really for the first time since I've received this thing, and I'm convinced that there is just more volume on the left channel. I played three different records, and they all kept pulling me to the left.

So can I control that? I popped off the back panel previously, and I don't think there is much in the way of electronic control back there. I think we're just connected directly to the cartridge. I calibrated the stylus force to be about 1 gram, but I really don't know what I'm doing. I went from what the Thorens manual said, and then measured it with a device made by Shure (I was impressed to see that they measured so closely). May the stylus itself be bad? Can the whole cartridge somehow be trashed? Actually, I have a feeling that they are one and the same.

I also had a loud buzzing from the left RCA. It sounds like it has a short inside the insulation. I will probably just replace the cables from their main source point inside the case. I just need to get some nice cable and ends...

I don't necessarily know what to do with the anti-skating balance thing. I tried it at both its extremes, and I'm not sure it made a lot of difference. It could be that the recordings are masking any available detail that could be nuanced by the different settings of the anti-skate weight. The Thorens manual did talk about using "calibration" records or some such (which, of course, I do not have...).

So, lemme know what you think. Any help, comment or question welcome!

-- Otto
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-17-07, 04:33 AM
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Re: Thorens Turntable and L/R Balance Question

Is the turntable grounded with the amp?
Maybe fix the balance by panning to the right a bit
If the turntable's 20+ years old you might want to check the condition of the needle to make sure it's still in good condition.

Thats my two cents
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-17-07, 07:16 AM
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Re: Thorens Turntable and L/R Balance Question

Ah, turntable calibration, now you're in for trouble.

First, you're left channel problems could be a wiring issue. You should have four wires that connect to the back of the cartridge that are attached to the back of the cartridge's posts with tiny clips. Make sure all the clips are attached all the way and not loose. If you have any loose clips you need to carefully remove them with tiny needle nose pliers, stick a toothpick in where the post would go and tighten them with the pliers, then reattach (remember which color wires were attached to which posts). See if the tighter connection cleans up the left channel.

You must also align your cartridge so the needle tracks the record correctly in all dimensions and properly set anti-skate to insure good vinyl playback with proper stereo balance and minimizing surface distortions. You will need some tools to do this: set up record (includes cartridge alignment protractor and instructions), stylus force gauge, bubble level, small magnifying glass, small mirror, great lighting (light a bendy arm DJ lamp), small screw/hex drivers and pliers.

I highly recommend checking out 21st Century Vinyl DVD by Michael Fremer. He goes over the whole cartridge alignment process with the above tools and makes it easy to understand. I reviewed the DVD too when it came out a few months back.

Another good set up guide with lots of Thorens info.
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-17-07, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Thorens Turntable and L/R Balance Question

Thanks guys. I'll read up on those links, Kyle. Looksl like good stuff. Turntable calibration, I figured it was coming...

-- Otto
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balance , l or r , question , thorens , turntable

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