Over the years, I’ve owned many turntables. Some of them I remember, some I don’t. In general, the ones that were important for me, and the ones I do remember, are of the Thorens kind: belt driven, suspended chassis. I did own some of the Technics variant: direct drive, no suspension, dj tables), but they never satisfied me.
Philips GA 308
My first record player! I had it from 1981 until February 1992.
I got this from my grandfather. He was not so happy with the amount of cables that ran between his separate components, so he bought a more integrated stereo. I got his old one. It started a lifelong love of music.
The GA308 had a suspended arm and platter. For its size it was not bad at all, and I was very happy with it. I had to exchange the stylus a couple of times, so I probably was not that careful with it. But hey… it was “hi-fi”.
In later years, there was probably some dust in the switches, as it was sometimes making a sound like it short circuited.
Thorens TD 160 MK II
The first one that I bought myself. Second hand. I had it from February 1992 until 1995.
I bought this second hand from someone in Haarlem. When I visited him to pick it up, I could admire his setup. He had electrostatic speakers! I was totally in awe. I wanted this! This was a huge inspiration to look further for better audio, and the Thorens was just a start.
I did like this player. It had a satisfying click when switching it on, and it was of good quality. When I first got it, the stylus was glued on the arm, so I quickly fixed that. I replaced it with a Ortofon. The cheapest I could afford, but still: I had my first audiophile kit!
Thorens TD 320 MK III
I had this from 1995 until 2011.
I wanted to get a bit better turntable, but from the same brand. Also, I wanted a new one. So I collected the money, and looked around for what I wanted. I bought this at Ypma in Haarlem, all proud. My first new record player, all bought by myself.
I put a Denon high output MC cartridge on the arm (DL110, later DL130) and I spinned my records. Did I notice much improvement? Not really. Although beautiful, this deck was not the big improvement as the Thorens TD160 was.
I was working in a photoshop at this time, and I had a boss there that I told this to. I was so proud. Ton (the boss) was also interested in good audio, and he advised me to look for Linn (Thorens is good, but if you really want the best, go for Linn). A brand I never heard of, but the name Linn kept being on my mind since then.
I have had the LP12 since 2011, but I did a rebuilt some time ago.
This needs a bit more explaining. The Linn LP12 is a modular turntable. What that means is that you can basically replace every part with a newer, better version. This allows you to slowly upgrade it to really high levels, while still keeping the same core table (what Linn calls “mechanic”).
I started with this setup:
Mechanic built in 1993. Cirkus bearing, trampolin base, Lingo I power supply, Ekos I arm, Adikt stylus.
Then I upgraded in 2021, keeping the same mechanic:
Karousel bearing, trampolin base, Lingo IV power supply, Kore chassis, Ekos I arm, renewed Adikt stylus.