Those familiar with early Thorens models won’t recognise this ‘HD’ version of the TD160 because it’s a far cry from the original TD160 released in 1972 and even further removed from the TD160MkII released in 1976.
Thorens is a Swiss company, and has been for all the fifty or thereabouts years it’s been in business, and given the fame of Switzerland’s watchmakers, and given that turntables are highly mechanical objects, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Thorens makes its turntables in Switzerland. I hate to be the one to disillusion you, but they’re made in Germany.
Those familiar with early Thorens models won’t recognise this ‘HD’ version of the TD160, because it’s a far cry from the original TD160 released in 1972 and even further removed from the TD160MkII released in 1976. This recognition situation is confused even more because in the late 1980s Thorens released two models with automatic tonearm lifters and automatic shut-off mechanisms that it called the TD160SMkIV and TD160SMkV despite the fact that the two were actually based around the chassis of the model TD147 first designed in 1982, and not that of the 1972 TD160.
According to Thorens’ literature, this new ‘HD’ version is based on a ‘progressively dampened sub-chassis which facilitates the use of uni-pivoted tonearms, owing to newly-developed plastic suspension springs,’ such that ‘numerous new components and innovative materials have been employed in a way to achieve a sonically superior performance when compared to its famous predecessor.’
The most obvious new feature of the TD160HD is the single-piece acrylic platter which, when you first place it over the central spindle, looks oddly space-aged against the traditional form factor of the main chassis. This first impression doesn’t last, of course, because after you have fitted the platter, you then have to attach the platter mat, which effectively hides almost all the opaque acrylic from view. And in case you were wondering, most of the photographs of the TD160HD show it without the platter mat in place! (Also true of the lead picture for this review, which was supplied by Thorens, so we have included another photograph that shows the mat covering the platter…Editor)