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!
Dear MikeyC8, If your platter continues to spin for more than 4 hours after a manual push, see your doctor.

Dear Gouldglen, You are quite a gadfly. Win is one of the best guys in the business, and he knows full well that the cost of his masterpiece places it out of the reach of most of us. So what? Both Win and Jean are idealists and advanced hobbyists who took their passions beyond the basement level, and we all benefit from that, directly or indirectly.

Any differences between Jean and I can be found by reading this thread.

As far as my pricing goes, consider my costs. I don't redo an existing turntable. Rather, it is a new design that uses a lot of exotic materials, involves a lot of time to make, requires travel and the help of specialized vendors. It's expensive, but I make no apologies because I'm trying to break new ground. Hopefully, something will come of it that will apply to more affordable turntables. Meanwhile, I continue down this years and counting.

Just so you know, I haven't made any money. Still, it's a passion.
Hi Win, thanks for the supportive words, it is indeed all about the music, it does my heart good to see someone recognize and fasten on the best drive system to reproduce music from LPs, and then take it as far as he can take it. Don't pay no never mind to my publicist, he's off his meds ;-).

That said, I have to say that laying the earlier misunderstanding at my feet - that it was I who was misrepresenting something so THAT's OK then - evidently doesn't sit well with me. As they say: what am I, chopped liver? I do not write what I don't believe, and I have worked hard to build up an impeccable reputation for honesty, integrity and truth (I make no claims for diplomacy or humility ;-)), without which I could not have succeeded to the extent I did in promoting Lencos and idler-wheels. If I had come across, instead, like some Worm in some apple, the original thread would have died an early death, and there would be no Lenco forums. But as many discovered back then, who had actually decided to find Lencos and actually listen to them before pronouncing on them, nothing nefarious was going on, it was just that, as regards Lencos and idler-wheels, as now also testified and endorsed by Arthur, I was speaking the simple truth. Short form: as Lew said I’m an idealist (NOT a diplomat), Arthur does not have a monopoly on integrity.

It is good to finally see my years-long campaign to focus on the idler-wheel drive system – and the question of drive systems in general - now verified by a specialist audio figure, publicly. Back when I first proposed this Garrard-ers claimed it was some mysterious "Garrard-ness" which was the reason for their greatness (and not some larger reason), and nobody was looking beyond the tips of their noses to the bigger picture but instead simply defending their limited turf: Linnies promoted their Linns, EMT-ers their EMTs, Technics SP-10-ers looked down on other DDs (especially Sonys), Garrard-ers looked down on Lenco-ers (and so bitterly opposed the Lenco movement). Territoriality Uber Alles.

Now, after Arthur's exhaustive and comprehensive analysis, with a tremendous audio and vinyl playback background, he comes to the conclusion, after all, that it MUST be the drive system which explains the Lenco's Greatness. To make the point short: I had no agenda to aggrandize myself (as so many opponents hungry for recognition charged, peddled out so often it has become a sort of dogma by dint of simple repetition – unexamined and unquestioned by the less perspicacious as so many things are), I KNEW something was true, and battled for several years to have it recognized because I knew it was true, nothing else.

Back in 1992, when I first discovered the idler-wheel principle via the cheap little Garrard SP-25 record-changer - a story I've told often - I instantly recognized that the greatness I heard then (which I DID hear), with that crappy little record changer, could only be due to the drive system (there could be no other explanation). That little Garrard awakened me to the fact of the superiority of idler-wheel drive (as Arthur found, it could be nothing else), and I set out, once I had done the research, to find a Garrard 301 or 401. But in those pre-internet days, in Scandinavia, all I could find was a Lenco, accidentally (I didn't know what it was, but I knew it was an idler, and the biggest /heaviest one I'd seen yet). And, a decade on, with time on my hands one day while doing some media analysis, I decided to promote the idler-wheel via the Lenco. I won’t deny that simple mischief also added a fun factor (I later regretted this more than once ;-)).

If you click on my “system” page, posted back in 2004, you’ll find a RATIONAL explanation of why the idler-wheel drive system is superior to the belt-drive system in so many sonic ways: "Idler wheel drives in general were originally designed to overcome stylus drag, as in their day cartridges tracked at 10 grams. As tracking forces diminished, idler-wheel drives became more refined, but retained their resistance to stylus drag. As time went on and VTF dropped to below 2 grams, it was thought stylus drag could be combatted by the simple use of mass, and not the brute force of rumbly idler-wheel drives, which were discredited, even though their rumble figures were in fact better than those of the then-rising Linn LP12." But this was ignored by those who simply preferred to believe otherwise (i.e. they weren’t going to let logic or evidence contaminate their beliefs).

So now I ask you to THINK (I know it's tough ;-): Given I have proven myself repeatedly to be motivated by truth, given I have proven myself to be right again and again, given I have discovered, recognized and promoted umpteen ways to further improve on, AND recognize, the various greatnesses of the Lenco and Idlers in general, that you might, just MIGHT, consider that if I write something, do something, or believe something, that it might be wise to give me a little credit, and think there might be something to it, and not simply dismiss it as dishonest, wrong or stupid or, indeed, a “marketing ploy.” I believe in what I do (as Mosin does in what he does), and I have rational, and tested, reasons for doing so.

Now, I had the temerity to send out a wooden Lenco. AND I had the audacity to use the original Lenco chassis. Remember, I had the temerity and audacity too of claiming, before and against the world in an actual campaign, that belt-drive was not the superior system, that the idler was. So get used to it. The results are out. Use your heads if possible, and without the rhetorical techniques of damning with faint praise (claiming that “of course we knew the Lenco could outperform any belt-drive”). I remember when it was Lenco forum members who were first to jump and say – when a SME 30 owner admitted that the Lenco had superior dynamics and presence (and tacitly admitted it equaled the SME for raw detail) which he judged was colouration – “Of course we know the DIY Lenco cannot outperform state-of-the-art ‘tables, sanity at last (referring to me)!!” I’ve been here quite literally from the beginning and I’ve seen it all of course. There are many things belt-drives and DDs – and other idler-wheel drives - can teach us, like how low a noise floor is possible from vinyl, how much torque or inertia is needed, how short we are on high frequencies, how effective certain materials are, how much imaging information is possible, how significant inertia is in the real world, any number of things which helps us develop idlers – and the Lenco – further. To say simply “of course we knew the Lenco could outperform any belt-drive” shuts you off from an important source of information and thus improvements (until you hear a Forsell, how can you know if you have a shortfall in noise floor, high frequencies or imaging?).

I sent Arthur a wooden Lenco and waited for the outcome (and excuse me Arthur, but Arthur is not easy to deal with, I was on tenterhooks). Now THAT, my friends, is conviction (born of experience/empirical evidence). I also did it so that it would be understood that it was the Lenco (and its drive system), and not some exotic material, which was responsible for the sound (which most certainly would have been the conclusion of any belt-drivers or DD-ers). The results are now posted, the analysis in-depth and complete. I think I have settled the issue of "insurmountable problems" with wood. More particularly, I have demonstrated that a PTP is not necessary to achieve state-of-the-art black backgrounds, and in the process proven the value of Direct Coupling to wood. As Arthur wrote: “As it turned out, the Lenco's sound-floor was basically as low as the Forsell's (which has an air-bearing platter). In fact, I couldn't distinguish them. Since the Forsell had the lowest sound-floor I ever experienced, the Lenco's (highly welcome) achievement in this area is both surprising and unexplainable (at this time).”

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Likewise there are more woods than simple birch-ply and mdf, more ways of assembling them, more ways of extracting the best from them: practically-speaking, an infinite number of ways and combinations of materials. They can be “tuned” for astounding performance, supreme tonal accuracy, complete freedom of dynamics (something you would learn, if you bothered to listen to, and respect, the best of belt-Drive, DD, Idler, and so know what to shoot for). There's more than one way to skin a cat.

Sorry for such a long post, but I’ll soon stop posting altogether, and simply set up a website (not a forum, mind you, I’m tired of infestations) and so free myself to devote more time to work and life. Speaking of cats, I’ll be back with the story of the Balinese cats, plinths, and how perfection is not possible – or allowed – on earth. But I’m not in a hurry.

I'll soon be gone from forums (I'm sure this will be a relief for many :-)), time to enjoy life and get on with other things, I hope that some of you at least enjoyed the ride. Enjoy your Idlers all!!!
When you do finally get your website going Jean, I wish you the best. Thanks for carrying the torch for so long.