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Author Topic: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?  (Read 13716 times)

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Offline Sanjay

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Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« on: August 24, 2009, 12:26:21 PM »
I've been happily spinning my collection on my VPI HW-19 however I no longer have the need or desire for such a massive turntable.  I'm looking to replace it with a vintage table which is of good quality that can also play 78's (the VPI cannot) and play 45's without having to take it apart to adjust the belt.

Any suggestions of great vintage tables I can be on the lookout for?  My budget is sub $500.

Gracias!
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mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2009, 01:50:59 PM »
LENCO -- Go no further. Do not consider anything else.

mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2009, 02:04:32 PM »
everything that you ever wanted to know about a Lenco:
http://www.lencoheaven.net
you've got to sign up to see 100% of the forum. Its worth it and the place has a great vibe.

You can get a *60hz Lenco L75 for around $225->$300. Add in a www.tonearmaudio.com tonearm for another $225, and you're squarely on budget, plus or minus a bit of shipping, and sundries, etc.
The Lencos are idler wheel drives, with massive platters - 8lbs. They're set up to be driven by a conical shpaed horizontal drive capstan, that can be speed changed while the table is spinning. They range from sub-16rpm->78rpm+ (81/82'ish rpm), infinitely variable between those ranges, and are the sleeper decks for those inclined towards the thorens and garrard idler wheel legend decks (Thorens TD124 & Gar. 301/401)

* make sure you get a 60hz model. They're the north american model, and fortunately, all the more rare ::rolls eyes::
A 50hz model will work with a 60hz->50hz voltage regenerator, but what a hassle - or you find that perfect pitch point somewhere in the variable range,.... just get a 60hz model.

The lenco arms are dead, or, in need of overhauling. Don't count on them being usable right away, without some TLC.
They have a plastic/rubber tonearm wand isolation v-blocks that dry out and crumble away, and tonearm knife bearings that make sure they cut to pieces if anything is left. So, plan on a new tonearm.
The tonearmaudio arms are a straight drop-in, and fine arms (I have two). Very musical.  They seem to be a bit hit or miss as far as quality control, but can easily be tweaked and made far better. They're american made, out of Rhode Island, by a cat named Len Johnson.
The 9" arm is the straight drop-in. The 12" arms are what I have, and I really like them.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 11:01:49 AM by mfrench »

Offline Sanjay

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2009, 11:50:57 PM »
Solid, I've seen some lenco tables locally over the years but for some reason had dismissed them.  I noticed you're building a table out of parts (I skimmed it and marked it to read later) which is something I'm thinking of doing. 

I've got some reading to do on them, I'll be back with more questions I'm sure. 

Thanks Mike!
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mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2009, 10:06:23 AM »
sure thing, Sanjay.

This is my finished customized Lenco:


I built it to have a look of a past era, that I call the audio-deco era.
I started with a stock L75 turntable in its particle board plinth, and ended up at this, ^^
The plinth is 7 layers of .70"/18mm plywood, with minimal plywood removed in each plate level.
The rear arm is dedicated to monaural, and the 'normal' arm is stereo.
The  rear mono arm runs through the box to the side that allows switching of wiring to match the era of the older records.
I also have another deck that I'm about to marry to some lenco drive parts.
I have an antique Presto turntable that is a 3-wheel drive. I'm going to replace its motor with a Lenco motor and drive wheel.  So, in the end, I'll have two tables that are both idlers, and both will be driven by lenco.

The Lenco has a solid support after-market system behind it, with lots of dedicated folk building extremely high quality replacement parts, and, high end upgrade parts. Really well supported, and ultimately buildable to fit your needs.

edit: clarity
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 12:25:39 PM by mfrench »

Offline kindms

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2009, 07:04:35 PM »
sure thing, Sanjay.

This is my finished customized Lenco:


I built it to have a look of a past era, that I call the audio-deco era.
I started with a stock L75 turntable in its particle board plinth, and ended up at this, ^^
The plinth is 7 layers of .70"/18mm plywood, with minimal plywood removed in each plate level.
The rear arm is dedicated to monaural, and the 'normal' arm is stereo.
The  rear mono arm runs through the box to the side that allows switching of wiring to match the era of the older records.
I also have another deck that I'm about to marry to some lenco drive parts.
I have an antique Presto turntable that is a 3-wheel drive. I'm going to replace its motor with a Lenco motor and drive wheel.  So, in the end, I'll have two tables that are both idlers, and both will be driven by lenco.

The Lenco has a solid support after-market system behind it, with lots of dedicated folk building extremely high quality replacement parts, and, high end upgrade parts. Really well supported, and ultimately buildable to fit your needs.

edit: clarity

love the wood working !

Looks really awesome
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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2009, 11:41:42 PM »
i picked up a Technics SL-B500 from ebay... it doesnt do 78s, but it does almost everything else... it even came with a nice ortofon cartridge... around $75.

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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009, 11:52:36 PM »


Damn! That's pretty cool looking.

Couple of questions:

(1) Are the tonearms made of wood, and did you make them yourself? If so, is that information on the msg board you provided?

(2) What is the deal with turntables with 2 arms? Is one for 33/45 and one for 78's?

I've been meaning to upgrade my playback system. These LENCO's look very interesting.
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mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2009, 02:43:49 AM »
thank you guys.

The tonearms are solid cherry wood, and brass.
I bought them from a link, above - tonearmaudio.com. They are the 12" models from that site.  The 12" length allows for a more straight angle at the grooves, better tracking angle. You do not need anti-skating with this length of arm, as there is less inward centrifugal pull.
I got the information for them from the lencoheaven forum, yes.  They came recommended by a guy that does cartridge overhauls from basic store bought carts, and he builds them out to super cartridges (from plastic to aluminum bodies, and ruby stylus and ruby cantalievers). Hes a highly critical listener, and typically only uses air bearing linear arms. So his enthusiastic rec. weighed highly in my decision.
They're nice arms, if you can get a good one. They're nice even if you get one with a stiffer bearing, or a sloppy bearing - still worth it, as they're so affordable, and so easily modified.  They're garage-style builds, and not to some computer production tightness - so its a bit hit-or-miss. He needs to do some quality control tighten up.  Call and talk to him, and make sure that he gets a quality part out. I can provide more intimate detail to what to look for.
At worst, you get some RC car axle bearings installed into the horizontal yoke, which is an advanced DIY level job (drilled correctly, pressed in). The bearings are cheap, and the labor can be free. The upgrade is supposed to be substantial (but I'm very happy with stock).
I bought two arms, unseen, unheard. Of those two, I had to have the horizontal bearing replaced immediately, in one of them, as it was not to my standard, and it was immediately replaced. Len has represented them very well, IMO.
There is an article over at LencoHeaven, with lots of my input, input by the gent named daiwok, and showing his bearing mods to the arm yoke.
cherry wood tonearms thread:
http://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=268.0

Why two arms?
The rear arm is dedicated to monaural, ranging from 33->78rpm.
Its run through that side box, which is a em/rfi shielded 'faraday box', in which, i can vary the phase of the cartridge output. Most people do with with multiple interchangeable headshells, but these woodies don't allow for that.
The oldest of records followed what we recognize as a wave form; vertically modulated sound impulses, and the stylus read the vertical wave form - the truest analog.
Those were from around 1900 -> 1920 (a generalization, and broad)
After that time, from 1920-> 1960's monaural, the wave form became horizontal, and the stylus read information that swept from side to side.
So, early was vertically modulated; and later was horizontally modulated.
In either era, the opposite of each modulation was noise, and that noise can be filtered via phase inversion/cancellation, called series wiring, which is produced by different wiring configurations; and I can do that within that box, or, I can just run straight parallel mono wiring.
That box allows me to change the wiring of the tonearm prior to the preamp, per each era. It all sums to a single channel that is resplit before the preamp, for two channel mono playback (until I can get some vintage hifi gear).

I'm also presently build a tonearm out of spare parts and junk from the garage. It will be a really nice little wooden, red oak tonearm, a unipivot design. I hae a guy that designs and builds custom tonearms that is coaching me from behind the scenes, to produce a sleeper :)
The total cost, less the wire loom (which was a whopping $16) will be for two cart screws - one of which was a blown purchase, requiring a second pair of screws, for a total of .50¢ investment for a tonearm.
The knowledge passed around lencoheaven is quite amazing for a turntablist.
I got the template for the plinth there for free, all the advice i could ever need about a lenco, and even solid advice for a marriage of two different companies products, a platter and motor, that I'm planning for another custom table build down the road.

This is the history of the build for my table, from above:
http://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=1196.0
« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 02:50:33 AM by mfrench »

Offline cheshirecat

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2009, 02:40:39 PM »
Quote
It all sums to a single channel that is resplit before the preamp, for two channel mono playback (until I can get some vintage hifi gear).

What did you have in mind from the vintage hifi arena?
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mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2009, 03:03:41 PM »
In truth, I don't know yet.  I'm referring to getting something to match the playback of monaural 78's, and the monaural 33/45's. I've only been recently introduced to the world of monaural shellac playback, and I've got a mountain of learning ahead.
Its an area of music playback that I've never really much considered, having focused so many years towards stereo recording, and trying to replicate the live circumstance in stereo playback.
At any rate,... think audio-deco for the era, with bakelite knobs, real wood trim, maybe even gaudy chrome, and a single speaker that looks like the backseat back rest of a '49 Packard.
I've actually run into a crowd that has a rather strong disregard for stereo hifi, and I'm learning allot.

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2009, 09:51:26 PM »
i picked up a Technics SL-B500 from ebay... it doesnt do 78s, but it does almost everything else... it even came with a nice ortofon cartridge... around $75.



I had one of those     ;D
Shure V15TypeIII cartridge at the time.

I used to swap in an Ortofon, which I found a tiny bit more forward, but not at all unpleasant.


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It is an addiction.

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Offline Numpy

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2009, 09:54:51 PM »

At any rate,... think audio-deco for the era, with bakelite knobs, real wood trim, maybe even gaudy chrome, and a single speaker that looks like the backseat back rest of a '49 Packard.


We need to PShop you a cool logo for it.

something like this Flying M (minus the WWII stuff)

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2015, 02:20:45 PM »
But how did you do it then. Your Lenco rebuild are among the finest I have ever seen, exelent work and a sharp eye for design. Very clever done. Congratulations to the finest deck on the planet, very much my taste, with these wonderful wood arms and everything, really a goodie. But it reminds me of the Gates design, how did you do the technical part, I cant  figure it out. I have 3 stock Lencos myself+ 401, TD 124, Dual 1019 which is a good looking turntable design. Anyway, congratulations to that good looking recordplayer. Regards... :) ;) Kjell.

mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2015, 04:28:35 PM »
Well, thank you!
I'd love to answer your questions, but I'd ask for some clarification regarding "technical part".
And congrats to you for that fine quiver of spinners that you've listed.

These build threads might help answer some questions:

Woody Lenco L75 top-plate cut-away (the wood deck above):
http://www.audiohaven.org/forum/records-and-the-gear-that-plays-them/8369-woody-a-lenco-l75-heavy-platter-idler-drive

Flinston - 1963 Bogen-Presto/Lenco B51 heavy platter mod, on soapstone:
http://www.audiohaven.org/forum/records-and-the-gear-that-plays-them/3135-flinston-bogen-presto-bp-51_hp-mod-on-soapstone

Stoned Again - 1955 Presto Recording Corp T18 Pirouette idler driveline redesign, on soapstone:
http://www.audiohaven.org/forum/records-and-the-gear-that-plays-them/5165-1955-presto-t-18-pirouette-on-soapstone-plinth

Audrey - 1952 Presto Recording Corp 15G2, in 1932 art-deco mono console; heavy birch ply plinth inside cabinet build:
http://www.audiohaven.org/forum/records-and-the-gear-that-plays-them/1829-audrey-presto-15g2-and-ge-ge-ge-mono-console

In the meantime,.... this is my daily driver, and it gets huge spin time.
I call it Flinston

Bogen-Presto B51 (rebadged Lenco B51, c. 1963), with a heavy platter modification, with stacked platters. The deck is mounted to a solid soapstone plinth made from countertop rems.






Underside, showing the platter bearing brace. The brace keeps the top plate from flexing, and damps platter bearing noise back into the plinth, which is important to keeping noise minimized.

1/2" copper plumbing cap to protect the bearing end, and act as oil seal:



This one has been highly modified from a light stamped steel platter, to a heavy platter and heavy platter bearing.
The plinth is soapstone, and the whole deck weighs around 185lbs
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 04:52:17 PM by m0k3 »

Offline kdd26254

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2015, 02:48:51 PM »
Another beauty of a turntable design, looks stunniung this one as well as the wooden Lenco redesign. You answered my technical part question, by saying you cut away top plate on the Lenco.  Thats what i didnt understand, I do now, then. My turn tables has been cheap. The Lencos has  been of the 10£ each, very cheap. The Dual , the same prize. The 401 and the 124 I have had for  about 30 years, still running smooth. The Td 124, I think was made in 1958,  the Dual is a 58-59 build, I am not sure, but its old. The 401 has been used by a recording studio  in Oslo. The Triode amps I use  in my system has been made by a friend of min e, and are among the finest on the market. The 2a3 amp sounds very impressive, extremely good sounding. The 401 performs with a Eminent Tech mark 1 and a Decca cartridge, very deep and wide soundstage, live, live. You make  good looking  record spinners, and I get a couple of ideas myself.  Building are fun.  :) ;)

mfrench

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Re: Suggestions for a Vintage Turntable?
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2015, 03:34:47 PM »
Yeah, I took a felt pen, and traced the outline of the platter. I left a good amount of "flange" overhang that is just wide of the platter to retain strength. But, it is mostly a cut-away of the top plate, leaving just the pan.  The pan sits on a layer of the plywood, creating a solid tie between the platter bearing and plinth.
I used some drafting squares to determine the angles around the speed control mechanism.
I built this one to emulate the lines of the Presto T18 that I refer to as Stoned Again (Referencing that I've built two soapstone plinths).  You can see that build below.

These are the folders for the above mentioned builds. If you have any questions, grab an image link, and I'll try to answer.

Leno L75 - Top Plate cut-away  Photobucket folder:
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/MokePics2/library/Lenco%20L-75%20Project?sort=3&page=1

Flinston (from this thread), 1963 Bogen-Presto/Lenco B51 heavy platter mod, on soapstone - Photobucket folder:
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/MokePics2/library/Bogen%20VP18%20-%20BP51?sort=3&page=1

Stoned Again - Presto Recording Corp T18 Pirouette, idler driveline redesign, w/ new DC motor and speed controller.
It also features the RatsPaw DIY free garage junk unipivot tonearm:

photobucket folder:
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/MokePics2/library/Presto%20Pirouette%20T-18%20Project%20Turntable?sort=3&page=1

Audrey - Mono console w/ Presto 15G2 broadcast table in heavy birch ply plinth:


Photobucket folder:
http://smg.photobucket.com/user/MokePics2/library/Presto%2015G2%201953%20Idler%20Turntable?sort=3&page=1
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 05:43:14 PM by m0k3 »

 

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