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Steve Marsh
Financial Interests: click here
Downstairs System (my upstairs Bastanis speaker-based system was not used for this review)
Digital Source: Vecteur D-2 CD transport, Audio Note DAC Kit 1.2 with upgrades (PSU choke, tantalum resistors, Black Gate caps, copper grounding bars on digital chips wired to central ground, VTV silver foil/oil output coupling caps)
Analog Sources: Nottingham Analogue Mentor turntable with 10” Ace Anna tonearm, Benz LP-S moving coil cartridge, fully restored vintage Thorens TD-124 turntable, Miyajima Premium mono moving coil cartridge, Ortofon Meister Silver moving coil cartridge, Ikeda 9TT mono moving coil cartridge [on loan for this review)
Preamps: Doshi Alaap Purist Mk. II full-function tube preamp, Cello Audio Suite preamp, Ortofon SPU T-1 stepup transformer
Power Amps: Tron 211 SET amp with upgraded exotic-core interstage transformers (General Electric 211 power tubes, Western Electric 417A/5842 input tubes, RCA black plate 5U4GB rectifiers), Cello Performance monoblock amplifiers
Speakers: WLM LaScala floorstanders
Interconnect cables: Music Metre Fidelis digital, Acoustic Systems Liveline, Bastanis Epilog I
Power Cords: Bastanis Epilog II on Tron amp, industrial-sourced power cord on Doshi preamp, Nordost Frey 2 power cord on Nordost QBase8 outlet strip, Nordost Blue Heaven power cord on Nordost Qx4 power purifier, Shunyata Taipan Helix Alpha on DAC and transport
Speaker Cables: Bastanis Epilog Mk. II, Acoustic Systems Liveline
Equipment Rack: Adona 6-shelf, low profile isolation rack
Power Line Conditioning: Nordost QBase 8 outlet strip, Nordost Qx4 power purifier, (4) Nordost Qv2 AC line harmonizers
Sundry accessories: Audio Prism Ground Control, Stein Harmonizers, Stein Magic Stones, Isoclean Fuses, VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine
Room Size: 29’ long X 16’ wide X 10’ high (sunken-in living room with open floor plan, listening across width of room)
Review component retail price: $9.995

Although the main feature of this review is the Glanz MH-124SX 12" tonearm, the original seeds for this review were planted years ago with my purchase of some choice vintage audio components from the estates of two local gentlemen. One was a Thorens TD-124 turntable from a deceased audiophile’s son, the other an Ortofon RMG-309 12-inch tonearm (on a Rek-O-Kut TR-12H professional turntable) from the widow of a prominent Yale University recording engineer.

Whilst I could have chosen to restore the Rek-O-Kut TR-12H turntable for the Ortofon RMG-309 tonearm, as found I decided to target the Thorens. There is a large body of knowledge about restoring the Thorens TD-124 table from various forums. There also are newly manufactured replacement/upgrade parts from several sources, notably Schopper AG and several eBay suppliers. One of the latter I used was Mirko Djordjevic (user ID sq38s). He's a freelance engineer and machinist from Irvine/California. I believe the most exhaustive forum thread on the restoration of a Thorens TD-124 is the one started by my friend Kevin Kennedy. I decided to follow the advice there and was able to get personal assistance from Kevin. Thanks! (Please note that Kevin is not available to do turntable restorations at this time due to his current health status.)

This became a team effort with Kevin and audiophile friend Walter Clay both from the Boston area. Walter also had a TD-124 to restore so he ordered motor bushings and felts from The Analog Dept. I could not find the link to these parts on their website now. I contacted them and learnt that their supply is exhausted and there are no immediate plans to have more made. Meanwhile I ordered the motor conversion kit and round rubber platter discs from Mirko. This upgrades the TD-124 Mk. I motor to the Mk. II which is better isolated and quieter. The three of us met at Walter’s house one day and under Kevin’s skillful guidance overhauled the motor much as is described in this link. We also cleaned the pulleys, installed a new drive belt and fine-tuned the motor alignment for quietest operation. The motor alignment procedure was a series of fine adjustments done by Kevin's skilled hands going back and forth between tightening and loosening the bolts whilst gently twisting the motor body and listening for the alignment which gave the lowest noise.

After this productive session I proceeded to order and install a new main platter bearing, bearing housing and a new stainless steel platter. The stock iron alloy platter magnetically pulls MC cartridges toward the platter to interfere with proper tracking force. Some feel this is no big concern for many MCs but it is especially worrisome for Ortofon SPU carts with their powerful generators. I also ordered new platter brake pads and the round rubber discs which attach to the top of the platter. All of these were sourced from Mirko. Unfortunately Mirko has become hard to reach by phone or email. His last listed eBay sale related to vintage turntables was in December 2011 and his website has no contact info and only shows some of his Thorens products. I hope this improves. Last but not least I had a plinth milled for the table from two 2” thick slabs of Pennsylvania slate. These are stacked flush with properly sized holes drilled through the top piece and into the top surface of the bottom to allow the Thorens TD-124 mounting bolts to sit into them. The retaining nuts were then snugged up against the top slate piece with a small circle of manila card stock between slate and washer. The stock rubber grommets that slide over the mounting bolts and sit between TD-124 metal chassis and standard wood plinth of yore are eliminated. Here the metal chassis is tightened directly to the slate plinth. Others just allow the chassis to rest on the slate held down by gravity alone (i.e. without tightening the nuts on the bolts). The slate plinth was placed on top of four old-school Audioquest Sorbothane pucks on my Adona rack shelf multi-element granite platform. The pucks were readily at hand and served as starting point.