Thorens TD 160 Mk II

Thorens TD 160 Mk II
- and the famous Isotrack tonearm


Standard with TP-16 Mk II or Mk III Isotrack tonearm

AC 16pole synchronous motor, belt drive, 33 and 45 rpm, mechanically switched, platter weight 3.2 kg (with subplatter), platter and armbase suspended by three springs, manual operation


The turntable

The picture shows my TD 160 Mk II with TP-16 Mk III Isotrack tonearm and Audio-Technica cartridge.
I don’t remember exactly when I got it but I know I bought it for 100 Euro and I believe that I got it with a cartridge (Elac?) I sold for 20 Euros shortly after.

The TD 160 Mk II is in my opinion the most beautiful Thorens ever, especially in this gorgeous teak plinth.
It’ s a simple but classic design, and it looks and feels just like a suspended belt-driven turntable should.
The built-quality is nothing but superb.

No automatic features, just a manually operated turntable. If you think that you might need auto lift-off than you can try to get hold of a Q-Up, a spring-loaded device to raise the tonearm when the inner groove has been reached. The tonearm of course features a lift.

The tonearm

Yes, that famous Isotrack tonearm ...
The old-fashioned TP-16 was succeeded in the Mid-Seventies by the TP-16 Mk II / Mk III which featured interchangeable armwands while the effective mass was reduced to 7.5 grams. The use of high-compliant cartridges was starting to get most popular around the world, and even SME introduced their mass-reduced Improved tonearms then.

So what’s the difference between Mk II and Mk III ?
Nothing but a different headshell. The fist version of the amwand (Mk II) was named TP-62, shortly after the Mk III’s TP-63 succeeded ist. But that’s all.

The TP-16 II / III is quite similar to the TP-11 II / III (this arm features a threaded weight for antiskating, the TP-16 uses a more sophisticated technique with magnetic force), so please bear in mind that turntables with these ultralight Isotrack tonearms should not be partnered with low compliant cartridges like the famous Denon DL 103.

If you would like to use a top mc cartridge with the TD 160 Mk II you could search for a TMC 63. This is the “little brother” of the legendary EMT-Tondose, built in a matching armwand and with its specifications changed for the use with a VTF of just 1.7 grams.
The impedance (22 ohms) and output (1 mV) have not been changed, and the sound is just wonderful. This cartridge is best partnered with the Thorens PPA 990 prepreamplifier.

As I mentioned before - the Isotrack is a very light tonearm with an eff. mass of just 7.5 grams.
But there’s more - or I better should say less : the TPO 63 armwand with integrated Ortofon mm-cartridge. The eff. mass is reduced to 4.5 grams - VTF just one gram !
This armwand can be used only with a special weight which is much lighter than the standard counterweight.

You will find more interesting information regarding these Thorens tonearms at Steve Clarks website

System : Rogers E-20a integrated valve amplifier, Spendor BBC LS 3/5a, phonostages from Creek (OBH-8), Musical Fidelity (X-LP),
Linn (Linto), Brinkmann (Fein) and transformers from Denon (AU-320) and Ortofon (T-10, T-20).
Transformers connected to the Rogers’ integrated phonostage.

> Holger Trass 2003 <