Interview Date: June 7, 2012 @2pm EDT
Special Guest: (Audio) Mickey Hart - is a percussionist, author, producer and ethnomusicologist who’s done more for drums and drumming than I think almost any other human on the planet. His scope, reach and inclusion know no bounds; he is someone who has been searching, experimenting and expanding minds for over 45 years. Starting off in 1967 with the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart has gone on to reshape and reintroduce human beings to their most basic self. His newest trip “Mysterium Tremendum” might be his most ambitious project to date; taking people on a journey through the vastness of the infinite universe. By taking sounds that were created billions of years ago, Mickey Hart and the Mickey Hart Band are taking these sound, mixing it with the technology of today, and delivering it to us in the most tripped out world/trance music way. Believe me when I say that this will no doubt be some of the most exciting and interesting music that you’ve heard in a long time.
Special Guest: (Print) Heinz Rohrer CEO and Owner of Thorens Turntables (Part 2 of 2)- Started in 1883 by Hermann Thorens in Switzerland, the company Thorens and their Phonographs (Turntables) have been innovating and pushing High-end audio into the 21 Century. Recently they have been designing some of the most elegant, beautifully sounding, and desirable record players on the market today. I was lucky enough to land a rare interview with Mr. Rohrer and he was kind enough to answer my questions (Translated into English. His native tongue is Swiss German). http://www.thorens.com/
Thorens Turntable Interview – GoingThruVinyl’s conversation with Heinz Rohrer (Continued)
GTV - There are three turntables in particular that I would really like to talk about. All three are some of the most stunningly beautiful record players on the market today. They are really a feat in industrial design brilliance; in fact I’m not sure whether to listen to it or put it on the wall as fine art.
Heinz Rohrer - You will miss something if you don’t listen to them. But allow me to mention something at this place. Thorens was (and in certain areas still is) considered as a conservative company. When I took the lead in 2003, I was forced to make a change due to several reasons. I was convinced that I have to go with the time and develop turntables with a touch of design.
GTV - The TD 309 uses a tri-Balance suspension (a full suspension) turntable uses fashion forward design – When was this model first introduced?
Heinz Rohrer - This model was introduced some 3 years ago, after a development time of 2 years. TD 309 is foreseen to be one reference out of a line with 5 different models in different price levels.
GTV – What is the plinth made of?
Heinz Rohrer - Out of MDF. We insist on very dry material.
GTV - Can you tell me who developed it?
Heinz Rohrer - Thorens has a cooperation since quite some time with Helmut Thiele, living at Duisburg and having his design company at Essen in Germany. His is a professional industrial designer with emphasis on High End Products. In fact his terminal examination work at the end was a …Tonearm… Obviously his first job for Thorens was the redesign of an existing Tonearm followed by the construction of the Thorens TP 92. Helmut took the lead for the development of the TD 309 from the beginning. We also received the support of high class HiFi engineers and Electronic specialists.
GTV – How long did it take to develop it and what if any specifications did you give them?
Heinz Rohrer - First ideas came approx. 3 years before introduction, mounting of the first prototype dated 1 ½ years before and a lot, really a lot of listening hours with again a lot of different components for improving the function and sound step by step. The specifications were: Sub-chassis principle, de-coupling wherever possible, modern and new design not seen yet in the market.
GTV - I was reading that the motor uses DC current rather than the usual AC; what is the reasoning behind that decision?
Heinz Rohrer - There are several turntables on the market using DC output. Test results gave us the reason for using a DC motor, speed variations can be controlled better in cooperation with the PCB Steering unit, developed also for the special purpose of the TD 309
GTV - The table uses a three-footed suspended sub-chassis; what was the reasoning behind that?
Heinz Rohrer - The development and construction ideas is based on the principle, having only 3 feeds and giving these the same weight. Only via this principle we can secure that this turntable will have a harmonic oscillation on stimulation of the chassis by structure-born noise and airborne noise and to avoid the point that the chassis starts to tumble. Tumbling would produce horizontal oscillation at the pickup and therefore produce signals, which do not belong to the music.
Therefore the constructions foresees a star form configuration of the feet with exactly the same distance from the middle of the Platter.
The weight of the Tonearm is equalised by a balance-weight placed on the counter side of the chassis. the centre of gravidity is exactly in the middle of the Platter axle.
At the same time we have built into the feeds guiding elements which allow only re-silients the vertical way only and also damped.
GTV – The two Acrylic turntables models that you have in your collection are your TD 2015 and the TD 2035. The reaction to the looks and the value of these two turntables is really causing a scene in the Hi-Fi world. Can you tell me the difference between the TD 2015 and the TD 2035?
Heinz Rohrer – Thorens introduced the first Acrylic line 6 years ago. after 5 years we changed the models to a more modern design, upgraded the steering electronic and use now our own Thorens developed Tonearm TP 92 as basic equipment.
TD 2015 is a clear acrylic version, the TD 2035 chassis has three Layers of Aryl, Top and bottom with the colour the customer prefers and the middle layer is clear acrylic.
GTV - They both come with the new TP 92 Tonearm. Can you tell me a little about the construction of that arm?
Heinz Rohrer - The Thorens tonearm TP 92 combines proved and successful Thorens characteristics with modern technology. The basis is a cardan joint which has been realised by methods of Japanese technics in big series. We use precision bearings, which first are assembled and then glued in a position of zero tolerance and friction. At this cardan we screw the Tonearm tube, a clamp which tighten big surfaces together, to achieve max. stiffness. The tube is selected on basis of dimensions as well as material on max reduction of oscillation. In addition we used a Laser-Vibrometre in order to make visible and find out oscillations in the tube in order to find ways to “calm down” the TA rube further. Goal was to minimise all sound information not coming from the Vinyl disc. one of these measurements is the soft decoupled mounting of the ring formed weight outside and special flexible material inside the tube.
The Headshell is screwed on the tube whereas also here we concentrated to a max size of contact surface between the tube and the Headshell. This is not a new development, Thorens used this already on the TP 16II and the Headshell TP 62 in the year 1976. Basis for the design of the Headshell is that we have the centre of gravity as close as possible beyond the middle of the tube. This to avoid torsions of the tube around the centerline.
The configuration of the Tonearm TP 92 also foreseen the detail, that the needle of the pickup and the horizontal Bearing is positioned on one level ( depending the high of the pick up cartridge. This to avoid forces which could produce distorsions during the pick up process.
The counterweight design is based on two ideas, to be as close as possible to the Kardan, mounted lower and is decoupled by O-rings.
The antiscating is magnetic, we use two round shaped Ferrits for a friction free operation.
The mounting of the Basic tube is by two nuts which secures a strong contact with the chassis and also have the function of VTA adjustment at the same time.
The overhead is adjustable at the Headshell, an additional adjustment way can be used by the connection Tonearm tube /Cardan; the Tonearm geometry is Baerwald-Loefgren.
Given ideas for the construction of this Tonearm were the following:
- well devised geometric form
- excellent material combination and connections to realise a tonearm, which arranges way as neutral possible between the groove and the signal.
GTV - I was told that the motor used in both of these tables was redesigned; what was the reasoning behind this design decision?
Heinz Rohrer - We still use the same motor as before but we re-developed the steering electronic. We have an updated electronic speed control, we have a kind of a “first gear” to start rotating the heavy platter and bring the correct speed 33 or 45 rpm after 3-4 seconds.