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!
Hey Jean, I have actually done some work on my Giant Lenco #2 recently. (My work schedule kills me) In fact, all I have to do is finish sand and route some slots for arm boards. This one is a layer cake with MDF, birch ply and wall board - covered in band sawn veneer. Its ridiculous how many arms and carts I have now that I have never used - your fault. Still highly curious to heat them all.

BTW: over the summer, a Sony TAE 8450 was offered on ebay - the bids were low and the guy pulled it before I got a chance to bid.

Hi, Jean

Could you clarify vintage Sony amps for me? I have a vague memory of you saying the "F" series were VFETs, yet your last post differentiates them from the TAE series. Also I think you said originally that VFET amps needed an easy load to drive and lacked bass control? Could you also tell me which are the best sounding vintage/VFET amps in order and how they go with electrostatics? Thanks.
Hi Mike, guilty as charged :-)!! I myself still have all those tonearms, which I have never yet heard on a Giant Direct Coupled Glass-Reinforced Lenco. I'm REALLY curious to hear the Black Widow on this later Super Lenco, as well as the Mayware (which some say is superior to the pricey SME V), the SME 3009 MKII, my NOS Transcriptors Vestigal (which achieves state of the art detail with Grados) and especialy my new NOS Audio Technica ATP-12 tonearm, which appears to be built to higher standards than the superb AT 1005 MKII. For this detail I am currently constructing a workhorse Lenco to take everything from ultra-short tonearms (Vestigal) to ultra-long tonearms, so my fun will be endless. Probably the wrong thing to do for an analogue obssessive like myself :-).

Hi Wolf: I myself was confused by all the different vintage Sony lore, the best place to learn about the chronology of their developments is on The Vintage Knob, at The reason I thought the earlier Sony electronics (TA-3130, TA-3130F, etc.) were V-fets was because of thir very rich and tubey sound, the V-fets being called the tube of the transistor world. But the V-fets came along later in the mid-'70s. The "F" designation on the earlier amps was their special audiophile version of what were already superb electronics, Sony's Statement to the world of their seriousness at the time. The earlier amps were simple TOS-3 amps, and yet I prefer them to the later and much more famous V-fet series. But the V-fets ARE superb, just that they're pussycats, not being able to deal with more difficult loads, needing easy speaker impedances, low reactivity and so on in order to sound their considerable best. I have heard that the V-fets are very good with electrostatics. The series I'm aware of is the X-450 series receivers, amps and preamps. And btw, I'm DYING to get my hands on a TAE-8450 Mike, I already have the earlier Statment premap, a 2000F, which is also superb.

And keeping on the track of Vintage and The Illusion of Progress, let's once again consider those old idler-wheel drives: the Garrards, Lenco, Rek-0-Kuts and others of the Days of Yore. These are STILL, apart from DD (which as you all know I consider inferior, perhaps due to the quartz-locking, experiments still to come with the servo-controlled variety - like the Sony 2250 - which are definitely more fluid-sounding), the only 'tables designed from the ground up, INCLUDING THE MOTOR, to combat the now evidently serious problem of Stylus Force Drag, which it was thought was dealt with by the simple momentum of heavy platters on belt-drives (NOT). These motors are extremely high-torque, large and powerful, and spin at roughly 1500-1800 RPMs, thus eradicating to a certain extent their own speed imperfecftions (no physical system is perfect). They are coupled very securely by a rubber wheel (which doesn't stretch or contract or slip, given basic maintenance) to their own platters, which are themselves flywheels, on the heavier models, regulating the motor's performance, thus creating a closed system which is utterly immune to Stylus Force Drag. Direct Coupling to a high mass (minimum 70 pounds) deals absolutely with the very powerful motors, leaving the field clear for state of the art audio performance in every area: detail, imaging, black backgrounds, dynamics, frequency extension at both extremes, razor sharp transients and most of all fact, it is again not hyperbole to say that if one has not heard vinyl on a vintage idler-wheel drive so set-up, then one hasn't heard vinyl, PERIOD. Close to 20 years on, I continue to be amazed by the performance of these machines, as do all those who hear them, as attested by the latest convert in my previous post.

Anyway, keep having fun all, and don't forget those stellar and cheap vintage speakers as well, such as the Klipsch Heresies (MKI's with the metal horns), the AR2ax's and AR3a's (the world's smallest full-range speakers ;-)) and of course the ESS AMT-4's (the world's largest and heaviest mini monitors ;-))!!
With all due respect, Jean, the Sony ES stuff of recent years is pretty good for solid state, but those earlier efforts to me always sounded artificial, closed in, "gray", and the epitome of what one means when one refers to "transistor sound". Perhaps I hooked them up to the wrong speakers. I'll keep an open mind.

Just to stay on topic, long live Lenco and idler drive! I'm waiting with curiosity for the first new megabuck idler. It's gotta happen.
It seems what you wait for is not far in the future.
A friend of mine is an audio reviewer/writer. He tells me that Teres, maker of high end belt drives, plans to dump the belt drive line (except for there most expensive one) and go with rim drive, vintage design. Seems they have come to realize what Jean and many others have- belt drive is not the answer to stablity!
Us Lenco lovers know that what we hear is far superior to many modern day belt drives.
Finally, Teres has awaken and seeks the PRAT that we have been enjoying.
I wonder when the other manufacterers will hear the magic?
Enjoy your Lencos!!!