Thorens
Thorens
Thorens

Thorens

The history of Thorens began in 1883, more than 130 years ago. It was then that the family business of Herman Thorens was registered in the Swiss city of Saint-Croix.

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The main products were watches and music boxes. That is, in fact, from its very founding, the company has been involved in music reproduction media and has remained faithful to its chosen path for more than a century. In 1903, the first Edison-type phonographs from the Thorens brand were released, and in 1906, horn gramophones for shellac records appeared – the grandfather of the modern vinyl disc player.

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Herman Thorens 

44 years after its opening, in 1927 the Thorens family company was transformed into the joint stock company Hermann Thorens SA. A year later, in 1928, a patent was received for the world’s first direct drive electric motor for electric gramophones. Another year later, another significant event occurred – the creation of an electric pickup head with a moving magnet, which made it possible to realize a previously inaccessible level of playback quality. In fact, it is electric gramophones with MM-type pickups that are the direct ancestors of vinyl disc players.

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Gramophone Thorens Majestic 1907 (year) 

In addition, the first half of the twentieth century was marked by the emergence of a number of completely different products, which also managed to leave their mark on history. From 1913 to 1964, lighters with automatic ignition (the prototype of the legendary Zippo) and mechanical razors Thorens Riviera were produced under the Thorens brand.

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Portable gramophone Thorens Exelda 1930 (year) 

In 1927, the family business grew into the joint stock company AG (abbreviated from Aktiengesellschaft), and already in 1928, the first gramophone with an electric motor and, by the way, direct drive, which was patented, appeared in the Thorens model range. The following year saw another breakthrough with the introduction of the first electric moving magnet cartridge.

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Music box Thorens Two Song (1940) 

In 1933, the legendary Omnix MM cartridge was included in the Thorens production program, which provided accurate sound and had a tracking force of 110 g (yes, a little heavy by the standards of modern LPs, but it was a good indicator for that time). In 1943, the company created a number of players with automatic record changing, and in October a tragic event occurred – the founder of the brand, Herman Thorens, died.

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Thorens Riviera razor (1956) 

After the war, the Thorens company began mass production of audiophile vinyl turntables, which are still examples of high-quality audio equipment. A landmark model for Thorens was the TD 124 Hi-Fi turntable, designed by engineer Louis Thevenaz. The device was officially introduced in 1957, had a 12-inch cast iron support disk weighing 4.5 kg, a powerful synchronous motor, 4 speeds (16, 33, 45 and 78 rpm) and a platform on which any Standard tonearm to choose from.

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Lighter Thorens (1950) 

The model had a unique drive: from the engine pulley, using a thick short belt, the moment was transmitted to a stepped pulley connected to a roller that rotated the support disk. The turntable was in great demand and was the object of desire for quality sound lovers, which ultimately served as the starting point for the complete reorientation of Thorens to the production of high-end vinyl sources. By the time production of the TD 124 ceased in 1967, more than 90 thousand copies of this model had been sold worldwide.

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Thorens TD 124 (1957)

From 1958 to 1961, the TD 184, TD 134 (with BL104 tonearm), TD 135 and the top-end BTD-12S tonearm were produced. The design of these models has been somewhat simplified. They were intended to fill various price niches. Later, the TDW 224 device with automatic record changing appeared in the line. The following year, Thorens began collaborating with the Swiss brand Paillard SA, a manufacturer of typewriters and film cameras. However, three years later the alliance disintegrated due to disagreements.

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Thorens TD 184 (1961) 

In 1965, the progressive compact TD 150 was introduced, featuring a floating, spring-loaded, three-point subchassis that featured a TP13 tonearm, a zinc alloy platter, and a bearing assembly with a stainless steel shaft and a sintered bronze bushing. A synchronous 16-pole 2-phase AC electric motor was attached to the main chassis. The torque was transmitted using a belt, which allowed to reduce detonation. This ensured excellent performance and reduced noise levels.

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Thorens TD 224 (1962)  

In 1966, Thorens merged with Wilhelm Franz EMT, rebranding to Thorens-Franz AG and moving production facilities and research/development departments to Germany. In 1968, a new flagship TD 125 with electronic engine speed control was released, as well as a version TD 125 LB with an extended base for 12-inch tonearms.

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Thorens TD 150 (1965)  

The top-of-the-line 1974 model TD 126 with TP16 tonearm had illuminated control buttons and electronic push-button switching between three speeds (33.3, 45 and 78 rpm), but used the same 16-pole synchronous AC motor. By 1975, the company produced its 500,000th vinyl record player.

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 Thorens TD 125 (1972) 

In 1978, a new flagship TD 126 MkIII appeared with an Isotrack tonearm with a low effective mass. It featured a 72-pole DC motor with tachogenerator, an additional motor for raising the tonearm, and other improvements.

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Thorens AT-403 (1978)  

At the same time, Thorens introduced the AT403 receiver, PC 650 cassette deck, Sound Wall speakers and a Rumpelmeßkoppler device for measuring rumble in turntables. In 1979, a massive Thorens Reference model was created, using metal granules for damping and weighing 90 kg – the prototype of modern top high-end players.

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Thorens Reference (1979) 

The company continued to improve its range of turntables, releasing more and more advanced devices. In the early 80s, the line was supplemented with the TD 226 turntable with space for two tonearms and a special mat with a vacuum pump for more reliable clamping of records. In 1983, a 55 kg reference level model, Thorens Prestige, appeared.

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Thorens TD 524 (1982) 

In 1983, for the 100th anniversary of the brand, important changes took place – the Thorens structure was completely reorganized and divided into three independent companies: Thorens-Cabasse Vertriebs GmbH (sales organization and distribution of goods in Germany), EMT-Franz GmbH (development and research in the field of studio equipment prof.) and Thorens Produktions GmbH (research, development and production in Lahr, Germany).

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Thorens Prestige (1983)  

In 1988, the original Thorens Concrete concept was created with a base made of concrete. In 1990, the TD 3001 High End player appeared in the program, at the same time there was another transfer of the company’s production facilities within Germany.

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Thorens TD 320 (1984)  

In 1994, a tube preamp and power amplifier from the new Consequence family was released, as well as a tube preamp and power amplifier from the Classic series. A year later, the first CD players, an RDS tuner and even an external DAC appeared in the Thorens program. In 1996, the line was supplemented with amplifier monoblocks and a network air conditioner. In 1995, the Thorens research laboratory was established in Berlin to develop and produce high-end audio equipment.

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Thorens TD 521 (1986)  

In 2000, production in the area of ​​Lahr (Germany) had to be curtailed due to the crisis. However, by the end of the millennium, the number of Thorens turntables produced had reached a record 1,300,000 units. In 2002, the company was re-registered in Switzerland under the name Thorens Services Ltd. with headquarters in Giebenach. There was a complete reorganization of Thorens under a new owner.

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Thorens Phantasie (1986)  

In 2005, the TD 800 vinyl turntable was introduced, and a year later the Thorens Electronic line of electronic components appeared. In 2008, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary, and a year later the TD 309 turntable was released with a figured table shape and a spring-loaded Tri-Balance subchassis. Currently, the majority of Thorens production facilities, where almost all of the company’s products are assembled and configured, are located in Germany. The modern model range of Thorens vinyl turntables is divided into three main lines – entry-level, middle and top.

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Thorens Concrete (1989)  

In the 20th century, Thorens sold 1,300,000 turntables, an absolute record for this market segment. And all thanks to loyalty to traditions and a principled approach to quality. For a company with such a rich history of working with analogue sound, the move towards digital technology could not last long, so at the beginning of the 21st century, the model range was again formed around vinyl players. From the expanded line of products in support of vinyl, in addition to phono preamplifiers, only high-end pre-amplifiers and final amplifiers remain. In this regard, it is very symbolic that, as a result of restructuring, the Thorens company was re-registered in its homeland, Switzerland.

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Thorens TD 3001 (1990)  

The most significant event in recent years was the release of the TD309 model in 2009. The new product is equipped with a new tonearm TP92, the tube of which is made of high-quality aluminum by cold forging. Its design was developed and studied using laser measurement methods to track the slightest mechanical resonances. The bearing assembly is raised to the stylus level, just like in previous generation tonearms. At the same time, the bearings themselves are high-precision, made in Japan, filled with specially prepared oil. The turntable table is made of MDF and has a complex shape reminiscent of an arrowhead. It is mounted on an updated Tri-Balance three-point subchassis. An electronically controlled DC synchronous motor drives an aluminum lower platter supported by a glass upper platter. The TD309 is available in bright red, black or white lacquer. This is another example of a successful combination of design and advanced technology, which has already been continued in the modern Thorens model range in the form of more affordable models TD209, TD206 and TD203.

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Thorens Consequence (1994) 

A couple more models that went on sale in 2011 also claim to be not only technically advanced, but also extremely stylish. TD2015 and TD2035 have cases made of thick 33mm sheet of transparent acrylic, the wide palette of colors of which will be appreciated by lovers of bright, memorable things.

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Thorens TD 2035 (2014)  

More than fifty years have passed since the appearance of the first Thorens vinyl disc player, but even in the most modern developments you can see features of models from different years, implemented using modern technologies. An example of this is the current flagships of the Thorens line. The TD350 is a classic turntable with a plywood cabinet mounted on a massive sub-chassis using a high-tech IDD spring suspension system that provides independent vertical and horizontal vibration damping. The massive 4 kg aluminum rim is driven by a proprietary high-quality belt and a synchronous motor with electronic stability control.

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Thorens TD 550 (2015) 

The oldest model, the TD550, has a more modern design, combining lacquered wood with an aluminum front panel, but all the basic solutions are similar to the TD350 model. Of course, this could not have happened without the use of high-tech materials. The TD550’s subchassis is made of carbon fiber, and the tonearm mounting area is made of carbon fiber composite.

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Thorens TD 907 (2017) 

From the very first turntable, the TD124, to the present day, the Thorens name has been and remains synonymous with exceptional quality and true Swiss precision. And this is exactly the case when conservatism and loyalty to tradition are the key values ​​of the company. Highlights in the history of the Thorens company  1883 Hermann Thorens’ family business of music boxes and clocks is founded in St. Croix, Switzerland 1906 Transition to the production of horn gramophones on shellac discs 1913 – 1964 Manufacture of lighters 1914-1952 Manufacture of harmonicas (except 1921-1938)  1927 Creation of a joint stock company 1928 Creation of the first direct drive electric motor for gramophones 1929 Creation of the first sound cartridge based on the principle of a moving magnet 1933/34 Production of wireless devices 1935-1938 Production of six patented types of wireless tube devices 1940-1950 Production of sound pickup heads and professional machines for recording records 1943 Founder Hermann Thorens died on October 13 1944/1945 Electrodynamic cartridges Fugue, Gavotte, Rondo and the Crystal piezoelectric pickup were introduced 1947 Thorens moved to new factory premises in Crissier-Rennes, Switzerland 1948 Launch of the CD 50, a twin-motor player capable of playing records on both sides 1949 Presentation wireless scanner device 1950 – 1954 Release of players with three speeds: CB 33, CD 43 and CD 63 1954 – 1960 Production of mechanical razors “Riviera” 1954 Since then, the company has been producing Hi-Fi devices. Excelda portable gramophone discontinued 1957 TD 124 hi-fi player and PR 15 tube mono amplifier introduced 1958 – 1961 TD 184, TD 134 (with BL104 tonearm), TD 135 and BTD-12S tonearm models introduced.  1959 Release of the PR 24 tube stereo amplifier 1962 Release of the unique hi-fi class player with automatic record changer TD 224 1963 Thorens SA merges with Paillard SA (Switzerland) 1965 Release of the TD 150 model with a TP 13 tonearm 1966 From July 1, 1966, all production of Thorens music players was transferred to the Swiss company Thorens-Franz AG.  1968 Launch of the TD 125 with electronic control and TP 25 tonearm 1969 Launch of the TD 150 Mk II with the new TP 13A tonearm 1972 Launch of the legendary TD 160, TP 16 tonearm and further development of the TD 125 with TP 16 tonearm 1975-76 TD introduced 126 with electronic control and TP 16 tonearm

1976 Launch of the revolutionary low dynamic mass Isotrack tonearm. Launch of the TD 126 Mk II with the TP 16 Mk II tonearm. Thorens begins production of the high-end receiver AT 410
1978 The Thorens lineup adds the TD 110, TD 115, TD 126 Mk III, AT 403 receiver, PC 650 cassette deck, Sound Wall loudspeakers and pickup heads
1977 – 1981 Model TD 126 Mk III, high rated by the international audio press as the ideal turntable, equipped and sold with virtually every high-end tonearm on the market
1979 Development of the advanced Reference model, which became the benchmark for test and measurement purposes
1981 – 1983 Introduction of the TD 226 model with vacuum clamping of records and space for two tonearms , also adapted to accommodate 12-inch tonearms
1982 Launch of the TD 524, a professional turntable that has few analogues. Launch of the improved models TD 166 Mk II, TD 160 Mk II, TD 110 Mk II and TD 115 Mk II
1983 Centenary of Thorens The highest quality device is launched on the market: the Thorens “Prestige” model. Release of anniversary models TD 126 “Centennial” and TD 147 “Jubilee”
1984 Design, development and release of a new standard – models TD 320
1985 Following the TD 320, models TD 316, TD 318 and TD 321 were released
1986 Release of models TD 520 and TD 521, continuation of the TD 126 line. The “Phantasie” model, a version of the TD 320, made entirely of acrylic, is presented to the public
1988 The new design of the tonearm TP 90 is released The TD 535 model is released, a professional turntable for discotheques
1989 The development of the hi-end turntable TD 2001 The “Concrete” model is introduced “, which won a lot of praise for its design
1990 Launch of the advanced hi-end model TD 3001, further development of the TD range 2001
1990/91 Transfer of Thorens production facilities to a new factory in Friesenheim near Lahr, and sales, marketing and supply departments to another building in the Lara area.
1991 Release of the new TP 50 tonearm and the TD 180 model, an excellent semi-automatic turntable in its price class
1992 Release of the TD 290 model, a high-end turntable for audiophiles with an average budget
1993 In Lodz (Poland), the production of low-budget Torens models continued
1994 Development and introduction of new branded Thorens components. Release of a CD player, D/A converter and RDS tuner
1996 – 1998 A pair of powerful monoblock amplifiers appears in the Thorens Consequence family, an integrated amplifier TIA 2003 and a CD player TCD 2300
1999 The latest models of Thorens players TD 325 and TD 190 are released
2000 Thorens factory in the German city of Lahr was closed due to the crisis

The company Thorens Laboratory in Berlin also suffered from this bankruptcy.
Since the rights to the company name still remained in Switzerland, the Thorens Export Company in Giebenbach was founded. The company Sintron Vertriebs GmbH in Iffezheim near Baden
was responsible for marketing, sales and distribution.
New production facilities were also deployed in Baden

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