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!
Given that I hate, hate, hate clamps, I'm not real objective about this. I use a Boston Audio Mat I on my replinthed Lenco, which means there's precious little spindle length available above that mat. Bought a Souther "Clever" clamp for those rare dished LPs that tend to float a little on the Boston Audio, and it was just awful sounding. I'm now using a rubber washer from the hardware store that provides enough pressure at the spindle to hold the record in place, and that works fine.
As this and the last thread are mostly about preconceptions/Dogmas, I have to relate my recent clamp adventures while visiting various soundrooms including various of my 'tables (Garrards, Lencos). My own experience/experiments with clamps (I have several, ranging from one in metacrylate through lighter ones to a solid lead one by Maplenoll) and Lencos were uniformly disastrous, as I had related back in the days of the original thread, and I had forever turned my back on this particular "improvement". Visting one, I saw the fellow using a clamp and asked him if it helped. To this I received the "news" that clamps more securely coupled the record to the platter/record player to achieve an improvement, as if I had never heard of a clamp (this the result of The Clamp Dogma, in which a person steeped in it, hearing me ask about it, must assume I had never heard of a clamp or I would know it HAD to be an improvement). He didn't answer my question about whether or not it was an improvement, and tired, I let it be.

The next fellow had an extremely high-end system, and hearing my Lenco (Dynavector 507 MKII/Dyna 17D MKIII) sounding so pedestrian (I was actually falling asleep in the listening chair), I said, fed up, "Let's do a before and after listening test!" He agreed, we played one track, and then played it again sans clamp. WHAT a difference, the Lenco POWER returned in all its Mightiness, with incredible dynamic spread (from softest to most SLAMMING) and bass (DEEP and powerful), the difference amounting to the difference between an eagle with pinned wings to an eagle soaring among the mountain peaks, the Lenco was now unfettered and ALIVE. The music became entrancing and irresistable with that familiar Amazon in Full Flood sense of limitless untapped fluid power in reserve, and the fellow was delighted and behaved as if he received a whole new high-end system! He had been listening to the Lenco (fettered) for weeks, due to his unexamined assumption (that clamps automatically improved the sound). I wonder how many fellows are listening to crippled 'tables (heavily or lightly modded without first hearing the Lenco "au naturel") due to unquestioning attitudes?

The experiment with the ceramic ball bearing shows just how sensitive the Lenco is to any "interference", the Lenco being evidently a SERIOUS case of the whole being MUCH greater than the sum of its parts. I now understand that this is due to a series of "accidents" which focuses in on a perfect balance of torque (a lot but not too much via its heavy 1800-RPM motor and delicate - as opposed to rim-drives - idler-wheel coupling) vs inertia (just right). In my experience as well, the Lenco seems immune to power conditioning - I've heard it in a few systems with some pretty exotic waveform regenerators - though usually not hampered (it just ignores them). Lenco advertising claimed a no more than 1% deviation from "perfect" for up to a 13% fluctuation in voltages!

In fact, being the sum of a variety of parts with astonishing results, the Mighty Lenco is the 'table the Supreme Being designed and listens to ;-), a happy accident of a variety of accidental parts which amounts to a near-supernatural end result, when properly restored and replinthed. I am now very curious to see what the Reinderspeerter top-plate brings to the party, as it leaves the Lenco parts untouched, and adresses the one "weakness" (the relatively flimsy top-plate, hleped along by glass reinforcement and Direct Coupling).

Now, systems being a case of various synergies and organic balanced ecologies (when successful), it is possible that clamps might help in some cases, and power conditioning in others, but I advise all to actually listen to the effect of any modifications before making any assumptions, as the Lenco is itself a balanced ecology (and with no context, how does one know that one's modification hasn't in fact killed the goose that lays the Golden Egg of Audio Bliss, and end up with something sterile and thin?)! In designing your various "Super Lencos" as well as simple tweaks (like clamps), always compare to an "unfettered" Lenco (i.e. with minimal intrusive mods).

Anyway, have fun all, and never stop questioning!! Now, I'll get back to my latest successful venture in synergies! More audio adventures to relate in the near-future of course.
A Lenco lover who purchased one of my tables (replaced a Nottingham Spacedeck and Well Tempered), had a clamp custom built out of some strange, mysterious, expensive material.
I was against the idea. Just think of all the LPs out there for all that money?
After getting his wonder clamp and A/B comparisons, the clamp was never used again. Seemed to suck the dynamics out of the air. Toe stopped tapping. Had to call the toe truck.
Lenco no like clamp!
Lenco like records!!
Lenco like MUSIC!!!
I've been using my Sota Reflex clamp with my Giant direct-coupled Lenco. But honestly, I don't hear any difference with it vs without it, for better or for worse. I don't activate the clamp mechanism; I just let the clamp ride on the spindle. I think that clamping the record to the platter via the spindle might well couple unwanted vibration/noise from the bearing/spindle interface into the record surface. I do however hear an improvement with my Walker Audio Precision Motor controller providing the AC for the Lenco motor vs without it. Sorry, but I do. There is a big difference in relation to the phase setting on the Walker; if the phase is not set correctly, then the PMC does nothing worthwhile. Perhaps that's why there could be disagreement regarding the beneficial effects of such a device.
Hi Lew, I don't doubt that in some systems these devices, and even clamps, might work positively, given the incredible complexity of system ecologies (getting it right - musical magic as well as all the audiophile goodies - is like finding a needle in a haystack), as I wrote. I am just cautioning against unexamined assumptions: i.e. compare/test before assuming/accepting. Phase could very well be the saving difference of these devices, this is what Rega does to improve their motors, and it could well reduce motor vibrations. Next step, find a power conditioner that does phase so I can test this aspect out!! As to the clamp, why use it at all if it makes no difference, and you aren't using it to actually clamp? The Lenco spindle is slightly oversized, and achieves thusly what it normally takes a clamp to do, hold the record in place with no slippage. Another clever innovation by the brilliant Dr. Lenco, who was either the Leonardo Da Vinci of the record player world, or just incredibly lucky!

Speaking of synergies and ecologies, I am testing out a recent-but-vintage Dolan PM-1 preamplifier, famous about 15 years ago for it's phono stage (very adjustable, and on the front panel!). In my system as it stood it lost out in terms of detail and transparency to my vintage Sony 2000F, but it restored the bass of my Klipsches! I let it cook a couple of days, then I thought: what if I matched it up to my vintage Citation 12 Deluxe (dual mono) and the Yamaha NS-690s? Bingo-Presto Reference/monitor quality detail and separation, with bass and incredible imaging, AND musical!! It's fun to have an arsenal of amps, preamps and speakers to play mix 'n match and so make it easier to find working /combination ecologies!! Successful ecologies are more important than the quality of individual high-end items, which mismatched can lead to musically-disastrous results. But still, I am waiting for my fully-restored Leak (just spray-painted the new filter caps gold to match the chassis) to run my Klipsches. And I may have scored yet another vintage high-sensitivity speaker: a pair of Electro-Voice driver/speakers. It never ends! It sounds like I change systems like others change socks, but once I achieve that Ultimate System (and by this I don't mean the ultimate audiophile system but one which can achieve the Kundalini Effect of actual shivers and hair-raising, which I've achieved two or three times), my system stabilizes for months and sometimes years until I am forced to move (due to my Gypsy nature).

I'm currently testing out an electronic speed controller for the Lenco, courtesy of Sander who loaned me his. So far, at 33 rpm anyway, it has no negative effect on the Lenco's sound. But further testing ahead, both for 33 and for 45. Have fun all!