The Schopper firm was founded by my grandfather Ernst Schopper in 1923 as a business selling musical instruments and sound reproduction devices. Thorens products were there from the beginning. In the 1950's hifi equipment and records were added to the store's offerings, making it one of Switzerland's first hifi studios. My father managed the business until 1993, when it was taken over by myself, Jürg Schopper.
Various Thorens TD 124 turntables belonged to the collection of classic hifi pieces from the 50s/60s that my father kept in the attic. Fascinated from the beginning by this marvelous turntable, I was always curious to test it properly in an appropriate system. My first effort failed when the motor wouldn't turn! After various experiments with other TD 124s, I quickly realized that the table's main problem was the drive system. Convinced of the TD 124s great potential and exceptional build quality, I refused to give up and sought expert assistance. Through the Thorens representative in Switzerland I made contact with a former Thorens development engineer in Sainte Croix, who, to my delight, successfully restored a 124. While not completely satisfied with the restored turntable, my fascination for the 124 was such that we began to include the table in our store offerings. At first, we only sold the restored 124s for mono playback, later offering them with lightweight stereo cartridges, since at the time there were no non-magnetic platters available.
Fortunately, we were able to obtain access to various prototype parts developed by Thorens for the124 - including improved bearings and non-magnetic platters from various materials - and began to intensively analyze them. This made it possible to achieve the breakthrough in addressing the TD 124's main problems. Rigorous research and extensive experimentation with these prototypes has now made it possible for us to not only supply replacement parts according to the original Thorens specifications, but to develop our own prototypes which, due to their expense, Thorens was unable to implement for commercial production of the 124. We are now able to offer the highest quality replacement parts based on modern production methods, with no limiting manufacturing cost considerations. And with these parts we are able to finally offer a full restoration of the 124 with which we are, at last, completely satisfied.
A TD 124 restored by us meets all the demands of a modern high end turntable while preserving the spirit - and the enormous strengths - of the 124. We have not created - and wil not create - a new turntable. We are simply building on the technical advances which cost factors at the time confined to the laboratory and never entered into commercial production.
The enormous worldwide demand for TD 124 replacement parts, and the positive resonance our products have received in the international hifi press, has convinced us that music lovers continue to cherish the turntable decades after production ceased. Enthusiasm for the 124 is today greater than ever, and owners seek to to properly restore the table and unlock fully its musical potential. The enthusiastic response to our products convinces us that we're on the right path, and gives us the energy to continue developing new and improved replacement parts to meet the growing demand.
Walter and Alfred (2nd generation) in front of the first shop of their father Ernst (1st Generation) around 1939. Obergasse in Winterthur.