About Me

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Dallas, Texas, United States
Cline Analog

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A shout out to Rick at SimplyPhysics

Cables and isolation products are always a major consideration in any audio system.  Having waded through much of the swamp of not so good but affordable products out there, I stumbled across Simplyphysics about a year ago.  Simplyphysics is a company owned by Rick Roberts in Houston, TX.

Medium ToneCones on my turntable grounding base

IsoPod 5's on my home-built speaker cabinets

Small ToneCones and IsoPod 3's on my custom-built tube amp.

Medium ToneCones in ConeCup T6's on my Preamp - This was custom
built by my friend Andrew of Austin Vintage Audio.  Look for a
write up on it and some of his other gear soon!

For the price, you can't find better cables or isolation feet.  I have used his Isopods, Small ToneCones, and Medium ToneCones for isolating my gear.  I also use his SCKT Phono cables on all of my new turntable builds.  Rick recently posted one of my applications on his user page.  Check it out here:

I had Rick make me some phono cables from his SCKT cable products.

I have two more turntables that I'm starting this weekend.  Once I have a few photos to share there will be another new post.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

More TD-180 Pics

At the suggestion of a few friends and coworkers I'm adding some variations of the Thorens TD-180 photos that highlight the glossy top suface of the turntable a little better.  Being surrounded by photographers, who also happen to be self-promotion experts, can't hurt when you're trying to show off something you've done.

Not a big change, but it adds a little dimension to the surface.

This one really shows it off in the reflection of the tonearm.

Thanks to everyone for your input and support!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thorens TD-180 Restoration

I've been building, rebuilding, and refurbishing turntables for a couple of years now, and in my constant striving to improve each new build I have learned a lot about woodworking and finishing.  This latest rebuild maintains all of the original functionality of the Thorens TD 180 that was its foundation, and adds improved vibration dampening, a hand polished gloss black lacquered top and beautiful zebra wood outer frame.  The pictures below will walk you through the process of transforming this basic black production unit into a highly customized show piece.

The final product - more final images below.

Zebra wood and a hand-miter saw.
A comparison between the old and new.
I learned a lot about joint work in trying to
make the zebra wood striping appear continuous.
The top plate was duplicated with a router
using a circle-cutting jig, and then a
pattern-cutting bit.
Test assembly before finishing.  I've decided on a lustre finish
lacquer for the zebra wood, and a glossy black for the top plate.
The piano-gloss black had to be wet-sanded using eleven progressively
finer sandpaper grits, and then three stages of polishing compound.  All
together, the finish took me about 30 hours of labor.
Finishing in progress - you can't see it from here but at this stage there was
still a fine orange peel texture to the black lacquer.

Here are some additional final photos.  A few minor tweaks such as adjusting the speeds for accuracy, and setting up the cartridge properly, will get this beauty ready for delivery.  I'm not sure I will pursue the piano-gloss black in the future, but I am much more informed about professional finishes, and that will improve each new turntable project.

Thanks for stopping by,


Detail of the speed control switch.

The zebra wood plinth contrasts very nicely with the gloss black.
I added a Grado moving iron cartridge to ensure quality audio reproduction.