After a few bumps in the road – caused mainly by CDs and digital media – vinyl records have been making something of a comeback over the last few years, which means turntables are in general circulation again. For the most part though, choosing a new one might mean accepting a model that doesn't quite fit or doesn't do exactly what you want it to. A collaboration between Swiss hi-fi house Lenco, Dutch RepRap Universe and the Qeske community has created the Lenco-MD in the belief that today's record player should just be a general starting point, and that vinyl lovers should be able to enhance, customize and upgrade that basic template to reflect their personal tastes or needs.
The Lenco-MD concept was first introduced at IFA 2018, the idea being that buyers can choose to purchase a ready-made unit or 3D-print their own at home and kit it out with supplied components. Either way, the design caters for modular additions to enhance or upgrade functionality. Inspired by classic Lenco turntables, this modern take on the vinyl spinner has now launched on Kickstarter.
Examples of modular expansion possibilities include a solar/battery power pack, a loudspeaker unit and a Bluetooth module. Two of the three vibration-damped legs of the Lenco-MD turntable will include empty slots for modules. The project team is still working on available modules for the system, but enthusiasts will also be able to create their own from preset designs.
The top plate of a leg can be unscrewed and replaced by an expansion module, which is wired up to the turntable's stereo pre-amp. The system can then be cabled up to the living room hi-fi separates and should be ready to rock.
Backers can plump for a finished model that will be available in various colors or can opt to print components at home and assemble the belt-drive MD like a kit. For the latter, makers will need a Fused Filament Fabrication 3D printer with at least 330 x 330 x 100 mm (13 x 13 x 4 in) build volume.
Folks with smaller 3D printers can still get in on the fun, with the project supplying the bigger parts such as the platter and tonearm. That striking tonearm has been developed so that no adjustments are necessary, and the MD should be ready to play as soon as it's assembled. The turntable will ship with an AT3600 cartridge as standard, but listeners can opt to upgrade to an AT95E or use a cartridge of their own choosing.
A self-assembly kit is also available for those without a 3D printer, but who still want to get hands on. All 3D-printed components provided by the project will be fashioned from eco-friendly PLA.
Kickstarter pledges for a hardware and electronics kit start at €99 (US$110), which comes with a USB thumbdrive containing STL files for printing components at home. A fully assembled MD comes in at €199. If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in March 2019. The video below has more.
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more