Thursday, 18 August 2016

Different Shades of Lenco L78 - Does the Mat Matters?


So, I got myself a stock Lenco again. This time around with a few different touches compared to my previous unit. Although it came in its all original parts except for the plinth and cart, there was still different in sound. This just proof that even the slightest change in parts and design, it will definitely affect the sound produced. Curiosity then got to me to see what else can affect the sound. Coincidentally, there was a buzz going around in the local Lenco scene that a new Stainless Steel (SS) plate was specially designed to further enhance the already exceptional Lenco sound.

With the power of the internet social media, I was contacted by the designer cum fabricator (known as Sph) of this SS plate to try this new revolutionary plate design. A date was set for me to try it out and the item was delivered. We played with it for a couple of hours but since I just received my new Lenco at that time, I requested for me continue testing out this SS plate for a month or so. 

FIRST IMPRESSION

At first, we actually tried the plate on my Clearaudio Concept TT. Erk! The Clearaudio could not even turn . So, we quickly took it off and start putting it on my new Lenco.

Bassy! First off test, the SS plate made the overall sound to be bassy. Not in a bad way. Its more like it injected more low end notes to the overall musical presentation.

But after a few weeks of swapping between this SS plate and the original Lenco rubber mat, I started to realize its potential. Heck, just to further challenge this new plate, I even started to spin LPs using a cork mat.

And fans..... this is my finding using a track by Zoe Deschanel duet She and Him, singing You Really Gotta Hold on Me. A few adjustments had to be made on the VTA to accommodate the thicker SS plate.

  
1. Stock Lenco Rubber Mat




With the stock Lenco, the overall sound is as per what I discovered in my previous review it produced a lighter side of of the music. Zoe's vocal sounded sharp and very open. The whole song was 'flowing' out and filling up the my hall. Huge sound stage.  Low end notes does not really emerge with the rubber mat but it then gives out a very natural overall tone to the track.

2. Stainless Steel Plate (SS Plate)




Now, this is where a significant change in the overall sound reproduction is heard. I believe it is a combination of the weight and also the design of the holes size and pattern on the plate. Both helps in dissipating unwanted vibration which is critical for LP spinning. As per my first impression, the plate injected a more defined low end notes to the music. It gives some sort of control and to the music flow by unleashing a more warm and emotional sound to this track. It uplifts the bass which made Zoe's vocal more alluring. It does give a different overall musical presentation.

3. Cork Mat




This was a big no-no for my Lenco. Although there was less fewer pops and cracks, the overall tone of the music produced just dived down with very low bass reproduction. The mids and highs just sounded less alive and just reduces the enjoyment of listening to a Lenco. And what ticks me off more was that the mat keep sticking to the LP each time I remove the LP from the platter. But, not necessarily this cork mat is bad for other TTs. I will try this on my Clearaudio after this.

SO, DOES THE MAT MATTERS?

YES! To me, it depends on how you want your system to sing and what your system needs. The stock Lenco already sounded good to my ears and fits my system for most of the musical genres that I listen to. However, the SS plate definitely provided me with a different musical perspective and enjoyment if I may add. It does control low end notes and allow a more defined reproduction of bass. Even on heavy metal tracks, it created a more wholesome energized music delivery. Want some lively and controlled bass from those double kick pedals of Metallica and double bass jazz?

Try out this SS plate which can be requested for a demo/home trial from SpH. The price of the plate is RM380 each. For those whom are interested, you can call him on 012-2188600.
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