I am the proud owner of an Linn lp12. I have been reading recent reviews of upgrades for this deck with interest, in particular the Keel and vector (Funk) modifications. The Linn is often praised for its PRAT and midrange and criticised for relatively poor performance at the frequency extremes. It has also been said that it makes a beautiful sound but also that it is coloured or inaccurate. Recent modifications are said to build on its strengths and address many of its weaknesses. However, reading these comments I am very aware that I have been here before. I have upgraded my Linn with cirkus and origin live mods, both of which claimed to address the same problems. I am also considering a Boston graphite mat. In retrospect I consider the mods I have tried to be an improvement but not a huge one (tightened things up a little) and probably less of an improvement than a new cartridge. I am not sure that I would have been aware of what I was missing until I read reviews for upgrades. I am sure that I could keep spending money to fix a shortcoming of my turntable but I wonder if I am trying to correct a problem that is at best exaggerated and at worst pure folklore. And it seems to me the ultimate irony that with each successive improvement I may be going backwards. Perhaps the only Linn worth having is pre Valhalla, afromosia, and with a grace tone arm.
I have a LP12/Ittok/Valhalla/Circus that I have stopped upgrading. I am not even tempted by the Keel, etc. The reason is a few years ago I bought a '72 LP12 just to play around with. I stripped it down to nothing, refinished the plinth and built it up with new suspension, belt, arm board, etc. It now has a Rega RB250/Incognito rewire/RB300 stub & counterweight. The '72 combination does not sound as good as the Circus/Valhalla etc. but it is damn close. And, at the end of the day the subtlties are simply not worth 3 times + the cost of the '72.
I am, however, considering an Hercules board for the '72, but I dont want to potentially ruin the sound!!!
I made a decision in 1978 to buy an LP12. Since then, I've been very happy with a) the sound it makes and b) the fact that every few years, I can make it sound better by installing the latest upgrade which Linn have come out with (a much easier and less stressful process IMO - to say nothing of less expensive - than getting rid of it and buying a new TT). So the LP12 I have now is very different to the one I originally bought.
From this you might gather that I don't hold with the concept that the only good LP12 is pre-Valhalla and pre-Cirkus ... also, while the Grace tonearm was a great arm for its time, it has now been well and truly overtaken by the likes of the Graham 2.2.
And if you've upgraded your LP12 with Cirkus, Lingo etc. then IMO you have certainly *not* gone backwards! :-))
Yes, many people over the years have harped on the deficiences of the LP12 - and there certainly have been some! However, with the advent of rigidly-connected subchassis/armboard combos (in either the Keel, TFF or my CFTech incarnations), a substantial leap forward in terms of retrieval of low-level detail has been achieved. So an LP12 equipped with one of these IMO is in a different league to an LP12 with a pressed-steel subchassis.
The rigid coupling between armboard and subchassis corrects a serious deficiency of the original design, IMO ... however, this is only possible by making the subchassis from a material which doesn't exhibit the vibrational problems of the pressed-steel subchassis. Linn used aluminium ... the original Cetech (produced in about 2000), TFF's and the CFTech use CF-composite, because it is very light and very stiff.
IMO, the only remaining deficiency is the "wandering tone" when listening to piano, compared to the rock-solid presentation delivered by the top DD or idler TTs! :-))
risabet has already posted that piano tone "firmed up" with his motor-at-the-7-o'clock-position mod but whether any more improvement can be gained in this regard from a belt drive system, I suggest is still open to conjecture. But still, since Linn has just thrown out one of the long-held "magic secrets" of the LP12 (the "floating armboard") with the rigidly-connected Keel, I suggest we will be able to accept another about-turn if Linn ever got rid of belt drive! :-))
model, no mods, afromosia, Linn LVX Plus Basik, K9 on Sound Organisation table.
but am considering the mods and some other moves.
New arm, new cart and upgraded springs, grommets and such. I agree with poster that wall mount/shelf would be best.
I am the proud owner of an 1972 LP12 with a Grace 707 and a Shure M97xe. I have put new springs and grommits on it and a new Linn felp pad. I have also removed the bottom. It sounds great as is. Mods might make it better but it would cost me less to buy a new table that to birng this one up to modern standars. I suspect that I like the warmer than naural base. I know I don't worry about it much! I just enjoy! It may not be perfect, but for now it is good enough.
OK, I'll admit I have thought of trying the 3009 Series II improved arm that I have. It would be nice to have a removable headshell.
I'm an LP12 owner as well, and I still really like the table. Although LP12 bashing is fashionable for some on this board, I'm sure that there's an equal (perhaps larger) number of people who own and like the table... some of whom are probably busier listening to music than gossiping on their computers.
I tend to find that the complaints about the excessive midbass and lack of detail are more characteristic of pre-circus valhalla-powered decks from the 80's (and before). It's kind of like bashing a Porsche 911 because the early 80's models were prone to oversteer.
The circus, lingo and especially the keel all serve to progressively tighten (and deepen) the bass and increase detail. The question is where to stop, and that's a personal call.
I kind of wish I didn't hear a 'keeled' deck. The improvement in clarity and timing is substantial - probably moreso than a switch from a valhalla to a lingo, and definitely more than a tonearm switch. Value is a tough call. I'm holding off on the keel.
I can, however, heartily reccommend the boston audio mat. That works very well on the table. Similarly, if you haven't done so already, a neuance shelf and a Sound Organisation (or similar) support will make a substantial difference.
... perhaps the Keel or CF-composite subchassis could be likened to a 4-wheel drive Porsche vs. a 'normal' one? :-))
And if 'vfm' for the Keel is questionable, there is always my CF-composite subchassis & armboard! :-))
Listen with your ears and not your eyes. If you can do an A/B comparison with any other table or mod and one is clearly superior and within your budget, then go for it. I've heard the Keel in an A/B comparison and it is clearly superior, but the non-Keel Linn is still enjoyable. And don't knock the upgrades or mods. If you had a VPI you'd be doing the same thing, possibly spending hundreds or thousands for improvements. Want something less expensive, try the Pro-Ject RPM-10 for $2500. Will you enjoy it more than a Linn or VPI? I don't know what you will prefer, but it should be your preference and hopefully based on their ability to play music in an actual side by side comparison. Use your local dealers, mail order (if there is a 30-day no questions asked return policy), or other inmates to compare set-ups. The old policy use to be try it in your system to see if its worth the cost before committing your cash.
to the stock LP12 if you'd be so kind.
I had a short post on April 20, 2007 after attending a extended session at the Gifted Listener Audio Salon in Virginia the night before. The opinions of all in attendance were that the upgrades were superior in every way, PRAT, detail, midrange, bass, dynamics, etc. and the differences were obvious to everyone in attendance. Based on what I was told about 70 percent of this improvement was due to the Keel upgrade and about 30 percent was due to the SE upgrade, but we only had the fully upgrade table and the stock table. Everything else was the same. I know that the Linn folks have been conducting worldwide demonstrations of their upgrades so perhaps a Google search may find other opinions. My chief objection to the upgrades is the cost but I would probably spend $3K for a permanent upgrade to my table before I spent $1K for a cartridge. I haven't been able to convince myself to spend that much on something that is fragile and fleeting, but others have. I have owned a Linn table for over 20 years so I feel I have gotten great value from my investment.
The shortcomings of the Linn are real IMO but most of the mods, both Linn and non-Linn actually address them IMO. The major weakness in the Linn is its bloomy i.e. warmer than real, midbass and its lack of detail retrieval. Both of these are significantly address with the CFTech mod and the Keel which are different methods to address the same problem, the lossy connection between the armboard and the pressed steel subchassis. As far as I'm concerned the basic sound of the Linn serves the music well and to lose that would be unacceptable. To improve its shortcomings is a different thing all together. Try the mods as they are all reversible and decide for yourself.
I had an LP12 a while ago with no upgrades and sold it as I felt that other turntables at lower cost points did a better job of making music for me (and the isolation problems drove me nuts...). I recently had a chance to get ahold of a minty LP12 with Cirkus, Trampolin and Lingo already in it and with the Ekos tonearm for less than $2500. I figured I would give the LP12 another shot (maybe nostalgia...) and at that price point, I could always sell it for what I paid for it. I have to say that this LP12 is SUBSTANTIALLY better than the last one and I enjoy listening to it, but again if I had paid retail for this unit, I'd be a little disappointed compared to other turntables like my Sota Nova / SME V of similar/lesser cost.
I think that the real problem with the LP12 lies with Linn itself. Why does the product need so many upgrades? Why are the Linn upgrades so ridiculously expensive? If I were going to upgrade an LP12, I'd certainly look to the third-party market/DIY to do it at a much lower cost.
At the end of the day, the best improvement I found for my new LP12 was to get it on a shelf (pictured...). Bass improved (deeper/tighter) immensely and I FINALLY have successfully dealt with the footfall/isolation problem. The maple platform cost me about $200, the hardware cost me about $25 at Lowe's. $225 is a pretty good price for an effective Linn upgrade. I'm enjoying it right now in my second system.
I like the shelf idea and I had my turntable (then a michell syncro) on a wall shelf in a previous house. Unfortunately my current listening room has no available wall space. I have settled on the following arrangement. My turntable stand sits on a granite slab and the wooden floor has had extra struts added under the floor joists. It is fairly solid.
Hi. Where did you get the cables and other pieces holding the shelf? Thanks.
I went to a home improvement store (Lowe's). They have a section there which has all kinds of pieces of hardware with which you can do this kind of stuff. I just employed some on-the-spot engineering and it worked out pretty well.
Is that a Funk Firm achromat on the Linn? Also, which of the two tables (Linn/Sota) sound the best to you? I have a Sota also.
IMHO the Sota Nova is the far superior table.
perhaps not, in comparison to a Keeled or CF-composite-subchassis equipped LP12! :-))
Nice to see you chiming in here. This ought to shake out fairly soon.
I am curious about the foot fall problem with a Linn table.
I have older but not creaky wood floors, no shelf, 2 dogs and fell into AR suspended tables when I got into vinyl again about 6 years ago. I find the sprung tables to be less sensitive to what is going on around them. Maybe it is just that I have my table in a good spot on a decent 60's veneer MDF cabinet.
Folks fault the light springs on the AR tt's and often upgrade to Linn or similarly stiffer springs, but I am wondering if maybe the springs on the Linn are too stiff in certain setups to isolate it from vibrations from the floor.
Any thoughts here ???
I had that problem with my LP-12 until I placed 3 Audioquest sorbothane pucks under the bottom plate. A lot of people would say this is heresy, but I can now listen to an LP without fear of sending the tonearm racing across the record. Ideally, a wall-mounted shelf works best, but my room won't give me that option.
Prehistoric 4-Channel Lizard
Generally any suspended table will be susceptible to footfalls on a nonslab floor, is your floor on a slab or on joists? In my case I have a slab floor and my table is steady as a rock, the kids dance around the table all the time with no problems; the cat is regularly in attendance on the dustcover also.
Regarding the spring rate, susceptibility to footfalls has more to do with the MA of the TT/stand system than the spring rate IME. Light stands are simply less able to start the tables in motion than a massive heavy stand on a suspended floor. On a slab floor the trade-off is in sound quality, as opposed to stability, when placed on a heavy stand.
I'm taking a look at the upgrades and for $8K plus trading in my Linn, I can definitely buy a top notch table. However I like my Linn. So I'm going to try the CFTech Carbon Fiber Subchassis and Armboard Accessory, mentioned here and if it goes well then I may swing for a Linn SE tonearm. The nice thing about the CFTech Carbon Fiber Subchassis and Armboard Accessory setup is that, if I don't like them I can take them back out. The other options are to buy another table which is Linn like (rega P9 for example). When all is said and done I will most likely keep my Linn and just enjoy it for what it is.
What other turntables, listen to in your system do you like better? Or are you just listening to others opinions? Some don't like the Scout (in any incarnation), others don't like the linn. Set up, including what's supporting your turntable is crucial. Listen with your own ears, in your own system and make a decision.
the only linn worth having is one you enjoy listening to.
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