LENCO Turntables


LENCO Turntables

Lenco is now a Dutch brand of audio & video equipment and part of the "STL Group" of brands. [cite web
title = STL Group bv Homepage
url = http://www.stl.nl
accessdate = 2007-11-16
]

However, when audio hobbyists refer to Lenco turntables, they are typically referring to the defunct Lenco AG of Oberburg, Switzerland, a turntable manufacturer of the 1950-1980's. [cite web
last = resus
first = (MAX)
title = There is more than the L 75's and L 78's and their derivates
url = http://www.lenco-lovers.com/forum/posting.php?mode=quote&p=20372
date = 2007-10-05
accessdate = 2007-11-18
] This article will discuss why vintage ("used") Lenco turntables are of interest to audio hobbyists.

Why are vintage Lenco turntables interesting?

Turntables are electromechanical systems used to extract musical signals cut as modulations into vinyl or shellac records. As a system, a turntable typically consists of a platter and drive system (mounted on a plinth), a tonearm, and a phono cartridge. The platter provides the rotational energy to the record placed upon it via the platter drive system, energy which the phono cartridge transducer (held above the record by the tonearm) needs to trace and convert the modulations into electrical signals. These electrical signals are then amplified and re-equalized, and finally converted into musical sound-waves by loudspeakers. A key functional requirement of a turntable system is the consistency of the platters rotational velocity, especially when high level modulations (loud sounds, typically with low frequency content) provide greater friction to the phono transducer, creating a dynamic load on the platter drive system. Various techniques are used to rotate the platter and to generate the required rotational energy; a rather unique system was made by the defunct Swiss turntable manufacturer Lenco.

Vintage Swiss made Lenco and Lenco OEM/re-badged Barthe, Benjamin, Bogen, Braun, Goldring, Grundig, Komet, and Voxon turntables used a unique vertical "idler-drive" to rotate the platter, as opposed to a belt drive or more recent direct drive turntables. This idler-driver has the advantage of directly coupling the rotating motor force to the platter, via a solid rubber disc or rubberized wheel. [cite web
title=More Lencos -
url=http://www.freewebs.com/bornin50-2/idlerwheels.htm
accessdate=2007-11-16
pageid=13651847
] When coupled to a heavy platter (early model Lenco's have cast non-ferrous metal platters of almost 4 kg), and modified [cite web
title=The Weekly Grove
date=2006-12-01
url=http://www.vinylsa.co.za/pdf/theweeklygroove_20061201.pdf
format=PDF
accessdate=2007-11-16
language=English
] [cite web
title=A Lenco motor controller to solve everything
date=2007-11-10
url=http://www.lenco-lovers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1802
format= HTML
accessdate=2007-11-22
language=English
] ,the idler-drive can provide excellent rotational consistency, even when heavily modulated passages are tracked by a phono cartridge. Many audiophiles believe that this "rotational consistency" translates into bass "slam" (audiophile jargon for impactful bass) and rhythmic fidelity. [cite web
last = melomane
first = Music-Lover-Audiophile-in-Canada
date = 2005-02-10
title = Re: Vintage Turntables (EMT, Garrard, Thorens) Opinions please
url = http://db.audioasylum.com/scripts/t.pl?f=vinyl&m=385552
accessdate = 2007-11-18
quote = Anyway, as a representative of the idler-wheel technology which majors in slam, powerful bass and musical excitement, the Lenco has also easily beaten the tricked-out Linn LP12 (Cetech carbopn-fibre subchassis etc.) in every area including detail, and in all the usual audiophile categories.
] As a system to impart the needed rotational energy to a vinyl record, the idler-drive is something of a brute-force technique, and the engineering that Lenco used, especially in older models, was both simple and cost effective. As a result, many Lenco turntables were sold throughout the world in its heyday.

But idler-drive turntable systems are not without drawbacks -- coupling the platter directly to the motor means that vibrations from the motor can be passed to the platter, where they can be picked up and amplified by the sensitive phono cartridge transducer. This will color and degrade the musical signals being amplified. Moreover, the fabrication techniques used to build Lenco turntables exacerbated problems with vibration control, as the idler-drive motor was housed in a "cavity" that allowed resonance reinforcement, and the motor was not sufficiently damped or decoupled from the plinth to prevent certain colorations.

Modern day hobbyists have addressed these short-comings in vintage Lenco turntables by modifying them, eliminating the cavities and providing a high mass chassis/plinth for the turntable. The results are very satisfying to these hobbyists, [cite web
last = Steinfeld
first = Richard
title = "An article by Richard Steinfeld (Cartridges)"
url = http://homepage.ntlworld.com/maddogmcq/myart/lencoheaven/cartridges2.htm
accessdate = 2007-11-17
quote = The cast platter machines bring the Lenco design very close to the audiophile realm, and can make for a very satisfying turntable.
] especially as the cost to refurbish and modify a used vintage Lenco turntable is small in comparison with the cost of buying a new audiophile-grade turntable (provided that one has invested in the tools needed to tackle such a project -- chief among these a table-saw). Subjectively, these turntables are often compared to turntable systems costing many thousands of dollars more. [cite web
last = Ebaen
first = Srajan
title = 6moons audio reviews: Lenco L75
date = 2007-03-01
url = http://www.sixmoons.com/audioreviews/lenco/lenco.html
accessdate = 2007-11-18
quote = Some of these folks already owned hi-cred tables. Their hi-mass'd Lencos either stomped their modern decks or pulled even - for a lot less money..
]

Lenco Turntables Models

Goldring Lenco GL75 (re-badged Lenco L75) "The ubiquitous Lenco model that many Lenco lovers modify."

References

See also

[http://www.lenco-lovers.com Lenco Lovers]

[http://www.btinternet.com/~a.d.richarson/hifi/lenco/lenco_land.html LencoLand - Lost Worlds of Lenco]

[http://homepage.ntlworld.com/maddogmcq/myart/lencoheaven/ Welcome to Lenco HEAVEN]

[http://members.home.nl/fmunniksma/Lencotdl.htm Lencotdl]

[http://www.vinylengine.com/phpBB2/album_cat.php?cat_id=124/ Goldring Lenco gallery]


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