I owned a Linn, purchased new from about 1982 and used it up until 2001.
I am familiar with SME and the Acustic Raven however these tables are far more expensive then a Linn.
My memory of my well maintained Linn is that a entry level VPI table came close to the Linns performance except with vocals and acoustic instruments.The Linn is definitely more natural sounding.
However the little VPI had a lot more meat on the bone from the lower mid range on down, which listening to some types of music I felt were more engaging.
Keep an eye on that link you posted.
Good post Stilskin, a very reasonable and honest, and fairly objective evaluation of the relative merits of the 2 decks.
Thank you Headsnappin, this is the reality of the Linn now a days including some other brands.
Though I would take a 45 year old refurbished Garrard 301 in a heart beat....
Everybody has a Linn and they are common.
But not many listen to their LP12 with a Lingo which it really needs to keep up with the more modern TT. Name me a modern TT that does not have an outboard PS? Not many.
The LP12 with the Lingo is very emotionally satisfying. VPI and Basis may have a heavier sound, but IMO can be pretty boring emotionally. The LP12 has a lively presentation that music should have.
I am thinking about the Keel at the moment which will make it really modern, with less of that filmsy feel that the standard sub-chassis has always been criticized for.
Obviously YMMV as usual.
Somewhere on the Analog Discussion site there is a long, long thread on the highly related issue of whether the LP12 can be compared with or can compete with the best of modern tts. Try the search engine. You have hours of reading ahead of you.
My LP-12 had the Lingo. Did it help the Linn? Yes. Did it give me everything I was looking for? No. The Linn compared to the TW Acustic AC-3 is like walking into a dark room and flipping the light switch - oh the details... On the AC-3 I get to hear the breathy musician at the mic, with violins I can hear the bow on the strings, with the high hat I can hear the drummers brush work. Breathtaking. Phenomenal. Musical. The AC-3 takes me places the Linn never did - and never could.
As you say keepitsimple, everyone has had and loved their LP12, I did. Is it up to other current models? No I do'nt believe it is. Moreover, the add ons like the Keel, Lingo, Circus bearings, are outrageously over priced and make a fully kitted out Linn very expensive. I changed to Origin Live Resolution, clearly an improvement, in base, neutrality and now to a TW Accustic Raven one. The latter is an equivelant, possibly greater improvement over the Origin Live.
I have heard and enjoyed SME decks, the 10 and 20, but found them to be neutral, but lacking in drive and dynamics. Just my opinion, but in my view TW is the cream of the crop. Moreover, Thomas the designer of TW, very honestly says, you get 95% of the Raven AC one's, performance, for the intro model, the Raven One, at a pretty reasonable price.
Thanks for the great responses. I haven't seen anyone weigh in on the Nottingham tables. I am curious as to whether anyone has compared the Nottingham tables to the SME and TW Acustic tables.
I had a fully decked out LP12 with Lingo, Cirkus, dedicated wall shelf, etc. tweaked by a dealer, and loved it... until I brought home a VPI Scout out of curiosity. There was no denying the Scout's superiority in all areas, even those Linn is famous for, such as the toe tapping, etc. The only plus on the Linn side was not having to use a clamp. LP12's are nice, and I really did like mine, but I am sure the tables you mentioned would likely kill it.
Were the cartridges the same on both 'tables?
i own a nott horizon s.e. with a humble rega 250 arm, which is a pretty entry level table from them. i started with a benz silver high output moving coil and now use a clearaudio aurum beta s that i picked up here for a rediculously low price. to me, it does not sound entry level.
the nott philosophy is simplicity works best. you push start and stop these tables, no switch - the motor idles when not in use. the motors are very low torque, just enough to keep the platter up to speed and a heavy platter it is, said to lower vibration and increase accuracy. a lot of money goes into the bearing. notts are known to be very accurate in maintaining speed.
the whole unit only weighs about 25 lbs, so i would like some deeper bass and i know you can go up the arm food chain as well for more delicacy.
i replaced a rega with this and have had no regrets at all for the 2+ years i have had it. if i was to upgrade, i would definitely look at another up the line.
Tom - Did you compare the Nottingham to SME or TW Acustic? Also, how does the Nottingham compare to the Linn LP-12?
I own the LP12, cirkus/Lingo with Naim ARO arm. It is a great sounding turntable, however my VPI HRX and TW AC-3 are superior.
The most noticable area is in the scale of the music. the Linn is just smaller in every way, where the VPI and TW are both bigger, wider, deeper, higher and more dynamic.
The Linn has slightly smoother upper frequencies compared to the HRX.
The TW AC-3 is just a little better in most other area's.
I think Dgad used to own one of the high end Nottingham's and he has changed to TW-AC-3 and could not be happier.
personally I will never sell the Linn, as it was it that got me into music in a big way and 2nd hand prices are not really worth selling. And it still sounds good.
no, i did not make any comparisons as this was the one the dealer had and i was so blown away with it. i forgot to mention that set up as it is on my system, it has a monster soundstage, several of my friends have remarked about this. also, i don't use the wooden plinth, but place it right on the rack, the sound was much more together when i did that. someone commented that nott arms are not the best, maybe that humble rega 250 is a really good match for that unit and some of the upscale regas would match a higher level nott well.
dg, when I was purchasing my 1st TT, the two final choices were Raven One and Nottingham 294. Raven One sounded awesome, with authoritative bass and really fleshed out sound. (The carts I heard with it were SS Strain Gauge and Dynavector XV1S, on Graham Phantom.) I also heard Nottingham 294 with the 294 arm, with EMT JSD-6 cart. There wasn't that bass grip that the Raven One had, but there was a top-to-bottom fluidity of sound with the Nott 294 that was easier on the ears than the Raven One. (One caveat: please take these comments with a grain of salt, since I did not test these tables under identical acoustical situations.) If I had to make the same decision right now, I'd get the Nottingham 294, which costs less, and swap out the stock arm for a Moerch DP6 12" arm or something. Then you'd have a lot of cash left over to spend on cart or LPs. I understand that mine may be of the minority opinion, but there it is.
P.S. - incidentally, I ended up with La Platine Verdier with the terrazzo plinth. Suits my music & listening preferences better than the TW & couldn't be happier... but still to this day, I sometimes think if I'd gone with Nottingham 294/Moerch DP6 combo, I can't shake off the feeling that I could have come pretty close to the kind of liquid musicality I'm getting with my Verdier.
I have had an LP12 for about 15 years. Mine has the Cirkus, Ekos and Naim Armageddon PSU, and currently a Glider.
A couple of years ago I bought a Nottingham Ace Spacedeck for a second system to use with an SME IV I already had.
With the SME arm, the Spacedeck did not sound all that good, despite trying a number of different cartridges. I felt that the LP12 still slightly had the edge. However, about a year ago I bought a mint condition Micro Seiki MA 505 arm on a whim, thinking it would be a better match for my Koetsu (used with a 15g AT headshell and additional Micro Seiki counterweight). Tom Fletcher made an armboard for the Micro Seiki and I installed the arm on the Spacedeck.
The Spacedeck sounded much better with the Micro Seiki arm but I was still using the LP12 as my main turntable. It has taken me about a year to get round to doing some direct comparisons between the Spacedeck and the LP12. I should add that the Spacedeck is pretty much stock and untweaked. I use the Spacemat which it came with (which I prefer to using no mat or to the Mystic Mat, which I did not like), no external PSU, no heavy kit etc.
After doing direct comparisons, I am about to sell the LP12. The Spacedeck is so far ahead of the LP12 that it is not worth keeping. I had always thought of the LP12 as having a rich, organic midrange, but the Spacedeck has a sense of tonal fullness and richness that is far beyond the LP12. By comparison the LP12 sounds thin and artificial. The Spacedeck equals the LP12 in dynamics and speed, but adds a sense of three dimensional space and a full harmonic structure that the LP12 cannot match. Perhaps the combination of Ace Spacedeck, Micro Seiki arm and Koetsu is a synergistic one, but I highly recommend the Spacedeck over the LP12.
I should, however, add a couple of reservations. The Space Arm gets mixed reviews. I was not willing to take a risk on the Space Arm, which was why I went with the SME and then the Micro Seiki. The Spacedeck is good enough to support arms costing more than the turntable, and I have been contemplating something like a Kuzma Stogi Reference or Triplanar, although I'm not entirely convinced they would be an improvement over my Micro Seiki.
The upgrade options from the Spacedeck also get mixed reviews. Some people have suggested that the Heavy Kit, for example, robs the Spacedeck of some of its magic. Similarly, a few people feel that the Spacedeck is better than the more expensive Nottingham turntables, although these views seem to be held by a minority. For these reasons, I have not explored upgrading to the Hyperspace or Dais, although the temptation is there. For now the Ace Spacedeck sounds so good that I don't feel any compulsion to risk losing what I have by going further up the Nottingham line, although I will probably add a Wave Mechanic power supply.
In summary, I highly recommend the Spacedeck over the LP12. While adding something like the Keel might improve the LP12 to the point where it is competitive with more modern tables, bear in mind that you can buy *two* Spacedecks for the price of a Keel.
Rossb's comments seem very helpful. The Nottingham arms get the job done, but are not trustworthy... I believe one of the dealers in the UK (Walrus, I think) recommends the Moerch arms with Nottingham 294 and Hyperspace, which was the reason why I wanted to try the combo. Moerch DP6 is a killer arm for the money, although on-the-fly VTA adjustments aren't possible... but the wands are replaceable. Very handy if you have multiple carts and you want to swap them.
Having owned both the Nottingham Hyperspace & Raven AC, I have posted comments elsewhere. The Hyperspace is a very musical table. But it does have a sound. Mind you a beautiful sound. Black background and a little bit of a "large" image size with a touch of bloat. This is with the SME V as commented above. I did use quite a few cartridges and with a thin sounding cartridge the match came out very nice.
The Raven AC is more neutral. More sea through than black if that makes sense. They share a sense of musicality but the Raven is less so while not being sterile. While the Raven is a great table, for the money the low priced Nottinghams are a great value to not be ignored. If I am right a Space Deck goes for under $3000. You do get a lot of value in the Raven One which I have directly compared to mine. You can't really do better than a Raven One until you go up significantly in $$$$. With the Raven you will hear what your cartridge or arm is doing. With the Nottingham, it is all about creating a system synergy to balance the Nottinghams sound. I haven't heard the Dais so no comments. Owning a Hyperspace makes me appreciate my analogue journey. But it wasn't my stopping place. I have had only the SME on the Hyperspace, but I did have the SME on the Raven with the same cartridges. It was a fair comparison but no side by side comparisons. Just from one day to the next.
Consider an Acoustic Solid Machine Small, off board motor, heavy dense platter - and you can mount a Moerch arm on it as well. The Euro has slipped some, so the price is nice. I am enjoying mine, and yes definitely as fast versatile arm - I have the Unipivot (UP-4) mounted with a Denon DL-103
. I might try to upgrade to a Lyra Dorian at some point - but content for now.
Well, I have ordered a brand new Linn LP12 + Keel Aro.
It will be a while till I get it, but when I do I'll let you guys know how it sounds. I will have my current 1997 LP12 next to the new LP12 + Keel and it would be easy to compare them side by side.
The LP12 with the Keel will truly be as modern as any other TT.