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sonictonicmusic 24th March 2008 01:26 AM

Need help with Phono Cartridge for Thorens TD-166-MKII

I am planning to purchase a Thorens TD-166-MKII, which does not come with a cartridge.

Since I will need to buy one..any thoughts or experience for what might be a good fit and why?

Also, I welcome any feedback and ideas from other owners of the Thorens TD-166-MKII

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and feedback.

EC8010 24th March 2008 09:45 AM

Welcome to the forum!

As I recall, the TD166 comes with its own (rather indifferent) arm having a removable "wand" near the pivot. The headshell is somewhat flimsy, but there isn't much point in doing anything about it because the joint isn't rigid either. The arm's horizontal bearings are exactly what you'd find in a bicycle wheel - cup and cone.

How do I know all this? I suffered the arm as an impoverished student. I made a more rigid headshell and convinced myself it was worth the effort (it probably wasn't) and one day the arm wouldn't follow the groove. I opened it up and found the cup and cone horribly pitted.

To cut a long story short, I'd suggest you find an arm more worthy of the turntable. Maybe even make one. Then you can fit a decent cartridge and not risk your record collection.

analog_sa 24th March 2008 09:55 AM


Originally posted by EC8010
I suffered the arm as an impoverished student.

So did i. Albeit very briefly. Tried several cartridges. The moving coils simply didn't work. The arm requires a high compliance cart; a Pickering and a Shure worked really well.

makinson1 27th March 2008 01:35 AM

Hope yer gettin the Thorens really cheap cause the comments about the tonearm are understatements. And the mounting method is kinda problematic for a retrofit :-)
My advice would be to pick up an used tonearm that hasn't had the bearings trashed or overtightened, then find out what cartridges would be appropriate for the given effective moving mass. E.G., high mass, then maybe a stiff cartridge like the Denon DL-160 or one of the new Ortophon Dance cartridges. Low mass, can't go wrong with a Grado.

Irakli 27th March 2008 04:32 AM


I have Thorens 166 Mk II and currently I am using AT 440MLA and before that I had Grado.

Your Thorens probably has TP11 MkIII arm with effective mass 7.5g

You need to choose a cartridge with such a mass and compliance that resonant frequency (f) ideally should be in the range of 10-12Hz.
How you do it:
get cartridge data.
add tonearm effective mass to cartridge mass (M).
calculate resonant frequency using formula:

f(Hz)=(1/(2*3.14))*SQRT(C *M)
where M is combined mass (in grams) and C is compliance (x10^-6 cm/dyne)

F should be between 10-12 Hz

wwfoto 24th July 2013 08:43 PM

impressive math
Iraki's math is impressive..where does one locate aforementioned AT 440 MLA?

bblument 18th April 2016 10:33 PM

FWIW, to the O.P. back in 2008.. lol... I wouldn't worry too much about the cautions re/ the arm. I bought my TD166mkII new back in the late 1980s (I think), and it continues to serve me very well. Cartridges have included a late 1960s ADC Model 25, then a Shure M75E, then a Pickering TL-2S, and then a Sumiko Blue Point high output MC for the last 18 years or so. The tonearm did very well with all of those cartridges, provided you take the time to set them up correctly. Use the shims to properly set VTA/SRA, use a stylus weight gauge to set tracking force (the markings on the tonearm weight are very inaccurate), set the azimuth (a little tricky to get PERFECT, but it's possible to get very close; the headshell DOES rotate), set the anti-skate properly apropros the manual, and enjoy the music.

The Shure cartridge worked very well, but didn't blow me away with it's sonic quality. The Pickering was a lot more revealing, but could sound a bit harsh at times. The Blue Point was a GREAT pairing for this table/tonearm.. that's why I used it for so long.

Prior to the Thorens, I owned an AR, followed by a Dual. The Thorens was a huge leap forward. I recently bought a VPI Scout and yes, it's a lot better than the Thorens. It also lists for $2200. The Thorens TD166 is a great table at its pricepoint. Folks trashing its arm or other things about the TD166 may be correct when comparing it to 'tables and arms costing thousands of dollars, but so what? The Thorens will definitely let you enjoy listening to music. That's the whole point. If you have a lot of money and want to spend it, go ahead. If you don't but want something better than the usual run-of-the-mill cheapos, enjoy the Thorens.



sreten 29th April 2016 08:47 PM


FWIW this a real bargain, and will suit the arm well : Audio-Technica AT92ECD Universal Replacement Magnetic Phono Cartridge: Musical Instruments

Its a high compliance, low tracking weight (1.5g), 0.3 x 0.7 elliptical. The
same tip as the $75 AT100E. You will need to use the supplied 1/2" adaptor.

For value, nothing can touch it, and the arm doesn't really deserve
anything much better, that will cost at least as 4 times as much.
(Ten times as much in the case of the AT440MLa.)

rgds, sreten.

GDO 29th April 2016 09:17 PM

In my experience low cost AT models like 91 or 95 work fine with anything, much better than low (or not so low) cost Shure, Ortofon, or Grado models. Though Goldring Elektra is my current "never mind the tonearm / turntable" prefered choice.

Bare 30th April 2016 12:26 AM

Sooo much myth.
Firstly the Thorens arms Are actually decent gizmos..
Do you really think Thorens Messed up that badly??.. IF healthy and adequately setup. the oem Arms are surprisingly good.
Mainly IMO a question of Who's 'member' is bigger viewpoints :rolleyes:
Not surprisingly many (most?) don't have a system with the resolving power to differentiate.. minute differences in arm constructions
And even then; Viny lrecordings, which when current, were acknowledged by Audio Weenies of the day that by the 6 or 8th playback the sounds had audibly deteriorated.
Which happens when one drags a Diamond thru Soft vinyl.
Buy something affordable and Enjoy the music Not just the Sounds :)

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