Ironic then, that just as the suspended deck seems finally to have had its day, the latest TD160 incarnation should arrive. But just as Thorens themselves have been through a major transformation, changing ownership and revisiting the electronics market with some really rather impressive power amplifiers, the TD160 you see before you today, whilst sharing a basic concept with its various ancestors, employs materials, engineering and execution that have changed out of all recognition. Look a little closer and you find a deck that whilst superficially similar is technologically far more impressive. But the best bit of all: it’s simpler, even more sensible, but the performance now needs no apologies. Add that to all the techy stuff you can wax lyrical about and the dear old TD160 has become downright sexy.
So what have we got? Outwardly the TD160HD employs similar, compact plinth dimensions and the same moulded lid as the original. That’s where the material similarities cease. The lid no longer even comes with hinges – removing the lid whilst playing being one of the standard tweaks in ages past. The sub-chassis is now constructed from RDC material, and suspended on sophisticated polymer grommets that provide exceptional isolation coupled to good mechanical stability, meaning speed stability is also improved. Drive is from a slow-speed synchronous motor, fitted with a large diameter, crowned profile nylon pulley and fed from an external, plug-top supply. This uses the standard Thorens flat belt to drive a one-piece acrylic platter, possibly the biggest single change from the original design with its two-part aluminium platter. You even get a nifty little device that enables you to position the belt correctly. The platter sits directly on the new, larger-diameter bearing shaft, supported by a large cir-clip. The top of the platter surface is recessed to accept a two-piece, course cork mat, similar in design to the Loricraft ones, the large cut-out in the top layer forming the label recess. A large switch on the front corner of the plinth allows electronic selection of 33 and 45 (although personally I’d have loved to see the old, almond-shaped knob retained, perhaps in acrylic to match the platter.