In May 2010 a friend gave me a Lenco Goldring GL75 turntable mounted in his heavy home made plinth and a couple of Decca Unipivot arms. One of the Decca arms had previously snapped in two where the arm meets the swivel assembly and repaired with extra hard araldite so I used the arm that hadn’t been repaired.
Filed out the arm mounting hole which was hard work and a lengthy task but eventually, more by luck than judgement, when I slipped the arm in the hole, the spindle-to-centre-mounting-point distance was spot on.
Initially used an old Nagaoka MM MP11 cartridge I had from a long time ago and the combination worked very well. Here’s a pic of how it was just over two years ago.
Later added a Denon MC DL103 cartridge which improved things all round.
Around march of this year I was browsing Ebay late at night after consuming a Guinness or six and noticed a Lenco Goldring GL75 turntable identical to mine had about one hour to go til end of auction so, with more enthusiasm than sense, I made a bid for it. One hour later I had won the auction and a second GL75 was now mine for the sum of £65.00 including postage.
A fair price but did I really need another turntable? No, not really, blame the booze.
So I had this idea I’d make it something different and envisaged a slate plinth with the turntable base sprayed gloss black, use the repaired Decca Unipivot arm and buy a Denon DL110 high output MC Cartridge.
It didn’t quite work out like that.
When it arrived, first thing I done was service the motor, here’s some pix:
Next up I removed the arm lift mechanism and lever and the little plug blocking the hole rear left which I think was put there to take of of those record cleaner arms, the name of which temporarily eludes me. I then filled the gaps left with metal filler and started to rub it down with some wet & dry, it looks quite awful here:
The Decca arm fitted the existing hole perfectly so I drilled the two holes either side of the hole to mount it. I then sprayed it gloss black and it looked very nice except that the gaps I’d filled with metal filler clearly showed up, it needed another application or two of filler.
I then had an idea, inspired by this picture on the Lenco forum, to spray the turntable base a retro gloss light green.
I had a helluva job finding a spray can the right colour in gloss, plenty of satin paints in that colour, but no gloss, it seemed. Eventually found a supplier based in Newcastle in Ebay selling ‘Refrigerator paint’ one of which was gloss light green so I ordered a tin of that.
As I was looking at the repaired Decca arm, it broke. Just fell in two in my hands, so gave up on the idea of using the Decca arm.
Applied more filler, to existing filled gaps and filled the holes made for mounting Decca arm, more rubbing down:
First coat of primer:
I then turned my attention to a slate plinth, having absolutely no idea what it would cost. Found a local gravestone maker willing to undertake the task and visited him. He couldn’t make one 100mm thick and asked if four layers of 25mm would do and I said they would, as they would all be bolted together with turntable studding eventually.
He gave me a price of £180.00 which was less than I expected, I gave him a plywood template and two weeks later I went to collect my four layers. Mr Stone Mason looked a bit cheesed off and explained he’d underpriced the task and it was much more difficult than he had envisaged but a quote is a quote and the price is still £180.00. So I gave him £180.00. Me? A tightwad? Perhaps, but I reckoned he was the experienced tradesman and he perhaps should have known better. Apart from gravestones he also made marble kitchen tops, by way of mentioning.
The workmanship in the four plinth layers isn’t the best but I think they look pretty good and they do the job. They are very heavy and I’ve fitted four adjustable heavy spiky feet to the bottom layer.
Being impatient I decided to fit my first GL75 turntable to the slate plinth and here’s how it looks:
In those pix you can see the square piece of brass over the top of the cartridge to give the arm some mass to suit the Denon DL103. It was fashioned from this, about £2 from Wickes:
An alternative at £25 is this:
Which left me with a second unfinished GL75 turntable, the original home made plinth and no arm or cartridge. Having decided to spray turntable base light green I thought I’d like a base that contrasted nicely and decided to spray the multi-layer plinth satin black.
When I did spray it black, however, the undulations and difference between the layers stood out like a sore thumb so it was time to whip out the electric plane and go at it. After that several layers of wood filler and sanding have given me a nice smooth block for a base plinth.
Here’s pix of wood filler going on:
Sprayed it Satin black and was pleased with result. Next sprayed turntable base light green but couldn’t seem to achieve gloss finish. So let the four layers I’d applied dry for two weeks and rubbed down lightly with some fine wet & dry. The next two coats gave me the gloss finish I’d been after.
So that left just an arm to find and I was shocked at the price of new tone arms, a new SME arm costs over £1K, for instance. Luckily found a Mayware arm on Audio Talk forum for £50 which was a bit of a bargain cos they go for £150 - £200 on Ebay.
Fitted Mayware arm, GL75 arm mounting hole was a bit too big for it so I used the top round metal plate of a faulty toroidal transformer, drilled a 20mm hole in the centre of it, sprayed it light green and used that. It gives scope for plenty of adjustment as well.
I’ve managed to get the spindle-to-centre-of-mounting-point distance accurate, the cartridge is at ninety degrees to the vinyl and the arm itself during is almost horizontal but not quite, it’s a tiny bit out. I have the anti-skating weight in place but if it’s supposed to be setup properly I haven’t a clue how to adjust it. The cartridge is tracking at it’s heaviest recommended weight of 2.5 grams.
Initially the arm was jumping on some older vinyl, but lowering the arm a little and using the sliding weight on the front of the arm to apply tracking weight seems to have cured the problem.
The price of Denon cartridges has risen dramatically in the last few months, the DL103 rising from £130 to £180 as an example, so for now I have decided to use that Nagaoka MP11 cartridge I mentioned at the beginning. Substitute styli are available for the MP11 so I may just buy a new stylus for it which currently costs £41.00 although it’s a substitute, the original is no longer available.
I’m currently using my ‘green’ GL75 with a Pioneer A-400 amplifier which has a phono input switchable between MC & MM so haven’t made my mind up yet as to what cartridge to buy if I don’t get a stylus for the Nagaoka.
So, took me a while and things didn’t occur as I originally planned it but I’m pleased with the result. Just one thing I need now, a Perspex cover and as yet I haven’t been able to source one. Perhaps a visit to a few boot fairs may yield results.
And here’s pix of finished project: