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

Greetings,

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

Ex-Moderator
2003-01-18 7:57 am
Near London. UK
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.
 
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.
 
Hi,

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
 
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.

Best..

Barry
 
Hi,

FWIW this a real bargain, and will suit the arm well :

Amazon.com: 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.
 
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GDO

Member
2009-07-23 2:16 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.
 
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 :)
 
Sooo much myth.
Firstly the Thorens arms Are actually decent gizmos..

Hi,

No, They are pretty universally pretty poor.
They look decent but they are not. Not that
they don't work, they don't do a good job.
Fair to middling, but not remotely good.

Having said that, in total Thorens turntables
still made good overall sounds, its a pity that
they didn't have a good arm guru on the case.

I can assure you its not myth. I have the
experience and had the evidence from
years ago. The Thorens arms consistently
let the side down somewhat, and were
never the best part of the turntables.

Which you can't say about Rega.

Still a bargain TD166 is a great buy.

rgds, sreten.
 

GDO

Member
2009-07-23 2:16 pm
The Thorens arms consistently
let the side down somewhat, and were
never the best part of the turntables.

Which you can't say about Rega.

The Lenco's with their gummy bear bearings are probably the worst ever for me.

Maybe the tonarm is the weakest link in a phono set up, way before the cartridge or even the turntable itself...:rolleyes:

Recently changed a Technics SL1200 tonearm for a Rega RB300 ( with Origin Live base), and ... O.M.G ...What a piece of crap was the Technics original...:wchair:
 
A religious Topic?
Clearly myriad opinions on; 'how many angels fit on the head of a pin'

Hi,

Clearly you think how a tonearm performs depends on how
it looks to you and what you think may or may not be right
or wrong about it. That is pure self biased deluded opinion.

Some are convinced their rather mundane turntables are
perfect because they cannot imagine what it does wrong.

Faith in your opinion is not knowledge, and leads to pretty
clueless debate. Your opinion may be related to make up
the answer to 'how many angels fit on the head of a pin'
but my opinion has nothing to do with such nonsense.

In fact I never offer opinions based on pure conjecture,
that would be insulting to anyone with any intelligence.

rgds, sreten.

My brother recently rebuilt a stock Thorens arm, with
some difficulty on his Thorens deck, but reports that
the result was a "chalk and cheese" improvement.
 
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I wasn't going to respond, but, well, you know how it sometimes difficult to NOT scratch a particularly itchy spot even when you know it's best not to? Well.. this is kind of like that. Oh well... here goes..

Hi,

Clearly you think how a tonearm performs depends on how
it looks to you and what you think may or may not be right
or wrong about it. That is pure self biased deluded opinion.

Umm... "Clearly" there's nothing in Bare's posts that make it clear that he is basing his perceptions on tonearm performance by looks. As a matter of fact, if you had taken the time to read through Nanook's 2.19 tonearm thread (which really fascinated me), you would have seen that appearance is probably the LAST criterion in Bare's mind. Mine, too.


Some are convinced their rather mundane turntables are
perfect because they cannot imagine what it does wrong.

Please pardon us plebians who love music and are forced to make do with "mundane" turntables so that we, too, can listen and enjoy music along with those of you who need not suffer the mundane. Sir Dude, if you feel that the Thorens TD166 and associated tonearm are mundane gear, you have not ever lived in the real world. Compared to the vast majority of turntables that have been in general use by the general populace since the assimilation of turntables into households across the globe decades ago, the Thorens is very much on top of the heap populated by Crosley, BIC, bottom of the line Technics, Audio-technica, and assorted other TRUE entry level offerings. "Mundane"..... Sheesh.

Faith in your opinion is not knowledge, and leads to pretty
clueless debate. Your opinion may be related to make up
the answer to 'how many angels fit on the head of a pin'
but my opinion has nothing to do with such nonsense.

"Clueless." "Nonsense." Nice. Very helpful. Isn't the high end community a joyful place to be?

In fact I never offer opinions based on pure conjecture,
that would be insulting to anyone with any intelligence.

In fact, at least in this thread, you have never offered an opinion based on fact, i.e., data. You, too, have offered your opinion, and nothing but your opinion. That's fine. However, denouncing other's opinions as "clueless," "nonsense," and "deluded" when you have nothing to offer in factual data to prove your statements IS, by definition, insulting and singularly rude. You much prefer your gear, and you hate Thorens tonearms. So be it. I stand, FIRMLY, by my earlier post. The Thorens TD166MkII AND its tonearm were, IN MY OPINION as a professional musician for four decades who's accutely aware of the true sound of real instruments, as a professional and amateur (meaning, "one who gets paid" and "one who loves") recording engineer, and home audio hobbyist since practically my birth, a substantial improvement in all aspects of sound (bass control, soundstage, and timbre, to name the most noticeable) over my earlier AR and Dual tables. My VPI Scout (is that mundane, too? Please tell me, O Revered One) sounds better that my still-beloved-and-useful Thorens, but not by near the amount that the Thorens bettered my previous tables.

rgds, sreten.

That was the best part. You actually had the nerve to finish your post with "regards," when you, in your words, "clearly" have no regard for differing opinions.

Well... there. I scratched that itch. Probably a bad idea. I just have a hard time these days accepting bad manners.

In any case, I DO wish you and everyone else the best life has to offer each of us. Enjoy the music. Enjoy the gear. Enjoy the hobby. Enjoy prioritizing those three as you wish, and spend as much money as you wish doing so. Throughout the process, maybe we can just help and encourage each other instead of playing 3rd grad "My gear's bigger than your gear" games?

Love and snoodles,

Barry
 
Hi,

This is pathetic. Thorens arms are generally poor and some know that.

If you know little saying they are fine isn't helping anyone. As
is allusion to faith based issues having any basis in reality.

I admit I was being rude, but such nonsense arguments are also rude.

Its pointless degenerating a technical issue to personal slights
and behaviour, morally right is not remotely technically right.

IMO "scratching your itch" has nothing to do with the real issue.
You paraphrase lots of opinions I simply don't hold, misquote
and misrepresent. Basically your opinion of the issues ignoring
anyone elses, but complaining all the time of misunderstanding.
Needless to say, said analysis adds no useful extra insight.

Tedious. Its not all about you and your opinions, it is about fact.

rgds, sreten.

You can disagree and state the Thorens arms are just dandy,
and that my brothers opinion of his rebuilt arm is delusional.
However some will know you simply don't know your stuff.
 
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... Basically your opinion of the issues ignoring
anyone elses, but complaining all the time of misunderstanding.
Needless to say, said analysis adds no useful extra insight.

Tedious. Its not all about you and your opinions, it is about fact.

rgds, sreten.

...

I couldn't ask for a more thoughtful, well-written, grammatically correct, data-based rebuttal of my previous post. Thank you for citing your data. I stand corrected based upon your factual post. I will now sell my Thorens, based upon your advice. Heck, maybe I'll just throw it in the trash.

Love,

Barry
 
I couldn't ask for a more thoughtful, well-written, grammatically correct, data-
based rebuttal of my previous post. Thank you for citing your data. I stand
corrected based upon your factual post. I will now sell my Thorens, based
upon your advice. Heck, maybe I'll just throw it in the trash.

Love,

Barry

Hi, More pointless opinion. I don't care what you think about
my "alleged" advice, its just self serving self justification.

Get off your hypocritical soapbox and accept that some of us
don't take to being flatly contradicted by opiniated dogma.

rgds, sreten.
 
Hi, More pointless opinion. I don't care what you think about
my "alleged" advice, its just self serving self justification.

Get off your hypocritical soapbox and accept that some of us
don't take to being flatly contradicted by opiniated dogma.

rgds, sreten.

Sreten (help me w/ the pronunciation?),

Look, we've never met. I know nothing about you other than what you've written in this thread, and you know nothing about me other than the same. For all I know, you may very well have excellent ears and a large degree of knowledge about circuit topology, physics, electrical engineering, and acoustics. In this thread, you have written nothing that indicates that; you have only offered your opinion. Can you not read your most recent post that I've just quoted, objectively, and see that what you've written could easily have been written about YOUR posts? You've accused me of misquoting and misrepresenting you; that's impossible because all I did was quote your posts verbatim. There's no way I could have misquoted you, and any misrepresentation would lie in any potential lack of clarity in your writing.

I, too, have not offered any concrete empirical evidence for my opinions regarding the quality of the Thorens arm and turntable. I do not expect anyone to accept my opinion as fact; to do that with any opinions offered on the internet is a sure path to total frustration. Likewise, while you certainly have the right to feel your opinions strongly, neither should you expect anyone to take your biased opinions (meaning, statements given without any empirical or statistical data or measurements to back them up) as fact. You are NOT right. Neither are you WRONG. I am not right nor wrong either. Our opinions differ. We disagree.

I am far from a hypocrite, and if I have a soapbox, it's a soapbox whose platform is based on mutual respect, kindness, and assistance. Granted, my obviously sarcastic previous reply wasn't exactly kind, but your response truly astonished me, and not in a good way.

In my lines of work as a musician, educator, and recording engineer, I've dealt with thousands of people from all walks of life, from the humblest beginner to world-renouned household-name artists and technicians. I feel comfortable stating that, in almost every case, the truly skilled, knowledgeable people at the top of their professions were humble, friendly folks who were always willing to listen to suggestions, opinions, and ideas. The ones who were sure they knew everything were, without exception, the ones who still had much to learn. The reason they still had much to learn is because they stopped learning at the point they decided they were always right.

I don't like to see anyone being browbeaten. I entered this thread originally so that folks contemplating a Thorens table at a given pricepoint could be assured that a Thorens TD166mkII (and it's associated arm) is more than capable of helping the listener achieve an enjoyable, involving musical experience, and that it would be a decided step up from many budget turntables (Audio Technica, Crosley, Jensen, lower line Technics.. there's a ton of them). Do you disagree with those points? If someone had $250 to spend on a turntable, a used Thorens would be an excellent investment.

Not everyone can spend thousands of dollars on a turntable. I spent well into four figures for my VPI Scout because I'm finally at a time in my life where my finances allow me to do so. Yes, it's better than my Thorens, but I've already said that. I'm assuming we agree there, too. I've also stated that the improvement in sound quality between my previous AR and Dual 'tables and the Thorens was larger than the improvement in sound quality between the VPI and the Thorens. As in all things in life, after a certain price point, the law of diminishing returns rears its ugly head, and in the audio world that law is especially prevalant.

So, to other readers, a Thorens 'table is an excellent choice at its price point. It deserves better than a $20 cartridge (I've used a $75 Shure, a Pickering, and a Sumiko BluePoint on mine. The Shure was a little harsh but tracked very well (although the others do, too), but the Pickering was a huge step up, and the BluePoint was the most natural sounding w/ the best imaging). If you have kilobuck amps, $1000 "interconnects" and power cords, then of course you've got money to look at turntables in other strata. My Thorens lived happily (and still does) with everything from a Dynaco SCA-80Q in my poverty years to a Hafler DH-110 pre and XL-280 for many many years, and eventually an Adcom GFP-565 pre and B&K ST140 amp in recent history. It's back with the Hafler equipment paired w/ some Maggies in a second loft stereo now. The Thorens is a very nice piece of equipment. It won't sound awful anywhere. There are turntables that'll sound better but they cost a lot more than a used TD166mkII (the subject of this thread), and there's no point unless you have truly wonderful speakers and amplification in the first place.

To Sreten - Are we still in disagreement? Those are the only points I was making. I did take you to task for your tone and lack of respect, and that hasn't changed. You still reply with vehemence, anger, and to borrow your word, very dogmatically. I probably can't change that; people are who they are. I hope you don't fault me for at least making the attempt, but if you do, I can certainly live with it.

With that, I'm out of this thread. Feel free to have the last word.

All my best,

Barry