Linn Tables. Where to start? Please Help

Hello I am looking for a Turntable in the 1500 range with an arm. I am always hearing than Linn tables are one of the best and there are lots of them out there used so it seems ideal. My problem I know very little about models, things to look for, models to stay away from.

Please help decrease my ignorance and make a good TT choice.

Are these really better than a newer table like a VPI scout?

Thank you

Hi-Fi News and Record review did a marvelous article a few years back that gave a comprehensive history of the LP12 and showed serial numbers, the corresponding manufacturing dates and the changes made to the design. It is quite useful.
Thanks Viridian for the reference--see how useful your post was, I'm not even the gentleman who asked for help!

Drken, the great advantage of a used Linn LP12 Sondek (we are not talking about the Basic or the Axis, which were less-costly models) is that with factory kits, your Linn technician can upgrade it to very nearly the level of today's model.

You can therefore buy an LP12 from even the first production run and improve it step-by-step, as finances permit, learning a lot on the way and winding up with something very cool even if you're not a collector of vintage gear.

That makes the LP12 a safe bet for almost everyone. However as you hear more vinyl setups, your ears grow more sophisticated and you begin to notice that every turntable has a characteristic sound and the Sondek is no exception. It is most notable for its energy and drive, not to say it is a slouch in other departments, and if you stay with the hobby you may learn to prefer other tables eventually. That moment is, however, a long way down the road.

Best of luck!
linn tables (there is only one at present, the LP-12, which is/was their top-of-the-line), are good, and are really known for their musicality despite being belt-drive. a few caveats: they are finicky to set up and maintain, they are subject to quite a few factory and non-factory (naim, cetech, origin live to name a few) upgrades/mods which makes for $$$ down the road depending on the options you choose from the outset and the degree of "upgrade-itis" you are prone to, and are fairly costly if purchased new (IMHO). if you are determined to own an LP-12, buy used, make sure you have access to a technician who can properly set up/maintain the deck, and i would advise starting with something along the lines of a valhalla power supply and Ittok LVII tonearm (have the bearings checked!). this would require a modest outlay (by linn standards) to get you up and running. check the linn website, there may be good info there, and check the archives of the audiogon chat threads as i'm sure there are more than a few opinions/perspectives here as well. good luck in your search!
P.S. there was also a bearing upgrade (can't recall the designation) that is also a recommended prerequisite. it resulted in a much more neutral and less bass-bloated sound (linn had been knows for a "fat-bottomed" sonic signature and this was addressed in this particular factory upgrade).
I used to own a mid-range LP12 but found it too finicky to set up, maintain, and (without a wall rack) too sensitive to vibration. I now own a VPI Scout and feel that it's superior to *that* LP12 in nearly every way. It's fast, musical, projects wonderful soundstage, and looks great too.

The LP12 may keep on winning awards and earning accolades from magazines like Stereophile and HiFi+, but keep in mind that they are talking about the modern top-end LP12 which those of us with sub-$2k budgets can plain forget about. I've heard the maxed LP12 and it is incredible, but it's also in a price range far beyond what I want to ever spend on a tt.

My advice is to try and hear a range of turntables before you make the decision. I'd suggest the following alongside the LP12:

Michell Gyro SE
Rega P5
VPI Scout
Nottingham Spacedeck

I owned a Linn for years and enjoyed it. The upgrades are;
Armagedon/ Lingo power supplies
Cirkus Bearing set(mentioned by Musicdoc)
Trampoline Base
New arm of course.
The upgrades are not cheap, typically £800($1500) for power supply, or bearing set and do'nt alter the basic problems. It is hard to set up and looses it's balance easily. It is very musical, rythmical, but lacks detail(helped by Cirkus bearings).
It is an old design and I think you can do better. Here in the UK, Origin Live Avid are good alternatives. In the US you have so many good and good value designs, VPI, Teres, etc. Many would disagree, but I think the LP12 is off the pace now, with all the new low cost designs around.
You may want to check this site out which gives you a comprehensive history of the Linn LP12 and has a linn forum.
I had an LP12 for over 10 years, and liked it alot.

However, what was stated above about the "finicky" nature of these turntables is true. You need to either know how to do the set up on these tables, or have a good dealer. Most LP12 users out there today, have no idea how good that table can sound, because unbeknownst to them, it is not properly set up.

If you are just entering into analog, you'll need to lean heavily on your dealer for this table.

That said, an LP12 is not the "nth" degree of performance, but it is a very satisfying and musical table which is good enough to stay with for years to come. And you can mod and upgrade it, as others have mentioned above.