Massive, luxurious in every way, the TD-550 seems to fulfil an old-fashioned idea of what a top-of-the-range record player ought to be. . .The plinth's highly polished metal front plate has buttons for power on, start/stop and 33/45 as well as a dominant blue-lit Thorens logo, the brightness of which can be adjusted. The sub-chassis is partly conclealed within the plinth, the extension of which carries the arm-mount sitting flush with the surface of the top plate. Also visible is the decoratively-drilled motor pulley which drives the 6.2kg aluminium platter. . .

The Thorens played Joni Mitchell's Blue. . .The voice was truly solid, tangible in the centre, while equally solid and real was the plangent guitar on 'Little Green', it's musical logic made explicit in its own space behind the voice.

Turning to Eric Clapton's Slowhand I found that the Thorens did a good job of sorting out the multiple guitars on 'Cocaine' and then presented a spacious view of the enduring 'Wonderful Night'. As on so many tracks, a solid central image of the vocal was surrounded by well-spaced intricacies of the accompaniment with gutsy and driving rhythms.

On 'Tin Pan Alley' from Texas Flood Stevie Ray Vaughn sounded as fine and majestic as he ever did. I just wanted to carry on listening.