THORENS TD-2030A Blue, Review HFN

Why not leap into the blue  - with Thorens` classy TD-2030 acrylic deck ?  asks renowned turntable & vinyl guru Steve Harris in this HiFi News July 2011 review.

 

The TD-2030 is a real eye-catcher in that gorgeous blue colour. The 33mm thick plinth is made up of two 15mm slabs of clear acrylic with the 3mm blue-tinted layer sandwiched between. Looking edge-on, the plinth appears clear with just a thin dark line, but from any other angle it`s filled with glorious colour, like the blue Aegean under a cloudless sky.


The platter is aluminium, with a dense composition filling bringing the weight up to 6.2kgs. The bearing is lubricated with teflon spray and should not need further attention for many years. On/off switching and 33/45rpm speed change is provided by two neat switches on the separate Thorens PS800 control unit. Such a heavy platter is a demanding load for a belt-drive system, and to get it moving quickly takes more motor power than maintaining speed once it`s running. In the Thorens control unit this is dealt with by having what might loosely be called a `first gear`, whereby more power is applied for the first four or five seconds. After this, the supply system reverts to normal `second gear` operation to keep the turntable running at the correct speed.

Completing the package is a neatly-installed Thorens TP300VTA tonearm, which is in fact the Rega RB-300 modified by Thorens to provide vertical tracking alignment.

Expansive Soundstage

So, time to listen. I started the session off with an Ortofon Vivo Blue cartridge. With `Dead Set`, the Grateful Dead`s 1980 live album, the TD-2030 gave an expansive soundstage, stretching beyond the confines of the speakers,a convincing placement of instruments and a good sense that this was a real live performance. I put on The Doors LA Woman, and was impressed by the way the Thorens conveyed the raw power of Jim Morrison`s vocals and the all-out urgency of the music. Moving on to classical music, with the well-known 1963 English Music for Strings with Barbirolli, I felt the overall picture was really enticing, with a great feeling of depth and presence and a fine sense of sweep and scale to the strings. With Christine Collister`s `Love`, I found a happy balance between vocalist and accompaniment, and ` Mad, Mad Me` came over as a tour de force. Her voice became really tangible especially on `Amelia` where it is so well set off by the realistic wind effect coming up out of an ethereal silence and strange, spectral chorus.

Changing up now to a Benz Micro Ace cartridge, I turned up some more old favourites, starting with the King James Version. Here the sound had a good feeling of crisp precision, the bass taut and decisive and the brass full-bodied. Imagery was good, with a real feeling of the band laid out between and behind the speakers. It was lovely to hear an even better sense of space now on the English Music for Strings with Barbirolli, the balance between quartet and large string group was finely conveyed. Rickie Lee Jones revealed an attractive combination of sweetness and clarity, and Last Chance Texaco had the singer really soaring. Finally, a quick trip back to 1968 with Cream`s live Crossroads. Here you could really groove on the incredible combination of Bruce and Baker as they drove Clapton on to true greatness. Truly foot-tapping.

Verdict

Relying on high mass rather than any form of suspension, this turntable may confound expectation by producing a foot-tapping, rhythmically engaging sound. It should do justice to exotic cartridges.

The Thorens TD-2030 lives up to its famous name with excellent detail, finish and stunning looks to match the lively sonics.

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