Best Turntable for the Price - Linn Basik

I added vinyl to my system recently. I originally felt that a CD source was superior until I heard just how natural and rich vinyl sounds with everything except perhaps hard rock, where the added dynamics and highs seemed to favor a CD source.

In my system, the Linn Sondek LP12, Thorens TD-125 MKII, Rega RP3, Oracle Alexandria and others bowed down to the Linn Basik Turntable with Basik LVX tonearm and Shure V15 VMR cartridge. Two top considerations, the Linn Sondek LP12 and Oracle Alexandria, sounded more detailed yet a little cooler and less rich and emotional than the Linn Basik turntable to me.

For the quality of sound that you get, the Linn Basik with Basik LVX tonearm has a rare "hard to believe your ears" musical synergy with the Shure V15 VMR cart which surprisingly bested all MC carts auditioned. Also, it is an ultra bargain with prices usually between $350 and $450, depending on condition.

Because I liked the sound so much (and the vinyl was peeling) that I had a beautiful Cocobolo Plinth made for it by John Piccioli of Furniture Craftsmen in Tucson, AZ. I left the original factory wooden top in place so as not to destroy the sonic signature by introducing a different material. BTW, I the preferred sound of the Basik LVX tonearm with its detachable head-shell, to the highly regarded Linn Akito tonearm with its fixed headshell.

I found the best cartridge depends on the turntable and tonearm it is mated with. I owned and trialed most of the best and more popular MM and high output MC carts including offerings such as the Sumiko Blackbird & Evo III, Dynavector 20X2H, Benz, Grado (too warm & dull to me), Ortofon Red & 2M Black (too bright to me), Shure M97XE (very nice balance of warm/detailed sound for the price), Denon DL-110 (sounded nervous and lacked richness in my system).

Of all the Cartridge/Turntable combinations that I tried, the Shure V15 VMR with the Linn Basik turntable and Basik LVX tonearm sounded the best, by a considerable margin. The Dynavector and Sumiko cartridges were close runner ups with this table.

BTW, Shure Specs the VN5MR without the stylus brush at 1.0 to 1.25 grams tracking weight. I have found that around 1.2g tracking weight, the sound is richer and less lean sounding than the recommended 1.0g setting.

FYI, the Thorens 125 MKII turntable seemed to come alive and have better synergy with the Sumiko Evo III cartridge (great sounding Cart, good balance, 3D imaging) than the Shure V15 V).
You'll never find a new budget TT as good as the Linn Axis or Basic. Back then Linn was devoted to quality and an extraordinary house sound.
I was recently auditioning new TTs in the $1500 range and none could measure up to my Axis. (original owner)

Could you let us know which of these $1500 tables you tried and compared?

There seem to be some very well regarded tables at that price point: VPI Traveler, Well Tempered Simplex, Rega RP-6, Avid Ingenium etc.
I'm sure there are some excellent TTs at that price point, but my point is the comparison an old Linn's build quality and sound to the Rega RP5 and one of the Music Hall TTs, for my taste the Linn is the winner. It says to me I'll have to move up to the next level of TTs when it becomes time to upgrade.
(Actually, I would like to find a local VPI dealer).
I have the Basik with an LVX. I use a Shure V15 RS with a JICO MR stylus. I also have an Alexandria like the OP. My Alex does not bow to the Basik. It's been some time since I had them side-by-side, though. At that time the Alex had an Oracle straight arm (Jelco SA250 st) comparable to the LVX. I've since traded that in for a Sumiko MMT. I should have kept the Jelco for the Linn!!! Dummy.

Looking on the used market, I find that it's usually cheaper to buy an Axis with an LVX Plus than just the tonearm. I was wondering how the Axis compares to the Basik. Has anyone heard both?
I’ve owned a gently used Linn Basik/Akito rig for a few years now (after storing my LPs and not having a TT for a while) and although I keep threatening to replace it before it dies and becomes useless (a stupid reason maybe), it stays. It had been well taken care of prior to my owning it, and It simply sounds amazing with the relatively inexpensive Sumiko Pearl cart (recently re-tipped). I had tried the Linn K5 which is just OK, an AT440 that was too bright, and then a local "audio salon" friend turned me on to the Pearl…why does this cart sound so good? I'm a pro sound engineer/musician and am relatively picky about sound but I never listen to this rig and wish it sounded better as it's dynamic, accurate, and clear. I replaced the fractured cover hinges (not expensive), and I replaced the DIN cable with a Mogami Neglex based Jelco which utterly rejects noise and hum from lighting and all that, and is sort of a hot pink color (!). I never planned to keep it this long but man…it simply kills. I clean my LPs with a Spin Clean and the older LPS going back to the early 60's never fail to amaze, and I can't believe my 70's KLH Pickering didn't ruin 'em. I bought a Cambridge 640P years ago mostly due to the rumble filter (and great reviews), and use that with a Pangea P100 power supply…not so hip but, again, sounds fabulous. The Axis seems fine but it has that speed switch which appears to get out of whack eventually…the Basik is so damn simple, and, as recommended in the manual, it seems to work best on a lowish light weight stable table. I have a sub near it and it doesn’t even blink…love the Basik!
The Linn Axis is a great entry-level deck.  But it really deserves a better arm than the Akito, but it's usually not worth the cost to upgrade to the Ittok.  IMO, of course.

It's a great time to be turntable shopping in this day and age. There are several great turntables in the $1,500 price range.  One that you may not be aware of (because we just introduced it) is the new <b>Edwards Audio TT1SE-J</b>.  This excellent turntable looks and sounds great, and features the outstanding Jelco SA-750D tonearm.  Here's a link: http://http//

All Edwards Audio products are made in the UK and provide high quality at affordable prices.

*Disclaimer* Audio Distinction is the authorized U.S. dealer for Edwards Audio.
The Akito is generally accepted as a great arm when working properly (it's old like me), and a "disclaimer" doesn't forgive shameless promotion by a dealer in a discussion forum, although maybe that stuff is allowed somehow…as long as there's a disclaimer. 
Let me respecfully disagree with the previous "shameless promotion" sentiment: most of the dealers I was visiting in Chicago and now in LA are audiophiles first, they are not car salesmen. Maybe I was just lucky, but an advice from a dealer is as "weighty" for me as a review in Stereophile or a friendly nudge from a fellow-AGoner...
I've read elsewhere that it's best to skip the Akito, and agree that an Ittok is not worth the cost on a Basik. I am not seeking advice for what not to buy. ;^) I'd love to find a gently used Basik Plus, Jelco SA-250 ST, or AudioQuest/Oracle PT6. Hint hint.
I see the Axis come up for sale from time to time on Ebay. Most are located in the UK.
Sevs…my point was specifically aimed at dealers who come into a DISCUSSION FORUM to hawk their wares, not audio store employees who's job (obviously) is to dispense wisdom regarding their gear.
I personally think dealers advertising their wares in a discussion is ok, they have disclosed a disclaimer after all. No one is holding a gun to someone's head forcing them to buy it. The price of the TT1SE turntable sure looks a good buy pricewise. Of course it is, it was made in England! LOL

We're all bombarded by ads everywhere and forums should provide a "commercial free zone" at least in the discussion content. A "disclaimer" seems fine if the dealer is simply noting an opinion bias, but posting links to their sales material after blatently pitching a product they happen to sell seems sleazy and cheapens the dialog as well as making the dealer look like they're fishing. Lame.
Does anyone have any experience with a Jelco on the Basik?
Also, why does the Basik sound so good? It's a mystery to me. The motor is nothing special, nor the suspension. Is it the lack of a separated arm board? The platter? It's not the felt mat. Mine sounds better with cork. I just don't get it! Maybe it IS the LVX.
I think the Basik was simply well thought out and designed carefully. I had no idea mine would work as well as it does when I bought it, and since it does I just have to keep it. I know Akito arms can wear out (bearings get sticky), the motor can come unstuck, and my original DIN cable had actual rat bites on it…replaced the cable with a Jelco Mogami with gold plated DIN connections, got a Mitchell record clamp, and replaced the hinges (I take the lid off during use as it seems more better). Good spindle oil maintenance (replace it when I think about it), and dust patrol (little fat squeeze ball with brush).  All the table does now is play LPs beautifully.
Back in the day- about 25 years ago, I was already very familiar with the sound on an LP12 and thought it was amazing. At the time I had a Thorens TD166 mkIV

Decided to get a new table, but could not swing the $ for an an LP12. Found a great dealer (shameless plug- Accent on Music, Mt Kisco, NY) where I demoed my Thorens vs 1- an Axis, 2- a Basik, 3- Rega Planar 3 and and LP 12 as reference, spent just about the whole day. Loved the Axis, but couldn't afford it. Left me between the Basik and Planar 3. I thought the Rega was a no brainer. Dynamic, pacey, exciting. I walked out having bought the Planar 3 with no regrets. I kept the planar 3 for 8 years and then traded it for an LP12 which I still have, though it's been upgraded since I first got it (most  recently last year with a Kore subchasis). 

I am was bit surprised by your remark on the Mitchell clamp, since Linn recommends they not be used. I believe the Mitchell is light enough for the Basik's low torque motor, though. Interesting. What mat are you using?
I wanted a clamp just to see what's what, and the Mitchell "Rega" model seems to work (for a few years now)…I use a black graphite felt mat mostly to battle static issues (along with an AQ brush I seem to have conquered that). The mat also makes the LPs feel more comfortable being clamped down for the ride. I didn't know Linn didn't recommend these…damn…nobody tells me ANYTHING…the clamp is there mostly to make it seem like I care, and I do help the motor out when starting with a little push, so maybe I do care. I may sell the Basik rig sometime just due to Fear of Failure, but for the moment at least it's great. There's a new Pro-Ject "The Classic" table that appeals to me as a possible replacement, but I have no idea if it would sound better.
I think the Mitchell must be OK. I may try one, but right now I'm using a cork mat (and a graphite/felt/graphite brush), and that helped the static a lot. But I don't think it's a good match for the clamp - very little give.

Obviously, you wouldn't sell the Basik before you compare it with the Pro-Ject. I did that with another TT and wound up keeping them both. Be careful!