Linn CD12 MK3

A friend of mine who is a long time Linn's user told me about Linn CD12 mkIII. He previously used Linn CD12 mk1, mk2. Also,he has Linn LP12SE full stack and Klimax DSM in his system. He had purchased this USED Linn CD12 MK3 for $18000. To my knowledge, Linn CD12 CDP mk1(20bit) and mk2(24bit) serial number are of 3digits. But this so called Linn CD12 MK3 had 6 digits serial number. He said this CD12 MK3 is very rare and Limited. My friend has A/B comparison many Linn sources in his own system. And what he said is CD12 mk2 better than mk1. But the 6digits serial number CD12 MK3 is a true Linn masterpiece. It easily beat mk2 in every aspect. He had compared to Linn LP12SE full stack, and the new Klimax DSM and he even prefered Linn CD12 MK3. He told it preserved the Linn's maximum musical magic of LP12SE full stack plus more dynamic extreme, more details yet very musical.
My question is who ever had experience in Linn CD12 6digits serial number MK3? I have never seen this version before. Where can I get one?

Personally I wouldn't be purchasing a rare, limited CD player from a company that no longer makes them.

The future is a high resolution DAC and you either stream to it or directly hook up a computer.

The Linn streamers are good but there are way better sounding ones out there.

A good DAC/computer setup can rival really good vinyl playback especially with HD tracks high resolution down loads.

I am turning my entire CD collection into a 2tb hard drive to use with my DAC once you have experienced the ease of use of using a touch panel to surf your music collection and the rapid switching of music which computers allow you will never go back to using optical discs again.
Try posting your question on the Linn forum, you will have a better chance of getting your answer.
Thank you you guys for helpful responses.

Would you mind suggest DAC that rival vinly in musical mid rangearea? I have tried seperate transport+DAC from Esoteric, DCS, etc. Even I got amazing sound stage, excellent PRAT, I always miss musical midrange from vinly. That's why I pay attention on the Linn CD12 limited MK3 (with 6 digits serial number). If this limited CD12 mk3 is too difficult to find, I'll give a try on others instead. Have you ever auditioned separate transport+dac from CH precision C1/D1 and MBL stack? Can their mids compare to vinly playback?
Sorry Samie that you didn't get the response you were looking for. I imagine it is quite a nice piece. Linn does have a musical and analogue way about their digital sources.
Besides the Linn forums the folks at 'Audio Asylum are a knowledgeable bunch, as well as 'The Art of Sound' from the UK who favor gear from their side of the pond.
I did not even know that a Mk3 exists. I do like the CD12 and I expect that Linn will be able to support it even if they no longer make a cd player.

I happen to like the convenience of a music server myself, even though it was a big deal of work ripping my 3700 cds to the server and correcting the metadata (particularly difficult with classical cds). My collection is so much more accessible and I like browsing on an ipad and putting together an evening's worth of music on a play list.

I use the server even though I think it really does not sound quite as good as my CD player. I happen to like the sound of the particular player I have and it better matches my LP source so that the system sounds similar playing both. I make no generalizations as to which is inherently better--I am merely pointing out that a good CD player can be very good in absolute terms and a computer or dedicated server is not necessarily better.
Thank you for your helpful advice. I will search those forums.

I also do like streaming music from server or internet radio for convenience and its sound quality keep improving. However, when I'd like to go for critical listening, Linn CD12 MK3 limited sounds like my cup of tea.
samie That's why I pay attention on the Linn CD12 limited MK3 (with 6 digits serial number). If this limited CD12 mk3 is too difficult to find, I'll give a try on others instead.

I know this is old, but I have one of these CD12 MkIII's that a friend gave to me very cheap, and he hardly used it. SN700139 it also has the 24bit PCM1704K dacs.

Unfortunately Linn deleted the U8 user setting via the remote of being able to choose between the 8 different dither settings that the PMD100 hdcd chip has. Something I believe is more to do because it uses the PCM1704k 24bit dacs instead of the earlier PCM1702 20bit dacs.

Cheers George    

Nice gift- George. How are you liking this spinner?

First, I just love the sound of R2R Multibit D to A convertors for doing Redbook (PCM) conversion, as they do it "bit perfect" compared to any Delta Sigma (DSD) based cdp/dacs I’ve heard, which always seem to disappoint me on Redbook replay. And the Linn CD12 is R2R Multibit having 4x PCM1704k dacs.

It sound is very very good, smooth detailed and extended both ends, with very good slam and presences. It has what Linn calls "Pratt" others call it bounce, which to me is a better description, and it’s sound staging and imaging is first rate.

It’s a very, very good player, that does some things a little better than my heavily modified Cary 303/200 which also uses the PCM1704K dacs and the same buffer output. Though my Cary does dynamic punch a bit better again, which I bring down too the feedback free A844 I/V stage I used in it. I may try to put that I/V stage in the Linn one day (bit of a job) to see if that improves it again, but at the moment I’m very happy with it’s sound. Thanks for asking.

BTW: Can’t believe this player was over $30k here in Australia. Sure is built like a brick shithouse.

Cheers George

Many Thanks! George.

do you mod these players yourself?
Happy Listening!

Hi, Jafant, not the Linn, "yet", one day. 

But yes on the Cary, you can read all about it in this lengthy 1500 post thread. On how I used the AD844 without feedback for I/V duties on cdp's that use PCM1704K dac's, the last and best R2R Multibit made.  Which is also in the Linn CD12.

Cheers George


I don't know if it has to do with the choice of chip, or something else, but, I like the sound of the CD12 and also the sound of the Naim 555 cd player that I own.  This too uses the 1704 chipset.   There are a number of high-end DAC makers that horde really old chips because they deliver great sound.  Most of the "improvements" to more modern chips have to do with making them more suitable for other applications--making them smaller, making them use less power, making them provide other functions.

Hi Larryi, the reason Delta Sigma (1 bit) based chips were bought out also are not just more suitable for other applications but are also less than 1/10 the price to manufacturer. As there are no R2R ladder resistors to be finely laser trimmed, which is a very expensive part of Multibit dac chip manufacturing.

Yes the Naim 555 which I would also love to own, uses the same R2R Multibit dacs.

If you search around many hi-end manufacturers are now starting to go back to Multibit dacs for Redbook even if they have to make their own discrete ones, because they know now to do Redbook (PCM) conversion "bit perfect" you have to use Multibit. As Delta Sigma is just an approximation (facsimile). And also that DSD was a bit of a hoax anyway which needs Delta Sigma dacs to be converted.

If you really want to hear "hi rez" forget DSD, listen to a soundtrack from the now defunct DVD-A (which is 24bit PCM) through a dac which has our 24bit PCM1704 converters, it is a truly magical experience. Such a shame DVD-A never took off, probably because they needed the expensive to manufacture R2R Multibit dacs to convert it "bit perfect", which was around the time Delta Sigma (1 bit) was being pushed onto the market.

Also there now maybe DXD audio trying to get into the market (which should sound as good as DVD-A), and it’s also true 24bit PCM and needs, (yes you guessed it) Multibit dacs to convert it "Bit Perfect", one can only hope!!

Cheers George

Thank You- George!

Thank you! Here for your reading pleasure is what is wrong with DSD and what's right with PCM (redbook) and if DXD was bought into it PCM would look even better.

Cheers George