Lenco LBT225WA Hero

Hands-on review: Lenco LBT-225WA Bluetooth turntable with glass platter

Image credit: Lenco

Kiss my glass.

If you've harboured any nagging doubts about the authenticity or otherwise of the vinyl revival, consider this stat: last year, pop lady of the moment Taylor Swift sold 575,000 vinyl copies of her Midnights album in the first week of release alone. Over half a million copies. On vinyl. In one week. Make no mistake: vinyl is back, back, back, baby.

Accordingly, so are record players. Where 20 years ago you could barely find a new turntable on the high street, now it seems you can't move for them. Even supermarkets are selling record players.

As with every other type of consumer technology audio gadget, the archetypal three-tier system is in play here, too. There's the feeding-frenzy, mass-market low end, where you mostly get what you pay for, with the occasional diamond in the rough to be had; then there's the high end, where prospective customers expect - nay demand! - to fork out large sums of money for the very finest systems available, mostly so they can relax, safe in the knowledge that (almost) no one else has a better record player than them, and then there's the sensible middle ground, for people with semi-golden ears and good taste on a budget, which is were this latest Lenco resides.

Lenco LBT225WA Inline 1

Image credit: Lenco

There are essentially three headline features with the LBT-225WA: Bluetooth 5.2 for connecting wirelessly to any compatible pair of speakers or headphones; the Audio-Technica AT-VM95E cartridge, for quality audio reproduction, and the glass platter on which your records will be laid.

Why is a glass platter a big deal? It is thought, by some, that the weight and density of a glass platter makes for a more stable 'table. Some audiophiles claim (non-ironically) that glass makes recordings sound more 'transparent'. Other audiophiles argue back that wood and foam sandwich platters, plexiglass or acrylic make for better platters.

Whatever the material, we're into the realms of fairly high-concept, esoteric hi-fi considerations here, the kind of topic argued passionately by the same people who might consider spending thousands of pounds just on connecting cables, merely for the one per cent improvement they bring to the overall sound. It's a world of largely diminishing returns - a rabbit hole with ultimately no satisfactory conclusion.

Lenco LBT225WA Inline 4

Image credit: Lenco

Happily, you will not have to spend thousands to enjoy this splendid Lenco turntable. You will have to spend around £350, making this model one of the highest-priced Lenco turntables we've seen in recent years, but it's the little details where the money has been spent and it all adds up. Lenco claims this model is built with "top-quality components", for what it's worth.

This is one of the nicest Lenco turntables we've seen - it's simply a very nice turntable, period. It's as if Lenco heeded the criticism of every one of its previous turntable and near-perfected the art and design for the LBT-225WA.

It has that appreciably thick glass platter of 13mm, with a green trim around its perimeter which fashionably matches the green of the high-quality Audio-Technica AT-VM95E cartridge (replaceable, if you prefer something else). Paired with the natural dark walnut wood veneer of the turntable body (veneer over fibreboard), with a sleek minimalism to the control set, a carbon-fibre tonearm, a counterweight and the intriguingly suspended anti-skating weight, it's a classy-looking record player all the way.

Lenco LBT225WA Inline 2

Image credit: Lenco

It's a belt-driven turntable, rather than direct drive (which is not automatically superior anyway), which you set in motion via the single black metal knob to select the speed (33 or 45rpm), with 'Stop' being the middle option. To hear the output, it's either via Bluetooth to your device of choice or direct to active speakers or a power amp using the good old-fashioned hard-wired RCA connectors. The turntable also has a built-in phono stage which can be turned on or off, as appropriate for your hi-fi set-up.

There's also a USB connection, should you care to archive your vinyl to computer (MP3 file conversion). Sometimes we wonder how many people actually do this on a regular basis, but it's always good to have the option.

Before you get anywhere near actually playing a record, there is a degree of assembly required. Lenco ships the turntable in modular form inside the box, so there is an initial set-up period while you put the component parts together (body, platter, cartridge, removable dust cover) and tinker with the counterweight and the 'fishing line' affair of the anti-skating weight. To be honest, the latter is our least favourite aspect of the LBT-225WA, as there's just something slightly 'Heath Robinson' about it that spoils the overall sleek lines of the unit. It makes us think of gnomes, and not in a good way. To be fair, it is there for a purpose and it does its job, within reason (if the needle is bumped with sufficient force, no weighted line is going to stop it skating across the record).

Lenco LBT225WA Inline 5

Image credit: Lenco

Once a record is spinning, the sound being picked up and transmitted by that AT-VM95E cartridge is very nice indeed. It sounds great across the board, listening to a broad range of music on records old and new. There are no obvious issues or standout flaws with the playback. For the middle-ground shopper, it should prove to be a very pleasing purchase. Perhaps it wouldn't turn the heads of the high-end crowd, but they're a notoriously difficult bunch to please or impress at the best of times. For the average listener - and also the more reasonably minded non-average listener - the Lenco LBT-225WA will make for a warm and engaging companion on your reviving vinyl odyssey.

Lenco LBT225WA Inline 3

Image credit: Lenco

Lenco LBT-225WA


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