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user510's Thorens TD126 mk III project page

As received:

In black trim. Front panel appears to be anodized aluminum plate. 

This model is a suspended sub-chassis design with three conical coil springs supporting and isolating the sub-chassis from the rest of the plinth.

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Notes:

purchased from private party January 2013.

The TP63 armwand is missing from the tonearm, which appears to be a TP16mkIII

Apart from the missing wand, the deck appears to be functional. It switches on.  The strobe lights.  The platter spins.

For the time being I will store this unit in its factory ship carton and wait for two other projects to complete before I examine the insides of this deck.

Meantime, I'd like to collect as many product reviews (from back in the day) for this model as I can find.

Mfr dates: 1977 to -----

We know that Thorens produced a TD126 mk IV well into the 1990's. 

Here is a description of the drive system taken from the owner's manual:

1 step belt drive

DC motor with 72 pole tacho-generator

speeds; 33-1/3, 45, 78 with electronic speed selection

Motor speed control:

Electronic regulation with load-correcting automatic pitch control

Pitch control:

6% illuminated stroboscope

Wow & Flutter:

0.035% per DIN 45.507

Rumble un-weighted: 52 dB per DIN 45.539

Rumble weighted: 72dB per DIN 45.539

Date: 2015/2016

The process begins: TD126 early listening with a Zeta tonearm mounted

After the strobe mirror was glued back into place I found that the TD126III as delivered to me was functional...except for the missing armwand to the TP16 mkIII tonearm.

Having a few different tonearms around I decided to mount the Zeta tonearm to this chassis.  I had a hunch that the Zeta might be a very good match to the TD126 except that I lose all semi-auto features such as; end-of-play arm lift with motor shut-off.  And also the auto start function where one holds the tonearm over the record and the motor automatically starts the platter rotating.  Fine.  I'm used to manual play turntables anyway.

There was a need to cut a new tonearm board to hold the Zeta.  I used the original Thorens armboard as a pattern to make the new one.  And I painted the new board textured black to match the rest of the turntable appearance trim.

DSC_2453.jpg (167343 bytes) Note the SP10 mkII standing aside the Thorens TD126III.  Definitely I have a reference to compare the Thorens to.  How close can it get to the broadcast grade direct drive to the left?

I left the plastic bottom cover off for this early stage.  This way I don't have to worry about arranging an output orifice for the larger diameter phono cables to exit the plinth.  None of the original parts of this player will be modified or compromised in any fashion.  Everything I do will be reversible. 

DSC_2455.jpg (245137 bytes) I will take more photos later of the plinth design for this player.  That way it will be more apparent how I've attached the rather large rubber feet.  I have them attached in the same areas as are the rather wimpy looking plastic feet in the stock configuration.

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Listening observations:

The Zeta tonearm aligned readily using an arc protractor I had already drawn for that tonearm.  The cartridge mounted is a Denon DL-103R with Uwe Panzerholz body and an SS ruby/fine-line stylus/cantilever set.  I eye-balled vta so that the bottom edge of the Uwe body appears parallel to the record surface below it.  A plausible starting point and not far from where I usually get my fine tuning adjustments with this cartridge.

First record: Paul Simon; There Goes Rhymin' Simon.  A record I'm familiar with and a good starting point to ascertain if my vta is in the ball park.  It is.  I was greeted with the familiar sounds of the record as I like it and with plenty of atmospheric glimmer and bloom. Detail levels seemed as high as I normally get out of this arm and cartridge on the other record players I've used them with. A good sense of rhythmic drive.  Not bad for a start.  Then I played a Glen Gould piano rendition of Beethoven's 5th symphony as transcribed by Franz Liszt for piano.  A complete 5th symphony performed at the piano.  A nice listen.  No wavering piano notes were noticed. 

Following the Gould/Beethoven I put on Brian Auger's Oblivion Express; Closer To It!.  A record with a high driving rhythm component.  Again, a good sense of driving rhythm. 

More later.  My goal here is to decide if I want to go deep into this restoration or not.  So far what I've seen and heard is promising.  Very promising.

Date: 2016

TD126 early listening with an Infinity Black Widow tonearm and a Sonus Blue cartridge

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In every way that the BW tonearm with Sonus Blue cartridge sounds good, it continues to sound so on the TD126III.  That said, I find the overall sound of the Pritchard designed Sonus Blue to be quite similar in character to the ADC XLM-II. And I keep those in the box.  For more info on that please refer to my reviews of both cartridges, to be found in the Articles and Reviews departments at this website.

Date: 9/2017

TD126 mkIII early listening with a Graham 2.2 tonearm and an ebony bodied DL-103R mounted.

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Like before, I have that chintzy plastic bottom cover removed so that I can more easily deal with phono cables of the different tonearms I try on this turntable.

In use: TD126mkIII.  Bone stock and about 39 years old.  From a cold start the platter achieves a steady strobe pattern in slightly less than 3 revolutions.  After that the strobe stays rock solid throughout the listening session.  The electronics, no doubt, have some miles on their quartz oscillator.  And the electrolytics, likely, have some deterioration, but this thing still runs nice. I don't expect to find anything alarming on the boards.

As it is in the photo, I like the sound I'm getting quite a lot.  It seems just as lively as with the Zeta tonearm, but the Graham tonearm produces a greater bass weight in its sonic soundscape.  With the Graham, there is deep, deep bass.  There is a very good sense of accurate pace.  Foot tapping, finger snapping tempos have that sense of energy.  Very quiet background.  Good detail reproduction.  

Changing records.  Cueing.  Starting and stopping.  It goes comfortably and conveniently. The Graham does have some waggle about its spike/cone pivot as the arm gets handled by its owner.  One learns not to disturb the suspension of the player while dropping the stylus into the record groove.  I've had zero miss-cues.  It is not hard to manage. 

What if I put a better cartridge on this?  I'm tempted.  But I'd have to buy one.  Maybe I'll listen to this for a while as I do some more tweaking on the TD124.  As a matter of fact, or maybe just right now, I don't miss the TD124.  I'll listen to this TD126-III with Graham tonearm and the Denon DL-103R.