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The Reference Lenco MKII

This is the model which effectively created the Lenco-rebuilding market. The Reference has a base price of $7250 ($500 credit if a Lenco is found and shipped to me), and includes all upgrades in the price, and can be considered complete. This is an introductory price and will rise. It is very close to the price of a fully-loaded 100-pound Classic and so, for now, represents a very wise choice for those who are considering the 100-pound Classic already.

I routinely receive e-mails from those shopping in the $40K tier of products and above, and to those I say this is because my work is routinely compared with the best available, at any price, so do not turn away because I am “too cheap”: I guarantee the most musical and exciting machines on the planet (you will learn a lot with respect to timing, coherence, dynamics macro and micro, transient speed and bass).

Price is certainly not, in this case, indicative of ultimate performance, for a variety of reasons. The first being that I am right about the drive system’s superiority to anything else: vastly superior results at a fraction of the price, engineering boiled down to its essentials. Secondly, no one knows the Lenco in particular better than I do. Finally, years of experience building on years of positive results and refinement, added to extreme care every step along the way in the search for improvements (stimulated, in part, by all the opposition along the way, thank you all, and by my great respect for the idler’s inherent musical rightness, which must never be diminished but only enhanced): i.e. with NO sacrifice in naturalness, power, excitement or musicality. Though the final step towards the Reference Lenco was something of a revolution, like everything else I have done, it devolved logically from what came before.

As to the apparent simplicity of the design, I am a firm believer in the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. The Lenco drive system is an example of simplicity and supreme effectiveness. I am not swayed by gimmicks, difficult or rare materials or unnecessary complexities (a gimmick in their own right), but only in results: musically-satisfying results. There is an economic positive to this uncompromising approach to musicality vs performance. I, and so by extension my customers, am spared the cost of machining difficult, or pricey, or both, materials, I use wood and metal, not coincidentally the materials of instruments (and what materials are better-researched and tested than these?). Furthermore I use not metals which are rare and pricey simply because they are in an attempt to tap into a marketing mentality, but simply those which sound best, so I am relieved of pricing my work according to flavour-of-the-month metals which are popular precisely because they are rare and pricey. I am spared the cost of implementing such unnecessary complexities as separate tonearm pods, which introduce the problem of relative motion: in a universe which is ever-expanding, in which galaxies spin, solar systems revolve, our planet orbits around a sun, the continents shift relative to each other, houses and flooring shift, molecules and atoms constantly vibrate, given the vinyl grooves are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, relative motion must be taken very seriously. Why introduce this problem deliberately? It can be avoided thusly: no tonearm pod. All my Lenco models, being made of wood, can take advantage of the amazing noise-eliminating properties of Direct Coupling, which makes any advantage of separate tonearm pods (or isolated motors) moot, since it eliminates the noise/vibration one assumes (apart from marketing) the separate tonearm pods are meant to address. So I put all that very effective mass to use: Consider my plinths 100-pound tonearm pods which absolutely solve the problem of relative motion.

All these common-sense choices (common sense being an endangered species), predicated on ultimate performance and not some marketing appeal to the weakness we all have for various gimmicks, means the price-to-performance ratio is unparalleled. As one Reference Lenco client put it recently: “I’m enjoying the Lenco very much….it’s the finest audio purchase I have made in 30 years…if I had the money I would purchase another table….”

It is of course designed, as explained on my Rebuilding and Improving page, around two main new elements, apart from building on the Lenco’s superb engineering: the new plinth design based on the use of certain carefully-chosen and researched solid woods arranged so as to maximize the use of their particular sonic qualities while suppressing their natural colourations, to take the Lenco – and any other classic turntables – up to a whole new level of tonal accuracy, clarity, separation, air and decays, focus, speed and, of course, musicality, timing and rhythm, coherence. The other element is the new main bearing, developed by the construction of various prototypes varying in various ways to ensure that my theory was correct. Its own contribution, even in comparison to the modified main bearing of my Classic rebuilds, is a reduction of background smearing and noise, deeper and better-defined bass, a large increase in coherence (hard to believe but easily audible), a more natural restitution of dynamics, better timing and rhythm, a large increase in air and decays, cleaner highs. In concert – the Lenco, plinth and the new bearing work together to make a balanced whole which is far greater than the sum of its parts – these elements produce an unparalleled auditory experience, unbelievable in terms of accuracy and detail and information-retrieval of all sorts, and dynamics micro and macro, and lightning speed, while at the same time sounding unbelievably natural, musical, coherent and powerful. Read the reviews section to get a sense of this, more coming in soon!

Base price includes solid wood sides in a choice of maple, walnut, cherry , oak, or ash; for exotic and figured woods add actual cost of the wood plus $500 for the extra difficulties. For a two-tonearm Reference add $500.