Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot II

“For those who want the moon but can't afford it or those who can afford it but like to have fun and work with their hands, I'm willing to give out a recipe for a true high-end 'table which is easy to do, and fun to make as sky's the limit on design/creativity! The cost of materials, including 'table, is roughly $200 (depending, more or less), and add to that a Rega tonearm. The results are astonishing. I'll even tell/show you how to make chipboard look like marble and fool and impress all your friends. If there's interest I'll get on with this project, if not, I'll just continue making them in my basement. The next one I make will have a Corian top and have a zebra stripe pattern! Fun! Any takers?”

The Lead in “Da Thread” as posted by Johnnantais - 2-01-04

Let the saga continue. Sail on, oh ships of Lenco!
GD, that pesky nail-head that was tripping folks up, has been well and truly hammered flush, nice post. :)

Well - my last post did what I hoped it would - kinda. It started up some late summer Lenco discussion, but then it went all pear-shaped....

OK, some guys need for other people to acknowledge their Lenco contributions - WE HAVE HEARD YOU! Jean is not the sole inventor... merely the popularizer :) Now it will be much nicer here in the future if we can all just leave off attacking Jean by means of seeking recognition for ourselves. I know, I know, I attacked Jean once myself and it is fun - but the redundancy of the attacks is becoming boring.

NOW - look at this link:

This Raul guy makes a super interesting post about vintage, top of the line MM carts and lesser known MC's from the past that challenge some of the best current MC's. This is a feather of sorts in someone's cap - not naming names:) Of course, someone has already signed onto that thread claiming overdue credit.

Just kidding

MIKE :0)
Greetings from the Greek island of Rhodos all, a medieval fortress-city built by the Knights of St. John long ago, on the shores of the Aegean sea across from Turkey. A home away from home for me, where I've lived and worked at various reprises. I'm loving it all over again! I'm not entirely sad to report that the Irresitible Force - the Mighty Lenco - met the Immovable Object - Cypriot Customs - with the result that, despite the enormous (for me) amount of money and time and effort I invested, the review is cancelled. Why am I not entirely sad?!? Because, had it not been for the various trials and tribulations associated with making the review happen, I would not have contacted George Karaolides on Cyprus for help, and would not have landed in his living room soon after he had taken delivery of an EMT 930. So thank you Bob for setting this whole thng up, leading to the fasinating situation of a Giant Glass-Reinforced Direct Coupled Lenco being in the same room as an idler-wheel EMT 930. Pretty good shooting, blind from Canada to the eastern Mediterranean, I'd say ;-).

I've always been fortunate in my misfortunes, from the defective Garrard SP25 I was forced to strip down, thus discovering the ilder wheel principle; through the Lenco I was forced to accept instead of the Garrard I was looking for, to the moment of boredom which led me to discovering Audiogon. Now I have landed the Lenco in the same room as an EMT 930 - with myself present for once for the comparison - something I could not have done in Canada!!!

The EMT in question had been worked on and fully restored by two of Europe's leading experts, one providing the latest and greatest suspended metal frame, and the other doing the actual EMT, at a total cost of 9,000 euros, 11,000 once the matching EMT headshell is included.

Among the many misfortunes which plagued me as I approached Cyprus was the discovery that after all the RS Labs RS-A was not, due to problems, being included by the distributor for the review, something which I had been banking on. Fortunately, I had a good friend of mine riffle through my things back at the farmhouse back in Canada, who discovered the arm and airmailed it to me, with the result it arrived in time for me to use it to set up the as-yet incomplete EMT (still missing the specific and necessary headshell and cartridge).

Now this is a great story in its own right: George was a teacher of physics, and as a physicist - who nevertheless loves vinyl and analogue - he was in the habit of saying "vinyl sucks". Whenever I heard this I would correct him and say that if he thought so it was because he had not heard vinyl yet, not having heard it on a properly set-up idler-wheel drive. Of course, he took this with a couple of pounds of salt. So we set up the EMT with the Shure V15V on the RS-A1, plugged it into his electronics and via his Quad ESL-57 speakers, and George was, as he put it, shocked, speechless, and astounded. He and his partner in business Stan, who are developing an audio business (with manufacturing in mind, which explains the investment in the EMT as a Reference Source) admitted that it sounded like master tape, and they should know, as one of their hobbies is taping professional musicians in various venues on their reel-to-reel, I think a Revox, George will eventually chime in to correct me if needed on this score. Stan, also astounded, went so far as to say the EMT/RS-A1/Shure combo were superior to their master tapes, and it was eventually worked out that this was due to the original mastering equipment being superior to their own. Thus was the work and the investment vindicated, the EMT is a truly Great and stunning machine.

I waited three weeks on Cyprus for the Lenco to be released, and afer that gave up and headed to Israel and Egypt, where I waited for another three weeks before it was decided to cancel the review. Eventually the Lenoc WAS released, and since the European motor I had had shipped also surfaced (also held by Customs all that time), I decided to head back to Cyprus after all to at least finish the Lenco and find out for myself (having to rely on second hand accounts which are nevertheless reliable since they are from the very owners of the EMTs conecerned, let it be emphasized and noted) how the Lenco rated agaisnt what is considered by the cognoscenti the second-best idler in the world, the best being the larger EMT 927. I had originally planned on three days as sufficient to accomplising this, but due to various new disasters this was reduced to ONE DAY.

I arrived in Cyrus exhausted by yet further adventures/misadventures, to be confronted with a Lenco antique: the motor was corroded and cobwebbed, and was one of the very early types with three pins to select voltage. Not having any choice, we went out and bought the necessary materials, and I proceeded to rebuild and restore the motor. Yet further difficulties (they've never heard of Robertson screw tips!!!) and finally we had the motor installed, and both George and Stan present.

First impressions were about even, with different presentations (Lenco sharper, EMT "bigger," imaging different from each, Lenco forward, EMT backward) but with an annoying hardening/brightness emanating from the Lenco, which worried me (this being one of the dangers of unsuccessful Direct Coupling). Stan couldn't stand it and, to be frank, neither could I. But, in plugging in the EMT, which required unplugging the lamp standing over the Lenco, the brightness disappeared. So, the playing field began to be a contest in earnest, as it turned out that the lamp was the culprit. Now both machines were incredibly musically compelling, and George kept on saying "Thank you both for installing such incredible machines in my listening room!" But there were still some serious differences in the presentation of both machines.

But, NOW there as an annoying noise emanating from the Lenco, and this I tracked to the different VTAs reached by the RS-A!/Shure combo on both machines. I raised the RS-A1 on the Lenco, and the low-frequency scraping, AND presentation changed drastically. NOW the Lenco pulled ahead in audiophile terms, being significantly superior in its ability to resolve dense an complex passages, with finer and more extended high frequencies, and significantly better resolution of detail. Musically, they were both incredibly powerful, with the EMT having a bouncy rhythmic presentation, while the Lenco, as I've written countless times, had that characteristic unstoppable "Amazon in full flow" sound of limitless power and even presentation. The EMT was bigger and warmer sounding, the Lenco more razor-sharp and resolving. I believe the EMT's warmth is directly related to its loss of detail relative to the Lenco, its warmth being in fact "fuzziness". Why fuzziness? Because the Lenco was Direct Coupled to a large non-resonant mass, while the EMT, due its design, cannot be. Further, the EMT chassis is made of bakelite, not metal, a plastic which fails to deal with the enormous energies. Furthermore, the EMT's "bouncy/engaging" quality will, I predict, be found to be a colouration (we'll wait for George and Stan's further tests and comparisons), as this is precisely how the Lenco sounds when mounted in a low-mass plinth. The unstoppable quality has perfect timing, and reaches far more deeply into the guts/emotions/power of a performance, as the more subtle timing relationships are actually obscured by the "bouncy" quality, while they are revealed by the perfect evenness of the Amazonian Giant Mass.

Now, over the years I have proven my integrity and truthfulness. While I may not gracefully accept the various jibes, misrepresentations and frankly, lies (how else to describe claims I had written or said what I have never written or said?), punted out there about me, being as diplomatic at times as my opponents are; my reputation for fair reporting is deserved, and I do not misrepresent here. A Giant Direct Coupled Glass Reinforced Lenco is, overall and in audiopile terms (some may prefer the EMT warmth/bigness) superior to an EMT 930, and very likely all the other EMTs as well, especially given Tunein4fun's testimony, now vindicated. Now I don't say this is because the Lenco is inherently superior to the EMT (though it is becoming apparent that the Lenco is MUCH, MUCH better than originally thought), but instead because it can be Direct Coupled to a large non-resonant mass. Further, tests like these (and others like the Crush the Belt-Drive events), reveal that the combination of MDF and Russian birch-ply is incrdibly neutral, and friendly to the preservation/revelation of dynamics, being furthermore even across the frequency spectrum in all respects: incredbly extended from the lowest bass to the highest highs, with everything in-between in its proper perspective and relation, both in temrs of frequency and dynamics. If I continue to promote Giant Direct Coupled plinths for idlers it is because of the same old mission: to ensure that idlers being built out there and compared are preforming to their utmost so no false/hasty conclusions are come to. If I am now building and making these available to others, it's because of the old adage, "if you want something done right, then do it yourself." Many are in love with complexity for the sake of complexity, and a single non-resonant mass is, for them, too simple a solution, and so they oppose it. Other are disappointed if exotic Unobtainium is not included, and in this too they have been adversely influenced by high-end magazines. What IS superior is what is more effective, and if this is both simple and easily obtainable, then so much the better, as it keeps costs down, and makes it more uiversally accessible.

So I'll explain once again: a single, high, non-resonant mass quite simply prevents the enormously powerful motors in these old machines from moving, to whatever degree, the entire turntable. So long as the mass is insufficient to prevent this, the motion translates into speed instabilities. The 80-pound mass vs the 40-pound mass simply stops any extraneous, and damaging, motion, and focuses the motor's entire energies on simply revolving the platter at the correct, and unstoppable, speed, as Stylus Force Drag is a MUCH more serious problem than previously believed. The Direct Coupling increases the effectiveness of the mass, plus it provides a MUCH more effective way of sinking noise from every source, providing a jet-black background against which the incredibly potency of the idler motor and system can be heard, that master-tape-like result which so astounded George and Stan.

Finally, a Giant Direct Coupled plinth can be fairly easily (or rather relatively) accomplished, not requiring the years of effort an extremely complex assembly requires, and so makes the astounding results more accessible to the world at large, and ensures, according to my own personal mission, that the idlers be heard in their greatest glory in larger numbers and across more countries, cities, listening rooms. I'm not saying that there is not or will never be an improvement on this simple and sensible, recipe, just that effectively, I am extracting results which many fail to do, thus proving the extreme effectiveness of this recipe.

Finally, according to many out there, the Lenco STILL ranks behind the Garrard and with the EMTs at the top, and isn't it interesting that this is the precise ladder of cost, with the Lenco cheapest, the Garrards more expensive, and the EMTs most expensive of all? Ths is the same old Audio as Status problem raising its head after all these years, and it was my stance against this which was the true reason for the original threads's success in the beginning: bucking the system. Always a rebel, never a conformist it appears. I'll say this too, though many of my most "rabid" opponents will LOVE this: Having heard the SIGNIFICANT gap, in audiophile terms (NOT musicaltiy), between the EMT 930 and the Giant Direct Coupled Glass Reinforced Lenco, I can with confidence say that the Garrard also is superior to the EMT 930 (and ths also of the lesser direct drives, and likley the EMT 927 too), PROVIDED, you guessed it, it is Direct Coupled to a high non-resonant mass.

So, all that said, I'll continue reporting my favourite sport of Crush the Belt-Drive, as right now I am FINALLY conquering that most resistant of audiophile pockets, my own home town, who while I was away obtained my own Bauhaus Lenco, and are currently being mass-converted to the Mightiness of the Idler and the Lenco. One's own home town or country is ALWAYS the toughest to conquer, which is why so many Canadian musicians, for istance, Neil Young, Joni Mithell, etc.) end up living in the US. And it started with the Crushing of a late-edition TNT/Graham 2.2 combo. Other pricier and well-respected belt-drives wait to be Crushed (THAT battle still cotinues, though we are definitely making inroads), and the only way I can access these is to sell Giant Direct Coupled Glass Reinforced Lencos to the men who own the truly megabuck belt-drives. I want to work my way up the ladder all the way to the $100K league, and settle this issue once and for all.

For the record, I do not like and never intended doing competitions between various idlers, I have always used the cheap and numerous Lencos to prove the superiority of the idler wheel drive system, as I have written from the very beginning. The Lenco is not necessarily inherently superior to the EMT: it is its ability to be Direct Coupled which accounts for its icredible abilities. This is the best and simplest way to deal with the idler-wheel system's defects (a too-powerful motor, but just powerful enough to deal with Stylus Force Drag), and to extract the MOST with the LEAST effort and materials. To those who want to experiment and are evidently having fun, I enourage and cheer you on, but this is separate from my mission to prove the idler's superiority to the other two systems: belt-drive and direct drive.

On the subject of direct drive: I am not so much opposed to direct drives in general (though I AM confident that the idler is superior, but we'll see), as to the use of quartz-locking in direct drives, which I beleve is audible, negatively, by the human ear. I was suprised when I first heard the servo-controlled Technics SL-1100, which unlike my SP-10 MKII was fluid and musical (instead of dry and unmusical), and was REALLY gobsmaked by the incredible filigree-detailed and fluid servo-controlled Sony 2250/2251. So I am truly looking forward to building one of these into a high non-resonant plinth (AND, of course, Direct Coupled) to see what it can REALLY do. Perhaps I am wrong about the inherent superiority of the idler, and, as I've reversed myself before when confronted with FACTS (i.e. actual comparisons, such a 40 pounds vs 80 pounds), I'll reverse myself here. I am DYING of curiosity and, after all my misadventures, truly look forward to getting back to my workshop.

And good news to those who want MORE budget Giant Killers: I want to emphasize to all that the EMT is a truly ASTOUNDING machine, compelling, master-tape-like, POWERFUL, but, and there's always a but, I couldn't help thinking "Rek-o-Kut Rondine" when I heard it as, to my ears, they sounded precisely alike, and interstingly, via the same speakers, Quad ESL-57s. So I'll be rebuilding and reporting on this as well when I get back. I'm dying to get back to my workshop!!

Finally, I hope we can all simply stick to the subject, deal with logic, engineering problems and solutions, and leave all the personal crap behind and revert back to reason, discussions, evidence, information-swapping, start with a clean slate. To those who accuse me of "big words", I say, I post the words of the owners of the machines being "crushed", this is good evidence, the testimony of the owners of the machines who, if we were to grant prejudice, would be more likely to be prejudiced in favour of the machines they paid big bucks for instead of the Lencos or Garrards or others they are reporting. There is, in fact, no better evidence. These types dismiss all evidence contary to their expectations as "anecdotal" (but after what number of reports does it cease to be anectdotal?), and all similar reports which support their expectations as unquestionable. If they refuse to try Giant Direct Coupled plinths, I am here to send them out for more testimony, and I will do so, in the spirit of strict observance of scientific verification. For instance the "theory" that all crows are black only holds until a true white crw is found. A sigle white crow is found, an is termed an "anomaly". This is how science works: using a workable and useful "theory" (as MOST crows are black) until something that better describes the reality comes along. As the number of white crows increases (i.e. Lenco/Idlers), so the need for a new theory/paradigm increases.

The Lenco/Idlers are NOT only about audiophile strengths (though in terms of detail-retrieval, dynamics and frequency extension they are unequalled and astounding), but primarily about bringing home the musial message intended by the musical artists, about musical POWER, and those who refuse to enter into the Great Experiment are truly cutting off their noses to spite their faces. These old machines are relatively cheap, and with ENORMOUS musical payback. They are NOT a threat, but istead a Gift. Take it and accept it as one.

So, on that note, I have one week left to unwind from what has been THE most stressful experience of my lfe. Though I thank Bob deeply for his support, enthusiasm and the end result, (which will continue to happen, as there are some truly BIG possibilities for that Review Lenco which will be reported on as time progresses and should the Audio Gods smile on this new venture), the next fellow to suggest I go through "official channels" (i.e. review in a mainline magazine) will be shot immediately. My karma is "Rebel", not "Conformist/System", and my luck only extends in that direction. I look forward to the day when I can, my objectives met, oblivious to discussions and forums, simply tinker away in my peaceful workshop in the country, eating lunch in the lovely Jennifer's restaurant, putting firewood in the woodstove early on a frosty winter morning, and consider my next experiment. To all those idler-tinkerers out there, I wish you the same pleasure I have in restoring/excavating/realizing these superb old machines!! Enjoy all, I'm going off-line again until I am resettled again in my workshop!!
Good for you Jean, the six moons thing was exciting, but those types of publications are still tailored for the price no object crowd whom are not usually DIY types, no sweat, the Lenco continues to amaze all whom endeavor to build one.

I'm still amazed at my giant with my Sakuma San arm and re-tipped 103.
but why can't Johnnantais just send a Lenco to the 6moons guys without all this ado. I am now refurbishing a Thorens and can't see why he can't just finish the thing somewhere and ship it to them. What am I missing? Seems curious that the Lenco went missing long enough to cancel the review.

If Johnnantais wanted to really get the word out he would have made the handoff to the 6moons guys. Customs issues for a seasoned world traveler? C'mon, whuts up?

BTW, I haven't invented anything and I don't want no credit for anything.