Restoring and Improving A Thorens TD-124 MKII - Page 65 - diyAudio
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Old 5th March 2013, 05:29 PM   #641
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Default Update on Thorens rebuild

Last week a rebuild kit of sorts popped up on eBay. While the seller wasn't able to tell me specifically the original source of the kit (a friend bought it for him several years ago. He's since sold the Thorens and had no use for the kit). I couldn't pass up the chance to get several components I knew I needed, so I bought it. Got a new belt, chassis support rubber, motor mounts, strobe mirror, spindle bushings, a separate smaller bushing I suspect is for the drive pulley, and a replacement for the bubble level (mine works, but is a little yellow). I'm rather hoping that five years ago, when this kit was supposedly purchased, that Schopper was selling kits, but haven't been able to confirm that.

Kevenkr, you mentioned Schopper belts. Do they all come with a Thorens stamp on them? Mine doesn't have one, which is the only clue I've got.

Anyway, I've got sufficient parts to start working on the turntable. Nothing specific for the motor, but thought simply doing a thorough cleaning and oiling would be a good first step.
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Old 5th March 2013, 06:05 PM   #642
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Hi Missouricatman,
Sounds like you got a good score there, everything needed to freshen up the table.

Definitely overhaul the motor as discussed earlier in the thread, clean or replace the motor bearings, resist the temptation to just lube it.

The Schopper belt does not say Thorens on it, and in any event the currently available Thorens oem belt is problematic. (Noted elsewhere on this thread)

I no longer remember whether you have a 124/I or a 124/II - if a 124/I make sure you do not have the nylon bushings in the main bearing, if you do these must be replaced - they are not too hard to press out. I would look for the Spanish seller on eBay who sells replacement sintered bronze bushings for the 124.. (The others sourced from US sellers seem to fit too loosely in the bore and may be too tight on the spindle as well. I've not tried the Spanish ones yet, but am not thrilled with the ones made here.)
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Old 5th March 2013, 07:03 PM   #643
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Hi KevinKr:

I've got the MK II. I remember seeing the seller of bushings you mentioned. I suppose the ones I got in this kit are a crap shoot at best, particularly since I've no idea of their original source. What I need to track down here is a good machine shop with the ability not only to press old ones out and replace, but that might be able to put a micrometer on everything, old vs. new. I suppose that's asking for a lot, but then again, knowing where I am now, where I'd be with them replaced would seem worth knowing, if it's knowable.

What we know about this particular MK II is that it is operational, comes up to speed after a few revs., but does speed up a bit after everything's been running for 20 minutes (could be the Mobil 1 I have in there is higher viscosity than is optimal). We also know there is an obvious oscillation in a spectrogram that at the moment I'm attributing to a vibration in the drive pulley. So when it comes to bushings, the one for the drive pulley is the first one to go.

Oh, and we also know who the original owner was, since he scribed his name on the chassis beneath the platter. Doing a simple search I know that was 68 when he passed away and the turntable was donated to a thrift store in a town near him around that time. I do feel something of an obligation to restore and put back into service what I suspect what was a prized possession of his.
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Old 6th March 2013, 02:55 AM   #644
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Over the past 5 - 10 years there have only been a limited number of sources for these parts so the ones you got are undoubtedly just fine.

The biggest issue for me has been the belts, I've bought tons of parts from all of the suppliers on eBay and some from Schopper as well, all have been pretty good with the few noted exceptions I've mentioned in the threads.

I've got two running tables and a parts unit, both with parts sourced from different suppliers, they both make music and sound good.

Note that these tables are not nearly as quiet mechanically as you may be used to, the eddy current brake is quite audible at a small distance away, however very little of this noise gets to the platter particularly if you have the cast iron platter rather than the zamac. (Unfortunately all series 124/II that I have seen in the U.S. have the zamac platter - I've not seen a single one with the cast iron platter.) I acquired a cast iron platter for my 124/II and observed that the table is significantly quieter overall, and the overall presentation is a bit darker/cleaner - I guess the zamac has a midrange zingyness I did not notice until it was gone - I don't miss it.
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Old 6th March 2013, 04:02 AM   #645
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Kevinkr -

When it comes to noise, what I'm used to is a Dual 1219, an idler drive that does need some watching after and even then a good ear placed directly above the idler wheel can often pick it up. I've pulled many a spectrogram via Audacity as I work to dampen the plinth, so I'll be interested to get the Thorens mechanically revived so I can do a comparison. Not expecting miracles, don't even know that the stock TP-14 (if I remember the Thorens number right) couldn't use some TLC as well.

So I'm on a similar journey to the one you probably embarked on many years back when you got your first TD 124. My skill set going in is probably not even what yours was back then, but still I'm intrigued by the workings of the device and I'm only 60, so have plenty of time to work things out! And thanks for giving me a little direction now and then so I don't stray too far off the path.

Last edited by missouricatman; 6th March 2013 at 04:05 AM. Reason: removed question about platter as a quick search gave me answer
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Old 9th March 2013, 03:46 AM   #646
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Hi Kevin,

Just dropped in, and saw your comment about the Zamac platter. My Mk I had it also, and like you, I sourced a cast iron platter, and am much happier with it.

Missouricatman, you'll get some great advice here, welcome to the club!

Last edited by ntesla; 9th March 2013 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 9th March 2013, 04:06 AM   #647
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Geneml, thanks. Kevinkr has helped me quite a bit already!
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Old 9th March 2013, 05:58 PM   #648
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Thanks guys!

Incidentally zamac is a zinc based alloy, rings like a bell, which IMO imparts quite a lot of HF zinginess to the sound, the cast iron platter is much more neutral sounding and significantly quiets down the mechanical symphony these tables emit.

They will never run as audibly silently as a modern direct drive or some conventional belt drives, but more to the point a properly restored and plinthed TD-124 will not contribute a significant amount of rumble and other noise as compared to even the best cutters out there. The only rumble I ever hear is actually from the cutters used to master the record I am listening to, some have virtually none while others are quite noisy. Interesting..
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Old 9th March 2013, 06:37 PM   #649
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kevinkr - The specific alloy is news to me, so thanks for the info. Do you listen with cans? I do fairly often, as it's necessary when I'm working on an audio file sourced from vinyl. I happened upon one record the other day where one side had the oddest noise, apparent in the run-in and I equated it with the cutter head. I'm very attuned to things like 60 cycle hum, can tell when it happened in production vs something's screwed up in my gear. This was a new one on me. I'd call it the electronic equivalent of fingers on a chalkboard, a squealing sound. Very odd indeed. The album had other odd troubles I'd equate with a bad job in mastering or pressing. While I'm used to occasionally getting bleed through for one revolution prior to the beginning of a track, this album not only had it present for 2-3 revs prior to, on songs that had a fairly strong, abrupt end, I caught it there too.

Last edited by missouricatman; 9th March 2013 at 06:37 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 9th March 2013, 07:18 PM   #650
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I live in a cans free world, except when it comes to my iPod. My system outclasses any headphones I have owned so far and I really like speakers in a room.

Very probably that there was an issue with the mastering amplifiers, something oscillating in the chain when the master was cut and no one noticed.

Unfortunately pre-post echo can be a way of life on vinyl, I can hear it quite easily on some of my recordings, a few singles cut on 12" disks with very wide groove spacings seem to exhibit this to a much lesser extent.

Tape print through is often implicated as well which is why I guess tails out storage is important for masters.
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