Posted on 9th April, 2019


Thorens has some exciting things to reveal at High End Munich. Joining the new turntables is a brand new reel to reel tape machine - the TM 1600!

Thorens is a name synonymous with turntables, so it is of no surprise that the now German-based manufacturer will be outing a raft of new decks at the Munich event. However, we at SNUK were surprised to read that we can also look forward to a new tape machine too.

Thorens TM 1600 Tape Machine

Thorens TM 1600 Reel to Reel Tape Machine

Kicking off with the TM 1600 then. It seems that, following the vinyl revival, there is also a reel to reel rejuvenation - a quarter inch come-back if you prefer.

The TM 1600 is based around a newly developed very compact tape drive from Ballfinger. To keep the whole drive as compact as possible the tape path geometry had to be re-designed hence why the sensors are found between the reels, above the heads rather than below them.

The tape machine is driven by three motors. The reel motors are electronically commuted disc motors that use rotor angle detection by hall sensor feedback. The capstan motor is an ironless bell-shaped rotor motor from a German manufacturer. The head and capstan motor have been positioned far from each other to generate a very high signal to noise ratio.

Although very compact these motors are not only quiet but supply an enormous amount of torque with little torque variation.

Additionally, there is an external power supply which reduces noise levels even more. Moreover, it also removes the need for extensive magnetic shielding of the heads.

The Thorens TM 1600 handles reels up to 10.5-inches with 19 and 38 cm/s. CCIR equalisation for most European recordings and NAB for Americas and Asia can be selected.

The tape machine comes with a real-time counter with hours/minutes/seconds/hundredth seconds as well as an edit function with pre-listening for single-handed operation - something usually reserved for professional studio machines.

Thorens TM 1600 Reel to Reel Tape Machine

The Thorens TM 1600 sits in the same plinth as the new TD1600 / 1601 record players and has been designed for horizontal operation. However, TM 1600 can also be wall mounted.

Availability and Price of Thorens TM 1600

Thorens TM 1600 will be available from summer 2020 with 100 pieces being manufactured as individually numbered special editions priced at €11,999 (RRP).

Manufacturing will take place in Duesseldorf, Germany in cooperation with Ballfinger and RecordingTheMasters, the analogue tape vendor located in Avranches, France.

Thorens TD 402 DD Direct Drive Turntable

Thorens TD 402 DD Direct Drive

The TD 402 DD is the first new Thorens direct drive turntable in more than 30 years.

The TD 402 DD comes with a pre-installed Audio Technica AT 95VM E cartridge and borrows its styling from the famous Thorens TD series of the past. However, the TD 402 DD is a very modern player; firstly, there is a whisper quiet direct drive motor with switchable auto shut off. Secondly, there is a new carbon tube tonearm, dubbed TP 72, which comes with a changeable headshell.

Furthermore, the TD 402 DD features a dampened platter and integrated phono stage for moving magnet cartridges. The preamp can be switched off when required.

Finally, there is even an optional auto start function which sets the platter spinning once the tonearm is moved towards the record.

TD 402 DD comes with a dust cover and a massive MDF plinth in piano black and high gloss walnut veneer which sits on vibration damping rubber feet. The brushed aluminium top-plate adds some extra class.

The TD 402 DD will be available from August for an RRP of €799.

Thorens TD 1600 and TD 1601

Thorens TD 1600 / TD1601

The TD 1600 and TD 1601, as their names suggest, are a modern incarnation of the classic TD 160. You can see the TD 160 DNA at first glance thanks to the wooden plinth, two-part platter, thick rubber mat and acrylic dust cover.

But, lift the lid, and you'll find a lot of innovations inside. Both the new and old decks use conical springs used for suspension and damping however, there is a new approach in the 1600. Now, the conical springs are no longer mounted on the top board but the bottom - meaning that the sub-chassis stands on the springs rather than hang from them. Additionally, a small but strong tightened thread made of steel connects the sub-chassis with a steel pin on the bottom and so prevents the sub-chassis from “staggering” and allows only vertical movement.

Both the TD 1600 and 1601 share the same platform and the same height-adjustable TP 92 tonearm. The TD 1601 differs from the TD 1600 as it not only adds a push-button electric arm lift but the 1601 also has auto shut off so when the arm gets to the end of the record, the arm lifts and the platter stops. You also get balanced output sockets (XLR).

Both the TD 1600 and TD 1601 will be available in high gloss walnut and piano black and will match the TM 1600 tape machine perfectly. Prices for the TD 1600/1601 are yet to be revealed.

We are looking forward to meeting these new offerings from Thorens at High End Munich in a few weeks.

For more information, go to Thorens.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

Get the latest.

Sign up to discover the best news and reviews from StereoNET UK in our FREE Newsletter.

Posted in: Hi-Fi
Tags: thorens  munich2019  high end munich 2019