Acoustic Sounds
By: Tracking Angle

May 4th, 2023


Industry News

Thorens Launches "New Reference" Turntable—World Exclusive!

features fully active vibration isolation by Seismion

Thorens will unveil tomorrow its "New Reference" turntable, an ambitious assault on the turntable "state of the art", undertaken by a design team headed by legendary veteran designer Helmut Thiele. Mr. Thiele has done previous work for Thorens and was long associated with speaker manufacturer Magnat among many other companies in the high performance audio industry.

The "New Reference" was designed and built "from the ground up" utilizing the active vibration isolating technology innovated by German manufacturer Seismion and used in the semi-conductor industry, nanotechnology and scientific laboratories.

Without getting too far "into the weeds", the design puts the center of gravity at the "plane of isolation" in order to greatly reduce horizontal coupling vibrations and tilting modes.

The large rectangle represents the chassis, which is made non-resonant through the use of a layered structure of highly damped materials.

Sky Hook DampersThis next image shows the measured differences between "air spring" type isolation systems and Seismion's "Sky-Hook Damper" system. According to the brochure: "The effect goes far beyond the simple elimination of foot-fall vibrations. In fact, even tiny vibrations in the range of nano meter down to pico meter are still efficiently isolated,due to the contact-less actuators. The system also follows music with high dynamics between quiet and loud sequences extremely quickly, since the active control forces stabilize the system and lead to an instantaneous settling time of the isolation system. An adaptive levelling system, which keeps the turntable precisely levelled within 20 micro meter completes the active isolation system."

Air spring versus Sky-Hook DamperOther aspects of this all-new design include "...a high-quality German-made 3-phase synchronous motor, which is driven by three all linear power amplifiers with 120° shifted sine signals. The motor torque is transmitted to the platter by a belt (figure 3). The hydrodynamic bearing is optimized by use of lubrication theory equations. In this context the Sommerfeld-number is used, which describes the thickness of lubrication film and the diameter of the bearing. This number is named after German physicist Arnold Sommerfeld, who conducted several fundamental research in the field of hydrodynamics. A small Sommerfeld-number means the bearing is centered already at very low rotation speeds, which minimizes the wear and ensures minimum out of center errors like eccentricity and whirl. The hydrodynamic bearing is made and hand-finished in Germany.

small Sommerfeld number"The rotation speed calculation of the platter is based on two ultra-high-precision quartz-oscillators with a long-term stability of max. 3 ppm over 20 years, allowing for a safety cross check and reliable speed control over the life time of the New Reference. In fact, it means that the absolute speed remains within a range of 33.3332 to 33.3334 rotations per minute over 20 years.

The signal of the high-precision rotation encoder, which is mounted on the platter-shaft, is fed into the control electronics, which realize an absolute-velocity-damping of the platter. The effect might be compared to a highly viscous platter bearings, that are commonly used in belt-driven turntables. However, the active damping system designed for the Thorens New Reference has several advantages compared to passive damping techniques realized by viscous platter bearings." That and other aspects of this design are best dealt with in another arena such as a review or a separate feature "de-coupled" from a press-release brochure.

The Thorens New Reference can be equipped with up to 3 tonearm bases and can accommodate tonearms of 9", 10", and 12" inches. In addition to the newly developed TP160 cutting bearing tonearm with a length of 12" inches and continuous silver cabling, the Thiele TA01 tonearm is also used.

The complex kinematics of the Thiele TA01 combines the precise and rigid guidance of a pivoted tonearm with the advantages of a tangential tonearm. This design guides the cartridge with a maximum tracking error angle of 0.036 degrees across the record. The tonearm tube is double-walled and filled with a 2-component gel for optimal damping. The result of this design is a unique spatial resolution, extreme detail, and perfect tonality.

"We are very proud to present this worldwide innovation for the 140th anniversary of Thorens during the High-End Show in Munich", says Thorens Owner and Managing Director Gunter Kürten.

We hope to shortly experience the "New Reference" at Munich High End in the flesh, or in the metal or however you wish to express it!


  • 2023-05-05 04:39:02 AM

    Silk Dome Mid wrote:

    So, just another simple belt-drive turntable.

  • 2023-05-05 11:32:25 AM

    Michael Fremer wrote:

    You got the belt part right but the implementation doesn’t appear “simple”!

    • 2023-05-05 03:42:28 PM

      Silk Dome Mid wrote:

      Just kidding...

  • 2023-05-05 12:04:38 PM

    Georges wrote:

    Nice with some glowing traces in the middle of a sad greyness, and undoubtedly effective, in line with the Prestige and Reference (remember them ?). The TP 160 arm looks promising, hopefully with a detachable SME/Ortofon headshell (which greatly facilitates adjustments). As on the sadly defunct Excels/Jelcos which it looks a lot like. Unfortunately (ahem), the Thiele TA01 costs more than 20 000$...

  • 2023-05-05 12:48:32 PM

    JEB-42 wrote:

    Michael this is the same technology and company doing the isolation that you reported on in the Montreal show. Seismion of Germany. They will be at the Munich Show also in a booth at H 3, M 06. They would be happy to answer any of your questions.

  • 2023-05-05 08:41:07 PM

    Anton wrote:

    Looks like a fun toy! They certainly tell you everything about the turntable expect for my first question.

  • 2023-05-05 09:06:03 PM

    Jake wrote:


  • 2023-05-08 08:40:34 AM

    Ian Melville wrote:

    It looks as if it was made by Acoustic Signature.

  • 2023-05-09 10:31:14 AM

    cracking resonance wrote:

    What's the turntabel technology innovation, substantial one that has found its leapfrogging execution?

    • air suspended tangential arms, now with the right quality, i.e. Bergman?
    • new direct drive technology from i.e. Technics?
    • the ugly 3D printed stuff called arms and cartridge cases of some, diverse?
    • Laser-eraded bio/chaos-formed structures, i.e. Oma, diverse? or are we still on the more heavy and more golden, more complex masses train of machinist guys, or are we further sandwiching up things? Does it all maybe not matter, neither whether it's belt, direct, or idler driven, air, magnet, suspended, ceramic, bronze, saphire hold?