Modified Lenco vs TW Raven

I have a TW Acustic Raven for a few years now. I made different upgrades along the last 3 years : new battery PSU and 3 motors in a round shape. I was thinking about the last upgrade (for me) : the BN platter and new bearing when I heard for the first time to modified Lenco by TJN. I read most of what there is to read for a non DIY, and there is a lot...
Before deciding if a make the jump I'd like to know if some in the community have made the same decision : I mean going from a top belt TT to a top idler wheel. I think of the ref models from Jean Nantais and tell me if they are happy now.
Thank you for helping
I had a Maplenoll Ariadne air bearing tt/arm that sounded just plain beautiful but had potential to have an accident involving the cantilever if any of the air supply's many parts failed or disconnected. After selling it, I had many different tt's--VPI Scout, Classic, Avid Diva II with Origin Live Silver II arm. Each of those was better than the prior, but the 'Noll was still quite a bit better sounding. I have a fairly pimped out Lenco with the 10-layer 100 lb. mdf/birch plywood plinth, Mirko's stainless steel bearing, S. Lucchetti's idler wheel, lead tape on the idler arm to damp resonances, JTN's string/weight mod to replace the idler spring, the Lenco chassis screwed directly to the plinth, TTW's 2.2 SS/carbon fiber weight, 2" Audio Points under the plinth, and of course, cleaned and lubed with the speeds set spot on. This sits on a Sistrum rack, which in itself, is a major sound improvement to all equipment sitting on it. I am currently using the same OL Silver II arm with Pete Riggle's VTAF sleeve. The sound is VERY dynamic and can be quite beautiful--the cartridge is Soundsmith's level 2 rebuilt Shelter 501 Mk II--better than the original. I believe if I get the straight line tracking air bearing Trans-Fi Terminator with all its upgrades to replace the OL, the sound would be really quite incredible--everything the 'Noll was and more--jump factor, potent bass, and that wonderfully beautiful sound the straight line tracking arm like the 'Nolls had--I believe the Trans-Fi would be quite a bit better sounding than the 'Nolls and would have virtually zero chance of snapping a cantilever due to lack of air to the arm because of its lack of need for a high pressure air pump to move the arm. In other words, for about $2500 for the Lenco, the Trans-Fi arm, all the upgraded parts, and quite a bit of work by me, I'll have very close to the best there is with very good longevity. I can't picture any belt drive with pivoting arm sounding as good. Plus, you can say you built some of your tt. How cool is that? I had no mechanical knowledge prior to doing this, but I do have some woodworking skills. It came out massive (24" X 20" X 7" H) and quite beautiful--maple veneered and trimmed out on the top and bottom of all sides. Sorry, I have zero experience with the TW Raven to compare to the SuperLenco. However, I had all the tweaks that TTW out of Canada makes on both the Scout and the Classic (over $1100 worth) and the 'Noll still sounded better. The Lenco with Trans-Fi will be awesome.

Please excuse the length of this post.
Most of us need to sell one toy to be able to afford a new one. If you can swing it, buy a used tricked out Lenco and compare it to your current table for a lengthy period of time. Sometimes we make changes out of boredom or current trends, only to take a step backwards. Experimentation is a lot of fun, but can be expensive if not done with caution.

Both tables have an excellent reputation and following, but sound very different. Good luck.
If you can swing it take the advice of Brf.
Many times people get bored or simply want to make a change. Sometimes for better, sometimes not.
Thank you for your opinions. I don't want to change only for having a new toy.
I still have my Air Tight ATM3 for nearly 20 years now and don't need to change. That's why I ask on the Agon if some of you made this experience and has a knowledge about these particular turntables.
I've had a Nantais Ref Lenco for three years now, recently upgraded to Mk II status, which is a solid step up in detail retrieval, overall coherence, and speed stability. I'm very happy with it.

I also have a Brinkmann Oasis on a Minus-K platform in the same system, and used to have a Clearaudio Innovation Wood, also on a Minus-K. While I can't compare the Lenco to a TW, I can say that I preferred it hands down to the Clearaudio and perhaps to the Brinkmann, too. The Oasis is a bit more analytical, the Lenco more visceral with greater drive. Speed stability is a toss up.

If I had to keep one, it'd probably be the Lenco, if only because it takes two arms. Doesn't really need an expensive platform, either, whereas the Brinkmann absolutely does.
Thank you for these answers.
Any other opinions or experiences ?
I had a Rega P3, VPI TNT (even tried the Teres Verus drive on it), Sony PS-X7, TTW Audio rim drive, Luxman PD121. I prefer my modified Lenco to all of them. It is the most accurate reproduction of sound and has the highest speed stability.

My Lenco only has the idler wheel, and 60 hz motor from a B-55. The stainless steel platter and bearing are from Mirko. I have Peter's PTP5 and a 3 inch solid maple plinth. Tonearm is the VPI JMW12.5, Denon DLS1. I have 2 platter matts from TTW (copper and an alloy one).

Have you brought your question to Lenco Heaven?
No not yet
I just wanted comparative opinions. Some says the 3 motors TW is in between a belt and an idler wheel in listening sensations and feelings. I don't know what it means exactly but try to imagine
Nice post Dorkwad. Salvatore loves the TJN.
I have 2 tables : a TW AC modded all the way to BN status minus the platter and BN feet and a Garrard 401. The idler drive 401 is no slouch and is IMHO superior to the TW. You can check my systems page for details on matching components etc
I reckon that a litmus test for any system is how well it handles piano notes. Last night I played side 1 of Keith Jarret's Koln Concert. I was amazed at how good it sounded on the TW. I have never heard it sound so real without any tinge of metallica. I than played the same side on the 401 and was stunned. The 401 was miles ahead. There was a delicacy to the notes and a sense of air.
I hope this makes sense.
Hello Sunnyboy,

Thank you for this interesting post. Maybe now I can make a better idea with a Nantais mkIII modified Lenco against my own Raven AC 3 (3 motors in a round shape and battery PSU).
These modified idler drive seems to be a winner against more conventionnal TT based purely on musical pleasure ?
Nantais does a great job with the base Lenco L75, for sure. But you might also consider other after-market Lenco modifiers. The DIY alternative is also pretty easy with the Lenco, because you can buy an excellent plinth, and all other stuff is merely re-assembly of the table with new parts. I don't know whether Jean has yet adopted the PTP chassis in lieu of the original, but there is much to be said for doing that. My L75 has a slate plinth, PTP chassis, Jeremy super bearing, dampened original platter, weight on a string replacing spring (a la Nantais). I did it all myself. Motor, idler wheel, and idler arm are Lenco OEM. I have 4 other turntables including some exotic direct-drive types which I also like a lot, but Lenco is in play most of the time.

Thanks for the post. I'll check about all that. I'm not in a hurry and I think it is a good thing when you want to limit mistakes...
Please without telling bad things, what are your other exotic TT ?
Technics SP10 Mk3
Kenwood L07D
Denon DP80
Victor TT101
Great stuff
As I go further in the idler TT I see another Lenco restorer in the name of Artisan Fidelity.
Do anyone tried one of hid Lenco ? It seems the Achates AF and Nantais new Ref are in the same price range.
..... new battery PSU and 3 motors in a round shape. I was thinking about the last upgrade (for me) : the BN platter and new bearing when I heard for the first time to modified Lenco by TJN. I read most of what there is to read for a non DIY, and there is a lot...
Before deciding if a make the jump I'd like to know if some in the community have made the same decision : I mean going from a top belt TT to a top idler wheel......

You can paint a stone with gold color but at the end of day it is a cheap stone with gold color. None of the named tables are TOP (maybe in the view of users who have no idea what is REALLY top) ... none of the named units are capable of reproducing a full range of audio frequencies in the right steps and recreating the original spectral balance and harmonic structure of the recorded material with almost 100% accuracy. Colored in one way or the other - or in several - based on inferior internal design "solutions", or simply done wrong. Let's say, you look for a new toy, then those are the right ones...
Thank you, it helps. So what would be a top TT that do all you describe in your post ?
Syntax, Please tell me; what DO you like? I certainly know what you don't like.
... what DO you like?

Apparently my response to Syntax 48 hours ago did not "stick". Syntax's system is posted, so it is indeed possible to discern what he likes. Sorry about that.
I just look at your system and the Lenco is good looking.
I'm not a skilled man but it gives me will to try this road myself too. When you do something yourself it can be gratifying.
As a basic buyer it's hard to imagine a simple man can do something that sounds as good as something made by a "professionnal". I know ot can seem silly but I'm sure I'm not the only one to think this way.
i have to change my mind.
Syntax is full of crap. Ignore. Lewm asked and there is never an answer. Ever. And its not the first time. No detail. No nothing. What a joke. Syntax is all subtraction and no addition. Again ignore... Worthless input.
I heard from a reliable source TW is working on how to spin the platter at constant speeds during play back ,however chat amoug TW owners festival keep TW busy with sales of new and improved platters, bearings , motors and rubber bands
I'm not a skilled man but it gives me will to try this road myself too....

In a way, all depends what you want or expect. Maybe High End? That's difficult, because someone has to know what High End is.
It can be an endless discussion because everyone has his own opinion about it, but I found a very good comment about it from Gordon Holt (founder from Stereophile) in 2007:

Do you still feel the high-end audio industry has lost its way in the manner you described 15 years ago?
Not in the same manner; there's no hope now. Audio actually used to have a goal: perfect reproduction of the sound of real music performed in a real space. That was found difficult to achieve, and it was abandoned when most music lovers, who almost never heard anything except amplified music anyway, forgot what "the real thing" had sounded like. Today, "good" sound is whatever one likes.
Since the only measure of sound quality is that the listener likes it, that has pretty well put an end to audio advancement, because different people rarely agree about sound quality.

I think, he is way too negative :-) and he missed definitely the new Marketing Concept, which is very successful and has a LOT of fanatical followers....
Black Lemon Marketing

Each his own
OK, so let's say I agree with Syntax. I often don't or at least I don't like the way he communicates his likes or dislikes in this forum. But as a musician and as someone who has spent considerable time in concert halls myself, how much time does syntax spend doing the same? It is shocking how few audiophiles spend any time at all in the presence of unamplified live music. And let's be honest, that can rarely be found outside of a symphony concert these days since just about any venue is in some way electronically boosted. And is it worth anyone's time to talk about recreating a live experience when the live experience ends when the first sound pressure wave hits the microphone?
I have listenned a lot of live music, especially classical because it is my preferred one.
For that I am lucky enough to live in an important city where there is an intense artistic proposal. Some audiophile don't have the same possibilities and I don't want to make them ashamed not knowing what is the "real" sound of instruments and voices on live event.
Everyone can have his (her) own references and is in his right to judge what he is listenning whatever his reference is.
In shore wrote;
I heard from a reliable source TW is working on how to spin the platter at constant speeds during play back ,however chat amoug TW owners festival keep TW busy with sales of new and improved platters, bearings , motors and rubber bands.

You may have missed this thread and this post is a great place to start but there is a lot of great info there -
Haters gonna hate

Halcro puts in bunch of effort and shows the TW speed accuracy to be excellent. But hay, nothing is perfect.
I have TW AC3 NEVER had any trouble with speed always 100% on speed 33 or 45 also sounds wonderful.
Living in DC, we are very fortunate to have a plethora of live music at our fingertips, sources range from the Kennedy Center concerts to small clubs downtown. We attend live performances at least once a month, more like twice a month since recent movies have been so terrible. Small group jazz is most often what I go out to hear and big bands whenever possible. Since I am an amateur jazz vocalist, I especially seek out good vocalists. If you sit close enough to avoid the PA system, you can get the "live" sensation. What always impresses me are the dynamics of live music and how live music usually does NOT provide for distinct placement of instruments that is so sought for in "hi-fi". There is NOTHING so soul satisfying to me as a good big band jazz session, live in person. In addition, I periodically invite musicians to play in my living room, right in between my gigantic ESL speakers with no amplification whatever. That's a much more rare event but great fun.
I’m disappointed to read In_shore’s apparent ‘dig’ at Raven as I have always appreciated his informative and even-handed postings in the past…
Perhaps we are misinterpreting him here Tdaudio…❓👀
Apart from the Timeline Video displaying better performance than Syntax’s Micro SX-5000 turntable which appears to suffers from severe motor cogging… is the Feikert Speed App performance chart for the Raven AC-2 which demonstrates better performance than Fremer’s test of the new VPI Direct Drive which Fremer ranks A+ alongside his Continuum Caliburn in the latest Stereophile Recommended Components issue...😎
Note the fact that the Raven AC-2 is far closer to the ‘absolute’ speed of 33.33rpm as indicated by the Test Tone frequency 3150Hz and the Wow and Flutter figures are similarly impressive…😍
Needless to say…these are far better figures than Fremer recorded for his Caliburn…😎

So apart from Syntax’s ongoing personal vendetta against Thomas Woschnick and his TW Acustic Company….the detractors of Raven turntables should study some ‘objective’ scientific data and try to match them with their own turntables for all of us to observe….😜❓
So apart from Syntax’s ongoing personal vendetta against Thomas Woschnick and his TW Acustic Company

Well, just between you and me, and I write this slowly, please read it slowly, too:
I have no personal vendetta against TW. You write this nonsense all over again like a broken record. Both we know very well, that I forgot more about high quality analog reproduction than you will ever learn.
Dev, Inshore and others wrote much more about their "experiences" with various TW products and YOU (and some others) never got it. Instead you (and some of the TW community) write that I have a personal conflict.
When I remember right, my only comment about Raven AC was that it sounds black and heavy. This ironic comment created a reaction from you where you wrote you will attack me for the rest of your life because I wrote that about one of your units. I have no problem with that, but I seriously think, you are sick when you create a personal conflict about a technical unit.
And next, the Time Line Speed test with the Seiki, I explained a few times here at Agon why the laser point is not clearly seen at every rotation (it is based on the camera frame per second), a few agreed in that thread about this. Except you, for whatever reason. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with you but you should seriously start thinking about yourself.
And my last sentences, specially for you and I hope you get it now:
I have no conflict with TW, never had and never will. I write about technical observations which have a sonic result. When you can't handle that, then you are wrong in an open US forum where everyone has the right to post his personal opinion. To ruin someones reputation that way is done usually in socialist states. When you like that way, go there.
Halcro, I took In_shore's comments to be passing along info he heard. Nothing more.

Thanks again for all the work you put in testing your tables. There is a lot there for analog lovers.

It is amazing how internet trolls can just make stuff up and never have to prove anything.
I write about technical observations which have a sonic result.
Technical observations....😳❓
Like what...❓That their motors can't keep constant speed...⁉️
Do you have the evidence now my friend...😜❓
Perhaps you should run your Micro with the Feikert Speed App to show you where the problems lie with your turntable's speed deficiencies....⁉️👍
Thanks again for all the work you put in testing your tables. There is a lot there for analog lovers.
You're welcome Tdaudio...😊
I needed to counter objectively what the Trolls peddle via innuendo and lies...😡
Every Raven owner should rub these results into the noses of those who proffer their unsupported heresay about the speed accuracy of Raven turntables on future Forums....😎👍
I also listen to live music (both unamplified and amplified) on a frequent basis, and while I agree with Lewm on the remarkable dynamics, his comments on imaging are misleading. What I find is that imaging of live music is level-dependent - it tends to be quite clear up to a certain amplitude, but can fall to pieces when the playing is louder than this threshold. This is because the structure (or furnishings) of most rooms will go into resonance at various frequencies, and the resonance threshold is governed by loudness. When the room is not resonating, imaging can be very clear and precise, but when the room is resonating, the acoustic cues that the ear interprets as imaging will be masked.

FWIW, the human ear can be very sensitive to spatial imaging in real life (sensitivity changes according to the individual listener, but can be augmented by training). The paralympics sport goalball would not exist were it not for the ear's sensitivity to imaging.

"What I find is that imaging of live music is level-dependent - it tends to be quite clear up to a certain amplitude, but can fall to pieces when the playing is louder than this threshold."

So I guess there is room for both of us to be "right", if that is important. One of my favored venues in DC is a place called Bohemian Caverns. In a way, it's a dump. However, it was constructed many decades ago such that the interior resembles a real cavern, with faux cave-like painted plaster surfaces. I would venture to guess that no two surfaces in the room are parallel to each other, nor are there any surfaces that are not complex curves. Thus by accident it is a great listening room, but only if you sit directly in front of the performers. One must avoid the direct radiations of their grade B speakers in favor of direct listening. At "the Caverns", the imaging can change during the course of a single tune from excellent in the audiophile sense to vague, and back to excellent.Anyway, in my original observation, I did not intend to be seen as rendering an absolute judgement about imaging in a live performance, which can mean anything from an unamplified recital in the home to an orchestra in a concert hall and in the latter case depends upon where one is sitting, what concert hall, etc. And everything in between.
I have a very much tricked out Lenco 78 and told you all the improvements to it already on the lengthy post. I just received the Synergistics Research PHT little metal gizmo that attches to the cartridge with a small amount of a blu-tac substance so it sits somewhere on the top of the cartridge. This thing is VERY SMALL as in the top couple mm of a push button pen's button. It has a concave top. I bought it on A'Gon a week ago. They send you 2 separate PHT's that are totally different sounding but equally brilliant. They will make any analog set-up sound significantly better. Once a PHT is attached to the top of the cartridge, you can switch one for the other and the swap takes about 1 minute--it's like 2 top flight cartridges with different awesome qualities. With my above mentioned set-up the Blue Heaven version adds air, more detail, clearer, more impactful bass, and lets you use a less expensive set-up and still get the sound quality of a $3000-4000 cartridge with each and swaps out in seconds. I'm sold--it is now better in my set-up than my previous Maplenoll Ariadne that took me almost 1 year to get it running it's best. I haven't listened to the Purple Haze version yet. Could be even better in my system says Alfred Kainz--the PH version


thank for the answers. Dorkwad can you tell me about the differences between the Lenco 78 and the L 75 model ?
About Synergistic research I ordered some ECT not received yet. Do you have some ?
For the room acoustics I have the Stein Music H2a and H2b + stones and Diamonds and very happy with that. Stein are less expensive here in Europe and Holger Stein is a very kind person humble and honest. The first time I asked him 2 H2a an b for a try I received a crate with much more than I asked for (cables ; speaker match, Epads, Maestro laquer, ans Super Naturals feet). I had at least one month for trying all that at home wituout anybody telling you what to her...
Great. Some thing I kept some others not. He never moan about that. He is just curious to know what you think and never criticised your opinion in any way : relaxing.
To dorkwad .I have a highly tweaked lenco.Ptp4 on a massive cnc alloy plinth. What is the S lucchetti idler wheel? Thanks.
Sorry for the late response to your questions B & G--I've been out of town.

Barbapappa--The 78 was an all automatic unit when purchased from the dude in Peru, if you use it as is. I didn't want the arm as it is not very nice and I already owned a much superior Origin Live Silver II arm for years. I'm not saying the OL is the current greatest arm at it's price on the planet, but it's superior by some distance to the Lenco arm. I had to figure out what had to go on the 78 in regards to all the automation on the arm without messing with the on-off button functions and drive mechanisms of the turntable itself. There is that part in dealing with the auto portions of the tonearm that you don't have to deal with on the 75--otherwise, they are equal in the amount of work needed to restore them to Jean Nantais' recommendations. They are also slightly different from my perspective--no PTP used in what/where you have to carve out under the platter in the 10-layered 100 lb. plinth (not more work either way, just different in location. So a 75, without the PTP, like mine, could not just drop in an identically prepared 78 plinth as a drop-in replacement w/o carving and drilling out different areas in that wood plinth. If you were willing to figure out what had to be drilled/cut out to accommodate the different location of the 78's undersides vs. the 75's, you could make it work eventually. They will sound equally good--they are the same quality in all other ways.

The Simone Lucchetti idler wheel is a beautifully CNC cut high quality aluminum idler wheel with 2 sets of different rubber tires with 2 pairs of each included. One pair of the rubber tires has a thinner profile and the rubber is slightly more dense--the rubber on the other pair is fatter and slightly more cushy (slightly is the key word here). I really haven't done a lot of AB comparisons yet as I just bought back my VMPS RM40 speakers I sold about 9 months ago. They are my idea of affordable perfection and just replaced a very good speaker in my system--one that others may even like better if they have different preferences--no contest to me, however. Too much info, but I didn't AB the wheel the Lenco comes with yet to the SL wheel. On looks alone, the SL wheel is beautiful with nothing less than perfection it how it spins without ANY even slight visable to the eye lack of trueness as it turns. My metal Lenco idler had a very slight out of true point while turning. As to how they work in the act of turning the platter, I'd say no difference I can tell. Sound wise, it's very hard to tell the difference without a fairly lengthy listening session to several cuts just like a reviewer would do. This is because the change to a different wheel is tough when you also have to take out the 4 large brass machine screws that I tighten down to securely bolt that Lenco chassis to the plinth--no bouncy springs involved like a Linn--I cut them all off. Changing the wheel once the chassis is freed by removing all four 1 1/2" long bolts is somewhat time consuming as the replacing of the bolts and getting all 4 of them to start without stripping is not fast and easy--it's very tight tolerances in the hole sizes I cut in the chassis so the holes did not show once the screw was tightened down. Getting back to the 2 types of rubber tires they include with the SL idler, the thicker, softer rubber tires are supposed to suppress the motor vibrations more, the firmer and smaller tires grip better so they are supposed to pull the platter to start more quickly, but have slightly less cushioning effect due to tire size. The tires slip on somewhat easily with the wheel already in place so changing from one to another is maybe a 2 minute job. Getting my chassis off and on, however, with tightening down the bolts, takes about 15 to 20 minutes because of one screw always is difficult to get started past the 10 or so turn and always takes me several minutes to finally get past that point without stripping the threads. That's what makes an A\B difficult. There's no question which wheel appears to be the better one, but again, not sure the Lenco one doesn't work almost as well. Watch for my final results--I'll post it soon. Heck, I'm real curious on the possible sound difference, if any, too. By the way, Simone sells these on Ebay under Lenco turntables occasionally--$75 plus shipping from Italy ($8 to Chicago in the US). This does not include the arm. The only tricky part is learning how to take off the spring ring that holds the idler on--I use a very fine flat blade screwdriver that came with one of my early cartridges I bought once. You carefully weazel the blade under the 2 pointed tips of the spring ring clamp and start to rotate the blade by rocking it back and forth until it finally starts to push the ring up. Then you just work the screwdriver's blade around the entire ring slowly until it is very near coming off. Your attention better then be on keeping the ring from flying off, so cover it with a finger of the hand not holding the screwdriver and ease the ring off. Just for your info.

Hope that helps, although that was probably more info that you required. That's why I'm a Dorkwad.
To Dorkwad. Many Thanks I think I found his wheel on ebay.
I forgot to mention that the LS idler wheel is very light although extremely well machined. It's aluminum. Nice bearings inside the hole that slide over the end of the idler arm. And, you're welcome!!
I feel like an idiot. Almost 4 years on my first Lenco project and I'm still learning how to get the speed dead right. Discovered that the motor housing was no parallel to the chassis because of the 6 springs that attach it to the chassis have to be in just the right spot. There are long ones, short ones, and mid size ones. When they are right, and it takes some experimentation, the speed can be set spot on with absolutely zero drift. Never been there until now. Also, I added a nice layer of lead tape (for golf clubs) around the brass weight Jean Nantais supplies with the string weight mod. Makes the wheel pull better with no slip and the Simon Lucchetti idler really runs super smooth that way. Can't wait to add the Trans-Fi Terminator air bearing straight line tracking arm. I think I will get one of those beautiful and tough dust covers the Agon member sells for $275. It will protect the set-up when I'm not around.
I have the Transfi rim-drive Salvation table and linear air bearing Terminator arm and love it. I have not compared it to any of the tables mentioned above but have read reviews that have compared it more than favorably to the Lenco and Garrad tables
Dorkwad, I just re-read your post above, particularly the following passage: "Discovered that the motor housing was no parallel to the chassis because of the 6 springs that attach it to the chassis have to be in just the right spot. There are long ones, short ones, and mid size ones. When they are right, and it takes some experimentation, the speed can be set spot on with absolutely zero drift." My reflex response to this notion is "Huh?" It would seem to me that in the horizontal plane you want the contact patch of the idler wheel to be perfectly tangent to the arc of the platter. In the vertical plane, as you say, the idler wheel should be perpendicular to the driven surface of the platter. This has little to do with the chassis, except that if you attain the goal, there will also be a certain relationship of the drive spindle to the chassis, pari passu.
Dear Dork, After re-re-reading your quoted sentences, I finally get what you mean; you're referring to the horizontal part of the chassis, but I guess it's the platter that matters most. Sorry for my own misunderstanding of your intent.
It's difficult to speak of lenco turntable because at the end it all depends on how you mod it.
I have spent the equivalent of 2500 dollars for a massive alloy plinth (around 120 lb) and a dedicated bearing (same as the one described on the blog twogoodears november 2011)
With a lot of tweaks on it, PTP4 screwed ... I have now a table which totally satisfied me.
I haven't heard a TW Raven - I think Graham Tricker imports them into the UK and he does have a good ear for sound. I have heard an inspire modded Lenco and thought it had real drive and oomph - very enjoyable - it kind of re-injecte the energy of a live performance IMHO. Whilst I understand Syntax rather abrasive comments that the Syntax ain't the best of the best the original question was the Lenco vs the Raven not the Lenco vs the Air Force One or the Caliburn Continuum.
Whilst High Fidelity is the pursuit of accuracy - I recall a talk by Michael Fremer and Ken Kessler who said they've heard no system they've heard can reproduce the sound of a large kettle drum hit by a strong man - systems that produce the weight never catch the pace, and those that get the strike never get the weight - various aspects are reproduced. Likewise there was a very good article a few years ago on the SPL levels required to match just a piano and a saxophone whilst sounding realistic. Let's face it the moment something is recorded it's not as if one can fit an orchestra in their lounge. I think this and the fact that it is very rare when we get to genuinely hear 'live music' that has led to the High End moving into the direction that it is currently going - a nice sound. I've heard a lot of high end audio and am often left feeling very unsatisfied with the degree of colouration and what I believe to be a sheen - a classic example is the Kondo cartridge, wired tonearm, step up transformer, phono amp, power amp, cables, and Kondo wired living voice speakers. I don't get it - call me a luddite if you will. I think the same of Zanden electronics which I think sound soft and fuzzy.
Everyone who has a Lenco talks of Arthur Salvatores' observations as proof positive that it is the best deck ever, that enthusiasm coupled with I built it myself can well colour ones views - trust me I have made speakers for myself and thought they are great and then re-installed my old speakers and realised that I've achieved nothing (sadly).
IMHO get a Lenco, give it a whirl, you might like it, you can go lots of different ways in its construction, the pros have experience but they are limited by budget, marketability, and profit - you won't be so constrained. My only real concern with the Lenco is speed stability though I am told the PTP sorts out the problem.
Gilles, What "alloy" did you use for your plinth? That sounds like an unusual and interesting choice of materials, compared to the more typical woods, slate, related synthetics, or even lead.