You can’t fault Lenco’s ambition with the LS-410 – but the reality is all too easy with which to find fault.
- Great feature set
- A quite good-looking item
- Enjoyable, forthright sound when streaming
- Can’t maintain a steady 33.3rpm
- Turntable sound is underwhelming
- Some components feel frail
33.3 and 45rpmPlays records at 33.3 and 45 speeds
Audio-Technica cartridgeFeature cartridge from Audio Technica
Lenco has plenty of experience when it comes to turning out audio products that outperform their invariably modest price.
The LS-410 – a turntable/Bluetooth streamer/amplifier-and-speakers all-in-one that’s extremely competitively priced – is just the brand’s latest attempt to serve up more than seems possible. But an impressive on-paper spec is only half the battle: does the LS-410 have it where it truly counts?
- UKRRP: £219.99
- EuropeRRP: €219
The Lenco LS-410 is on sale now, and in the UK you can pick it up for around £219. US customers are looking at $259 or thereabouts – and should the LS-410 make it to Australia, we expect it to be on sale for AU$379.
Of course, there are record players available for this sort of money, and Bluetooth speakers as well. You can also buy an amplifier for less than £219 without too much difficulty. But all of those in one box? Good luck finding a worthwhile like-for-like comparison to this Lenco at anything like the asking price.
- Nicely constructed and finished cabinet
- Tonearm and associated elements feel rather frail
- Hinged dust-cover
Imagine a record player on stilts. Or a turntable with a cellar. In the above image, the Lenco LS-410 looks exactly like a record player – but view it from dead-ahead and it’s quite a lot taller than is usual.
This is because of its extensive functionality. And it hasn’t stopped Lenco building and finishing the cabinet pretty impressively; there’s nothing luxurious about the way the LS-410 feels, but it looks the part and it’s constructed well. The combination of metal, wood and plastic sits together in harmonious fashion. It stands on four semi-circular rubber feet, all the better for rejecting vibrations that might otherwise make their way into the cabinet.
The LS-410 isn’t quite so impressive when you examine some of the components, though. The straight, metal tonearm feels insubstantial, and both the lift that raises and lowers it, plus the clip that holds it in its cradle, feels even less sturdy. When you consider how robust the cabinet and the plinth on which the tonearm stands appear, that’s a real pity.
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 33.3 and 45rpm
- 50 watts, four speaker drivers
The Lenco LS-410 is most obviously a record player, the aluminium platter with felt slip-mat give the game away somewhat. However, that isn’t where it ends; the Lenco LS-410 has quite a few other tricks up its sleeve.
First of all, it’s fitted with 50 watts of amplification. This powers a four-strong speaker array – they’re lined up, firing-squad style, behind the metal mesh grille at the front of the cabinet. It has Bluetooth connectivity, too, using Bluetooth 5.0 to wirelessly stream from your smartphone or other device.
If you want to hook up the LS-410 to an external system, there are stereo RCA outputs on a little panel at its rear – and there’s a switchable phono stage on board, too, in case the external system in question doesn’t have the necessary power.
The turntable element of the LS-410 is, not surprisingly, belt-driven. The motor and the tonearm assembly sit on a sprung portion of the plinth, in an effort to keep them as isolated as possible. Beneath the tonearm (which is pre-fitted with a very acceptable Audio-Technica cartridge), you’ll find a little control panel.
There are some rather wobbly buttons that look after speed selection (33.3 or 45rpm), “play/pause” (which, rather excitingly, works with vinyl as well as wireless streaming), and “power on/off/input selection” (in addition to vinyl and Bluetooth compatibility, the LS-410 has a 3.5mm analogue input on the rear of the cabinet). There’s also a dial for dealing with volume control.
- Very listenable Bluetooth sound
- Vinyl performance sounds neutered and unnatural
- Speed stability is lacking
If ever there was a game of two halves, the Lenco LS-410 is playing it. The difference between the way it performs when working as a wireless speaker and when on turntable duty is quite marked.
It isn’t a bad Bluetooth speaker at all – although given that it’s mains-powered and has a full-sized record player on top, it’s hardly the last word in convenience. Bluetooth 5.0 is able to stream hi-res Tidal Masters files without difficulty, and with a full-fat file of It Doesn’t Matter by The Chemical Brothers playing, there’s plenty to like about the work the Lenco does.
The top of the frequency range is rolled off quite significantly, so treble sounds don’t quite have the bite they should, but below this the news is all pretty good. The mid-range is open and quite articulate, heavy with detail and organised enough to let each competing element of the recording function with autonomy.
The bottom-end sees nicely judged presence, appreciable weight, and a degree of control that’s essential if bass isn’t going to swamp the mid-range. Detail levels remain high, and the momentum that pretty much every Chemical Brothers’ tune demands is apparent.
The LS-410 is a little inhibited in dynamic terms, but it’s nevertheless perfectly capable of explaining the difference between “loud” and “quiet”. It’s reasonably dextrous where rhythms are concerned, and offers a decent unity of performance, even when playing a laptop-and-headphones confection such as this.
However, switch to vinyl as a source and much of the Lenco’s assurance deserts it. Low-frequency detail levels take a hit, as does the robust solidity that’s so apparent when listening to a wireless stream. There’s a faint-but-undeniable sensation of phasing to the mid-range, a lack of tonal consistency that makes music sound rather unnatural. This tonal uncertainty infects the top of the frequency range, too – but here, at least, the top-end’s rather truncated nature mitigates this a little.
Most unsettling of all, though, is the Lenco’s apparent inability to keep a 33.3rpm disc spinning at a consistent 33.3rpm. Glaring errors in rotational stability aren’t necessary to make a record sound weird – and when spinning a copy of Roots Manuva’s Brand New Second Hand, the errors are minor but apparent all the same. It serves to undermine a big aspect of what the LS-410 is meant to be all about.
Should you buy it?
Streaming is as important as vinyl The LS-410 is quite a lot more enjoyable when used as a wireless speaker.
You want to discover the reason that vinyl is popular The Lenco doesn’t exactly showcase the format’s strengths.
There’s almost certainly a proper product in the LS-410 somewhere. Perhaps if it cost £399 then the LS-410 would present proper speed control, more robust components and a more convincing vinyl reproduction. But it seems Lenco’s determination to deliver at as eye-catching a price as possible has resulted in too many compromises.
How we test
We test every turntable we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested with a range of vinyl records
No it does not, but it arguably doesn’t need one with its built-in speakers
440 x 36 x 192 MM
3.5mm analogue, RCA output
Bluetooth – named after 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth who united Denmark’s tribes into a single kingdom – is a method of wireless transmission that allows for the exchange of data between devices over short distances.