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!
Oh, and PS Mike: that Trans-Fi Terminator tonearm looks utterly cool, just saw one surfing (Enjoy the Music Awards), and it got my drool glands going, gonna have to get me one...;-)...
And again Mike, I've read that 5751s do wonders for the EAR, and that a shielded AC cable makes an difference too. Have you tried these simple things? Wouldn't you know it, my PV-8 has a pair of GE 5751's, and I'll resort to the Sovtek 12AX7 to brighten things up at the front ;-). I'll try things that require no actual modification of the circuitry, as I will want to sell it on at some point, and report on this: can't wait!! So, more experimentation ahead, since Tim de P. apparently borrowed the circuit from Marantz, then there's gotta be hope for some magic!! I'll play with cables, and my FR transformer too and see if I can't coax some magic out of it without redoing the guts. My Labour Day Weekend consists of setting up my new abode and workshop, the better to play with audio, though I tell my lady friend I'm doing it for her ;-).

On the agenda soon: MAS/AKG P8ES and Ittok/Clearaudio Concerto, let's see what Mr. Ito can do. Mr. Ito was famed for his bearings (and rightly so), and the MAS 282 is a killer low-mass tonearm (doesn't look like much, but it easily outperforms the Regas with one arm tied behind its back, and I LIKE the Regas!). The Ittok was named after him as well, and handling one - which I mocked in ignorance for years (sorry Mr. Ito) - is a joy and a pleasure: very substantial, with the usual incredible bearings. I will also have an Ultra-Giant Garrard 301 (Mass is Class), which is in my workshop right now, with bearing thrust-plate upgrade, and top-of-the-line Loricraft power supply to play with, I'll report on the results of this no-holds-barred approach, along with the cheap'n cheerful cherry tonearm being sold right here on Audiogon. Have fun all!
OK, the EAR 834P DOES do magic! I switched the V3 tube to a GE 5751, and the other two to Sovtek 12AX7s, and Bingo-Presto! tons of PRaT, gestalt, propulsion and excitement, all the good stuff an idler-wheel drive can dish out, putting the EAR in the same league as the good vintage CJ and other glorious tubed preamps of yore in this sense. I wouldn't have credited a tube change to affect the character of a piece so deeply (information, air, imaging, detail, yes), so a whole new area for me to obsess/get neurotic about, a whole new can 'o worms. Learn something new every day. So, count me among EAR 834P fans, though with the new price it is no longer the screaming deal it was. But, now I'm casting an experimental eye on the coupling caps, and also wondering how the Sovteks would do in my CJ PV-7's phono stage. Good news that a fix for the EAR is a cheap new tube, the Sovteks' brightness and clarity providing the counterbalance to the EAR's gentleness, seeming darkness and seeming (with stock tubes) lack of focus and musical energy (relative to superb vintage pieces like the CJs); and the 5751 providing that needed sense of focus (detail and bass tightness and control increased immensely). Though I'm not certain exactly which tubes did what, extrapolating from readings of reviews and forums. Replacing the stock tubes with mellow-sounding vintage tubes was like pouring honey on syrup to cut down the sweetness: it barely touched the overall sound quality/character, leading me to believe the sound could not be meaningfully changed. Now I'll shut up until I have some real new news to relate, the EAR is a Contender, and Sovteks have their uses!! Thanks for egging me on Mike. Have a good Labour Day weekend all, the rest of the weekend is tube-rolling, beer and enjoying a late summer bloom!!
Heh, heh, heh...

I have tried all sorts of tubes in the EAR. If I tried a 5751, I dont remember - but I settled on a compliment of tubes sorted from my big box if nos 12A-- types. I think I saw a 5751 on my desk the other day - I'll pop it in and see what it does.

BTW - I always wanted to try a PV7, it has the reputation of making everything sound good. Of course, in our perverse audiofool ways, this has to be wrong because we know that all records do NOT sound good, so away with euphonic components that FORCE us to enjoy the music! :)

IN any case, I have come to two conclusions about vintage gear: 1) Those old tube era engineers really knew what they were doing and did many seemingly simple things, circuit wise, that have profound sonic results and 2) The carbon comp resistors used in almost all pre-70's electronics (the little brown ones) have a humanizing sound that is integral to the pleasing sound of vintage gear. Call it a pleasant distortion if you like. They are not used much in highend gear these days because of their self noise and tendency to drift.

COme on Jean, I've got a bar of soap bigger than that "ultra-Lenco" - no, wait... :)

Just kidding, that thing looks cool - very sixties pastel color. What is that "washing machine green"? We had sinks all over the house that color when I was a kid. There is something about the painted plinth and the white Lenco that is very sucessful style-wise - I like the blue one too.

AS far as coupling caps, I took a flyer on a pair of Mundorf silver in oil for the EAR. They, like your balancing of the tube types, are an excellent compliment to the EAR. Bypassing the volume pot gave another easy step up in quality - however, you many remember the trouble it gave me with MM's - there was so much gain that it caused distortion into my preamp. I ended up bypassing the pot with a suitable voltage divider.