Lenco L70 on premises

John Frum

Secret Society Member
After $250 and a full tank of gas, I have my first heavy-platter Lenco (Bogen B61) and enough tasty pre-recorded reels to recover my costs.

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This post is a placeholder. Don’t expect to see much action in the near future.

I’ve had an idea crystallizing now for a few years for a scratch-built stereo, and been gathering parts. As much as doesn’t seriously detract from performance, I plan on using interesting and grungy midcentury components, salvaged and surplus. Ultimately, I’m envisioning it as much an art installation as DIY hi-fi. I’ve been thinking about the right turntable, and had my eyes peeled for a ROK Rondine Jr. L34.

But this Lenco will be even better. Someone assaulted the top plate with a rattle can, but I’ve been taking notes on videos of the work the hot rod guys are doing rolling back similar hack jobs and exposing the “ugly” patina underneath.

Beyond that, I’ll be building a plinth, putting in a metal idler wheel, and damping the top. That’s about it for planned upgrades, and the rest will be a straightforward restoration. The cartridge is a Shure M3D.

I know Lencos are a path well-trod at the Haven. Any tips are appreciated!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I think mine, in a simple layered plinth, metal idler, with a crudely installed Linn Basik, sounded better than my fully restored TD-124, if that helps with motivation.
 

jmathers

Junior Member
My first Lenco was a Bogen B51 "light platter" deck. It sounded surprisingly good.

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Good enough to make me dive into the Lenco deep end. Upgraded idler wheel and bearing. Birch ply plinth. This one has been with me for the last 7-8 years and replaced a SOTA Sapphire as my main deck. Bogen B62/L70:

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Congrats John. The L70 is better than any Rondine in my opinion.

My personal two cents about the L70, leave it in close to original condition (plastic idler wheels must go) and focus all of your efforts into bringing its mechanical operation to 100%. I am a little disdained when people hack up functional and complete L70s for various builds where you cannot recognize it's a Lenco anymore. Leave this for the much more common L75/78.

The tonearm was state of the art for its time, you may have to disassemble it to re-grease the bearings for smooth operation. Use it with period-correct stereo cartridges such as the Shure M3D or Empire 108. Denon 103 also sings as well but modern examples are inferior to the aforementioned cartridges with their original styli. Do note the L70 headshell does not have standard wiring colours!

As for plinths, I have a heavy stacked plinth made of layers of baltic birch. I preferred the clarity and less heavy sound of having no plinth at all and using 4 simple wooden legs underneath the top plate.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
Good to see another idler guy doing a restore. Never had a Lenco but I'm a member of Lenco heaven so I understand the enthusiasm behind them.
For any devoted idler drive fans the Lenco Heaven forum has lots of interesting discussions and folks trying different ideas. A lot of that information can be used on non Lenco turntables as well.
Please keep us updated as you go along, it's always fun to read about other peoples builds.

BillWojo
 

airdronian

Radar Member
As a non-Lenco owner, I see lots mentioned here and there about the 75/78. I am guessing that some Bogens are relabelled Lencos ? Is there a cheat sheet for the neophyte which makes sense of the various models used for these refurbishments with new plinth, tonearm, etc ?
 

MrEd

Senior Nobody
As a non-Lenco owner, I see lots mentioned here and there about the 75/78. I am guessing that some Bogens are relabelled Lencos ? Is there a cheat sheet for the neophyte which makes sense of the various models used for these refurbishments with new plinth, tonearm, etc ?
Lencos were imported by Bogen and sold in North America as Bogen.
As Bill mentioned all you need to know is on Lenco Heaven.
I would encourage @John Frum to join as there is a significant amount info and ideas there.
I've been a member since day one, great community and very friendly. Flame wars are against the rules.
 
As a non-Lenco owner, I see lots mentioned here and there about the 75/78. I am guessing that some Bogens are relabelled Lencos ? Is there a cheat sheet for the neophyte which makes sense of the various models used for these refurbishments with new plinth, tonearm, etc ?
Lenco was sold under the Bogen name in the USA. The Bogen B62 is basically a rebadged Lenco L70, the big difference is the motor. They are not interchangeable as the USA version are 110v and 60hz whereas the Euro ones are 220v and 50hz. The rotor part of the electric motor that turns the idler wheel is shaped differently between the two regions.

Lenco sold fewer turntables to the USA so they are rarer here and Euro versions won’t work here without a speed controller or grinding down the rotor to make up for the difference in frequency.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The spindle to pivot distance on the table is, I think, 227mm with the original arm. There are a few arms around that measurement. I think my Stax UA-7cf has that mounting distance, though the stock hole is rather small if I remember correctly. In my opinion and arm like the Stax is leagues better, or at least, much more versatile, than the stock arm. My Lenco arm had several missing balls in the vertical ball-race bearings, and when I took it apart to clean it up and try to figure out a workaround, I wasn't really impressed with its....'finesse'. I was going to track down some bearing races from the RC car world but ended up just ditching the arm after mucking around with its tracking springs and not seeing it as worth the effort, considering the carts I like. YMMV, and much of it comes down to what you're after and the carts you intend to run. Admittedly I'm about as far from the spherical stylus/low compliance camp as one can get, despite the fact that I've tried, over and over, with that approach...and i do have an M3D... and an M7... with the N21 lower tracking stylus. Lower compliance carts do like an idler.

I think there are two little ridges along the inside rim of the headshell to indicate where the stylus should go for overhang, but I don't recall there actually being overhang adjustment.
 
Lenco ... the poor man's Garrard 301/401 :) Or at least that is how it was explained to me before jumping into Lenco's. Fun tables and I really like the motor design and general design and build quality. I've had a few, but keeping the Goldring Lenco GL75 (rebadged for UK) and finishing up a B50-16 this weekend. It's definitely lo-fi in terms of the primitive arm, but sounds amazingly good for what it is. How can you argue with that. Glad to see someone brought up LencoHeaven, as they helped me quite a bit.
 
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