Thorens are some of the most coveted turntables out there. The TD-124 probably being the most popular of them all and prices reflect that fact. If you don’t have the budget for a TD-124 then maybe this Thorens TD-135 will fit the bill? No, it’s not a TD-124 but it’s still a very good precision transcription turntable. Introduced in 1961 it was on the market for a number of years. I think up until about 1968.
One thing you might notice is that the tonearm is fixed. You could buy the tonearm separately but you couldn’t buy the TD-135 without the BTD-12S professional tone arm.
The Swiss craftsmanship is evident in the TD-135. Even though Thorens marketed the TD-135 as a more affordable, compact version of the TD-124, it uses the same E50 motor and four speed (16, 33, 45, 78) ‘belt plus idler wheel’ mechanics as the more pricey TD-124. The TD-135 motor does have lighter bearings and the platter is lighter as well. And, of course, the TD-124 has a separate tonearm board, while the TD-135’s is integrated.
- Platter: 12″, non-magnetic
- Speed control: +-3% variable via eddy-current braking system
- Speeds: 16, 33, 45 and 78rpm
- Drive method: idler wheel and belt drive for double motor isolation
- Rumble, wow and flutter: exceeds NAB specifications
- Dimensions: 15 x 12″
Accessories include the WBX wooden base (walnut, ebony, or mahogany), MBX mounting board, RTC-135 roll-top base and PU-921 plug-in headshell.
A sliding tracking force adjustment lever and a removable headshell for easy cartridge mounting are a couple other features of the TD-135. At the end of a record the turntable will automatically shut off.
The TD-135 is an idler drive turntable and will usually require a new belt and some attention to the idler wheel if it has not been serviced in some time. The motor can also seize due to old, hardened grease. This can usually be fixed by dissembling the motor and cleaning and re-greasing it. There are also techs around that can rebuild the motors.
Available on eBay
The thorens TD-135 is pretty rare. Unfortunately some of them are parted out just to get the motor which will also work in the much more expensive TD-124. Still, these units have fantastic build quality. It may be a second tier transcription turntable but, for about half the price, or less, of the TD-124 you can own the quality and prestige of a vintage Thorens turntable.