Linn Ekos SE
Ittock LVII is the best bang for the buck. I had the Ekos II and even though a little better, not nearly enough better to justify the cost, unless you've got the money to burn. You may also be just as well off with what you have now. I'm selling a few of my last parts on 2 LP 12's that I owned and have replaced them with a Rega RP3 table w/ an RB 303 arm and Linn Adikt MM cart. It sounds as good to me, with less complications than the Sondek's and much cheaper to upgrade. Best of luck.
I am using the Moth version of the Rega 1000 arm with a Pete Wriggle VTA adjustor. The Moth is $1200 vs $2000 for the Rega badged one. According to British reviews there is no difference between them. Paul Messenger has switched to the 1000 from a Naim Aro on his LP 12. I also have a 304 which I alternate with my AT 33EV. I have had an Ittok in the past and like the 1000 better. Also consider something like the Sole sub chassis and arm board or the Mose Hercules power supply if you haven't upgraded already. I have them on my LP 12 and they made a big difference.
If you have no complaints about the sound, I would keep what you have. The OL arms are very decent. I don't know what you're using for a phono stage, but if you're using a cheap one, a used Linto might be a good upgrade. They are a great deal on the used market - about $800 or so, and deliver very high performance for that amount of money.
I dont know if i am missing anything....Just wondering what would be a good choice if i want to upgrade my tone arm. Something way better than what i have now.
Don't even think about it. Linn LP12 is the most remarkable turntable from tonality, soundstage, it is the benchmark in PRaT coloration and adjustments are rarely necessary. It is legend. Thousands can't be wrong when they purchased it. :-)
I was a Technics dealer in the days when the SP 10 was new; I never had one as it was thought to be very expensive in those days. I had an SP 15 with EPA 500 arm as a demo. I like belt drive better than direct but YMMV. I have had some large and heavy tables in recent years: VPI TNT, Aries Extended, Basis Ovation among them. I am happy with the LP12 but there are there are other good tables out there; pick one that gives the sound you like; even the best tables have their own "sound".
Have heard a couple friends systems many times that have fully tricked out LP12 w/ Naim ARO. No question that arm sounds great. Very transparent and detailed. My LP12 is modified with Origin Live DC motor (good upgrade from Valhalla) and has RB 300 arm recently modified with Mitchell counterweight, Incognito wire and Wriggle VTA adjustor. These arm mods made a very big and IMO well worthwhile improvement, though probably not all the way to the transparency of an ARO.
I had 2 Sondek 12's and I liked them, but they sounded about the same as my Rega RP3 and are much more hassle. Every 2 years you need to put new springs in and it's hard todo without a jig, although it can be done. It is not a set it and forget it item, and costs lots of money to upgrade. upgrading the bearing, and getting a keel are two things that don't make a bit of difference in sound. It makes me wonder about other things too. I really like some Linn products, but their marketing outperforms their products. Been there done that. It was fun, but overly costly.
Not sure about the rebadged Rega (Moth 1000) that Stanwal mentioned above, but some of the rebadged Rega arms to not have the same cable and counterwieghts as the Rega badged arms. Be sure to take that into account when comparing prices.
I am very excited to have an Audiomods arm on its way to me. They get great reviews and will be the same geometry as the OL arm you currently have, so no need for a new armboard, etc. Can't speak directly to whether or not it would be an upgrade though. 6moons reviews the Series V, and there are a number of rave reviews of the earlier models that you can easily Google.
I had an Ittok, then Origin Liver Silver taper on my LP12, both were excellent, the OL possibly a tad better. There is a lot of mystery and folk lore about the LP12. Tradition was that the only arm not really suited, was the basic versions of the Rega RB300. Upgraded versions, that include origin live and and the RB 1000, are'nt a problem.
I would have thought your OL would be a good choice and anything else would be mainly a sideways move. The 2 classic top flight arms are the Ekos and Aro and I am sure they are excellent too. The best value choice, might be a second hand Ittok. They do come up now and then, particularly over here in the UK.
For me the aro wins. What it loses out to the various ekos arms in terms of frequency extension, bass and resolution it more than makes up for in terms of unipivot flow, tunefullness and out and out lyricism and musicality.
At a lower budget however, look for an Ittok LVIII (not to be confused with the commonplace LVII). This last gen ittok also majors on flowing musicality and some folk say its the best arm of the lot. The other interesting one is the Zeta. Made by a small but now defunct british company it has the drive and propulsion and extension of an ekos but with a lot of the aro's more organic and melodious character.
No Syntax; there is no such thing as "knowledge" about which gear you prefer. Some like electrostatics, some horns, some cones: which are "wrong"? Some like tubes, some solid state; what "knowledge" should we use to determine who is "right"? Turntables do not all sound the same; of course some are not very good but among the good ones there is considerable variation in sound. Actually you are correct in one respect , the "best" sound FOR YOU is the sound you like the best. I get a laugh out of the constant "what is the best ---- on the market" questions on here. The secret in audio is TO KNOW YOUR OWN TASTE ; we all want accurate sound reproduction but we also all have different ears. When I am acting as a dealer I always thought my job was to help a client discover the kind of sound he wanted; not simply tell them what they ought to like. Just because I like one component better than another does not mean that everyone does or should; right now I have 2 of the "best" phono stages on the market; they do not sound alike though both are very good and I could live with either. Which is the "better" one; I will bet that the vote would be about 50-50.
My teachers mentioned but never actually explained the
inspiration 'source' for the poets called 'muse'. My own
imagination was : the most beautiful but inaccessible girl at
(high)school. Never thought that an TT and certainly not the
LP-12 could be such a 'source'.
Stanwal your prose reads as a poem writen by a lawyer.