Turntable Review

Lenco L-3808 Turntable: Direct Drive on a Budget

Want to go direct drive but are afraid of the expense? Lenco might have a surprise for you. Paul Rigby reviews the Lenco L-3808 (and provides a money off deal: see the end of the review)

Right, take a quick look at the price point below and then take a gander at the images and you just know that Made In China or similar is hidden somewhere within the chassis of this Lenco design. At this point the analogue snobs will lift their nose and leave the room. Still here? I’m glad, because this little turntable has a few surprises in store.

But what about that strobe light and pop-up light (for DJ use) that will immediately warn you that this might be a sad little Technics 1200 rip off? In this case, first impressions are very wrong indeed (although the turntable is recommended as an effective budget DJ tool, that’s true).

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 09.18.33

The construction is relatively solid for this price point with an all up weight of 5.4kg (the competing Dual MTR-75 weighs in at 4kg, for example).

The unit arrives with a dust cover but I would recommend removing it during play to avoid noise from its rather shaky mounting. By all means put it back, in place, when your listening session in over to protect from the dust.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 09.19.05

The S-shaped arm looks and feels flimsy and small but it is secured well with an arm lock to prevent accidents. At the end of the arm is a removable headshell containing a standard (for this price) Audio Technica AT-3600 cartridge which Lenco asks you to run at a tracking force of 2g. Interesting because Dual, via its MTR-75 turntable, requests that you run exactly the same cartridge at around 3.25g! I know which one I’d rather place in my vinyl grooves! If you do buy yourself this deck, upgrade to a better cartridge ASAP. Something non-conical too which will enhance detail retrieval and the sonics immeasurably.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 09.18.19

A manual turntable, beginners will be happy to see an arm lift which worked easily and well. An included moving magnet phono stage (which appears to be similar to that featured in the Dual MTR-75) is fitted within the chassis to save costs and to enable you to connect the deck to an amplifier’s line input or powered speakers. It can be switched to accept an external phono amplifier too, something that I would highly recommend as soon as you can afford one to further increase sound quality. A USB digital output is also present that can be used with the included Audacity music editing software to enable digital recording of your analogue discs. A mains cable is pre-fitted to the turntable.

IN USE

I found that, playing the turntable at 33.33, I did have to move the pitch adjustment just a tad from the default ‘0’ postion, to correct a slight speed drop.

OK, there’s no quartz control connected to the direct drive motor here, so you can’t expect nailed on speed control but it ain’t too bad once you get to grips with the pitch adjustment. The 8-pole, 2-phase design does a decent job considering the price.

Apart from that, the Lenco sprang into life without any issues.

SOUND QUALITY

I began the sound tests playing a selection of the 80s minimalist synth outfit, Bizarre Unit, combining vocals, sparse early synths with organic instruments

One of the principle failings of the budget turntable – even more so the sub-budget table – is how very much out of control it is in terms of assembling and presenting diverse frequencies to your ear. Just about everything that can go wrong normally will: blooming bass, smearing midrange and faltering stereo image with a flat soundstage and no character to any of the instruments. The Lenco addresses many of these failings from the core of one single feature: it’s direct drive motor. This single, yet essential, feature gives the turntable that one essential weapon in its sonic armoury, control. Because of the direct drive motor, there is far more focus and precision in terms of overall presentation than you would normally expect at the low, low price point.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 09.19.23

Apart from the stereo image being rock solid and central, the bass was noticeably heavier than normal with a heft and weight that added significant presence to the entire track. Drums were meaningful and full of character, giving a foundation to the music that moved it forward at a steady pace while the midrange was, for the price, so accurate it actually created air and space in the soundstage, allowing more vocal reverb to be ‘visible’. This accuracy also infused the electric guitar with a sense of extra speed, as the transient performance improved immeasurably. The bass guitar also had more form and character. The vocals – both male and female – exuded emotion but also the delivery provided new details and nuance while the synths stopped spewing their smearing frequencies over everywhere and kept themselves to themselves. They no longer tried to mask subtle details, giving the music a richer flavour.

I then moved to the jazz vocal of Gogi Grant and the track By Myself, from the  1960 LP, Granted It’s Gogi on Living Stereo.

Grant’s wide ranging and dynamic vocal needs space and air to expand into and the Lenco, considering it’s low price point, certainly offered that. Grant fairly sparkled into a stereo image that pushed backwards as a 3D effect, allowing her big band orchestra to play around her. The focus upon her vocal allowed the ear to follow each element of her delivery with some ease.

The brass offered no brightness or stridency but, instead, had a texture through the vibrational effects of the performance giving an admirably brassy tone to this section of the backing band while keeping a measure of reverb to add energy to its effect.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 09.18.07

Bass, from this direct drive, bounced and responded splendidly. The double bass having a notable sense of power and control on the early parts of this track. Percussion was particularly successful off this track. Partly, because the precise treble performance allowed the cymbals to offer both delicacy but also accuracy.

CONCLUSION

It’s not perfect – how can it be at £200? This is a sub-budget design so the myriad of tiny design quirks can and should be forgiven. The sound quality, meanwhile, is absolutely superb. A real shocker because it really shouldn’t be at this low, low, price. The Lenco is a solid (in plastic terms, at any rate), great sounding and easy to use turntable. A top class budget performer and a brilliant choice for anyone wanting to enter the vinyl fray.

VIDEO WALK-AROUND

Enjoy a guided tour around this device with a video walk-around created by and featuring the Audiophile Man, that can be accessed below:


LENCO L-3808 TURNTABLE

Price: £200

Tel: 0333 1234 603

Website: www.lencouk.com


GOOD: precision, focus, ease of use, bass, price, direct drive

BAD: slight initial speed adjustment required

RATING: 9

Award1


REFERENCE

Dual MTR-75 turntable

Trichord Dino phono amplifier

Rega Brio-R amplifier

Spendor S3/5R speakers

Tellurium Q cabling

Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components

All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner


MONEY OFF DEAL!!!

Fancy buying a Lenco L-3808? Use this exclusive discount code: VINYL25 when buying your turntable and you will save 25% off the L-3808 (well, actually ALL Lenco turntables on the website). This offer is valid until beginning of September. Just click this  link to go to the Lenco shop page: www.lencouk.com

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130 Comments

  • Reply
    Peter M.
    16th June 2017 at 12:42 pm

    A nice detailed review, thanks! It looks like exactly what I am looking for. Just one question: What other cartridge you would recommend (still considering the “user-on-a-budget)?. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Peter M.
    17th June 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Thank you! I just received my Lenco L3808, and my first impression is OK. I will use it at home. no regular DJ-ing – I think, it it is not solid enough to be dragged to gigs twice a weekend. The sound with the original cartridge seems a bit “cold” to me, but I also read that they need some time to break in, and for the sound to “open up”, as somebody described. We’ll see. It seems a good buy. Thanks for the review, once again!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th June 2017 at 11:35 pm

      No problem, Peter. Break in is important, yes and a cart upgrade will help even more. Don’t forget about where you put the deck in terms of isolation and make sure the headshel goes into the ATM correctly. Even minor ‘play’ will affect the sound. You want the stylus (not the cart’s body) absolutely vertical.

  • Reply
    Peter M.
    22nd June 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks, Paul! I read quite a few good reviews on the AT95E. One practical question: Do you know if, in this case, I would have to replace the complete cartridge, or would the stylus (more precise: the little green holder + the stylus itself) fit on the ATN3600 cartridge?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      22nd June 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Peter – you’ll need to buy the AT95E itself, the complete thing.

  • Reply
    Danny Gromfin
    23rd June 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Paul – check out the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 which from the looks of it could have licensed their design to Lenco?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd June 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Similarities might be more to do with the host, Thai-based, Hanpin factory than Audio Technica, Danny. Also the AT deck has interface differences as well as the arm design.

  • Reply
    Willem Verlijsdonk
    4th July 2017 at 10:02 am

    Hello Paul, after reading your test I bought the Lenco L-3808. I must say here in The Netherlands its even cheaper . Only € 175,00 . So its a great buy.!
    I very pleased with my buy, based on your revieuw, thanks for that!
    Maybe you can give me an advice about a needle with a bit more quality than the standard delivered needle with came with the original turntable. It’s playing good, butt something says that there could be better? Could you advice me please. Many Kind Regards from The Netherlands……

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      4th July 2017 at 10:18 am

      Nice to hear from you, Willem and glad you’re enjoying your Lenco. The issue with the cartridge is the stylus tip which is conical. This means that it doesn’t track the grooves in an exacting way. It’s cheap and cheerful but not much more. A finer tip is what you need. This cartridge from Audio Technica provides an elliptical tip which should offer superior performance: https://eu.audio-technica.com/hifi-phono/cartridges/AT95E

      • Reply
        Willem Verlijsdonk
        4th July 2017 at 11:30 am

        Thx ! I will contact the supplyer in The Netherlands. Thanks very much indeed!

        • Reply
          Peter M
          13th July 2017 at 2:32 pm

          On recommendation of Paul (and there are more reviews out there, confirming this recommendation) I just bought the AT95E for this turntable (bought some 3-4 weeks ago – also for 175 EUR) at Amazon.de for a good price (and free shipping to Belgium – so I guess to NL as well). I received it today, may have time over the weekend to swap the current styles for this new one. I am curious about the result!

        • Reply
          Erwin
          7th October 2017 at 6:47 pm

          Ik ga dezelfde eens plaatsen….is het een vooruitgang?

          • Paul Rigby
            9th October 2017 at 9:26 am

            Can you possibly ask this question in English please? The automatic translation I have here is not particularly clear. Also my language skills are little more than zero 🙂 Thanks.

  • Reply
    NTG
    15th July 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Hello and greetings from Greece! First of thank you very much for your amazing review. It was the reason I’ve ordered the L3808! 🙂 One question please: Is it possible to replace the L3808’s cartridge with the Ortofon Concorde Pro? I can’t find any information about it on the internet. Greetings, NICK

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      16th July 2017 at 3:00 pm

      Try this link for information, NTG: https://www.henleydesigns.co.uk/assets/_managed/product/files/OrtofonDJCatalogue1.pdf
      You shouldn’t have any problems with the Ortofon and the Lenco.
      Here’s a useful FAQ for you to: https://www.ortofon.com/support/support-dj/faq-setup

      • Reply
        NTG
        29th July 2017 at 4:34 pm

        Thank you very much for your answer! I received the turntable and it was exactly as you’ve described it. I’m really shocked with it’s amazing performance! I decided to order the “Ortofon 2M Blue PNP” as a replacement (and upgrade) of the cartridge. Within the next week I’ll receive it.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          29th July 2017 at 5:30 pm

          Sounds good to me, NTG – glad you’re enjoying it.

          • NTG
            3rd August 2017 at 5:56 pm

            Just one hour ago the Ortofon Blue arrived & I’m listening to the first LP now. It really blows my speakers away!! Great bass, clear high frequences and all the details are here! I really can hear every instrument very very clear, as if I bought a very expensive turntable! But the best thing is that there is no distortion on the last tracks of LP’s with many songs on each side. This was a major problem with my previous very chip cartdridge (AT 3600). Also the needle doesn’t skip anymore in some parts where the AT 3600 failed everytime I heard it. I’ve put a record which I know very well and these were problems I had, but they are not here anymore! I can’t really imagine how much better quality the Ortofon Blue will bring after 40 hours which it needs to play. I strongly recommend it!! Just one thing… I decided NOT to buy the PNP (Plug ‘n play) Ortofon, which causes serious problems because of it’s heavy weight. I bought the Ortofon 2m Blue & separately the (blue) Ortofon SH-4 Cartridge Shell

          • Paul Rigby
            3rd August 2017 at 6:19 pm

            Great stuff! Glad it’s working well for you. 🙂 Thanks for the pointers too.

        • Reply
          Libor
          14th August 2017 at 12:55 pm

          Hello,

          I would like to upgrade my cartridge as well and I thought about Ortofon 2M Red. Is it really not possible to use the PnP solution on L-3808? Why did you buy new headshell as well? Is the original not compatible or is there any other problem with it? Thank sou for answer!

          • Paul Rigby
            20th August 2017 at 9:24 pm

            Hi Libor
            Sorry for the delay in replying – just returned from holiday: yes, you can fit the 2M Red, if you wish. I didn’t buy a new head shell. I used the one that came with the deck.

  • Reply
    Rob
    2nd August 2017 at 9:51 am

    Nice review, I have a Soundlab TT here which is a bit beaten up with a broken tonearm, yet it sounds really rather suprisingly good! I very much suspect it has the same OEM internals 🙂

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      2nd August 2017 at 10:32 am

      Hi Rob – yes, apart from a few tweaks here and there, you could be right. Thanks for the note 🙂

      • Reply
        Rob
        2nd August 2017 at 2:20 pm

        I’m fancinated how this compares to the Planar 1 😉

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          2nd August 2017 at 2:29 pm

          Hi Rob – The Planar 1 is superior. If you have the chance, grab the Rega.

          • Rob
            2nd August 2017 at 2:40 pm

            Good to hear, so to speak…

  • Reply
    Patrik
    5th September 2017 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Paul! I would like to thank you for your detailed review. Following your advice I upgrade my cartridge to Ortofon OM3 E. Result is really amazing. Thank you once again.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      6th September 2017 at 5:59 pm

      No problem, Patrik – glad you’re enjoying it.

  • Reply
    Krizia Matthews
    7th October 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Hello Paul. Thanks for the review. I would like to ask you which external amplifier you recommend to use with this turntable. I have a Yamaha HS5 speakers. Thanks,

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      9th October 2017 at 9:24 am

      Hi Krizia – What budget do you have?

  • Reply
    Emma
    26th October 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Paul after reading your review this is the record player I will be buying for my husbands birthday. I’m on quite a tight budget and am getting a bit mind boggled about speakers I don’t want ones that will not do the sound justice and I will replace the bits you recommend in time. Could you recommend any please I have a budget of around £100 for now.
    Thank you

  • Reply
    Martin
    27th November 2017 at 11:55 am

    Hi, very nice review, thank you. One question: is ot worth to spend about 50€ more in the Audio Technica LP120?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th November 2017 at 12:19 pm

      The LP120 gives you a 78rpm option, forward/reverse platter motion (good for DJs) and a better cartridge. Unless the first two are important, then stick with the Lenco and upgrade the cartridge yourself. Have you looked at the company’s current sale?

      • Reply
        Martin
        27th November 2017 at 4:33 pm

        Thanks again! I supossed that maybe the AT motor would be better than Lenco, or maybe the built in amp, but for your words i guess they both come from the same factory, could be? For me, only the better cartridge is the main difference, so 99% i will buy Lenco.
        I didn’t see tue company’s offer, i will check right now, but i live in spain and maybe it doesn’t apply here
        Thanks

      • Reply
        Martin
        12th December 2017 at 3:02 pm

        Hi again. Finally i got an offer here in Spain and i bought tje Audio Technica ATLP120 for 210€. I set it up and i’m glad with it, but yesterday i found a noise from the motor, when playing without vinyl on the plate. I found a video in YouTube with the same issue (https://youtu.be/YxVa8THzAEA) i’m planning on return the turntable and buy the lenco, do you think that noise is normal?

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          12th December 2017 at 3:09 pm

          I haven’t reviewed that one, Martin but I would say ‘no’ to the noise being normal and would recommend a return to the place of origin.

  • Reply
    Lee Stewart
    4th December 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Paul

    I just purchased the Lenco L-3808 and set it up only to be quite disappointed with the sound quality. I actually was thinking it might have been the built-in pre-amplifier however after reading your review I’m wondering if it’s the supplied cartridge.

    My previous turntable (sadly lost to a fire) was ultra bugdet (c £80 in 2008) and sounded much better.

    You’ve given many recommendations on replacement styluses above but I’m a little lost on what is actually inferior. Do I just need to replace the stylus? Cartridge? Or the entire headshell? What’s the best way to do this without spending another fortune!

  • Reply
    Joel
    13th December 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Nice find, Paul. Is this the same as the Reloop RP-2000-M? Lenco turntables aren’t sold in America. Thank you.

    http://www.reloop.com/reloop-rp-2000m

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      15th December 2017 at 10:37 am

      Hi Joel

      No, the Reloop is a different kettle of fish. The Reloop offers a much more superior design. Saying that, for the money, there are better turntables out there than the Reloop.

  • Reply
    Paul Smits
    31st January 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Paul, Thank you for the thorough review, it made me choose the L-400BK (which is a black version of the L-3808 Lenco made exclusively for Media Markt) and ordered an AT95E along with it. I was wondering if the weight of the headshell + cartrigde does anything for sound quality and/or stability during playback? The headshell + cartridge of my previous turntable weigh 3 grams more than the headshell + cartridge provided by Lenco (I know I have to adjust the counterweight if I change between the two). I also find the arm on the headshell of my previous TT a bit easier to hold on to (I have rather large hands). Do you reckon I’d install the AT95E on the old headshell and keep the AT3600 on the headshell by Lenco as a spare/back-up?

  • Reply
    Jo Jacobs
    3rd February 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Hi, I am getting back into vinyl after a very long time….I have this turntable and would be grateful for some advice on speakers to get the best out of it.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      3rd February 2018 at 6:22 pm

      What amp are you using Jo? And what is your budget re the speakers?

  • Reply
    Sebastian
    10th February 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Paul, I bought the Lenco L-3808 turntable after reading your review a couple of month ago. However I have the problem that the needle skips when cueing. I tried already different tracking forces from 2.5g to 4g, but this only helps a little. What do you think is right? Also I am thinking about changing the cartridge to a Shure M447, as I read they are great and hardly skip. What would you suggest? Is it just my wrong setup or should I change the whole cartridge?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th February 2018 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Sebastian – thanks for your question. Can I ask, have you correctly set the anti-skate?

      • Reply
        Sebastian
        11th February 2018 at 10:55 am

        Yes, I think so, I set the anti-skate at first at the same weight as the tracking force. However I read that it should be set at 0, so the needle doesn’t skip when cueing or scratching. I tried that and it helps a little, but it still skips quite often.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          11th February 2018 at 11:58 am

          Hi Sebastian – you only need to set the anti-skate to zero when you’re initially setting the tracking force. The anti-skate employs a force upon the arm you see. Hence, setting the anti-skate to zero removes that force, stopping the tonearm being pulled about while you’re concentrating on the tracking force duties. You set the tracking force. You then set the anti-skate to the same setting as the tracking force.

          A few questions for you.

          How did you measure the tracking force, by the way? What tool did you use? I’d always recommend setting the tracking force with a tool rather than winging it (which Lenco likes to advise). Here’s a decent example for under a tenner: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Neoteck-Digital-Turntable-Backlight-Cartridge-Black-Black/dp/B01GJ01FGM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518349642&sr=8-1&keywords=tracking+force

          One other point, from memory (it’s been a while), Lenco asks you to put the counterweight on the rear of the arm, then to move it so that the tonearm freely balances, then you set the measuring ring on the front of the counterweight to ‘0’. Then you move the counterweight to 2g for the recommended tracking force (I think it’s 2g) This moves the front ring too, of course. That last bit, moving the counterweight to 2g, did you actually move the *counterweight* only all the way to 2g or did you only move the *ring* bit to 2g? Or did you grab both and move both the ring and counterweight with your fingers?
          Did you follow the manual slowly and carefully when setting the tracking force/anti-skate?
          I sense a little confusion in there somewhere.

          • Sebastian
            11th February 2018 at 12:37 pm

            Thanks for your quick response. I actually set the counterweight as you and the manual explained. I just tried different tracking forces from 2g recommended by Lenco, to 4g which I read is recommended for the AT 3600 cartridge. Maybe I should clarify, I don’t have any problems when just playing vinyl, only when I try to mix, moving the vinyl back and forth for finding the cue-point. Then the needle skips. So I read in some forums that for scratching anti-skate should be set to 0. That is why I thought maybe the cartridge is just not made for djing and I should buy something like the Shure M447. Sorry if it is a bit confusing, but thanks for your help so far!

          • Paul Rigby
            11th February 2018 at 1:13 pm

            Ahhhh, light dawns 🙂 I wouldn’t use the included cart for DJ work. Even if it was suitable, the spherical stylus itself will not get the best from your vinyl in terms of the message you’re trying to put across.
            Check out the new Ortofon Concordes here https://theaudiophileman.com/concorde-mkii-cartridge-ortofon/
            And the official ‘chart’ here: https://www.ortofon.com/dj/products/dj-cartridges
            The Shure you mentioned is a good one too. As the company says “Skip Resistance: ultra high” 🙂

  • Reply
    nebil kara
    19th March 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all informations.

    I bought L 3808 and not so happy with the sound.
    Connected to my Yamaha Mixer with amplifier
    the result is not so good. When I raise the volume, bass hums.
    I want to replace my Lenco 3808 cartridge.
    Can you tell me which one I should buy for best results ?
    AT95E or OM3E or Shure M447

    Thanks for your help

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      19th March 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Nebil

      Difficult to tell at this distance but it shouldn’t be humming in the bass region. Not at all. A replacement cartridge won’t alter that either. Sounds like something mechanical. As such, I would advise looking at your cables and connections and checking those carefully. I wonder if you might have an earthing issues there. Also, that mixer – why do you need a mixer? Is it for DJ purposes? I wonder if the answer might lie there. In terms of fine detail, though, once the hum has been removed, you need to change the cart, as I advised in the review. The AT95E would be a good choice.

  • Reply
    nebil kara
    19th March 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for quick reply and advices.
    I will check all connections again and better change the cables.
    Might the humming be depending on the room size ? Or Ohm value of speakers ?
    I have big wharfedale speakers with 200 Watts power each.
    I have good earthing. The mixer I use in my house is for
    singing and recording (not professional).

    In any case I will replace the cartridge with AT95E.
    Hope to receive better sound.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      19th March 2018 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Nebil – I would say no to your suggestions. Please check the earthing re the turntable – I would remove all cables and push them back firmly. I would also look at where the turntable is cited. The cartridge might be interfering with something else. Look for other products with magnets in them, basically. Also, is the phono switch on the back of the turntable in the correct position? What is the turntable plugged into?

  • Reply
    nebil kara
    20th March 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for reply.
    There is no earthing point in lenco where I can connect a cable.
    The turntable is close to TV.
    The phone switch is in line mode because my mixer doesn’t have
    any phone input, only line input.
    I tried to connect to phono input of my Marantz Amplifier,
    the sound was better but there was a small deep sound because
    there is no connection place for grounding on Lenco.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th March 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Nebil – if the switch is in Line mode, you need to connect the turntable directly to a phono amplifier, not a mixer. Have you done this? You can connect the turntable to the Marantz’s phono sockets but then you need to switch the Lenco to Phono mode.

  • Reply
    nebil kara
    20th March 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Oh OK I understand.

    When I connect the turntable to the Marantz phono sockets
    while Lenco is switched to Phono Mode, the sound quality is better,
    but there is disturbing dip sound when I turn on the lenco.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th March 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Nebil – ok, so the Lenco is in Phono mode when connected to the Marantz? And you’re definitely in the amp’s Phono sockets and not elsewhere? Does the dip (when you say ‘dip’ do you mean a towering in volume?) only occur on switch on and then it’s fine from then on?

  • Reply
    nebil kara
    20th March 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Lenco is in Phono mode and I connected definitely to amp’s phono sockets.
    The small dip sound (like sizzle, bizz) is occuring when I turn on the lenco and it stays undependable
    on volume increase. When I play a song und raise the volume, I hear this sizzle rarly. It stays in the back. Only when I stop playing I hear it again. Could that be due to ground connection ?
    Because as I told you before, there is an earth connection socket in the back of the amp but
    no place to connect it on Lenco

  • Reply
    nebil kara
    20th March 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Is there any earth connection point on Lenco ?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th March 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Not to my knowledge…or memory 🙂

  • Reply
    Nebil kara
    20th March 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Paul
    My Marantz is very old from 70’s. The best is
    I buy the external phono amp you recommend. And change the cartridge.
    I will buy either ortofon concorde s 120 or
    Shure M44-7 complete with headshell.
    Any recommandation ?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th March 2018 at 6:15 pm

      Good idea – if you’re going down the DJ route, either are very good indeed. I’d lean more towards the Concorde, though.

  • Reply
    Nebil kara
    20th March 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Paul
    Thanks a lot for your help and taking time.
    Appreciated very much

  • Reply
    Yugen Blake
    25th March 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Hello Paul, great article. Wonder if I could get your thoughts on something. I mainly use Ableton Live and Traktor to mix, so I need a digital format. But I’ve been buying more and more vinyl again, so need to convert to Wav/Aiff. Many small labels I’m into seem to be only pressing records nowadays. Anyway, I have a couple of 1210’s that I’ve had for 20 years +. They’re in desperate need of servicing, and probably replacing TBH. I’ve tried recording into a really cheap Maplins USB interface, just as a test. It was terrible. My decks have issues with their in-built phono leads by the sound of it. Just an awful sound. So I bought the Sony ps-hx500 last year as it’s a USB deck. All went well, the sound was OK, but I didn’t realise how much variation there is on a belt drive. When in Ableton the track’s timing is all over the place and impossible to mix with. So here I am at the Lenco. Direct Drive and USB for 200! Is it too good to be true for me? Could you tell me what you think to the qualilty when digitised? I’m assuming as it’s a direct drive, it’ll lock the speed and be usable in Live and Traktor as well? I’ve already spent a few hundred on the Sony, and really can’t justify buying new 1210’s and all the trimmings to get it right. But I do want a decent, warm vinyl sound that’ll be beefy enough against the Aiffs I buy as well. Happy to buy a decent cartridge to make the electro/techno sound as good as possible.

    Any info here greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      25th March 2018 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Yugen – if sound quality is very important and if a vinyl transfer has to be spot on and if you want to be safe…you will need to invest. Don’t rely on a budget buy like the Lenco which is a great budget deck, will provide a great transfer service *for the money* but may not be the answer you’re looking for. If I was you? I would look seriously at a SL1200G for £1,200 (or service your decks or even send them down to Timestep and have them upgraded to audiophile standard – which will kill 2 birds with one stone: http://www.soundhifi.com/sl1200/index.htm) and then grab a quality ADC such as the GT40. You aware of that one? – https://www.amazon.co.uk/FURUTECH-High-performance-amplifier-USB-GT40-USB-DAC/dp/B0040WYL68

  • Reply
    Yugen Blake
    25th March 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Paul, thanks for your speedy response. I had a feeling that may be your answer. There’s a 1210 servicing guy around this area that does the kit at Fabric and he’s been recommended to me. I think I’ll go and get the pair of mine cleaned up, as they’ve generally been great for a long while. That GT40 looks amazing as well, I wasn’t aware of it. I had been looking at the Presonus AudioBox USB 96, which seemed like it may be a decent USB inetrface to get from my deck to my mac. Far less than the GT40, I wonder if the sound when trasnferred is far less?

    Really appreciate your feedback. Thanks for your time.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      25th March 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Good luck Yugen – can’t help with the AudioBox I’m afraid but, in general terms, if you want good quality sounds, you will need to pay for it.

  • Reply
    Yugen Blake
    26th March 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Cheer again Paul.

  • Reply
    gns
    17th April 2018 at 11:32 am

    hello paul,this is ioannis,from thessaloniki greece.thank for for your advices.i wonder if your review is with at6300 catridge,
    or after the upgrate?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      17th April 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Ioannis – the review was undertaken with the original cartridge, as supplied by Lenco.

      • Reply
        gns
        27th April 2018 at 12:57 pm

        is there a budget eliptical catridge with higher output so i can have higher volume?
        i think both at6300 and at95e have Output 3.5 mV (1 kHz, 5 cm/sec.).i may say nonsense
        cause truth be told i dont know much.

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          27th April 2018 at 1:26 pm

          Hi gns – the volume shouldn’t, in itself, depend on the cartridge. Can you list your system please?

  • Reply
    gns
    27th April 2018 at 1:31 pm

    lenco l-3808 ,skytronic av-120 and the ancient tamon ex-400 speakers!. i cant even find anything about them in the net!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th April 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Many thanks for that – can you tell me exactly how you’re plugging your Lenco into the amp please? Settings, cables, etc.

  • Reply
    gns
    27th April 2018 at 1:42 pm

    rca cable, the amp doen t have phone input,so i have the turntable to the tuner input.the other is aux for the pc and dvd for the dvd player!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th April 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Hi gns – have you flicked the phono switch on the rear of the Lenco to ‘Line’?

  • Reply
    gns
    27th April 2018 at 4:40 pm

    yes , otherwise is dead silence! its not that it cant play loud but in my opinion,not
    as loud as the dvd/cd player.i have the stylus to 3,5 gr as a.t. suggests for at6300 catridge.
    that s why i asked you if another catridge with higher output will help.i heard that something
    with Output 5,0 mV could solve that matter.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      27th April 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Again, the cart shouldn’t be the issue here. And I assume that the correct source is selected from the front-mounted controls? If you can, please check the Lenco with another amp to see if the issue is not an internal problem. Also, swop the amp leads to other sockets in case the amp has an issue. Otherwise, I suspect the issue is more with the general quality of the amp itself, rather than the Lenco. The amp is your weak spot here in the chain (the speakers would be next after that). It’s not exactly hi-fi. I’ve come across products like this in the past myself and would encourage you, if you want to get the most from your Lenco, to upgrade. A quality new model can be found for £200 but I’m sure – with *very careful* shopping – that you could buy a good one from eBay for much less. Another alternative is a pair of powered speakers which will add the advantage of lowering the footprint of your system as the amp is included within the speaker cabinets. I would also lighten the tracking force, as per my review suggestion. Increasing the tracking force to 3.5g will have no affect on volume.

  • Reply
    gns
    27th April 2018 at 9:32 pm

    thank you very much paul for sharring your experience.i have many vinyls from 80’s/90s and after your review i made a comeback to the analog world. i love cds , spotify is ok just to be updated but vinyl
    is something else.you are right,gradually i will have to update my equipment.i want to ask you something more:
    the new amps dont need grounding? (if i understand right you said something about that in another comment).
    moreover if you have powered speakers you put lenco on phono or line mode?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th April 2018 at 10:06 am

      Hi gns – if you have powered speakers, you would have to flick the switch to Line again to use the internal phono amp. Grounding normally occurs when, say, you attach another component to the amp. It’s to stop a ‘ground loop’, the thing that causes a hum. In general terms, you only need to worry about this if the component comes with a ground wire. That wire needs then to be attached to an ‘earth’ connection on your amp or an external phono amp. I wouldn’t worry about it, though, for now. If it ever comes up in the future, send me a note.

  • Reply
    gns
    29th April 2018 at 5:52 pm

    the tamon ex-400 speakers i have are 35w rms 8ohns. if i choose an amp with higher watts,
    i.e. 65 W/Ch (8 Ω) is there any chance to “burn” the speakers? https://www.e-shop.gr/onkyo-a-9030-integrated-stereo-amplifier-2x65w-black-p-PER.707019. for now i made another trick,through a split
    i deliver the sound of lenco to my logitech x-230 speakers so i can use the woofer.i there i chance
    to cause any damage?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th April 2018 at 5:57 pm

      The Onkyo amp is a decent choice – mainly aimed at AV use, Onkyo’s amplifier modules are pretty good. As for burn out? Depends how loud you need to drive your speakers. the figures only tell you half the story in this case. Half of the reason to use a powerful amp is to drive the amp comfortably at around half power or a bit more. If you drive an amp to the end stops, it sounds stressed and strained. You’ll know yourself, if there’s an issue because the speakers will screech at you and will start to ‘clip and break up in terms of sound output.

  • Reply
    gns
    29th April 2018 at 6:10 pm

    thanks for your anser paul.no i dont intend to use the amp to the limits.and this purchase won t happen any time soon.any comment for this one? https://www.e-shop.gr/teac-a-r630mkii-black-p-PER.706737

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      29th April 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Not bad but I’d plump for the Onkyo.

  • Reply
    giannis
    9th May 2018 at 6:48 pm

    what s your opinion about these paul?
    https://www.e-shop.gr/cambridge-audio-minx-xl-bookshelf-speakers-set-gloss-black-p-PER.707157

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th May 2018 at 10:21 am

      Yes – pretty good speakers. They should work well for you.

  • Reply
    giannis
    11th May 2018 at 9:41 am

    thanks paul.something else now. why is it better(if it is) to use the phone input of your amp and not the record player,s pre-amplifier? also whats the use of the direct mode on the amp?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th May 2018 at 10:48 am

      Direct mode gives a more ‘direct’ route for the music. From the source (ie turntable, Cd player, etc) to your ears. It avoids tone controls and the like, for example. Moving across the latter picks up ‘noise’ which masks fine sonic detail. Use Direct Mode when you can.
      Similarly, use an external phono amp in preference to a built in mode for the same reason. Moving the phono electronics away from the main amp stops the phono bit being infected from electrical noise from the power supply, capacitors, etc. When I say ‘noise’ I don’t mean sirens and babies crying. This stuff has been tuned out by the brain. You tend to notice it when it’s gone. As I say, it masks finer detail

  • Reply
    giannis
    18th May 2018 at 3:21 pm

    is it true that the new speakers (and amp) need some time for the full potential?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      18th May 2018 at 3:47 pm

      Indeed they do, yes. The time can vary depending on the brand/model.

  • Reply
    giannis
    23rd May 2018 at 10:17 am

    hello paul,i want to ask you this:when i have the amp to the phone mode and i have also ie
    spotify open in another line when i dont play any record i seems that i hear from “distance”
    the track that currently play on the pc. why this happening? would it be better when i have the
    amp in phone mode to disconnect all the other sources of sound? i really dont get it.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd May 2018 at 10:26 am

      Hi giannis – your deck should be connected to the Phono amp. So vinyl music will play through there. I assume that your PC/Spotify is connected to another source socket? Turn the source knob/buttons on the front of the amp to match the PC connection to hear Spotify.

  • Reply
    giannis
    23rd May 2018 at 10:48 am

    yes that s what i do.But when i m to phono mode (and dont play any record) and of course i have the
    pc/spotify in another socket i can still hear from a “distance” the music from -say- line 1 that my pc
    is connected.any explanation about this?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd May 2018 at 10:55 am

      Ah, you mean there’s an sound unwanted leakage? Are you still using that original amp we talked about?

  • Reply
    giannis
    23rd May 2018 at 11:06 am

    no, i found on amazon italy the onkyo a-9030 in bargain price and i grabed it !

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd May 2018 at 11:32 am

      I’m interested to know, if you’re playing Spotify via a PC, why you’re then listening through the Phono section and not just enjoying Spotify?

  • Reply
    giannis
    23rd May 2018 at 1:11 pm

    funny question! it happened after the end of the record.the volume was half the level up
    and suddenly after the pink floyd session, the prodigy emerged (that was at the moment
    on the spotify playlist) but in very low volume. it took a while to realize whats going on.
    i assume it has do with the amp circuit?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      23rd May 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Sounds like an isolation issue re. the amp but if you close one source down before you listen to the other then you should be fine.

  • Reply
    Gerard
    29th May 2018 at 12:47 am

    Hola Paul! Tengo una duda, realmente esta tornamesa es la misma que la L-400bk? Acabo de comprar la L400 en bestbuy y tu reseña me ha ilusionado mucho, otra cosa, como se solucionaria el problema de que la tornamesa no cuenta con tornilmo para conectar un cable tierra cuando se utilice la salida phono? Gracias y saludos!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      30th May 2018 at 10:38 am

      Hola Gerard: creo que el ‘BK’ se refiere al color negro del chasis. No te preocupes por la tierra Si el Lenco requería conexión a tierra externa, entonces habría un cable de conexión a tierra proveniente de los cables phono. Deberías estar bien. Perdón por mi pobre español.

  • Reply
    ioannis
    10th June 2018 at 5:39 pm

    hello again paul.greetings from the hot greece.hope to visit our country for a few (or better for a lot!) days
    in the summer. so any solulotion for the ultimate problem: what can you do for the “noise”
    in phone mode since the turntable has not grounding cable for the amp.would a good rca cable
    help? or would be better to have in line mode so that to have quite sessions?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th June 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Ioannis – the solution is simple, to use an external phono amplifier. This will lower veiling noise and improve sound quality. You will need to use decent interconnect cables to link one with the other of course.

  • Reply
    ioannis
    10th June 2018 at 9:17 pm

    ok,i use already an external phone since my amp has a phone option and also a
    grounding , but the record player doesn t have.so what can i do here?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th June 2018 at 9:18 pm

      What phono amp are you using? Are you hearing a loud humming noise?

  • Reply
    ioannis
    10th June 2018 at 9:35 pm

    the onkyo a9030.yes its annoying in the quiet parts of the record.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th June 2018 at 9:39 pm

      Hi Ioannis – so you’re using the phono amp included within the Onkyo?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      10th June 2018 at 9:50 pm

      OK – if you’re using the Onkyo’s phono amp then that is classed as an ‘internal’ phono amp, not external. An external amp is a stand-alone unit, with it’s own chassis. The noise you’re hearing is probably coming from the Onkyo. This is the downside of having a phono amp share the same space as your main amp. I’d recommend an external model. If you want to go in that direction, give me a budget and I’ll do my best to help.

  • Reply
    ioannis
    11th June 2018 at 8:41 am

    negative paul.i have zero budget right.something else that could posibly help?
    if you have an external pre-amp then you connect with to the line socket of your amp?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      11th June 2018 at 9:43 am

      With an external phono amp, yes you just connect it like you would connect a CD player, for example. Rega has one for around £90, Project sell them for around £60 and you can pick up second hand examples from eBay for less. Cambridge have some nice discontinued examples. the 551P is one.

  • Reply
    ioannis
    11th June 2018 at 8:57 am

    https://technosound.gr/dynavox-tc-750-black-phono-mm/ could something cheap like that help somehow?

  • Reply
    ioannis
    12th June 2018 at 8:54 am

    bingo! i found the source of the “noise”.it s the air conditioner! i suppose there is nothing
    i can do about it…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th June 2018 at 9:44 am

      Good stuff – can you turn it off when listening to music? Is it in the listening room?

  • Reply
    ioannis
    12th June 2018 at 10:06 am

    yes paul,its in the living/listening room.impossible to turn it off when it s 35 degree (and its june yet!)
    i suppose even an external pre-amp could not help in this case…

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th June 2018 at 10:11 am

      Isolation and separating components will help but I would probably target the mains supply into your hi-fi system first. As this is an invasive noise you’re receiving then a power conditioner is what you should look at. Here is one example just to show you what I mean. They do arrive in different price points, of course and, as you might expect, the more expensive they are, the better they perform: https://theaudiophileman.com/psm-156/ and here is a quick demo: https://theaudiophileman.com/sound-vision-2018-puritan-audio/ There are cheaper units available, out there.

  • Reply
    ioannis
    12th June 2018 at 10:56 am

    https://www.soundimage.gr/product/dynavox-x-6000-filtro-reymatos did i understand right,
    are we talking about the same thing?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      12th June 2018 at 11:40 am

      Yes, that’s the sort of thing. Although I have not tried and tested that model.

  • Reply
    ioannis
    12th June 2018 at 7:28 pm

    https://www.artsound.gr/catalog/kebo-2000-servo-mode-2000va-p-22586.html
    do you know if something like that helps in this case?

  • Reply
    Chris
    19th July 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Paul, I’m completely new to getting a turntable and vinyl but am looking at getting the L-3808 after reading your review. I’ve also noticed you recommend the Roth oli Ra2 speakers (they’re a good price point for myself) – with this combo would I also need an amp or would the turntable’s preamp suffice? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      20th July 2018 at 11:51 am

      Hi Chris – the deck features a phono amp inside so you’re sorted. The speakers feature a main amp inside there, so you’re sorted there too. All you need to do is plug and go! 🙂
      Later on, if you ever want to upgrade, give me a shout.

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