This is just to document rebuilding the inexpensive Lenco 75 turntable.
I became interested in this due to Jeans thread at Audiogon. Worst case it goes to college with my son.
The first image is the restored Lenco with Decca, sitting on the refinished (original) plinth. The three images with blue backdrop are what was completed last night (Aug 8, '04). This is a solid sandwich of materials, topped with Western Red Oak finished with black lacquer.
The base surrounding the sandwich is solid Maple lumber finished with water based crystal clear (satin) poly.
Decca arm is fitted with Shure V15VxMR cartridge, stepped up by my EAR 834P phono.
That's a really neat idea - having a virtual system thread for a project is my kind of concept. I'm always doing some kind of project and I like to think I'm not the only one who's enthralled by what I'm doing.
Your Lenco is fantastic. My buddy Mbort has one too (Vector arm with Titan i cart on marqueterie plinth) and it's wonderful to listen to, especially when the recording is good. Just a couple nights ago we were listening to XXX and it momentarily made me wish I hadn't given up on vinyl quite so easily.
As noted in another post, Albert Porter raved about the sound of his replinthed Lenco and Decca arm (a real budget item but reportedly very musical) compared to his 50 times more expensive Walker turntable/arm and high end cartridge. Because of that comment, I'm posting on my dormant (but not dead) Lenco project thread so members can find it.
As stated in earlier posts, the Lenco/Decca is an amazing rig for NO money, a joy for analog lovers everywhere. This little Swiss beauty should remove that old objection of too much money to spin LP's.
Well Albert, I suggest a Decca cartridge for that second Decca tonearm, stating the obvous, and a little re-wiring and gluing. Live dangerously! Can't wait to see your next project! Which style will you be adopting/creating next, I wonder? Thanks for the kind comments and your support and participation in my Great Experiment and Fun Factory.
Platter and top plate restored with a polish from Germany called Polier. It is manufactured by the same people as Semichrome. Unfortunately it has been discontinued.
The Maple base was inspired by my viewing various DIY projects for Gerrard 301 rim drive tables. Some of those guys in Europe take this very seriously, applying craftsmanship and loving care beyond the norm.
The Decca arm would not be possible if not for your famous thread. I contacted the fellow in Holland that had NOS Decca's and bought two. One is installed on this Lenco and one as a spare, should the bug bite again.
The Shure is very nice. Lively, detailed and very high output. This is the first moving magnet cartridge I have owned in more than twenty years. Nice that I can power a low gain phono and get all the volume I need.
Thanks for instilling the desire in myself and others to experiment and have fun with low cost, great performance product.
Unless we continue to draw in new young people with fun projects like this, we may look up one day and find we are alone. I hope with Audiogon's help that will never happen.
I have to say the finished product looks fantastic, making the old plinth look like caca. Love the care you took in polishing the platter - what did you use again? - and in painting the top-plate to that perfect finish. Please feel free to post your polishing secrets in my "system". Love the classic maple box as well. I wonder if you hear the Shure's excellence in retrieving/preserving timing relationships - especially on the Decca International, another champion in this respect! - as I do? There are many more detailed MMs, but none that equal it here. Hope you continue to enjoy it! I built my first more than ten years ago from a Lenco built in 1967 and heavily-used, and it continues to play without hiccup or replacements, while the Audiomeca I bought new just before it is now a paperweight. And bravo for joining in the fun!
System edited: Worked all day with a small wood craftsman to complete this long overdue plinth for my Lenco. As I add finishing touches I will document with photo's and add to this thread.
Be sure to click on the new items and then click again to see them in full size. There are details of the multilayer construction, the IEC connector, Western Red Oak top and the solid Maple lumber wrap.
If this improves the sound more than I have already experienced, this will be an amazing turntable.
Thank you Gary. I can't afford the Great Northern mod and mine has no volume control. I'll check out caps in position C1 and C7 and price subs in Hovland and maybe TRT Infinicaps. I plan on waiting until my new Soundlab cores arrive and they and the table, cables and EAR break in before I change anything.
Albert- From what I've been able to gather the C1 and C7 are most critical and Hovlands would probably be fine. Mitch Singerman who I believe is the US tech for EAR does a cap mod for not much dough. His number is 310-823-5145. Also his mods do not void your warranty. Great Northern does a complete mod -- caps, resistors, rectifiers, damping, wire and Cardas jacks for $925.00 with a 1-year warranty. I also changed the stock volume pot to one from dact. That was an extra $200 if I remember correctly. Hope this info help. Cheers-Gary...
I have Mullard, Telefunken and others (would have to look at my supply). I'm sure one of them will be vastly superior to the original tubes.
I wonder about coupling caps. Several people here at Audiogon have mentioned replacing them in the EAR and getting superior performance. I looked inside and see several caps but not sure which ones are eligible for upgrade and what to replace them with.
Ive enjoyed watching the progress of your Lenco project! With the addition of the EAR 834p Ill be watching a little closer. I use that for my reference and with some tube rolling and mods, Ive been surprised how much Ive been able to get out the unit. I've been thinking about moving to the Rhea, but decided to spend a little time tweaking the 834p. For what its worth I had my unit modified by Steve at Great Northern Sound Co. and find a matched trio of Mullards too work especially well. Best-Gary
My EAR 834 P phono arrived and I plugged it into my Aesthetix Callisto and put on Mark Knopfler. The music is a bit muted and lacking due to new phono, new wire, new tonearm and 25 year old ACD XLM ;^). BUT the sound did pour fourth with a solid PRaT (as everyone likes to say) and the rumble was non existent. I consider that a small miracle since I have no damping and the stock original plinth and playing into Soundlab Ultimates that are capable of going down to 24 HZ.
As this breaks in and I tube roll the EAR, replace the cartridge and tweak VTA and tracking I will report further. So far I must say that for my $200.00 this is a tremendous bargain and a lot of fun.
Gregm, looks like a cool project, lots of adjustment for various years of LP's and 78' releases. Considering the range of part brands and types that would work in that circuit, it would be a lot to think about. I will ask this one guy in my group about this and consider building it.
Albert, just noticed these schematics for a multistandard phono equaliser here. It is inexpensive and easy for a technician to build it for you -- and, given your extensive LP collection, it could be worth it! Cheers
I am ordering a EAR 834P Deluxe and expect it within two weeks. After break in will try various NOS tubes.
For now my Lenco will have to get by with an ADC XLM that was given to me by a friend in my music group. It was new in the box, unused. the sound of this cartridge is unknown to me, I have never owned one.