Linn vs Thorens

Off course there are many good or even better and much more expensive turntables out there. But the classics are Thorens and Linn.

Pre EU common market approach the Thorens TD 160 was a major success amongst audiophiles in Europe and beyond. Taxes and tariffs made that turntable over expensive in the UK and Linn saw the opportunity for the Sondek to take a big chunk of the market to compete against the TD 160.

The Sondek developed into the true icon of turntables. It’s construction was and still is so smart that each of its parts is upgradeable. The most remarkable achievement is that the Sondek LP12 for close to 50 years never saw an end of life, even during the bitter decline of vinyl.

Today starting at EUR 4.000 with the least expensive components and MM cartridge, the top of the bill LP 12 with a couple of third party mods of Tangarine machined aluminum top plate and Woodsong plinth may be yours for close to EUR 30.000.

Thorens survived the bitter decline of vinyl barely through couple of take overs only and the TD 160 became victim of that and missed the beautiful development the Sondek LP12 went through.

A couple of years ago a smart business man, former manager at Elac and Denon / Marantz took over Thorens. He turned the course of product releases of increasingly more expensive models to launching smart low cost models that allow people to enter the vinyl music world but recently launched engineered new successors of the icons TD 160 and TD 124. The TD 1600, TD 1601 and TD 124 DD.

Thorens new models look identical to the old top models but contain state of the art new technology.

Having much respect for Linn, but their upgrade path is from expensive proven technology to more expensive to sinful expensive components based on the same technology.

The top dressed TD 1601 comes with smart opto-electrical end of record stop and armlift to spare the pressures naked diamond on boron cantilever in MC cartridge and balanced outputs and majorly improved subchassis for the cost of the entry level LP12. The top model TD 124 DD with al new technology and top of the bill custom Thorens/Ortofon MC cartridge comes for 20 to 30 % less than the top LP12 if you include a good fully balanced phono stage that is included with the Linn.

Which sounds better, only dealers or those who can afford both can tell.

But one thing is remarkable: The EU common market approach is at shambles due to Brexit: - and the heat is on again between Thorens and Linn in a revived vinyl world.



With the exception of Rega, I suspect most people buy a turntable and stick with it.

The problem is that most decks have poor resale prices and it’s very difficult to compare two decks, because there are so many variables.

Rega, on the other hand, start cheap and even their best P10 is cheap compared to a lot of the bling out there. So they have good resale and a clear upgrade path.

A good vinyl set-up is an expensive luxury and I hope I only have to do it once. My deck is superb, probably worth pennies, but fully serviceable.

One of the guys who started Tangerine was the turntable man at my local audio dealer. A real gent. Tragically died young last year.

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I did not know that he passed away.

This is truly sad news and tragedy. He had been at Beter Beeld en Geluid in Zevenaar, The Netherlands with our Dutch Linn LP 12 expert.

I enjoyed reading and watching any upgrades he made and developed to the Sondek LP 12. To me the Tangarine machined aluminum top plate for the LP 12 made most sense as first upgrade to that turntable.

End of last year couldn’t be any more sad.