Is a PTP Solid 12 (Lenco) worthy of a $5k cartridge
Calling audiophiles who have heard these PTP modified Lenco GL75. It looks like a neat modification/restoration. But can they be considered as a serious front-end worthy of a $5k cartridge and $10k phonostage ?
There is a lot of fan following for vintage idler drives, especially those which are updated and modified with the latest components but I seldom see people using top quality ancillaries with these turntables. I have been going through a lot of posts on forums and youtube videos related to these TTs. Almost every time I see these paired with some Denon 103 variants or sometimes an SPU. I am fancying to put a high quality Dynavector/ZYX/Benz/Transfiguration on it. Will it make sense ?
My best advice would be to consult Bob Wood’s Channel on You Tube. These are downloads which allow the virtual perception of a PTP Solid12 through your own system with a variety of upmarket MCs and MIs. Easier than uprooting your Solid12 and taking it to a dealer who could demo it through their own systems.
For sure the low-ish bit rate of YT is not perfect by any means but it will give you a real flavour of the Solid12 in *your* system (assuming you have an android box hooked up to it?). A lot of BD players are useful in this regard as they have integral internet capability.
Bob also has a mouth-watering collection of T/Ts. He posts what are easily the best constructed hi-if videos on YouTube not to mention SQ. His latest Yamaha linear tracker is a thing of beauty. Crisp modern lines but vintage! (Think Bergman Sindre...) Looks like it was just unveiled at a recent hi-if exhibition! ;)
Hi, I have seen a few videos of Bob Wood's TT on youtube. They are okay. He also uses an SPU and couple of other vintage MMs. I am looking for opinion on whether a serious front end consisting of something like Ortofon Anna or Lyra Atlas on a PTP Solid 12 would make sense or is the table simply not ready for that kind of cartridges.
I know that people who use Jean Nantais Reference lencos use top cartridges on it. Arthur Salvatore is a good example. But PTP is a relatively lower cost build so many buyers probably dont even think of spending a lot on cart.
I own five turntables. Among them are direct drives that are considered the top of the vintage Japanese turntables including an SP 10 mark 3 and a Kenwood L07D. I also own a highly modified version of the Lenco. It is not the PTP direct product, but it uses the steel top plate made by Peter Reinders originally. This is mounted on a 70 pound slate plinth. I also have an aftermarket $800 bearing on my Lenco, replacing the original bearing. The platter has been painted with a special damping material. And it is further damped by the use of heavy duty O-rings around the circumference. The motor is controlled by a phoenix engineering eagle power supply with a phoenix engineering road runner tachometer. So I can document that the speed is precisely 33.33 RPM. I would put this rig up against any of my other rigs. It certainly is worthy of the ancillary equipment that you mention. I don’t know what else to say.
Hard to describe precisely the improvement with Phoenix stuff, because I went from the Walker Audio Motor Controller, which is already pretty good but has no feedback mechanism to control or monitor speed, to Phoenix. I'd say it improves SQ to some degree over the Walker. Not mind-blowing. The Walker was way superior to nothing.
While Lenco L75s are fine tables which make great music, they can lack the ability to render the finest details of recordings. If that's what you are after with higher-end transducers, you might do further research of your choice of turntable.
Having owned a souped up Garrard 301 and listened to fairly souped up Lencos, I know what it does to music in general. That is definitely up my alley. I have not heard the PTP version which as per some is a more refined machine after the various mods (top plate, platter, plinth and bearing). In this config I expecting more silence and transparency. I know it would still fall short of top belt drives but if it is good enough to do justice to a $5k cart, I am happy.
Thanks Lewm and Gilles130. I have a Monarchy Audio AC regenerator which I plan to use with the PTP Lenco for AC conditioning. Whether a walker or Eagle PSU would be better still, only those who have done some comparison can tell.
Pani, Contrary to your statement that a souped up Lenco would fall short of a top flight BD, I’d say it’s on par with any BD below $25K. Above $25K, the Lenco would be equal to or superior to many; you’d have to make case by case comparisons. Also, keep in mind, that each of us Lenco lovers is talking about his or her own version of a Lenco. Almost no two of our turntables are the same. Yet we all like them very much. This means to me that Lenco had a great idea that is worthy of the expensive modifications.
Pani--this is an interesting topic and one that I have spent some time exploring. I have heard first hand the uniquely satisfying presentation of an idler table but have been reluctant to pursue one for several reasons. One concern is that most of those available are simply reconditioned units that (mostly) rely upon antiquated technology/parts. Another is cost--resurgent interest in these tables has driven up prices, making them less competitive with other modern production tables using belt or other drive technologies. While I drool over the photos on the Artisan Fidelity website, I just can't see spending that kind of money for what is essentially a decades old table in a beautiful plinth with some update parts (i.e. bearing, idler wheel). The PTP table is interesting in that it is not terribly expensive, owing to the reasonable cost of the corian plinth. I have corresponded with Peter who is very knowledgeable, responsive and measured. Would I put a top flight arm and cartridge on this table? Hard to know without seeing/hearing one first hand--an issue with the PTP is that you are dealing with an international purchase and there is no dealer network that I am aware of. That aside, I think the PTP is a reasonable choice given the cost as compared with some other options. Recently, however, I came across a modern idler iteration that may be a compelling alternative--the Sempersonous TE-1 from Portugal. This table uses modern technology in an idler configuration and projected pricing puts it within reach of many audiophiles. I haven't heard it but plan to soon so will report back what I find on this thread.
There is no reason for it to not be worthy. There are much more unworthy, overpriced, generic belt-drive tables that show up en masse at every audio show from LA to Munich that people do not hesitate to put kilobuck cartridges on simply due to the false perception of performance that comes along with their price and aesthetically flashy designs.
Turntables and to an even greater extent tonearms are simply a vehicle for the record and cartridge to interface with each other. The PTP decks have a thoughtful and minimalist design, using a drive mechanism that is well regarded for its timeless performance. Considering many supposedly high-end belt-drive designs do not elaborate past a motor 'pod' turning a big disc using a string, I can hardly see how they would be any more worthy of expensive cartridges than the PTP.
Dodge, I bought my L75 NOS only about 10 years ago for $300. You can still buy a mint L75 for $500 or less. The motor will run forever, and if it doesn't, there's a huge source of information on how to rebuild them on Lenco Lovers website. Every other part of the turntable is either easily restored or has been reproduced. I spent about $500 to have my slate plinth made and about $300 on the PTP top plate. Even with the overkill bearing (I think I wrote $800, but now I recall it was more like $600), I have about $1900 in the whole thing, less the tonearm. $2500 buys you a generic belt drive with MDF plinth, platter of either glass, alu, or MDF, and a tiny weak motor with a rubber belt.
K4star, I strongly disagree with your assessment of the importance of the turntable. Music has tones played in strict time. When you play an LP, the turntable alone is responsible for the y-axis, time. Without precise timing, music loses its foundation.