Well the audio analysis part of the review is out and of course I am amazed and ecstatic at the outcome, truly better than I could have DREAMED possible (seeing a Lenco in Upper Class A of Recommended Components STILL hasn’t completely sunk in: I’ll have to go stare at it on a Greek island and meditate on it :-)), especially years ago when I first entertained a serious audio review of a Lenco (but had no idea what the outcome would be given politics etc.)!!
Many had warned me that Arthur Salvatore was a VERY difficult and picky reviewer (I could see this myself from perusing his website), but he stepped up to the plate, and I’m sure any Lenco fans out there - worth their salt - will join me in thanking Arthur profusely for taking the chance on the New Kid on the Block, the Lenco, instead of always the established (and by extension safe) Garrards, EMTs, Thorenses, and for taking a great amount of time and effort in order to make his analysis bullet-proof – and necessarily lengthy (like my own posts) ;-) - so that nay-sayers will only expose their lack of understanding, intelligence and integrity.
The lengthy history and explanation is necessitated as well by the fact the Lenco IS the new kid on the block, AND an idler-wheel drive to boot!! I cannot begin to explain what an act of courage – as a reviewer and audio guru (AND belt-driver) with an established reputation - it is to stick your neck out to report honestly (especially positively and to this extent) on the Lenco – and in such glowing (AND honest) terms! Stop and think on this a while. Had Arthur instead raked the Lenco over the coals, as I know from experience, the world would have heaved a sigh of relief and stood up and lionized him and said “Bravo, some reason restored to the world and those deluded individuals put in their place!!” Please, Arthur, don’t revise your findings on this account :-).
Given the world is filled, sadly, with those who feel it necessary to poison a good thing (essentially vandals who use keyboards), as I see it Salvatore had to back up his analysis with his history, and an explanation of the idler-wheel phenomenon, to anticipate any such attacks, and of course to provide a rational and believable foundation to the unprecedented (as he put it) performance he discovered and reported on. Having been a [willing, or I would never have promoted the Lenco/Idler] lightning-rod for the world’s opposition to the Lenco/Idler qualities for years now (from the honest to the ugly), I entirely understand.
As to ANY suggestion that I may have somehow “bought off” Salvatore, this is SO laughable as to make that person utterly ridiculous (tantamount to publicly pie-ing your own face, and then kicking your own ass :-)), as anyone at all who knows me knows all too well.
But to be more precise: I am more of a nomad than anything else, putting ALL real money into my trademark lengthy trips to exotic places around the world (I am into experience, not things, and only invest in audio equipment for the experience of music, which I DO passionately consider an important and miraculous experience). I am not particularly interested in money (other than expecting a fair return for my investments in materials, tools and research and hands-on work), and have none to spread around. I literally couldn’t GIVE away my car! I am one man, with a small workshop (and have no plans for expansion, I prefer to keep my life simple), and now backed up by a very talented machinist to make my visions reality. I will not and am not considering mass-production, and will remain loyal to him if he does to me. (To answer previous questions, I cannot have my new main bearing made in sufficient numbers at the moment to consider selling them apart from my Reference Lenco commissions, if this changes I’ll announce it). Salvatore paid me in full, and in timely fashion and according to my rules, even though he had no idea what he would receive (apart from what we worked out in print).
I have NO financial clout, and in no way can he benefit from positively reviewing my work (in fact quite the reverse as already explained). I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, so I’ll list one of my favourite – and central - philosophies: the best revenge is good living. In the spirit of this, I spend months every year in exotic places, in beautiful villas and bungalows (as the case may be) on the world’s finest beaches, interspersed with adventures in the Himalayas and jungles and deserts. This is where my money goes (and when I’m in a particularly beautiful and striking place with a cold beer in my hand and beautiful women around, I say “Take THAT, Bill Gates!!” to anyone who will listen :-)). I don’t think Salvatore could be influenced by the twenty bucks I could throw his way ;-). All my advantages over my “competition” are my brains, my dedication (or stubbornness), and my willingness to go to GREAT lengths to prove my various points (like starting the Home Despot Thread/Project, ongoing).
But, back to the apter celebratory note, re-capping the history of Lenco Dominance :-), back in 2003 I tried to start an idler-wheel revolution in a thread entitled “Idler-wheel drives”, on Audiogon :
“Time to start the revolution: does anyone out there own an idler-wheel drive record player they actually listen to? Or has anyone out there heard an idler-wheel (not a Garrard SP-25) in a decent system? I own several record players, some "high-end", like an Audiomeca or Maplenoll, some simply good, like the AR-XA or Ariston, and I also own several idler-wheel players I built myself, following the Garrard-rebuilds going on out there: high-mass bodies to sink the vibration. They go deeper in the bass, are faster, have more dynamics, both micro and macro, are better at focussing detail, and are pretty well indestructible. Sure, the wheel's got to be in good shape and sure, it needs a good body - but so does a belt-drive. I'm tired of reading about the superiority of belt-drive, especially as most of those writing this have not heard good examples of the alternatives. Hellooo...anyone out there share my conviction?”
Well, THAT one went up like a lead balloon, with a grand total of one lukewarm response. So, in January of 2004 I devised a new strategy: I would use the then cheap-and-plentiful Lenco I myself had been using since 1992, which I knew was superb, and put out a recipe for a high-end record player as bait, whose REAL intended purpose was to gather evidence of the superiority of the idler-wheel drive system. THIS time it took off like a rocket, as a vast untapped reservoir of unsuspected DIYers were just waiting for the instructions and encouragement to get started on a “true high-end” record player project , as advertised in my title (at that time only a very few were into this, be it belt-drive, DD or idler-wheel), rather than the usual amp and speaker projects!!
Being posted Front and Center on the world’s most important audio forum (at least ONE of the most important), and structured in such a way as continued posts put it back to the top of the list, and with the help of the various excited participants at the time, as the Lenco reputation continued to snowball, that original thread eventually went past 4000 posts, the longest in audio history at that time (I have no idea whether or not this is still a record), and spawned and fed various Lenco forums!!
I fought on the bigger audio forums for more than six years now (and it appears the fight still has no end in sight, SIGH, though thanks in part to Salvatore we are definitely getting somewhere) to have both the Lenco and the idlers I considered it represented taken seriously, and now, with the added help of this review, one can see the tone of discussion on forums around the world changing and becoming more serious and accepting (lines on French, English and Asian forums like “Well you KNOW Salvatore has now put it in Recommended Components….”).
So, all you Lenco (and idler) aficionados out there, you have now been vindicated, those who looked at you askance all those years will now (and ARE now) look at you with new respect!! So I, anyway, give Arthur Salvatore a BIG thank you for first taking a chance on an idler-wheel drive when his whole posted history was belt-drive with LOTS of skepticism aimed at the idler-wheel phenomenon, and taking an even bigger chance on the Lenco!! I can only hope that those who claim to be Lenco afficionados will join me in appreciating this great leap of faith and courageous action, and also extend their thanks.
And why not (though I know it irritates many, but what the hey, if I was interested in popularity instead of truth I would never have made it a mission to have the Lencos and idlers taken seriously): Vive la Lenco, Vive la Idler-Wheel!!!