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  1. #1

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    Default My Lenco Turntable Project

    I have been a lurker in the now defunct Lenco Lover's forum, currently lurking in the Lenco Heaven forum, followed parts 1 and 2 of the Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot thread at Audiogon along with keeping up on Jean Nantais?s work there. Despite having a pretty nice high mass belt drive turntable/arm/cartridge combination, I decided it was time to get on with this project to see if the modded Lenco lives up to the ?belt drive killer? hype.

    If you are not familiar with the Swiss made Lenco turntable but wish to be, check out the wiki article.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenco_Turntables

    Or; Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot II.

    http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...&zzhome+despot

    Or; the Lenco Heaven forum.

    http://www.lencoheaven.net/

    Basically you have a four pole AC Swiss motor with a tapered spindle turning an idler drive wheel that spins the platter. Plenty of torque to get through whatever the groove throws at the stylus without slowing down. You can go from mild to wild on these builds as there are custom parts available, like Titanium idler wheels, platter bearings, folks offering build to order heavy plinths of layered/constrained layer materials and even the uber Slate material. There is a fellow in Amsterdam that waterjets out a thick flat top plate out of Stainless that decouples the motor that normally hangs from the stamped pan. Folks have mounted both inexpensive and pricey arms on the heavy plinth Lenco, even air bearing linear trackers.

    I had purchased my Lenco L75 two or three years ago before even beater tables were fetching a high price. Mine had a junk tone arm but the mechanicals were good. It has the desirable 5 hole metal idler drive, the heavy platter (4kg or 9 pounds) and is the 110/60Hz version. Basically the idea is to get rid of the stock hollow plinth and build a heavy layered or constrained layer plinth. Some even use poured concrete or what some say is the best material, a thick slab of Slate.

    I am staying with the stock parts for now, just clean and lube. The plinth wil be made up of six layers of Baltic Birch which will be glued and screwed together. You can leave the top pan complete or cut it up. With the pan full size, your choices of arms is restricted to the existing hole in the pan. By cutting most of the pan off, you can install any 9" - 12" arm made, providing the plinth is large enough. I like the minimal look of the cut top plate anyway. I retained the original on/off switch position as it also controls linkage that disengages the idler wheel when turned off. On the left is the speed control, 16 to 78.

    Thinking down the road of possible resale, my plan is to make an arm board configuration that will fit the popular 9" arms. I planned to use my 12" Moerch DP6 currently mounted on my Nottingham Space 294. I may still try the Moerch, but it looks like I just committed to buy doctorcilantro's AdvanceDAnalog MG-1 Air Bearing Linear Tracking Tonearm. There are folks at Lenco Heaven that use this arm and love the results.

    I have the layers cut out. I will temporarily assemble the layers with just screws to figure out the arm board design and make sure it all fits. Not sure of the finish, but I am considering seal and paint the plinth instead of a stained wood finish.
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    Last edited by SCompRacer; 04-30-2011 at 11:55 AM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  2. #2

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    serious build there Rich,,man,,you're dug in deep eh?
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  3. #3

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    Thats a very involved rebuild Rich ,I'll be keeping a eye on your progress.

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    I am anxious to see how this project proceeds. Rich's craftsmanship is priceless as the build quality will be impeccable.

    Resale? Don't even advertise! Call me immediately when you have made the decision. I am a patient man, take your time and enjoy.

    Great project! Good luck!
    Carl

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    Nice project. Swiss made just like the watches. I have an old Dual 1228 that I need to rebuild for my 78 records.

    .
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  6. #6

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    Very nice project. I love these rebuild/mod posts.....probably because I love modding/rebuilding.
    SDA-1C (full mods)
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  7. #7

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    I'm interested in the internal and tonearm wiring selection. Are you going to have an RCA "outbox"?
    Carl

  8. #8

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    Thanks very much for the kind words.....

    Quote Originally Posted by schwarcw View Post
    I'm interested in the internal and tonearm wiring selection. Are you going to have an RCA "outbox"?
    Carl, most likely no on the RCA box. Most Lenco builds have holes drilled/cut beneath the arm board through all the layers of the plinth to route the tonearm wiring out.



    Now The MG-1 air bearing arm I acquired from doc does have two short runs of 1/8" coax to an external RCA box. If I chose to use it, I could run the tonearm wires external along the top of plinth and attach the box to the rear of plinth. Or I could desolder the box, run the wiring through drilled passages and resolder it. I may just run from the cartridge/tonearm straight to the ModWright phono stage. That will eliminate the S video connector the tone arm wiring plugs into and another set of IC's from the RCA box to the phono pre.




    Here is where I am at. I just have the plinth layers screwed together for now. They will be glued and screwed after the armboard/cutouts are made. I used my drill press to accurately drill mounting holes for the pan. Blind nuts are installed in the third layer of the plinth for machine screw threaded fasteners so there will be no wood screws to strip when tightening the pan down. I'll also use blind nuts for the arm board and the adjustable feet.

    I hadn't designed the plinth for the linear tracking arm, so I have some things to work out. Like the on/off switch idler wheel disconnect lever will hit the bottom of the linear tracking tonearm. I may have to go with the 16 speed position on/off idler wheel disconnect mod, or make a shorter switch lever. If I had known I was getting a linear tracking arm, I would have moved the pan 1/2" toward the front and would have been able to mount the MG-1 at the left rear of plinth.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 05-09-2011 at 02:16 AM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  9. #9
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    That's going to be one hell of a turntable you're building there!
    SRT For Life; SDA Forever!

    The SRT SEISMIC System:
    Four main satellite speakers, six powered subs, two dedicated for LFE channel, two center speakers for over/under screen placement and three Control Centers. Amaze your friends, terrorize your neighbors, seize the audio bragging rights for your state. Go ahead, buy it; you only go around once.

  10. #10

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    Wow .I suspect that mounting that LT arm requires extreme precision in that at only one exact point will it give the correct stylus/record geometry?
    Last edited by FTGV; 05-09-2011 at 10:00 PM.

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    Oh man! This is awesome looking! That air arm from Dr. C was the finishing touch on what will become a masterpiece. Beautiful!
    Carl

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    Nice job on cutting the BB.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  13. #13

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    Thanks again for the kind words. Mike, I miss my table saw...I sold it after cutting these layers a couple of years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    Wow .I suspect that mounting that LT arm requires extreme precision in that at only one exact point will it give the correct stylus/record geometry?
    It is a bunch more work to me compared to a pivoted arm. I've been spoiled with articulated armboards. Turn to set the pivot to spindle distance, tighten it, set stylus overhang and double check alignment with my Feickert and play. Further verify with voltmeter or scope if you really want to get down in it.

    A nice plastic coated template is included that aligns the center of all holes off the spindle (mounting, air line, tonearm wiring). There is a specified spindle to center of the arm mount stud. The template is bordered with mm ruler markings that you can align with centering lines drawn across the plinth. Then there are three Allen screws arranged in a triangle on the arm base around that stud. Tighten/loosen until you are square. Access is via holes in the top of mount.

    You really gotta be on the level with this table. Make sure the table is level, the platter is level to the table and make the air beam level to the platter. The air beam tube must also be parallel to the centerline of spindle. The arm tube is adjustable to put the stylus on target. A nice plastic coated alignment guide is included for that as well.

    I decided on a rear mount. The arm board does hang off the back slightly. As I mentioned earlier I had not planned on installing an air bearing linear tracker. The original plan was for a 9" and 12" arm, then I saw doc's ad..... I do plan to add an armboard cutout for the popular Rega arm to make the plinth more sellable, if and when I do. I'm already thinking of building a PTP (Peter's Top Plate) Lenco, which is a flat stainless plate instead of the stamped pan.

    It sounds pretty darn good even in this roughed in trial state. It is still just screwed together. The air pump is slightly noisy but will be installed in the basement. I had to add a quick and dirty ground to silence a hum as I haven't installed a grounded power cord as yet.

    PRAT and dynamics are excellent. No lack of bass with this arm, at all. I have an old Acutex MM cartridge on it for now and the old dog sounds fantastic. This table deserves a fine finish. Some folks leave the plinth square, some radius the corners, some paint and some stain or leave the plinth natural. Many of the denizens at the Lenco Lovers also name their tables, so I'm thinking of cutting angles at the corners and beveling the top and bottom edges, painting it and call it..... Beveley. If I eff up, I'll rename it Slants. Carl, any color preferences?


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    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
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    GIK Acoustic Treatments


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  14. #14

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    Nice,almost makes me want to get back into vinyl in a bigger way.As for finish I vote for an au natuale look with a clear finish.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    Carl, any color preferences?
    I like the cherry veneer, use a wood dye not a stain, hand rub polyurethane. Consult our wood expert Jesse. Oak works well in your decor. This is going to be way out of my price range It's a real beauty though, I already have the sweats and the upgrade jones to own it!
    Carl

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    Wow,, nice work Rich,, you really 'set the bar' up a few notches.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    Carl just told me about this thread. My hat is off to you. I think you've got a real winner here on this project, and what a beauty it will be! Good luck as you finish the job.... maybe a 2-tone? Cherry sides and a piano-black laquered top? Just a thought....you are the boss....kudos!!!

  18. #18

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    Personally, I'd sand it flush, maybe apply a subtle stain to it, and then poly it. No veneer needed.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  19. #19

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    Sweetness

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  20. #20

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    Rich- Awesome project. Is that a blue faced Modwright preamp peeking in the background of the first picture?

  21. #21

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    Thanks very much for the kind words and finish suggestions. It gives me encouragement to complete the project. Carl, I?m not Jean Nantais and won?t be asking $4K for this.

    I added an armboard cutout that will support popular 9" arms and scrapped the 12" arm mounting. I left enough space to provide access to popular VTA adjusters used on Rega arms. (With the stamped pan recessed deeper in the plinth, a Rega must mount ~1/2" to 5/8" below the top surface to allow proper VTA. A narrow armboard would not allow easy access to a VTA adjuster knob). There are pilot holes drilled for two popular arms in the second layer that can be drilled/cut when mounting an arm of choice. There is a large enough cutout in layers three through six for tonearm wiring and (hopefully) an SME 3009 arm base/wiring.

    The top layer armboard cutouts were routed smooth and square to the top surface (had some trouble there) before gluing the layers together. I ran a tap through all the blind nuts for the arm board/stamped pan/threaded feet to get any glue out of the threads that may have flowed there during assembly. An RAS friend?s brother has a well equipped wood shop that may be cutting (or at least providing) me some Maple for the armboard/armboard filler pieces.

    Carl, rather than call Jesse I?d like to just send it to him. I haven?t decided on the finish yet, but am leaning towards a gloss Black lacquer finish. I do know gloss requires a lot of work to look good and don?t know if I want to go through that. Maybe I?ll take the easy way out and do a satin finish.

    I?ve studied hundreds of Lenco projects over the years, and many of the Baltic Birch plinths are stained/cleared and left with square or rounded edges/corners. Some do veneer, some wrap exotic wood around the Baltic Birch, etc. I was thinking beveled edges on the top and bottom with 45 degree cut corners. But that could mean a lot of extra edge filling/sanding. I did manage to do a different cut on the right side of pan where the on/off switch idler linkage disconnect lever is placed. Not sure how different I want to be with a finish.
    Attached Images  
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 05-21-2011 at 01:11 AM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
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    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ern Dog View Post
    Is that a blue faced Modwright preamp peeking in the background of the first picture?


    Yes, it is a ModWright SWLP 9.0 Signature Edition (ModWright caps, tube rectified PS with latest upgrade). It has been with me since 2007 and I still like the pre amp and phono stage very much. While it doesn?t see much use anymore, I also have his modded 9100ES with tube regulated PS. He was still working out the details of the digital in mod for the 9100 I suggested he provide when I went PC based with my digital music (Squeezebox Touch>external DAC). That digital in mod is ~$800 IIRC (due to adding another clock for the incoming digital).
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


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  23. #23

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    Looking awesome Rich!

    You are in good hand with Jesse for sure! I like Larry's idea about the cherry sides and the black top. That combo would be awesome!

    Give any thought to the feet? I think brass spikes with the black or whatever you chose would look fabulous!
    Last edited by schwarcw; 05-21-2011 at 11:56 AM.
    Carl

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    Carl, no thought for feet yet other than the ones on there. They have a removable rubber boot on the bottom. Quite practical actually for my application (Gingko isolation base), but not real pretty. If I mess up the finish, it won't need feet as I will reach deep into my Nordic past and give it a Viking funeral. But yes, some Brass spikes would look nice under there.

    OK, I arrived at a shape and we can call it Beveley. Bevels cut on the top and bottom edge all the way around with rounded edges on the corners. I decided against 45 degree corner cuts. One more hole or two, and the fun starts with finishing. My preference is for gloss Black.....satin if it doesn't look good.
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    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  25. #25

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    Wow! The bevels look nice, and the corners are so sharp they look like they could draw blood!
    Carl

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    Progress! About time, eh? Just out of the spray booth, Cadillac Black, Jack..... Looks pretty good as is, but still needs to be wet sanded and buffed.

    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  27. #27

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    Very nice!
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    that gloss is really going to show off imperfections in the wood. You may want to consider bondo'ing the entire outside, then follownig up with a an extensively progressive sanding, then finally a couple layers of paint with wet sanding in between. Just a thought, as your work up to this point has been great, and I'd hate to see the paint detract from all your effort.

    A very nice project though. Keep it up! :D
    design is where science and art break even.

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    Nice to see Project Lenco making progress, Rich. Have you seen it in person or has that shot just been emailed to you? Pretty exciting to see it coming along.

    Jay

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    Thanks for the kind words! Jay, it is in hand, pic taken outside the garage. New, it is primer sealed and imperfections filled with bondo/spot filler putty. Some folks that are better equipped may kiln dry and seal it with high grade synthetic phenolic resin. That would really help prevent shifting of layers and keep moisture and humidity out. Therefore I am at the mercy of time as to what will happen. Future project will hopefully be a PTP4 stainless top plate with Slate plinth. Or Maple, the hard stuff, which would not be painted.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

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