Saturday, 6 August 2016

Lenco L78 Back In The System - Bare Naked This Time


Last year was a blissful year as one of my hifi highlights was to get a Lenco and experience the vintage sound.... A sound that was blasting while I was growing up....around my late parents house... Really enjoyed it. A 40 over year old refurbished unit that is not far apart from modern TT. I ended up spinning more on the Lenco versus my Clearaudio. However, due to space constraint, I sold it to a fine gentleman in Trengganu, with a heavy heart as I knew at that time that I am going to miss the sound of Lenco.

This year, after space re-adjustment, the urge to have a Lenco back in the system kicked in when I saw a picture shared by non other The Spin Doctor Mastan on Facebook. It was a Lenco L78 (note that my previous unit was a GL78) but whats unique about this new refurbished design, is the thin and open plinth that exposes the internal parts from below. Now, it is also a 3 legged design, similar to some modern TTs.

Tried to curb my desire but alas, 2 weeks before Eid, discussed with Pak Mastan about that unit. And sure enough Pak Mastan being the usual obliging Lenco xifu, explained to me about this new design. We met up in KLCC for a short discussion and confirmation of the final design. And as promised, the unit was ready before Eid. But due to the busy festivity period, the delivery of the unit was postponed to the weekend after Eid. Nevertheless, Pak Mastan sent me teaser photos of the completed unit :)

So, come 10th July 2016, Pak Mastan was back in my house with his partner in crime, Khaliz. And the installation process of a Lenco L78 into my system started. Similar to previous experience, Pak Mastan and Khaliz explained  and showed me all the parts as they installed the unit. 



Within 15 minutes, the unit was installed and the calibration process started.


Level and stability - Check


Track force - check


Ready to rumble!

A Little About The Unit

There are a few changes made here compared to my previous unit but maintains all original Lenco parts
  1. L78 vs GL78
  2. Open and thinner plinth vs thicker and closed
  3. Birchwood vs pine
  4. US plug vs UK plug
  5. Shure M44 cart vs M34 cart
  6. 3 legged plinth vs 4 legged plinth


With added Spin Doctor trademark


Shure M44 Cart



Power cable sturdily clamped on the the plinth


Naked underneath view from front




Speed test for 33 1/3 RPM

Speed test for 45 RPM

Lenco Xifu aka Spin Doctor Mastan happy with his installation.... You cannot imagine how I look when I started spinning this unit :)

So, How Does It Sound?



Coincidentally, I just received the long awaited LP of The Mambo Kings OST from Tower Records. Hence, first track to test it was of course Beautiful Maria. Maaaaannn... I realized how much I missed the big and airy sound of Lenco. The wind  instrument sounded extremely lively and the emotion of Maria can be felt flowing and filling my hall. The vocal of course was reproduced with clarity. Lenco is not the quietest TT around but the little static here and there just added a more authentic sound to this track. The guitar sounded crisp and detail, giving the track an overall killer combo.

The next track is on this newly issued LP 25 Rasul (yes its a little bit religious). Faizal Tahir is always known for his prowess vocal especially for rock music. But truth be told, he does have a very strong vocal even for a mellow song like this. The Lenco again reproduced a very lively and energized guitar strum from this track, Couple with the honest and transparent deep vocal, the Lenco produced quite an overall bigger sound stage, but maintain the mellow presentation of this track.

Conclusion

For those who somehow had past nostalgic experience listening to Lenco, owning or re-owning a unit is an experience that only you can describe it. For me, this unit represent a true meaning of withstanding the test of time with regards to the ability to still deliver the emotion from the music you are accustomed growing up with. It produces music beautifully and with full emotion. Is it the ultimate TT? Maybe not. But if you are looking for a classic analog sound with a lot of energy and detail, this is a unit that you cant go wrong with.

With respect to the new plinth design, I feel that it produces a lighter side of Lenco compared to my previous unit. Sound stage is bigger but it maintains a mellow and lighter sound. It fits into a system that is too upfront and bright and can help to inject the warm analog sound..

As I did mentioned when I purchase the first unit, I really would recommend a Lenco for someone whom is thinking to get into the cursed world of the black disc. It can easily match any modern entry level TTs but with the advantage of custom design. You can go for the natural wood colour  or get it painted to whatever colour you wish. You can ask for the previous thicker plinth or go for this new 'naked' and thin design.

And specific to The Spin Doctor Pak Mastan, it also include the experience of owning and setting up a Lenco. The Doc will help you to set it up until the unit really sing in your system. Not that it will take long as the unit that he refurbishes will go through extensive run in to ensure it is ready to plug and play in your system. The workmanship is also very detail as you can see, the unit is level indicating accuracy in the plinth design and workmanship. You would not want to have a turntable that is not level.

You can find the Spin Doctor Mastan on Facebook if you are interested to own a trouble free and good Lenco unit.
Post a Comment