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Review of the Lenco LS-440BUBG vinyl player with built-in acoustics and Bluetooth audio transmission function

12.12.2023 07:51

Modern vinyl fans don't always evaluate turntables based solely on sound quality. For many, collecting vinyl records is not only about sound, but also about aesthetics and interior design. Not only the audiophile side is important, but also the visual perception of the player. And there is no right or wrong choice: everyone finds their own pleasure.

Our review is aimed at those who appreciate the attractive appearance, compactness and ease of use of a vinyl player. Lenco LS-440BUBG is a stylish device equipped with built-in speakers, compact and easy to move. It plays vinyl at speeds of 33 and 45 rpm, and is equipped with a good Audio-Technica stylus that ensures high-quality playback without damaging the disc. In addition, the LS-440BUBG supports Bluetooth, which allows you to stream music from your smartphone.

In this model, the Lenco LS-440BUBG stands out from typical budget players by having a decent cartridge and several interesting features, such as an output for headphones and external speakers, speed control and tonal balance. It remains to be seen how these features will manifest themselves in real operation.

Declared technical characteristics

Player
output power50 W
Built-in speakers2×15 W + 2×10 W
Drive systembelt
Disk rotation speed33⅓, 45 rpm
Rotation speed controlThere is
Tone controlThere is
StrobeNo
Auto start/auto stop/auto returnNo
Anti-skatingNo
Support diskaluminum, ∅300 mm
Raising the tonearmmanual
Built-in phono stageThere is
ExitsRCA, 3.5 mm mini jack for headphones
Bluetooth supportBluetooth 5.0
Supported CodecsSBC
Dimensions425×360×190 mm
Weight5.7 kg
Cartridge
ModelAudio-Technica AT3600
frequency range20 Hz — 20 kHz
Channel balance<2.5 dB
Channel Separation>18 dB
Output voltage2.5 mV
Recommended loading
resistance
47 kOhm
Recommended downforce3.5±0.5 g
Weight5.1 g

Packaging and accessories

The player arrived to us in two boxes at once. The first is a transport one, made of unpainted cardboard.

The player arrived to us in two boxes at once. The first is a transport one, made of unpainted cardboard.

Well, the second one is colorful, beautiful and with many illustrations demonstrating the strengths of the player. It’s nice to look at, there’s no shame in giving it as a gift — everything is as it should be.

Well, the second one is colorful, beautiful and with many illustrations demonstrating the strengths of the player. It’s nice to look at, there’s no shame in giving it as a gift — everything is as it should be.

Inside we found the turntable itself, a counterweight for the tonearm, an adapter for magpies, a power supply, a dust cover, a slipmat, a cleaning cloth, and instructions. The Lenco LS-440BUBG is delivered partially disassembled; to begin with, we will show it already assembled, and we will talk about preparation for operation in the corresponding chapter.

Inside we found the turntable itself, a counterweight for the tonearm, an adapter for magpies, a power supply, a dust cover, a slipmat, a cleaning cloth, and instructions. The Lenco LS-440BUBG is delivered partially disassembled; to begin with, we will show it already assembled, and we will talk about preparation for operation in the corresponding chapter.

The power supply is equipped with replaceable plugs, allowing it to be used in different countries. The technical specifications can be seen in the photo below, the cable length is 1.8 meters.

The power supply is equipped with replaceable plugs, allowing it to be used in different countries. The technical specifications can be seen in the photo below, the cable length is 1.8 meters.

The instructions are voluminous, there is a translation into Russian. It contains all the necessary information, in particular, a step-by-step assembly guide, which can be very useful for novice users.

The instructions are voluminous, there is a translation into Russian. It contains all the necessary information, in particular, a step-by-step assembly guide, which can be very useful for novice users.

Design

Lenco has introduced a series of affordable turntables with built-in speakers to celebrate its 75th anniversary. This series includes the LS-410 with wood trim, the LS-430 with eco-leather trim in black or brown, and the LS-440, which we tested and reviewed in more detail.

The LS-430 and LS-440 also feature platter speed and tonal balance control, as well as a headphone output. This range design combines retro elements with modern minimalism for a unique and stylish look. These players fit well into the interior and can not only play music, but also serve as a decorative element of the room.

The body of the player is covered with a textured fabric that combines gray-beige color at the bottom and blue color at the top. The player weighs 5.7 kg, which may indicate moderate levels of vibration. Despite the fact that vibrations from the speakers can be transmitted to the cabinet, the manufacturer has provided for this point: the tonearm and disk are placed on a separate element with its own spring suspension to soften the effects of vibrations.

The cover is removable, on the outer part there is the manufacturer's logo. It opens and closes with a pleasant force, and when open it is securely held by a spring “closer”. Small dampers are attached to the sides of the lid to prevent it from hitting the table. They are removable and can get lost, so the kit includes a couple of spare ones.

The cover is removable, on the outer part there is the manufacturer's logo. It opens and closes with a pleasant force, and when open it is securely held by a spring “closer”. Small dampers are attached to the sides of the lid to prevent it from hitting the table. They are removable and can get lost, so the kit includes a couple of spare ones.

Behind the grille on the front panel there are four speakers (two 15 W each and two 10 W each), and another manufacturer’s logo is located above the grille.

Behind the grille on the front panel there are four speakers (two 15 W each and two 10 W each), and another manufacturer’s logo is located above the grille.

The panel for connecting power and external devices is located on the rear wall of the case; we will talk about it in detail in the corresponding chapter of the review.

The panel for connecting power and external devices is located on the rear wall of the case; we will talk about it in detail in the corresponding chapter of the review.

On the table we see a control panel, a tonearm with a counterweight, as well as an aluminum support platter with a diameter of 300 mm. Its weight is small — only 540 g.

On the table we see a control panel, a tonearm with a counterweight, as well as an aluminum support platter with a diameter of 300 mm. Its weight is small — only 540 g.

The tonearm is straight, it is raised and lowered manually using a special lever — there is no auto-stop or automatic lifting of the tonearm. There is also no autoskating system, which is quite normal for a “very entry-level” player.

The tonearm is straight, it is raised and lowered manually using a special lever — there is no auto-stop or automatic lifting of the tonearm. There is also no autoskating system, which is quite normal for a “very entry-level” player.

The pickup head, as mentioned above, is not bad — Audio-Technica AT3600. It’s far from top of the line, but its task in this case is not so much to ensure high quality playback, but not to “waste” the vinyl collection long before its owner decides to buy a more serious player.

The pickup head, as mentioned above, is not bad — Audio-Technica AT3600. It’s far from top of the line, but its task in this case is not so much to ensure high quality playback, but not to “waste” the vinyl collection long before its owner decides to buy a more serious player.

The stylus pressure is adjusted by rotating the counterweight; the tonearm has no other settings, and is not necessary.

The stylus pressure is adjusted by rotating the counterweight; the tonearm has no other settings, and is not necessary.

There are four legs at the bottom, the height of which, unfortunately, is not adjustable — to level the player when installing it, you will have to ensure the correct position of the surface on which it will be installed.

There are four legs at the bottom, the height of which, unfortunately, is not adjustable — to level the player when installing it, you will have to ensure the correct position of the surface on which it will be installed.

The legs are unexpectedly good — conical, made of soft rubber-like material and can slightly reduce the level of unwanted vibrations.

The legs are unexpectedly good — conical, made of soft rubber-like material and can slightly reduce the level of unwanted vibrations.

Design

As shown above, the bottom of the case is fixed with four screws. Loosen them to inspect the inside of the player. The moving elements are mounted on springs inside a plastic container, providing isolation from body vibrations. Dynamic speakers are housed in a compact box glued together and likely don't contain enough material to absorb vibrations. This can lead to unwanted resonances, especially in the low frequency range.

As shown above, the bottom of the case is fixed with four screws. Loosen them to inspect the inside of the player. The moving elements are mounted on springs inside a plastic container, providing isolation from body vibrations. Dynamic speakers are housed in a compact box glued together and likely don't contain enough material to absorb vibrations. This can lead to unwanted resonances, especially in the low frequency range.

Almost all of the electronic “stuffing” of the Lenco LS-440BUBG is located on a small board adjacent to the connection panel on the rear wall. Let's dismantle it to take a closer look.

Almost all of the electronic “stuffing” of the Lenco LS-440BUBG is located on a small board adjacent to the connection panel on the rear wall. Let's dismantle it to take a closer look.

Let us immediately pay attention to the DRV602 amplifier manufactured by Texas Instruments, already familiar to us from other Lenco players. And again, let’s quote a couple of lines from the developers’ description of the chip, available at the link above: “The device is ideal for single supply electronics where size and cost are critical design parameters.” Which translates to: “The device is ideal for single-supply electronics where size and cost are critical design parameters.” This phrase again perfectly illustrates the general approach to the selection of components.

The AB CHEC14B9B, well known from various budget devices, is responsible for Bluetooth support, to the left and below which you can see an antenna made in the form of a track on the board. The Class D amplifier is Chipstar CS86552E CB17, also already familiar to us from other Lenco products.

Connection and preparation for work

Before you start using the Lenco LS-440BUBG player, you need to take a few preparatory steps. The process is fairly simple, but if you don't have experience with turntables, it's a good idea to read the instructions to make sure everything is done correctly.

The first step is to tension the belt around the inside of the turntable's platter. This process helps ensure that the record rotates correctly and thus produces quality sound.

Next, we install the disk in place and through a special slot in it we put a belt on the electric motor pulley. Most often, the driven pulley is a separate part, on which a support disk is placed on top, but here it is part of the disk. Care must be taken to ensure that the belt is placed as low as possible on this internal part. After everything is done, you should turn the disc several times and check that the belt remains in place. If it “creeps” up, we correct it. Otherwise, it will crash the first time you start the player.

Adjusting the player's stylus pressure is usually done in a standard way. This is an important stage that affects the safety of your vinyl records and sound quality. To make this adjustment on the Lenco LS-440BUBG turntable, you must install a counterweight and ensure that the tonearm is fully balanced. After this, you need to set the rotary scale to “0”. By rotating the counterweight, achieve a needle pressure value of about 3.5 g, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Sometimes the accuracy of this setting can be a little unstable and you may find that the actual clamping force is slightly different from the set value. However, if the resulting value is within acceptable limits (eg 3.1g instead of 3.5g), it is generally acceptable for most cases and should not seriously affect audio reproduction quality.

Theoretically, the needle can be replaced with a slightly more “advanced” one, but in reality there is no reason to do this — the capabilities of the kit correspond to those of the device as a whole.

Once the turntable is assembled, you can plug it in, put in the vinyl, lower the needle and start listening using the built-in acoustics. Listen, close the lid and put it on the shelf until next time — we are sure that many owners of the Lenco LS-440BUBG will do just that.

A backing corrector or phono stage can be useful if you want to connect your turntable to an external amplifier or powered speakers and achieve better sound quality. A phono stage is typically used to correct the signal coming from a turntable, preparing it for more accurate playback on speakers or amplifiers.

In the case of the Lenco LS-440BUBG, the device can operate in two modes via RCA connectors — line output and phono. Phono mode has a reduced output level and is used for working with vinyl discs. If you plan to connect external acoustics, using active speakers may be sufficient to amplify and reproduce sound without the need for a phono stage.

Built-in analog inputs such as a minijack provide the ability to connect other audio sources, such as portable media players or smartphones, and play audio through the player's built-in speakers.

Each of these inputs provides specific connectivity options, but using an external phono stage may be desirable if you are aiming for higher sound quality and a more complex sound system.

The Lenco LS-440BUBG player also provides the ability to connect an external audio source via Bluetooth. To activate the connection, use the Mode key on the control panel. First, the player will try to connect with already “familiar” devices, and if this fails, pairing mode will be activated. However, a specific list of supported codecs and Bluetooth modes for a given model is usually indicated in official documents or can be provided by the manufacturer.

Of course, there is only one codec — SBC, its capabilities in this case are sufficient with a reserve. The maximum Bitpool parameter is set to 53 — slightly higher than recommended in the High Quality profile.

Management and Operation

The player is controlled using a compact panel located under the tonearm on the right. At the top of the panel there are controls for controlling tonal balance and platter speed. Both regulators have a smooth move, and the second one has the ability to be fixed in the middle position. Immediately after the controls is the volume control of the built-in speakers, also represented by a potentiometer with smooth adjustment.

The «On/Off-Mode» button, when held, turns the player on or off, and a short press switches active operating modes or input sources. The play button starts the rotation of the platter, and the two buttons on the right side change the speed of its rotation. At the bottom right of the panel there is a minijack for headphones. When they are connected, the built-in speakers are automatically turned off, but when connecting external acoustics, you need to reduce the volume level by turning the control to the left.

A small LED indicator at the bottom shows which input is active. It glows red when the player is operating, green when switching to Aux, and blue when connected to Bluetooth. The Lenco LS-440BUBG cannot remember the last state; the player mode is activated each time it is turned on.

The device is controlled entirely manually — there is no auto-stop, no start of platter rotation depending on the position of the tonearm, no automatic lifting… If there is no signal above a certain threshold value, after three minutes the rotation of the platter is turned off to prevent damage to the vinyl — here and all automation.

Measurements and sound

When it comes to the turntable's built-in acoustics, initial expectations were quite modest. However, it turned out to be a little better than expected — although it does not produce pronounced bass, the sound in the midrange turned out to be quite pleasant and balanced. This can be compared to the sound quality offered by several portable Bluetooth speakers. However, some of these speakers still provide deeper bass. If you analyze the frequency response graph obtained when placing a microphone at a distance of one meter from the acoustic speakers, this will help to clearly illustrate the described sound at various frequencies.

You can't expect a pronounced stereo effect from the built-in speakers of the Lenco LS-440BUBG. Although they operate in stereo mode, their close proximity to each other makes this effect almost invisible. Bass reproduction starts at approximately 150 Hz. As previously assumed, the enclosure is subject to hum and vibration, which is clearly demonstrated by the cumulative attenuation spectrum graphs, also known as «waterfall» graphs.

The tone corrector works, but a little peculiarly. When you turn the knob to the right, the sound, according to the instructions, should become “brighter,” but the changes are barely noticeable. But when turning to the left, we are promised a “deeper” sound — here, yes, the changes are audible immediately, but the emphasis on the low-frequency range is achieved by moving the mid frequencies back, and therefore the overall sound quality becomes much less acceptable.

In this case, the tone corrector only works for built-in acoustics; changing its position when connecting external speakers does not produce any results. At the same time, at the acoustic output, the player thoroughly cuts off the low-frequency range. It is configured this way, apparently, to reduce the potential level of distortion when working with small built-in speakers that are not at all designed for bass reproduction. But there was even less sense in connecting the Lenco LS-440BUBG to external speakers than we originally thought.

So, let's move on to the player. Usually the first step is to set up anti-skating, but this model does not have it. However, we can look into how skating itself works. To do this, we can use a special “test plate”. The authors of this record suggest using a signal with a frequency of 315 Hz to check the severity of skating. Ideally, it should be reproduced without distortion in both channels throughout its entire sound. In our case, it is observed that distortion is present in both channels, starting from the very beginning and already at low volume.

The next step in testing is checking for mutual penetration of channels. The procedure is simple: we take a signal in one channel and notice that it is noticeably present in the other. In any case, you shouldn’t count on a pronounced stereo effect in this case, so this is not a serious problem.

The final testing procedure is aimed at checking the so-called “detonation coefficient”, which in English literature is known as wow&flutter. This coefficient shows the player's ability to maintain a stable rotation speed of the record. Wow is a slow «float» of sound that distorts the pitch, while Flutter is a «jitter» in speed that results in decreased detail. We record a 3150 Hz signal from the test plate and examine the spectrogram. In this case, the results turned out to be quite acceptable for a budget player, even worse, including models with a higher price.

The speed control in previous tests was set to «0», which corresponds to a frequency of 3150 Hz on the test disk. This means that the spin speed of the record was correct, which is an excellent result. In addition, the ability to change the speed over a wide range allows you to record the same signal at different positions of the “Pitch” control.

Of course, if you have any other questions or require additional information, don't hesitate to ask.

There is speed control and it works effectively. But it will be difficult to get any benefit from it, since there is no system for monitoring the correct rotation speed. Typically, a strobe light and special marks on the side surface of the support disk are used for this, which the Lenco LS-440BUBG does not have. So you will have to turn to the speed controller in cases where your hearing tells you that your favorite composition sounds somehow wrong. As an experiment, you can take a couple of well-known tracks, and then play them sequentially from vinyl and from some digital source. Well, then compare the sound and draw conclusions, while simultaneously adjusting the speed.

Results

It's clear that the Lenco LS-440BUBG turntable is an attractive toy for those who want to experience the vinyl vibe. Its design is attractive and the famous needle installed helps maintain the condition of your discs. Despite the minimum settings, its compact body and built-in acoustics make it convenient to store on a shelf and use as needed. Sound reproduction, although not perfect, is quite acceptable for such a device.

While it has a few features similar to more serious turntables, such as tonal balance correction and spin control, they may be of little use for real-world use. Instead, some users would be interested in seeing features such as auto-stop, which could greatly improve usability.

So, if your goal is to simply have a standalone unit for temporary interior use and occasionally listen to vinyl records, then the Lenco LS-440BUBG might not be a bad choice. It does a great job here, but for more advanced features it might make sense to look elsewhere.