June 15, 2017
Pros: Precision, ease of use, bass, price, direct drive
Cons: Slight initial speed adjustment required
Verdict: For the price and despite the quirks, this turntable offers superb sound quality. A great choice for the beginner or those getting back into vinyl.
The initial signs for the Lenco are not the best. Firstly, it’s a sub-budget, super cheap turntable. So, the likelihood that any of the build budget has been used to actually make this thing sound decent is minimal. Secondly, it is built in a Chinese factory. The sort of place which doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of sound quality. Next? Well, it’s a bit of a Technics rip-off isn’t it?
It even has those typically DJ-like features, the pitch adjustment and the target light. So… a ‘me too’ design then.
All of these things, all of these apparent negative features are just an illusion. If ever there was a case to not judge a book by its cover, it’s the Lenco L-3808.
Before we get the sound, let’s quickly look around the design. Firstly, and most importantly, this is a direct drive turntable. That, in itself, is intriguing at this price point.
Arriving with a dust cover (do yourself a favour and play records with the lid off to lower noise pollution), the Lenco arrives with a small and anaemic looking S-shaped arm, complete with an arm lift and holding a removable headshell. Attached to that is an Audio Technica AT-3600 cartridge with a conical stylus. Good news? Lenco ask you to set the downforce at just 2g, which is very audiophile. Dual utilises the same cartridge in its MTR-75 turntable and requests a groove-ploughing downforce of around 3.25g! Do yourself another favour and upgrade this cartridge when you can to something non-conical to enhance detail.
Fitted within the chassis is a cheap phono amplifier (very similar to the model found within the Dual, incidentally). Again, upgrade to an external model ASAP to enhance the sonics.
A USB digital output plus Audacity music editing software enables digital recording of your analogue discs. A mains cable is pre-fitted to the turntable.
was accompanied by weighty bass. Drums were meaningful and full of character, while the accuracy of the electric guitar added a sense of transient speed.
Jazz vocal from Gogi Grant provided textural orchestral trumpets giving an admirably brassy tone while retaining a measure of reverb to add energy. Percussion was particularly successful off this track. Partly, because the precise treble performance allowed the cymbals to offer both delicacy but also accuracy.
A top notch budget performer, the Lenco L-3808 is the best sub-budget turntable I’ve ever heard.