January 2012 Issue - page 5

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My turntable is a Thorens TD166 MK 2. I bought it 26 years ago. Due to house moves it remained in various lofts for about 15 years following extensive use. I finally rescued it and upgraded my system to a Cyrus amplifier, CD and tuner, with Linn speakers. I bought a Rega Fono phono stage to go with it and the turntable worked straight out of its enforced period of rest. I did dust it down and changed the belt however and it sounded great.

However I wanted to upgrade and after reading your review of the Linn upgrade package from Inspire Hi Fi I considered getting an old Linn Sondek and upgrading it. I also asked around if the Thorens could be upgraded but met with stony silence from all the dealers I mentioned it to. The stock grudging answer to my continued questions was either it was not worth it or it was not possible.

After getting knocked back by everyone my mind was made up and a search of e-bay began, to find the right Linn deck. However I found a Thorens, which had been upgraded by Robert Isherwood at Inspire Hi Fi – and it was for sale. It looked great! So I contacted Robert and quickly found that not only could he advise me on how to upgrade my existing deck he could do it for me. So decisions were made to add a new cherry plinth, upgrade the arm to the X100, add an Ortofon 2M Black cartridge and replace the motor with an Origin Live motor and power unit. I took the old deck up to watch the transformation and can only express my thanks at the level of care that Robert gave to the work.

The result is fantastic and the sound is brilliant! It was also a good chance to check out the Inspire turntables which sound great too . The new deck has made me re-visit my vinyl and each record has now become a complete new listening experience with sounds and effects that I have never heard before. I would really recommend anyone to get advice from Robert at Inspire.

Thanks for your vinyl and turntable coverage it has helped me to reach my audio and hi-fi nirvana. At least for now ... should i upgrade that phono stage yet?

Dave Wilkins






The Thorens TD 166 MkII in its original drab state – good but not beautiful!






The Thorens after its rebuild, with cherry plinth and Inspire X100 arm, fitted with an Ortofon Black MM cartridge. This little lot will give a great sound.


The Ortofon 2M Black is quite an amazing MM Dave, and you should consider an Icon Audio PS1 MkII.  This will knock your socks off – you will finally hear fully what you have paid for! NK


My hi-fi system still does a fine job but having heard a friend’s set up I feel I could beef things up a bit, possibly by getting some new speakers, but I’d like your opinion if that’s where best to spend the cash.

My system is Linn Sondek/ Meridian 506 CD player/ Sugden a21a amp/ Mission 752 freedom speakers. I’m not sure what CD player or amp my friend has but the speakers are B&W 684s and compared with my set up the sound is more  lively, punchy, detailed and engrossing.

My question is whether an investment in new speakers could bring an improvement in the punch and excitement of my own set up?

Many thanks

Dave Clarke







The new Tannoy DC6T is a very sensitive and super smooth floorstander that will make the most of a Sugden Pure Class A amplifier.

Your Sugden A21a amplifier is very low powered, producing just 20  pure Class A Watts per channel. It is a lovely amp and one we recommend, but very specialised for Mission 752 Freedom loudspeakers. I suspect your friend has something more powerful driving his B&Ws.

To make the most of the Sugden you need sensitive loudspeakers and this really means large ones. A recent exception is the smooth Tannoy DCT that we tested in the November 2011 issue and liked very much. Producing a massive 90dB from just one Watt, this moderately sized floorstander will suit your Sugden right down to the ground. Even the Sugden's sparkling clarity will be smoothly handled by the DC6Ts, and they cost around £995 which fits in well.

If you want a loudspeaker just a bit more balanced toward your friend's B&Ws, then Triangle Antals are a good choice. These are big, sensitive and very well engineered – and also reasonably priced at around £1500. Both will impress with the Sugden I feel, and – importantly – make the most of it. NK


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