Linn LP-12 still competitive with the very best?

Hi folks, I wonder if the Linn LP-12 is still competitive with the best offerings from Avid, VPI, TW Acoustics, Teres, Galibier and Transrotor. If that is the case, then it's cheaper to go for a LP-12. What are the weak points of the LP-12? Which tt is better: the Thorens TD124 or Linn LP-12?

Linn LP-12 is reviewed by the Audio critic extensively and the prognoses is, that it is an Obsolete old design. I wonder why Linn unlike other's does not put out another table? One that uses newer materials with more modern technical innovations so to retrieve more information off of vinyl. I can only say if they did, then they would be admitting that the Lp12 is a flawed design and not up to more modern offering's. I have always been very amused when I here that the Linn needs the support of a good tech to set the dinosaur up, when now you have companies such has Rega,Vpi, WTT and other's making products that are almost plug and play. I know that I am going to get the dander up with many a Linnie. Well so be it, that is what the forums are for.
on paper, you can make a case that there are many, many better turntables old and new. 'no table' however (flawed or not)has made a worldwide emotional connection to more vinyl junkies than the linn. even today,its 'an enigma with an attitude' that plays a flawed media close to aside, I'm a thorens person and prefer lots of their models over a 124.
Never. I think, there is worse out there, but at the moment I don't know what.
It certainly doesn't get the press like it used to. My lp 12 upgraded was as good as the Notinghams,vpi,sota which I have also owned. I kept searching for better and found that it wasn't the table but the weak phono stages. I wish I had the linn lp 12 with my dartzeel preamp
The LP-12 is a good enough turntable. My personal experience included endless upgrades and revisions which left me more and more dissatisfied. I went back to using an idler driven Dual 1229 which was completely rebuilt and then installed a Grace 747 tonearm. I love the pace, pitch and power of idler drive, especially with solo piano and small jazz ensembles. The Thorens TD-124 is an amazing turntable and if you are into swaping out arms at a moments notice, the arm board on the 124 is a jewel to change. I have also recently heard a properly set up Garrard 301 with the Shindo platter mods. Wow! If you have the opportunity, seek out a Garrard 301 with the Shindo mods and give it a listen. You may never want to hear anything else.
Well over the course of 1957 to present and having damn near owned ever table out there at one time or another as well as the Linn menetioned in this thread. I contiune to return to VPI turntables for many reasons.

The build quality is second to none, the upgrade path is there should one want to go that route. Straight out of the box they work as intended. Parts, service and advice just a phone call away. Solid dealer network. Stand behind their product.

When one considers all the parameters one needs to have for the analog medium, VPI stands at the top of my list.
First, let start out by saying newer is not always better!
In response to Schipo. Linn is still considered to be one of the better turntables around(according to most of the audiophile rags)and the reason that they haven't change their design philosphy is because one, its been tried and proven and two, if ain't broke don't fix it.
Linn has been at the forefront of turntable design philosphy for the last 35 yrs. or more. They must be doing something right! They're still selling a hell of a lot of turntables! I'm sure that having been in business as long as they have, they're intellegent enough to know when a major design change is necessary.(how many turntables has the audio critic sold?)
Folks kill me with this obsolete design argument. Its not about design or specs, its ultimately about how it sounds in your system. Again, folks have been saying for years that tube amps are an old antiquated design yet, the tube amp industry has been florishing for the last 10-15 yrs.
I wonder why? Its because real audiophiles listen with their ears! Its not necessarily about the latest technology or newest design, its about how the component performs!!!
No. Not in my opinion. That's not to say that a Linn can't sound pretty good.
I have not thrown away my LP-12. I have even inherited another one and optimized the original. It works well, I get to play my vinyl, I don't think too much about it. Am I wow'ed by the new designs? Yes! Am I going to spend as much as buying a new car to replace the Linn? No!
I do think that a lot of the negative attitudes we are hearing these days is Linn's fault. I think they are overpriced. If they have been tweaking the same basic design for so many years, I would expect design and production costs have been minimized. If I were looking for a new table, I would be checking out the competition, which has grown so significantly, that I would also expect Linn to be re-evaluating their position in the market.
I have also been disappointed with dealer service. This may be a localized problem, but now I go to an independent expert now whom I trust. This now sounds more negative than I actually feel. I can't really complain about so many years of reliable and musical performance.
A 1979 LP12 is not competitive with the best of today but a 2009 LP 12 is.

The only thing that's obsolete about a current spec LP 12 is its appearance, which definitely has a retro '60's or 70's look to it. It's not as nice looking as newer designs, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I might like the look of something jazzier, but I'm not going to get rid of my table for appearance any more than I would trade in my wife for looking a little older than a more current woman.

As far as engineering and construction goes, the thrust plate in the bearing well is machined so precisely, you cannot measure its flatness mechanically. You have to use wavelengths of light to measure it. Hardly obsolete.

Whether you like the Linn sound or not is a different question. But this has nothing to do with obsolescence. People who don't like Linn perhaps use the obsolescence argument to cover their real point, i.e. they just don't like the Linn and prefer other tables for a variety of reasons. Rather than extol the virtues of their own table, they try to make their table look better by attacking the competition.

My complaints about the Linn are its non-user friendly set-up and the excessive price of its upgrades. Perhaps Linn is trying to squeeze as much out of it while they can before it dies, to be replaced by computer based audio.
It is not the table that is obsolete, it is the technology itself that is obsolete. And that applies to all tables, soon to be followed by CD players.
In response to Eee3 I never said that newer was better. I am responding to the fact that linn is not competitive at it's price point with better designed tables. I for one cannot understand the statement if it ain't broke don't fix it? We are not talking about waffle iron's here but an expensive TT. That has not kept up with most if not all the competition with all it's years in existence. When the Goldmund studio first came out it trashed the Linn with it's looks and use of newer material's which contributed to a better performance. Yet through it all Linn never addressed it's inferior built and the lack of wanting to use better known materials. I will concede if not for the use of the Pabst motor on many older Goldmund's they would have sold at first glance before anyone would have considered a Linn. I also find it laughable with the need of an expert Linn setup technician to float the table "suspending it in mid air" so to correctly set it up. There are tables from VPI, Rega and many other's that would take most of 45min or less to set up rightly out of box with better sound and with reliability of setup.
Owned mine since '90. I've had it "tuned up" once in '03, which, unless you're truly a 'hands-on' person, should be done on ANY TT older than a decade. My Linn has never failed me and has always sounded great. Maybe I lucked out and bought the only one that isn't 'fussy'!;)
Chazro, I guess you bought the only other one, besides mine, that isn't fussy. I bought mine in the mid 70s, had it updated a couple of times, last tuned about 15 years ago. I've never had the first problem and it still sounds great. I've had two other tables but I always come back to the Linn. What other electronic product can you count on to work flawlessly for 30 plus years?
"As far as engineering and construction goes, the thrust plate in the bearing well is machined so precisely, you cannot measure its flatness mechanically. You have to use wavelengths of light to measure it. Hardly obsolete."

Mechanical measurement of surface roughness is at least two orders of magnitude more accurate than using light (see atomic force microscopy). This has to be one of the most inane comments I've read in quite awhile.
I am not a Linnie as I did not buy one until this fall for a back up table. There are a number of people, such as Martin Colloms, who have heard most things and have top systems who still use the Linn so it must be competitive. As noted, the outside appearance has changed but the inside is very different. I'll bet some of those telling you how obsolete it is are using tube amps with circuits straight from the 50s.
Schipo, to answer your question about if it ain't broke don't fix it, its real simple. Linn has been selling thousands of turntables a year for over 30 yrs. using the same "obselete" design so obviously its competitive! Again, if it were not I'm fairly sure they would have changed. As mentioned above they've been in business for over 35 yrs. so I think they have a little understanding about how to sell good turntables. You don't stay in business that long selling inferior and obsolete products! So again, I say if it ain't broke don't fix it!
Also, if you can tell me how many more turntables Vpi and rega sold than linn, then maybe I'll consider your competive argument. But I doubt that will happen.
So, all or most are ignoring the superior design's from such as Goldmund, VPI and Teres turntables and just going with they Linn sell many a turntable so they must be doing something right. Well if the design was just what your claiming, why look anywhere in the way of new modern materials such as metacrylic or by using better manufacturing techniques with new bonding methods, just Linn does it right. Now lets just forget where all in the 21st century and instead time marches backwards.
A previous poster chose to use the example of atomic force microscopy to illustrate the alleged inanity of my comment about measuring thrust plate flatness with light.

The cantilever deflection in atomic force microscopy is most widely measured with optical methods, either with an interferometer or the beam-bounce method. With beam bounce, an optical beam is reflected from the back side of the cantilever to a position-sensitive photodetector.
I would say that Linn is no longer competitive with some of the top contenders out there.
The Linn is competitive with the Rega and all the Rega clones out there. God knows there are enough of those, but competitive with the very best? That wasn't really a serious question was it?
I found all those Linn upgrades to be stressing. Kind of like putting disc brakes on my old GTO and then wondering if I also need to make them power brakes or buy radial tires. I bought a Scoutmaster and a very good cartridge. An upgrade is now a better table or a better cartridge. Less stress, no more bouncing, and I know my setup sounds as good as it possibly can.
I regard the question as 'tragicomical' and fear that
one honest answer will be painful for so many owners.
I myself never got the damn springs ok. So when I
acquired Audiomeca J1 it was some kind of liberation.
That even better is possible I discovered with Kuzma
Stabi Ref.
Martin Colloms is an Englishmen. Would you even think of him using anything but a Linn? I am sure if he changed camps, his readership would stone him to death with their Linn's.
I am an englishman too And as an ex linnie I can honestly say that I feel the Linn has had its day amongst serious audiophiles.
The Linn marketing machine marches to its own tune here in the UK and its dealers are not allowed nor equipped to demonstrate the superiority of other designs,Sadly a good 70% of UK dealers are Linn/Naim dealers even to this day,the unsurspecting punter walks in and gets sold the same old philosophy as thirty years ago and walk out of the dealers having been convinced that what they have bought is the best that money can buy!
The prices for silly small percentage/performance upgrades are absolutely rediculous in real engineering terms.
I just hope that many of todays users will see the light just as I have
Nandric: I wouldn't say that Linn LP-12 sucks because it doesn't. Some people are probably so proud to be a Linn owner that they tend to overrate the product --> that's a fact. It is the same as with Naim. Those brands are for people with a bit of acquired taste but that doesn't mean that they don't make good products.
* It appears to me though that many Linn and Naim owners are often easily offended and they tend to become "defensive" in their argumentation with regard to their "brands".

Schipo, just listen to yourself. You talk about marching backwards in the 21st century when you were told sometime ago that analog (turntable) was old outdated technology.
Digital is the way to go, the latest technology!!yet you are embracing that very technology which is supposed to be old an outdated. So, who's maching backward in the 21st century?
Make-up your mind as to where you want to be.
Finally, your argument is suppose to be about being competitive, not about where you are in space and time.
So, one more time(obviously there's a learning curve problem)
Competitively speaking, if you are in business to be successful and make money and you are making millions of dollars selling your product, why would you change what your're doing? !! Would you change because somebody thinks you should use newer technology or would you let the market dictate that?
Again, Linn a company that's been in business 35 plus years and sucessful at what they do obviously knows what they're doing. They don't need you to tell them when they should make a change.
By the way, how long have you been in business?
I guess it boils down to if one likes the sound of an LP12 or not.
Dazzdax ,I deed not use the phrase 'Linn sucks' but I will
elaborate my phrase 'tragicomical question'.
I think that the design philosophy of this TT has a solid
basis in the psychology.
1. The premise: There are unbelievable many masogist on the
earth,particulary in the UK.

So they designed this springsystem. I got 17 X hernia
trying to adjust them from beneath but the bell refused
to ring.Possible because I am atheist but still have some
'inexplicable need' to kneel for something or someone
But sometimes one sees the light and in my case it was
the Audiomeca J1.
Nandric, I didn't know H. Pearson was that small, you have to kneel in front of him when talking to him :)
I didn't know either the LP-12 was so difficult to set up :)
Everything will be OK when Linn introduces the LP-12.5 SE :)

I owned a couple of Linns about 15 yrs apart and have had a host of others AR, Thorens, VPI, Oracle, Technics, etc (current is cosmos IV) The one I miss the least is the Linn I never thought it was anything more than a basically competent design that was bested by almost everything else Ive tried.
Perhaps I can offer a slightly different perspective because to my thinking, it all depends if you want a new or used LP12.

As to my background and experience, I am a former (20 year+) owner of a Linn Sondek. Over the years, I dutifully did all of the upgrades and I thoroughly enjoyed the LP12. It's sins are primarily those of omission and the well-documented frequency anomalies never bothered me. However, when it came time for the Keel upgrade, the price gave me pause. After a long search, I sold the Linn and bought a Galibier table.

That said, I believe that a used, recent vintage LP12 is a tremendous value. For example, there is one currently on sale on Audiogon for $1500. Given the huge installed base of Sondek's, I believe the vast majority of users purchase their Linn's used and conversations with my local dealer would seem to support this hypothesis. Additionally, there are many (relatively) inexpensive upgrades to the motor, suspension, arm and cartridge that can significantly improve the sound. In this price range, the LP12 is tough to beat for pure musical enjoyment and if properly cared for, it will last forever. I have no hesitation recommending a used LP12 to anyone looking in this price range.

However...a new fully loaded LP12 with top of the line Linn arm and cartridge is now a greater than $10k investment and there is certainly stiff competition in this price range. If someone is contemplating purchasing a new Linn, I would at least advise them to audition some of the competition.

Hope this helps.

That said, I believe that a used, recent vintage LP12 is a tremendous value.
Yes, you are right, but I think it depends on the view.
For example:
I'LL go out and screw 4 little pieces of wood to a box.
Price about 10$. Then I paint it, look for some NASA (or whatever) stories, go out and offer it for 1000$....
After finding endless fans who think that is a really top product some will sell it because they want something different, the price will drop a little bit, let's say: 50%less and everyone says "Wow, super, I go for it, it is so cheap now"
That's business :)
Dazzdax, the phrases,the jokes and 'amissinterpretation'.
I think that the first precondition for the 'honest
laughter' is the ability to laugh about ourselfs.
I even think that this has something to do with empahty.
There is a famous and hilarius phrase from UK:
'Dont mention the war!' (to the German tourist).
My empahty is the reason that I avoided to MENTION
the tonearm base-plate ,the (3) amazing screws (II war stock?) and the so-called 'theory behind' the 'construction'
But every time (as I reccol) that I approched the arm-
lift my heart sank so I got the arythmia added to my
Everything I have desribed is my own experience.I.e I sayd
nothing about 'the other' So am I allowed to do so?
BTW your joke(?) about (hi-fi Pope) Pearson is 'above'
my English and my comprehension. Sorry.

Nandric, it was tongue in cheek regarding Harry (Pearson). You mentioned the fact that you have been kneeling in front of the LP-12 so often you developed a hernia. Well Harry is in fact quite a tall person, but as a joke I called him "small" (I meant in fact "short" in stature) so you need to kneel down when talking to him. Do you get the joke now? Btw (disclaimer), this has nothing to do with the LP-12!

May I use that word, tragicomical? That's a really good word that should be officially allowed into the English lexicon, don't you think? ;)
Mosin, I am not sure about your intentions but I fear
the worst. It is a very naive presupposition that a
'lexicon' is a kind of authority in linguistic matter.
I am more familiar with linguistic theorys then analog
tools (logical: Frege,Wittgenstein,Tarsky,Quine,etc;
Audiogon-forum is a international 'institution' so you
can't expect that everyone is fluently in English.
The most I have learned from this forum is from Raul and
even I can 'discover' grammatical errors in his text.
BTW Do you realy think that Einstein,Godel,Tarsky,Carnap,
etc. speak fluently English?
If so then I have pity with you.
It seems that the Linns are just not cool or trendy anymore.

Since I put the Denon 103R cartridge on mine (Linn Axis actually) though, it sounds better than ever to me and I have not felt a need to change when I listen to other newer tables on other high end systems at dealers so far.

SO for me, I have to say that the lesser Axis is competitive so I would expect the LP-12 to be so as well.

I've also been a big Thorens fan also and would go to a good Thorens as well in a heartbeat if I had to.

Also, if cost is the indicator, it seems the very best these days cost 10X as much as the Linn or more, so is it even a fair comparison?
I've heard some Linns and they are a fine turntable. But I just cannot let the statement they they are good value second hand pass. $1,500 for a vintage Linn: are you seriously saying that is better value than a Micro Seiki BL91 for example? They go for about $1,000 and are a great TT.

I'm never going to say Linns aren't very good turntables, but I think they are overpriced, both new and second hand. I just cannot see the value at the prices they go for.

For myself, when I got back into analog, I just felt that I wanted to own a Linn at some point in my audiophile life, just to see what all this talk was about. I thought that there must be something there to have a tt with such loyalty, not to mention the longevity of the product - it's not something you have to replace in 5 years, unless you want to.

I was a bit afraid at first, thinking that they needed constant tweaking if you looked at them the wrong way, but I was mistaken. Once properly set up in your home, as Linn dealers are required to do, they will go for several years without adjustment. Of course, if you're the "nervous type", constantly agonizing over whether your system is in tune, you might be better of with a Rega or something that can't be adjusted.

The last thing is the looks - Personally, I prefer record players that look like record players. That's just my taste. So the Linn fits me well in that regard.

Sonically, I think it's great. There are probably much better and much worse, but now I've owned a Linn as I had planned and I know what it's about. I'm sure there's better and I know there's worse. It's not a religion, it's a record player.

As to it being an old design - well, I don't mean to be crude, but pu**y's an old design too, and that's doing OK as far as I can see.

The fact that the Linn has been a highly regarded standard fore so long is in itself a valuable reason to own one before owning something else, as you point out.

I've never owned an LP12 but the Axis is as easy to set up and requires as little maintenance as any table I've owned. The only difficulty perhaps is that there is not a removable headshell to make mounting cartridges easier, but it is still not a problem. I've run my Linn Axis without issue for over 20 years now, including record cleaning on the table running, and it even still has the original belts and sounds better than ever with my latest associated gear.
NO, I don't think so either. It doesn't mean it can't make music, but then a lot of things can that are less expensive.
The updates.
I am ,qua outlook, on the side of Schipo but fot the
context I must refer to Raul:'If the design is sound
then why so many updates?'
Rauls context was 'tonearms' and I presupose that he
meant Graham (?).
I mentioned my Audiomeca J1 but not the designer.
Pierre Lurne is an physicist and designed first for
Goldmund (TT, linear tonarm F3,etc) and then for hes
own Audiomeca ( J1,J4,Romeo and last Belladonna).
Lurne has 'strong opinions' about the TT,tonearm,etc
design and emphasise that thy are based on physics.
Acc. to Lurne the platter is the most important part of
an TT,with the bearing as 'included' in the design-
'philosophy'. The most 'correct design' is the inverted
bearing with the 'centre of gravity' in the platter.
This 'centre' is only 'nearly accessible '(see Googel:
Pierre Lurne).
The platter of my Audiomeca (8kgr.) was balanced to an
accuracy of less then 0.5 gr.(BTW I have never seen an
update for Lurnes TT).
If this statements are sound (I am not an Physicist)
then,it seems to me, the design of Linn makes also
some sence.I can't recoll that Linn ever 'modified' or
'updated' the platter. So I think that the 'mystery' of
Linn must be the platter. That is of course an conjecture.
I am sure that there are graduate physicist in our forum
and hope thy will expplain the issue more eloquent.

but wel
I'd say yes as it relates to quality of sound (and without getting too verbose, an acknowledgment that tables simply produce a different type of sound), but at a price that isn't competitive.

I have currently been considering this very thought. I have an old LP12 c. 1977. Very few upgrades; and of those, small maintenance rather than feature/system upgrades. Was considering a considerable upgrade to the table, purchase of a more recent used LP12 that includes upgrades or switch to another TT. End result was a switch to a new VPI. While liking the Linn sound - and understanding that my vintage had the rather warm mid/low end that could be somewhat 'bloated' or ill-defined as compared to newer versions, I felt that it was time to cast off the periodic fiddling with the TT and the (at times) shocking costs of upgrades. And indeed, with recollections by many on this and other forums, it appears the degree of 'fiddling' over time varies widely within the same model; something of a consideration on it's own. The question then is why bother when there are alternatives. The answer to that is simply personal preferences. And that it that. Those alternatives certainly don't produce a sound of any less quality than a Linn, but rather a different type of sound from each other.

Perhaps the closes I've heard to a Linn sound was a P9. But then I haven't really listened to very many TT's.
Terra3: Because I'm in a virtually identical situation (i.e. an LP12 of very similar vintage to yours) and considering a couple of Stamford UK upgrades (the Hercules board & the carbon fiber sub-frame), how would you compare your satisfaction and sound of your new VPI with your old Linn?
After many upgrades a Linn will still sound like... a Linn. The manufacturer has a particular "sound" in mind, so that is the sound you are hearing. If a particular upgrade would destroy this sound characteristic, many Linn followers would be very disappointed (because they like this familiar Linn sound and they won't be departed from it).

an analogy,
compare the wonderful 1967 Jaguar XKE with a modern equivalent sports car. The modern sports car will crush the XKE in all areas except nostalgia, price, and reliability.
Not to hijack the thread, but I've never heard "XKE" and "reliability" used in the same sentence.
Your absolutely correct. The XKE was not reliable. My error of enthusiasm posting the concept.
The updates,the platter.' but' the bearing.
In my updates I stated the presupposition that the
platter of Linn is well designed and made so no updates
by this 'part'.But if Lurne is right about the inclusion
of the bearing in the 'disign concept' then the bearing
of Linn can't be optimal (i.e. not inverted ).
There is a firm legitimacy in our forum for both:
'subjective' and 'objective' approach to our hobby.
But I think that 'mechanical matter' can't be 'subjective'.
So I expressed my hope that physicist in our forum will
explain this issue.
My LP-12 is late-80's vintage, Ittok LVii, no Lingo or other updates. Sounds pretty good. Could I replace it with something like a Rega P5 or P7 or a KAB-modded Technics and be happy, do you think?