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Thales TTT-Slim Turntable and Easy Tonearm Review

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Setting up the turntable and tonearm was very simple. You start by releasing the transport lock of the main bearing. It is locked when it comes out of the box to prevent damages to the bearing. This locking mechanism lifts the sub-platter slightly and keeps it in position. To release the transport lock, you place the chassis vertical and you will see a red screw in the main bearing housing and a green one on the chassis. You simply swap the location of the two screws and sit the table back down and it’s unlocked and you’re ready to place the platter over the sub-platter. The three feet can be turned to level the table. It is recommended that you leave one of them tight against the chassis and use the other two for leveling. This results in more stability.

A couple of things in the setup are different from other turntables. First, this is a battery-operated table and its charger is plugged into the wall and into the rear of the table. Thales suggests, and I agree, it sounds best when you unplug the charger from the back of the table when using the table. You get 20 hours of playing time before it needs to be charged so this is an easy recommendation to follow. The other thing is that the turntable itself comes with a grounding wire that plugs into the back of the table and is hooked up to the grounding lug on your phono preamp. This means you have both the turntable and tonearm grounded. I found if I did not do this I had a good bit of hum, but when I grounded the table it was dead quiet.

Setting up the Thales tonearm will be easier than most other tonearms, at least if you’re using it on a Thales Slim Turntable. Since the turntable is preset for the arm, all you do is drop the shaft of the arm into the collar that is pre-mounted on the table. The tonearm shaft is made in such a way that it will only go in one way, thus there is no adjustments to be made here. Then all you have to do is mount the cartridge and adjust it in the head shell using the supplied gig. Setting the VTA and VTF are equally straight forward. While not plug ‘n play, all in all the Thales Slim Turntable and Easy Tonearm are exactly that, easy to setup.


Review System

I simply replaced my AMG V12 turntable and tonearm with the Thales combo. The only other difference was I used Thales tonearm cable since I didn’t have a High Fidelity Cables phono cable that would work with this low profile turntable. So the system was Teresonic Ingenium XR speakers, Pass Labs XA30.8 Class A amp, SoundSmith SG-220 Stain Gauge Cartridge system, Emia Remote Autoformer, A.R.T.’s LFE, and everything hooked up with High Fidelity Cables Ultimate Reference cables. The turntable was placed on an HRS platform sitting on my Box Furniture rack.



Please remember while reading this review that it is of the Thales turntable and tonearm combo. I never listened to the turntable with another tonearm mounted on it or the tonearm mounted on another turntable. When you look at this turntable you will notice the lack of mass; my AMG V12 turntable’s platter weighs more that the Thales Slim table and platter combined. This lack of mass might lead you to think it won’t have great bass. If so, you would be dead wrong. The bass goes deep, it is extremely well focused and very dense. The bass is very clean-sounding as if the sound focuses the bass in a very specific space. It would be easy to describe the bass as tight and fast, but really it’s denser than most bass I would describe with those words. The Thales ‘table and arm play bass as well as any turntable I have reviewed, and better than all but two: It doesn’t quite have the bloom, power and drive of the Shindo Garrard 301 or the AMG V12. Yet, in terms of depth, density and focus, it is simply amazing. The only question I really have about the bass only came over time when I begin to wonder if it played all bass the same and whether it was not quite as revealing of the difference from one upright bass or drum compared to others.

Another area where this combo stood out was soundstaging. The stage was very deep, wide and extremely well defined. Instruments and voices seemed to be presented in a dense, black space. I’m trying to find words to differentiate between this more substantial sound and those systems that produce a soundstage that seem to paint images floating in space. There is a lot of texture in the way the instruments and voices are portrayed in space. Images were rock stable with a level of detail that many turntables can’t match.

Micro-dynamics were very quick and nimble. Overall dynamics were much better than most turntables, being bested only by the AMG and Shindo, in my experience. The combinations of dynamics and micro-dynamics made this table a lot of fun to play music on. This combination also creates a very nice sense of Pace, Rhythm and Timing (“PRaT). For me, the ability of a component to allow my system to have good PRaT is a make- or break-it thing.

Though the bass was superb, the Thales combination doesn’t have quite the bloom in the midrange that I am used to. Still, this is in comparison to the AMG or the Shindo turntable/tonearm combinations. I should remind you that my Teresonic Ingenium speakers add no bloom of their own, so the Thales system might have plenty of bloom on a speaker like the Audio Notes or the DeVores.

I found its reproduction of voices very articulate, well placed in space and quite beautiful when played on the Thales’ turntable combination. While the Thales never quite had that scary real sense that I so highly value in a great vinyl system, this is kind of like the tube verses transistor debate that has gone on for all of my audio life. Some people would rather have the precise, more accurate sound of the Thales, while others will prefer the less detailed, but more alive sounding tables like the Shindo.

Maybe I could clear this by talking about the way particular instruments sounded when played on the Thales Slim and Easy. Bass drums and the oms sounded as good as any turntable I have used in my system. The snares and the cymbals sounded very good, too. The air and space around them were excellent. While the bass drum sounded deep and powerful it sounded quicker and tighter with the Thales than with my AMG. Which is best will be very system and listener dependent.

Plucked strings like guitars, basses and harps were played with nimble quickness. On these instruments, the Thales let me hear the leading edge as lifelike as I have heard in my system. Bowed strings are a big test for any system. The Thales in my system played bowed strings with real sweetness and air. Violins and violas sounded very sweet, never bright or strident.

Brass instruments are also very demanding on a system in both frequency range and dynamics. It is very difficult to get the explosive dynamics, the bite, and the body of a trumpet or cornet right without sounding edgy or just downright bright. The Thales allowed my system to play horns very precisely with correct tonal balance. The horns had good bite and were very dynamic.


Spinning Some Tunes

Let’s start with an LP I have been using to evaluate my systems with since it came out, Cat Stevens’ “Tea for the Tillerman.” The sound was very detailed, the bass powerful and tight. His voice and the piano and guitars were transparent, articulate, quick and nimble, glowing with the full emotional connection that the vintage cartridge is fully capable of capturing.

Next, I put on Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn LP. On this recording, the two of them use seven different banjos, including a cello banjo, a ukulele banjo and a baritone banjo that Fleck commissioned specifically for this album. The speed of these banjos is simply amazing using this turntable. The placement of the banjos and her voice was also incredible, with lots of natural air.

Then I played Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s Americana. This is one of my favorite LPs if the system is up to it. I have played it with less expensive vinyl setups and found it almost unlistenable. It is what I call grungy music; it’s raw and powerful. The bass of the Thales really brought out the aspect of power this recording needs. I was very pleased with how it was able to make the voices growl and the music flow.



The Thales TTT-Slim and Easy is a very nice turntable and tonearm system in a very small package, while also incredibly easy to set up for a high-end turntable.

I think the Easy tonearm is innovative and works very well. It is a very good tonearm, and the lack of need for an offset makes setup simple. After years of listening to turntables and owning three different linear tracking setups, and admitting my unrelenting, persisting love for a really good 12-inch pivot tonearm, I think either the tonearms from Thales or linear tracking tonearms are solving a real, theoretical and mathematical problem.

In the end, the Thales Slim and Easy is a truly wonderful sounding analogue source and one I could easily live with.

3 Responses to Thales TTT-Slim Turntable and Easy Tonearm Review

  1. Mike says:

    Great review, thanks Jack

  2. Dave Page says:

    “…Rumble: -58dB (unweighted)”, a rumble figure that is bested by any $100 plastic turntable.

    Extraordinary, both in a $7k turntable and that there is no mention or exploration of this in the review.

    • Dear Dave,

      Thank you for your comment and readership. Yours is a very fine point. The fact that mass market, $100 plastic turntable as noted in your comment can sport the same rumble figure of -58dB points to the questionable relevancy of publicized specs. As the Thales TTT-Slim is the product of R&D intended for the high-performance industry sector, I am confident that the performance of the plastic turntable will not satisfy us in our main system.

      I could write a 10,000-word, more comprehensive review of the Thales TTT-Slim that covers more aspects of the design, which will take another 3 to 6 months to complete and edit, but I chose a concise compilation of my observation both in the areas where I found most relevant to the majority of the readership, as well as a length more palatable to all. Trust me, the quietness of the Thales in its operation is certifiable.


      Constantine Soo

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