Zavato, I was once a Linn fan and had an LP12 for years. I never was able to get my LP12 to make me happy no matter what the upgrade. But thats me. I do remember swaping out my power supply and motor, but I don't remember to which one. It was expensive and I had my Linn dealer do the work.. My point is, that it made not one bit of difference in the sound. My dealer kept trying to convince me that I would hear a "world" of differences and experience spooky black backgrounds and incredible dymanics, etc, etc.. My wife and I couldn't hear any change whatsoever.
If your'e looking for improvements in your Linn, maybe consider a new tonearm or cartridge? Or do what I did.. Try and old idler wheel drive table. I rebuilt and old Dual 1229, replaced the tonearm with a Grace 747 and never looked back. It's the quitest, most dynamic table I've ever had in my system. I also have a grease bearing Garrard 301 with a SME 3009 that is equally as dynamic.
Maybe your Linn dealer has a table fitted with the upgrade and you do a "A/B" comparrison?
I'm not dissatisfied at all with my LP 12- mine works and sounds great! But I do like variety. Why in the world would I own 3 distinctly different headphone amps? One is an OTL tube amp, the other also a tube amp but not OTL, and the there's a SS amp. It's for variety
It just appeared to me to be fun to have an alternate table- I can imagine the Prime with a Dynavector cartridge!
Pani....Seriously disagree.... Firstly, the selection of a proper cartridge, and proper setup is imperitive. That being said, the Prime is an unexpected wonder...especially for the price. You also get VPI's generous support. I had a Linn, and am now a happier VPI'er I dare say you haven't really heard the Prime.
stingreen, VPI and Linn are two different camps. I have not heard the Prime but I have heard many of the other VPI turntables including the popular "classic". They are very different from Linn/Rega/Roksan camp. A top shelf Linn LP12 with Radikal and such remains a reference TT even today, used by many reviewers and serious analog hobbyists.
As one who recently traded an LP12 for a Rega RP10, I did try a Classic 3 with the same Kleos mounted and similar electronics. I was immediately aware that the LP12 had a much more musical sound than the VPI, to my ears at least. I decided against the VPI as I realized the departure from the Linn would be too much in one step. However if you want to break away from the Linn, the VPI is a consideration. But as you mention you're very happy with the Linn, I think all the upgrades Linn offers, only enhance a great sounding table each to a new level. It is an expensive journey should you choose the Linn upgrade path, but rewarding at every turn. The dealer AudioAlternative.com has a number of LP12s in various stages of the Linn upgrade progression, and each clearly reveals the benefits of the investment. I like my new Rega, but miss the delivery of the LP12, but not the suspension issues on a suspended floor. Had my sound room been in the basement, I would most likely have kept it, and at lead have added the Khan, the only non-Linn upgrade the dealer recommends. You might give Rick a call and seek his advise and ship your table to him for the upgrade of choice. As mentioned before in other threads by myself and others, Rick at audioalternative.com in Ft Collins Colo., is an LP12 aficionado and has a passion for tuning these tables.
The Radikal is a $4250 kit. I'm not taking sides here, but a fairer comparison would be with the VPI Prime supplemented with an SDS or even Eagle speed controller and 300 rpm motor which would improve the performance in a way that's easy to hear. Fairer still would be the addition of the single unit motor-flywheel that has not as yet been released for the Prime. Surely the two systems make different presentations and it's for the listener to decide. Disclaimer: I have used VPI products for many years.
I will say this. I have heard a Linn recently with the radical and it is a very nice sounding table if set up correctly. I was pleasantly surprised at how my scout sounded in comparison to the Linn. My setup cost about 3k including cartridge. The Linn was close to 10k. The Linn did sound very good but the scout had more air. At least with my cartridge. The Linn had better control and depth. It was better than the scout but it also cost over 3 times as much. It did sound better than I thought it would, especially with the Linn cartridge. It did not sound as good with a Benz.
Tzh21y- what cartridges were on the respective tables?
What's interesting about your post is that you were surprised that the LP12 could sound really good. It's a common urban hifi myth that the LP12 is a bad music maker these days.
I would say say that myth mostly comes from people how either haven't heard a properl se up LP12 or have not heard one in 30 years.
Perhaps 25 plus years ago I went to hear a VPI HW19 table. The demo was awful- the dealer could not get the belt to stay on. Well, that soured me go VPI but my recent experience with the Prime was really very very good! The table prejudice works both ways-
Zavato, that is my observation as well. I see all the time people who are saying this or that about the LP12 and yet they either have a) never heard a LP12, b) have not heard a LP12 in over ten years, c) have only heard the entry level model---and probably years ago, or d) have not heard a properly set up model.
Zavato, Just read your comment about the Dual 1219 and the VI5 III? The 1219 was the table I owned before I bought my LP12. That table was one of the prime reasons I sought out the 1229. In top condition, it's fabulous as is the VI5 type 3. Very musical combination. Norman
Thing is.. I experienced much of what he was complaining about. I have had several turntables in my modest vintage system and by far and wide the Linn was the worst at communicating pace, pitch, power and musical presence to me. It just never had any drive. Comparing LP such as Miles Davis Kind of Blue on the Linn to a second generation Master Tape, the Linn isn't even on the same page. Play that disc on my ancient modified Dual 1229 and Grace 747 tonearm and suddenly I am in the game. The tape is better, as it should be, but the Dual does provide what I am looking for in LP playback. My Garrard 301 is also very good in this regard. A close friend has a Technics Sp-10 with a SME 3012 and it is sooo much better then the Linn it's comical.
I know those who love their LP12's and adore setting them up, and upgrading their various bits, etc.. Nothing wrong with that. I spent nearly four times the cost of the original arm and table in upgrades. It was so frustrating. I just wanted to hear the music played as it should. I didn't want to worry about what brand AC line cord I was using, or what power supply I had, or what type of belt, or what bearing etc, I had. I replaced all of that and it still didn't come close to my old Dual 1219 that I had prior to buying the LP12.
When I play a solo piano or guitar piece on my Dual 1229. the sustain of the notes is thrilling, the impact of drums, and the texture of voice life like. With the Linn they would dye off so quickly that it sounded like I was using a compressor for a preamp.
Hat's off to those who love the LP12s. If you find that the LP12 is your cup of tea, then you should use it and enjoy. Most LP12 owners I have met are usually thinking about, talking about or performing an upgrade. Really? Whatever happened to buying a table setting it up and just listening? My Dual and Garrard don't provide me one ounce of snob appeal, but man I am telling you they do sound musical and that is what I am after. For me, it's the music.
Norman, I think if you like your Dual TT that is a very good thing. If it portrays the sound you are looking for, then nothing to complain about there. However, IMHO a Dual is not in the same league as even the oldest 70’s LP12 with a Nirvana power supply....unless the set up and the cartridge on the LP12 are totally shot! I know you have never heard a LP12 Radikal D Klimax or you probably wouldn’t be posting as you did. Comparing any TT to the master tape or even the 2nd gen tape on the likes of a Studer isn’t really fair. However, I can tell you that the Miles Davis KOB 45rpm MFSL on my TT has brought jaws to the floor of all a’philes that I have had over to listen. As they say YMMV.
My LP12 was purchased in 1992. I changed the top plate, the bearing housing, the trampoline was adjusted multiple times, grommets were changed, motor thrust plate changed, bearing flushed twice, two different mind blowing oils were added, then switch to Lingo direct couple power supply, Valhalla motor upgrade, second trampoline installed, top place modification, top plate replacement, Cirkus bearing upgrade. These were just the table mods, not to mention the four different tonearms I had on the table.
My Linn dealer was at my house so much I even purchased a Linn Table jig (which I still have.. anyone interested?)
So, I don't know and NO I can't say that I have ever hear the LP12 Radikal D Klimax, but you know what? I really don't even want too. My Linn experience left me completely exhausted.
"Comparing any TT to the master tape or even the 2nd gen tape on the likes of a Studer isn’t really fair."
Why not? That's exactly what the designer of the VPI TTs says he does to gauge his success (or failure, I suppose). A TT is not supposed to be a musical instrument, merely an accurate reproducer. Have I got that wrong?
Norman, sorry to hear of your issues with your Linn dealer. However, I do not think that the problems you had with the dealer are truly anything to do with the quality of the turntable. Unfortunately, you probably did not hear what your Lingo'ed Linn could really do...and you certainly have no idea as to what a Radikal D Klimax model can do. Just FYI, the Valhalla upgrade and the Lingo upgrade are both power supply upgrades. The only real motor upgrade involves the Radikal D. I would suspect you also were listening to one of the older 'shoe box' Lingo models. The latest Lingo Mk3 is a lot better than the old 'shoe box' model. Nonetheless, all of the upgrades you describe didn't bring your table to anywhere near what it is capable of today. As to the set-up, if this isn't done correctly, you are leaving behind more than half of what the table can give. Melm, if you have ever heard a Studer in a good system, I can tell you that it is a pretty big step up over even the best vinyl. IF HW at VPI is trying to get close to the sound of the master tape, good for him, but I know he has a very long way to still go.
"Comparing any TT to the master tape or even the 2nd gen tape on the likes of a Studer isn’t really fair"
This captures one of most common problems in audiophilia in general. Fans of particular designs feel it is unfair to compare their favourite to an objective metric, that is clearly on point, because the outcome of the comparison conflicts with their preferences. There is little doubt the Linn distorts, and that many people prefer / have a bias towards those distortions, and there is nothing wrong with that since the same can be said digital vs analog (or many wonderful tube designs). However, it is problematic when people attempt to argue said distortions are more accurate to the original when we have objective, applicable measures that clearly demonstrate otherwise.
There are many things I liked about my Linn LP12 (and Ariston RD11s). The build quality was first rate, and it was a beautiful table. I had read so many positives about it, that I walked into my Linn dealer and purchased what he recommended certain that it would be an improvement over my old Dual 1219.
I know many who love their LP12's, and I have heard some that were much better than mine. It just seemed to be such a fight to get it to the level that I expected it should have been right out of the box.
I will make it a point to get to my Linn dealer and listen to the latest mods. Who knows?
rgs, who said that distortions are more accurate than the original?? Like you said, every TT distorts to some extent or other, as for that matter, so does every piece of gear that we use in our system. However, I am not one to believe that if a piece of gear measures greatly and sounds to my ears poorly, that it is my ears that are wrong. If the gear measures great and sounds great...then it is a winner...conversely if it measures poorly..and to me sounds great, it's still a winner. YMMV.
Norman, the Linn LP12 is not a 'right out of box' set it on the stand and good to go type of product. It has always needed to be set up by a competent dealer and "fettled" ( as the Brits say) to work its best. Somewhat like tuning a race car. If your dealer was unable to do this for you, again it was not the Linn's fault, but certainly one could look at your dealer! However, it has been my experience, that once the table is set up 'correctly' then it tends to stay that way through time and deliver the sound for which it is known.
" IF HW at VPI is trying to get close to the sound of the master tape, good for him, but I know he has a very long way to still go." And you would "know" that because . . . ?
" If the gear measures great and sounds great...then it is a winner...conversely if it measures poorly..and to me sounds great, it’s still a winner. " I would agree if you substitute "accurate" for "great". As someone famously wrote: A piano should sound like a piano!" The problem with may reviewers, not to mention audiophiles, is that they rarely, if ever, listen to unamplified instruments and singers and don’t know how they really sound. So much of what is written is so purely subjective: The reviews usually conclude by mentioning a number of recordings, usually recent ones, and their conclusion that they "like" the recordings as played by the component under review.
I can’t speak for the latest Linns but the Linns I have heard, admittedly going back a while, were notorious for sounding warm and rolling the frequency extremes. This results in a sound many people "like." But it has hardly been accurate.
That, and the complications of set-up requiring dealer interventions, put Linn out of the running for me. Obviously, YMMV and obviously does.
What upper end turntable is plonk and play? They all sound their best when set up by a competent dealer. "Rolled off" frequency extremes are definitely not something I hear from my LP12's. Imho, the LP12 has been around so long that many opinions have been aggregated over the years in the audiophile community , many of them propagated by people who have not actually heard a properly set up deck.
I completely agree with you. I listen to live music often and that is my benchmark. I mentioned the second generation master tape as something that anyone with a quality open reel deck could enjoy and compare their analog rig too.
My Linn sounded soft, and very warm. I also felt it sounded compressed compared to my idler drive tables and a couple of direct drive tables I've heard.
My personal experience concludes that it is very difficult to get the table to sing. My purchase and upgrade path was nearly 10 years long. Nothing should take that long to sound right or be that difficult to dial in.
It could also be a simple matter of the fact that I don't like the sound of a Linn. No biggie. I know a number of audio nuts that don't care for the sound of idler drive tables and thats fine too.
melm, I would know this because I have heard the top of the line VPI and I have heard a well sorted Studer. Playing the same piece, the Studer left the VPI in the dust. If you really think a VPI can compete on the same stage as a Studer playing a master tape, well all I can say is I very very seriously doubt you have ever heard a top flite tape deck!
Just to add.. There is something about a record player looking like, well, a record player! The LP12 is compact , doesn't require a lot of space and doesn't weigh a ton. Nice and simple..plays the record. Some of these newer decks require an aircraft carrier to land on and weigh a hundred pounds ( or more ! ). The KISS rule has served me well in life for most things. Just something that came to mind...have a great New Years guys! ATB, Mark
I've followed how this thread became a Linn vs the rest of the world thread. That said, were I starting from scratch in vinyl and would sink $10,000 plus into a vinyl front end, I would consider the Linn once again. But it would not be the only thing on my radar. I'm deeply impressed by SME these days. AMG as well.
Heres as his I look at it- a top spec LP12 has to run about $20,000. In that price range the Linn is, I believe, competitive but it's not the only game in town.
I too try to live by the KISS method, but easier said than done! But one thing Linn nailed in the KISS universe is the three point cartridge mounting scheme.
Well folks, welcome to 2016. Let our biggest angst be disputes over the relative merits of the LP12 and whatever else.
The irony, zavato, is that Linn instigated and promoted the notion of "Linn vs the rest of the world" with their argument that all other turntables (pre-Linn) had been designed and built with a deeply mistaken assumption---that a turntable is an electronic device, rather than a mechanical one. And Ivor was quite correct! But other designers, it can be argued, have taken his design principle even further, and, employing "better" materials and machining, created tables whose performance beat the Linn at it's own game. Whether or not that is true is a different question.
What I object to is Arthur Salvatore's assertion that Linn simplifies the music. While Normansizemore's description of rolling the extremes might be a better description, if that's true, getting the intent of what the musicians are trying to convey is just as, if not more, important than getting all the notes(etc.) correct(in most cases). I did listen to needle drops on the Pink Fish Media, and none of the other tables were as good as the best Linn. Many tables were left out. but to give some perspective, that cheaper dd Technics wasn't in the same league as the Linn, although you could hear improvements in it, when he upgraded its parts.
" What upper end turntable is plonk and play?" I’m not here to sell TTs, but by the application of brute force and weight I believe it is true of VPI TTs and probably many others. Every 2-3 years or so I lubricate the bearings and check for level and that’s it. Some people change the belt. I boil mine if I’m not using a thread. There’s nothing else to do. There is no "tuning." "Set up" is for the arm and cartridge: overhang, HTA, VTA, azimuth and VTF (and anti-skate if you use it).
" I would know this because I have heard the top of the line VPI and I have heard a well sorted Studer. Playing the same piece, the Studer left the VPI in the dust. If you really think a VPI can compete on the same stage as a Studer playing a master tape, well all I can say is I very very seriously doubt you have ever heard a top flite tape deck!" I don’t know what you heard and what was the condition of the record and the playback system. I used to own a Revox. Want to buy any prerecorded tapes? I have a bunch. I recall reading that HW has 7 tape machines and over 1000 pre-recorded tapes, many of them 15 ips master tapes. He is said to hold demos regularly comparing tapes to records. He "says" that Chad Kassem thinks that his VPI DD sounds like his master tapes, and he has quite a few. There have been at least a couple of TT reviews comparing VPI TTs favorably to tapes. If you doubt I’ll search some old files and see if I can retrieve.
" There is something about a record player looking like, well, a record player! The LP12 is compact , doesn’t require a lot of space and doesn’t weigh a ton. Nice and simple..plays the record. Some of these newer decks require an aircraft carrier to land on and weigh a hundred pounds ( or more ! ). The KISS rule has served me well in life for most things." I agree and I am annoyed that my TT is big, heavy and ugly. BUT it is simple therefore, simpler than a Linn and NEVER requires dealer intervention. Big also means it can accommodate a 12" arm which offers some advantages.
If 10,000 was your budget, you could easily do better than a Linn. A VPI Classic II is about $4000.00 with a very respectable arm, that gives you quite bit of room for cartridges, step up preamplifiers, etc. And it is most definitely "plug and play". A close friend has one and it's superb. Further, no one had to come to his home and set it up and dial it in. It truly was fantastic right out of the box. He and I had it set up and playing in about an hour. So simple and straight forward.
That's what I wanted with my Linn, set up and enjoy. Not set up and "I think if I did this it would be better, or why does it sound like that?". I was constantly analyzing the performance of the table instead of enjoying the music.
My 42 year old modified Dual, and 58 year old Garrard were easy to set up and sound amazing. When playing either of them I don't ever think about "what can I do to improve the performance", I just enjoy the music. (and yes, there are many many tables that are much better than the Dual and the Garrad, but they are giving me what I expect, silent backgrounds, along with pace, pitch and power.) For me they convey a great deal of emotion that I experience with I listen live.
My friends VPI was like that. If I were buying a new table today, it would probably be a VPI, based solely on my experience with the sound and set up of his Classic II.
With most everyone having the day off, I am sure their is a lot of music being played today. Enjoy!
"getting the intent of what the musicians are trying to convey is just as, if not more, important than getting all the notes correct". This line of reasoning and evaluation can also be traced back to Linn, and is just SO subjective. Art Dudley in his reviews often includes a discussion of the capability of a component under review to reproduce "intent". It just seems to me to be a very personal thing, this matter of a component affecting the perception of the intent of the musician(s) and/or singer. If two components create the perception of two different "intents" (whatever that means), how is a listener to know which intent is closest to the Artists actual intent? Should the Artist be asked what his intent was ;-)? Seems more than a little presumptuous of a listener to me! Can that ability to reproduce intent be in any way quantified (whatever that may mean), and is that ability universally observable and agreed upon by a group of skilled listeners? Does the perception of that ability change depending on the listeners state of mind and/or emotion? Can that ability be attributed to anything in the design of a component? Attributing intent-reproducing capabilities to equipment I admit tests the limits of what I consider valid evaluation.
Norman, I think we will have to agree to disagree. I have heard all of the VPI range, including the DD and the Classic 11 that you mention. Compared to a Linn LP12 Radikal D Klimax, the VPI Classic 11 is IMHO not competitive. For your $10K budget, one could get a LP12 with Radikal D and Kore that would still be a better option than the similarly priced VPI. All IMHO.
My Linn comparison is based on my personal table. That is the only thing I could really based it on, as I had it for 10 years and am very familiar with it's sound.
While the Classic II is an introductory table in the VPI line, it's dynamics and pace are excellent.
I am a little surprised though at your staunch loyalty to Linn. Linn isn't and has never been the last word in turntables. There are just so many finer options, both vintage and new. I will stick to my $4000.00 budget VPI Classic II over the Linn any day. (again comparing to my LP12, which by the time I sold it I believe was about a $9000.00 table.. that's in 2003 dollars not including the arms)
Funny story, when I decided to move on to another turntable I called my Linn dealer and he took it personal. He offered me $1650.00 for my LP12 (absolutely pristine conditions with all upgrades purchased and performed by his dealership) Go figure?
I will be at my Linn Dealer tomorrow. I will let you know if I get an opportunity to hear the latest mods.