Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Lenco Chronicles

I had to see what all the fuss was about: Giant Killing and all that.

And so,  a Lenco L75 was procured and mounted into a layered plywood plinth with a Hadcock and a Music Maker. This was very rhythmic and musical, its limitations were obvious however potential was showing.
(sorry, pictures from that era have gone missing)

I have a buddy, Pete Fowler, who had gone through a meticulous rebuilding, setup and tuning of a Thorens 124 and graciously relayed his findings. He used Boos Bros rock maple plinths with tuning of different hardwood supports (He related that it was easy to hear the difference between changing just the pillars with different hardwoods) as well as a variety of other devices such as stethoscopes etc. to reach a truly impressive level of performance.

Pete Fowler's Thorens 124 beautifully rebuilt and tuned with performance well beyond the usual Birchply
 and idler applications.

Inspired by its performance and with his insightful knowledge I began afresh.


a PTP, carbon platter mat, Ikeda 407 and Koetsu Urushi were employed and all mounted into in a simple rock maple plinth from Boos Bros and... let'er rip potato chip.
(BTW: I was NOT going to mount the Koetsu on the fiddly Hadcock!)
As crude as this appears it was immediately clear that this was going to be a serious platform. The PTP, maple and Ikeda brought out definition, impact and space.

The beautiful MKI Urushi, my favourite cartridge until the Expert Stylus retip. Now it must go back to Koetsu..., sigh.

First: a 50kg sandbox and pneumatic suspension but then on to a light and rigid setup.

How about doubling up the solid maple plinth ala Fowler?

The results indicated just how critical the plinth was (as Mr. Fowler had already taken note of) and how clearly it was part of the turntable's voicing. Light and rigid load path with two levels of brass and maple was the clear winner. It was at once more powerful, more lively and with better definition. Unbelievable how crude the appearance and how surprisingly refined and powerful the music. This was an immensely satisfying platform and a definite stopping point for the sane.


Everyone was going on about slate and so after a few conversations with Jonathan of
Oswalds Mill I started to play with another plinth as well as some other parts:

titanium idler wheel, titanium idler arm,

and a ruby bearing...

 installed inside the stainless bearing house with bronze thrust plate.

All mounted up:

Well? How about the sound?

Before this, please note it is still on a solid maple support and the MKI Onyx was regularly interchanged with the Urushi).

The warmth of the maple was lessened, the resolution greatly increased and the ambient air and decay was more accessible. Tone more neutral and perhaps, after the wood, a little cool.

Brass footers helped bring back warmth while increasing definition.

Later a bronze arm tower was employed.

When combined with the brass footers on the maple support it was the best implementation of the slate plinth. Thus, slate was good but not unequivocally so and not by itself. To be its best it needed both the brass supports as well as the maple support.

It was fun to play with slate, and very costly. The cost at this point was more than ten times that of the doubled Boos Bros rock maple plinths with PTP. To be quite honest, although there was greater resolution in the slate, the satisfaction levels were equivalent. There were merits to each: tone and timbre in the maple versus resolution and spatial decay in the slate. They were surprisingly close. Baltic birch plywood was not in the running with either of these. Pete Fowler's recipe is an off the grid, cost effective gem to be made note of.

Once again the lesson was being learned:

Don't be afraid to stop at the high points and savour what you have!*

A Lenco with a PTP in a double hardwood plinth is a sure thing. 

Thank you Lenco, Peter Reinders, and Hats Off to Mr. Fowler!

*Curiosity killed the cat...
but, satisfaction brought him back. ;)

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