I would like to know about kevinkr's thorens journey

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In a recent thread Kevin Kr mentioned he almost gave up vinyl until the TD 124. This is a request to him to recant his experiences because I, at the minute, have 3 125's. One has a rb300 arm, one is an sme plinthed version with a 3009 arm on it. I am very happy with the AT 150mlx and 440 mla carts as they suit my c3g/6sl7/6g6g phono pre amp. I tried 4 different ortofn mc cartridges with ss head amp, mc step up trannys and 2 different mc tube head amps and absolutely hated the sound of the mc carts. Yes I loaded them yes i spent 12 mothns building, tweaking etc, then one night out of frustration( I didnt want to listen to records on any of the mc carts I owned anymore) I placed an AT440 on the arm and I couldnt believe the transformation. Sadly I lent that cartridge to a forum member who refused to return it so I had to buy another. I am looking at the Nagaoka mm carts to try as well. But I digress.
I have a friend who cans out rim drive turntables as to their rumble etc etc, But I regard kevins opinions far higher than most so I would like to know what he found specifically and what differences he found that made him happy with vinyl.
Over to you Kevin
Joined 2004
Paid Member
Hey Nick,
Tall order.. Enough water has passed under the bridge that it is difficult to recount the entire story. :D

What I can say is that idler drives like the TD-124 and the Garrard 301 just seem to do a better job with dynamics than any belt drive I have yet to hear.

I have settled on the Ortofon SPU as a major ingredient in the equation, but even with the ZU Denon DL-103 the differences between the TD-124 and TD-125 (same SME 3009 Series II arms) was apparent, the 125 just sounded much more laid back and less involving. (Everything was just a bit dull sounding, transients were blunted - clear even in comparison with digital recordings of the same material)

I also have to say that the Grado Platinum Reference was no doubt a major culprit, it is a very soft, polite cartridge with very little ability to render dynamic contrasts. This cartridge was subsequently replaced with the Zu which improved things considerably, but on its own was not quite enough.

My 124/II has a cast iron platter which is pretty non-resonant, by contrast the zamac platter utilized on my 124/I is quite resonant, and the TD-125 even more so in my recollection.

Bass... Better on the TD-124 than any other table I've owned.

Note that a properly restored and plinthed TD-124 is quieter than most if not all mastering lathes apparently. (Neither of my 124s have any audible rumble)

I can't really make a very fair comparison between the two tables since I no longer have a 125, and I have spent rather large sums of money on vinyl playback (Schick arm, Meister Silver SPU) in the interim - interesting though that it took the arrival of a 124 to motivate me.. :D

I guess the one other thing I would say is that I have never had anything that provides the sense of energy, space and performance that these tables provide me - it is a characteristic of both of my 124s despite the many differences between the two. I just seem to be able to listen much deeper into the music..

Disclaimer: Bear in mind this is all anecdotal, my experience only, a lot of water under the bridge here (2yrs), you're legitimately entitled to your different opinion, and finally YMMV..


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what about direct drive decks?

Hi Kevin
Did you experiment with the technics sl1200 or sp10? The budget cannot afford the td124 these days (have you seen the prices?!!). It seems that anything other than belt drive offers more rhythm, bass slam and timing.
I wont ever go back to an mc cart however which may limit me.. but then again i am kind of happy with my current setup anyways.
Good to hear from you
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