The Thorens TD-124 is the king of the idler drive resurgence. Slightly better than the Lenco GL-75 and the Garrard 301, the Thorens TD-124 is truly one of the best turntables of all time.
A key feature of the TD-124 is its motor. It uses a belt to drive its idler wheel, which is a different design concept to other idler drives. The motor itself in the TD124 is not as good as some other motors, but its design is extremely clever and consequently very quiet. The speed is able to be set to 33, 45 and 78 RPM, as well as the outdated 16 RPM. It is able to be adjusted plus or minus 3%.
Forget about rumble, wow and flutter with the Thorens TD-124. With the proper setup, it is a scintillating turntable that can match it with modern turntables worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Buying A Used Thorens TD-124
Expect to pay big bucks for a used Thorens TD-124 on eBay. They are enormously popular and sell for well over $1000.
When found, ensure that the top platter is in perfect shape. Replacing a platter will be difficult and expensive, and bent ones cannot be replaced. Also make sure that the original motor (E-50) is included, rather than any inferior replacement model.
When considering whether to choose a MK1 or MK2, it doesn’t really matter as both are excellent. The MK1 is slightly more collectible, being ‘more antique’. The MK2 has a better platter, as apparently the MK1’s platter is magnetic which can be trouble with some moving coil cartridges.
Maintaining a 50 year old turntable requires some knowledge and hard work. If plug and play is what you want, steer clear of the Thorens TD-124. It benefits greatly from attention to detail regarding isolation. A big heavy plinth is a must. MDF is a good material to use, and there are schematics at vinyl engine.
Thorens TD-124 Specifications
Motor: 10 watt 4 speed motor. Idler driven by belt drive.
Rumble: -40 dB unweighted