New Turntable Direction


It's been a long time since I sought the opinions of the community.  I have been a happy Linnie for 20+ years stopping after upgrades with the Ekos, Cirkus, Lingo, and suspension.  I still have my Shelter 90X.  A recent upgrade inquiry resulted in approximately 6K investment in my table and this just doesn't seem to make sense considering it's age.  I have considered investing the 6K in a new table and staring all over.  I have initially looked at Oracle, VPI, and Basis in part because they have been around for as long as I have been doing this.  For what it is worth my phono stage is still a Rhea.  So what do you think new table or another Linn upgrade and if new table what brand?  As always I appreciate your feedback.
xagwell
Another that has been around even longer is Garrard. A refurbished Garrard 301 or 401 is a worthy consideration. 
At this level and for an experienced spinner, look at table and arm as two separate components. It sure looks like you have a terrific phono stage and cartridge. A new table and arm makes more sense to me than pouring $6k into a Linn. A Linn that by the way has to be worth a decent amount of money. So you are really looking at a $10k table/arm, right? That's close to Origin Live Conqueror territory for the arm, and still plenty left for a table.
Post removed 
Since you mentioned Garrard, I remember when my father bought one in the mid 60"s when seperates became popular.  I forgot to mention that I still have a Elac Miracord 750 III with a Shure Cartridge that I'm going to dust off tonight and go down memory lane.
+1 for a refirbed Garrard 301/401. Ever since I heard that late legendary record company owner/producer Winston Ma used his 301 as the source for one of his great Gold Label CDs, I have been searching for a good rebuilt 301. Finally found a great one. A Woodsong 301 with a period appropriate arm-the Ortophon 309.
I absolutely love it with my Myajima Shalabi. You may be able to find a good used one as I did although you will have to be patient. But since you have a cool Linnie, you should be able to find one. I prefer the look and feel of the 301 more than the 401 but that is not much of an issue. IMO the Gerrard just has a drive and pace beyond almost any for not much money relatively. And it certainly would be a different presentation from the Linn.
The title of your thread got me wondering...  How many turntable models run counter-clockwise?
edcyn--I thought the same thing!  I seem to recall having a turntable that did that way back, not by any intentional design, though.
You will have to spend a lot of money to get a turntable that betters the performance of your LP-12. And you may still miss the rhythm, pace, and musicality of the Linn. If you are just yearning for something sexier or more expensive looking, you might consider one of the aftermarket plinths.
I'm very surprised by the retro leaning responses.  You must be veterans like me.  I am still curious about Oracle Delphi though.  I always thought it was beautifully designed and sounded great, and Basis well its a point of curiosity.   I always thought my next and last table would be an SME but I see the $ has sky rocketed so that won't happen.
Time to upgrade the phono or buy better one.
The PolyTable Super12 with Sorane 12” arm is $3600. You can, of course, get it without the arm and step up to a Kuzma, SME, whatever. It’s a great deck. 
Origin Live Resolution and an Origin Live Conqueror as Miller carbon stated (I know of a Resolution that is available) would put at the performance level you desire.  Look at Fremer’s comments about the Resolution with the Illustrious (step down from the Conqueror) for a reference. 
I use a refurbished 1975 Lenco Idle wheel drive mounted on a 8 in thick laminate plinth. 100 lbs. Tri Planar MKVII tonearm Soundsmith cart. 1st gen. Plays through EAR pre. It can truly drag some serious mineral through the groove. 
+1 garrard 301 or 401. Amazing turntables.
I have had my Linn for 25+ yrs and have done many of the upgrades including the Keel. Last year when I retired I bought a VPI Classic Signature on a sale from Upscale Audio—just to hear something different. I still have my Linn and I often A/B the tables on the same LP. Totally different tables and arms and cartridges—but I really like both! One does not “blow away” the other. Sometimes we just need a change and why not try something else after all these years?
If you like your table, I would keep it, maybe invest in a Keel, which is supposed to bring large improvements and just go with a new set of springs and a general tuneup.  There is also that new lower-priced Keel that Linn makes.  Or just get the tuneup and let it go.  There are some very expensive upgrades for the Linn and you don't have to buy them just because they exist.  
I would love a linn....even the new sondek majik with the pro-ject evo arm to start. However. There is really noone locally that sells them, and online dealers refuse or cannot sell them beyond their local area. Some day I will own one. Honestly, one of the most beautiful and iconic turntables ever produced. I then can complete my all made in scottland system which currently includes tannoys and sugden....
I was a less committed Linnie when I discovered Nottingham Analogue.

Long long ago I auditioned quite a bit, but whenever I auditioned the latest and greatest LP12, it was never that much better than my Basic. Maybe it was setup, or I had an exceptional cartridge, can't say, but I never did hear enough difference to justify the money. Then I heard a NA Hyperspace, and on a leap of faith bought the precursor to the Dais, unheard. Now THAT was a sonic leap.

The next time I heard that much improvement was my DIY all-air-bearing turntable.

The big limitation of the NA is that they have NO suspension. That works for me because my TT's rest on massive cabinets bolted to the (house) frame and bolted to concrete, which is poured onto the granite of a tectonic plate. Also, far from the nearest highway or railroad track, and even a good distance from the nearest commercial establishment. So it's real quiet.

Also, the NA works well with the biggest bargain in high end audio: TransFi Terminator air bearing tonearm, the best tonearm south of the cost of a new car. IMO. Anyway, works for me. YMMV
Former LP12 Valhalla owner here. I now have 2 refurbished Garrard 401s with 12" Jelco 850L. One is modified, the other mostly original. See my profile for photos. While the LP12 does tiny detail very well, it loses out in every other category like PRAT -so no need to worry on that score.
There is some work involved in getting a vintage table sorted but lots of folks will help you on the journey.
If I was looking for an out of the box table without the worry of se-up, I would get a Technics 1200G or a George Merrill REAL.
Check out the Michell Gyrodec.  Too often overlooked.
Technics SL-1200G with a Lyra Delos cartridge at $5200.00 Great setup.
+1 for the Rega Planar 10.  I will add, place it on a high-quality platform such as a Symposium Acoustics Segue ISO.  What an excellent combination.  Only my opinion, of course. 
@xagwell 
I'm very surprised by the retro leaning responses.


The others must be preoccupied, really.


My taste in sound is crystal clear, detailed and lean.  I hate bass bloat and fullness, which are usually associated with impaired clarity in the entire freq spectrum.  My Linn Valhalla with Alphason HR100S titanium tonearm, Denon 305 cartridge gave me what I wanted, years ago.  The SOTA Sapphire TT with my same arm and cartridge was leaden and dead sounding.  The Linn replaced my 1st TT/arm, a top of the line direct drive Denon with the Denon 307 arm, which sounded leaden by comparison to the Linn.  That's when I became convinced of the whole Linn story.  Then I moved to the Goldmund Studio TT, but my Alphason arm was better than the Goldmund T3B straight line tracker arm.  The Goldmund TT was a little better than my Linn.  Overall, the Linn gets a very high rating from me.

Today, I would consider one of the top Rega table and arm combinations.  For $6K or so with the Rega Apheta 2 or 3 cartridge, reviews suggest the type of sound I like.  But the most important move would be a change of cartridge.  That gives the biggest bang for the buck.  Not necessarily the most expensive cartridge.  I wouldn't get the top Aphelion cartridge for $5K, but would get the Apheta 2 or 3.  But I am very happy with my 35 year old Denon 305 cartridge which still has the sound I like.
I’m in the exact same boat as the OP with my Basis 2001 w/ suspension/Rega RB900/McCormack Micro Phono Drive. Love my Basis but updates will be as much as new everything. I’m looking into Vertere. The MG-1 t.t. and SG-1 tonearm. PHONO- 1 phono stage as well...Vertere is very different than Basis as far as motor on the plinth and lack of suspension(I believe)....I have a 250 pound Sound Anchors rack so suspension may be less important a consideration.
I’ve read good things about Vertere...Have you or any posters here looked into or heard about them?
+1 Rega Planer 10.  Great review in Stereophile
https://www.stereophile.com/content/rega-planar-10-turntable-rb3000-tonearm-apheta-3-phono-cartridge
Drawback is changing cartridges which may require fiddling like spacers.

Newer modern Technics turntables has also garnered many positive reviews.

VPI also a solid alternative.  I picked up a used Avenger w 2 tonearms for $8k. 
As time marches on, there have been many continuous sonic/technical improvements in turntables, tonearms, cartridges often using computer programs and equipment in designing/engineering especially in micro vibration management. There’s also been advances in materials and tighter tolerances.  Linn is a fine turntable, but many newer brands/models outperform it.  
Apologies if off topic, but to significantly upgrade your the sonics perhaps you should upgrade your cartridge as well.  The modern Hana cartridges have a fantastic bang/buck performance- that’s why they sold so many.
I'm definitely biased on this, but for another option take a look here
A friend was a long term Linn fan and had got up to a Radikal but still with an Aro holding his Ortofon Cadenza Bronze. Next thing I knew he’s sold it all and was extolling his new Well Tempered Versalex, admittedly with a DV  DRT XV1t. The Versalex has stayed for several years now despite trying the Amadeus 254 GT. 


I had a Basis with a Rega tonearm. Replace it with a Basis Vector tonearm, and you will be amazed.


vinylshadow
6 posts


07-31-2020 5:22pm
I’m in the exact same boat as the OP with my Basis 2001 w/ suspension/Rega RB900/McCormack Micro Phono Drive. Love my Basis but updates will be as much as new everything. I’m looking into Vertere. The MG-1 t.t. and SG-1 tonearm. PHONO- 1 phono stage as well...Vertere is very different than Basis as far as motor on the plinth and lack of suspension(I believe)....I have a 250 pound Sound Anchors rack so suspension may be less important a consideration.
I’ve read good things about Vertere...Have you or any posters here looked into or heard about them?

I,ve heard the Vertere MG 1, is very good, it,s really an upgraded Roksan Xerxes 20 (same designer) but with an upgraded motor and power supply and with an acrylic look, sort of a similar flavor to a Linn Lp12.  The SG1 tonearm is unipivot , if you are into that type of arm.
6k doesn't make sense.....unless you are going Keel Radical etc....Upgrading to Lingo 4 plus a Karoussel bearing will bring your turn table to another level,,,,can add the Kore sub for an extre 1k. Total for all this would be 3.5 k minus the sale of the Cirkus and the Lingo 800-1k....Let say a net cost of 3K.....would be hard to get a better turntable.....
Work around the cartridge, different cart = different sound...
I’ve been using a VPI HW for 35 years. MK II at first, then upgraded to MK IV. With an MMT arm and a Koetsu. 
Best to avoid letting those marketers get into your brain and scratch your itch. If it ain’t broke... my two sense. 
Well I have to agree with the 301/401 and even Lenco suggestions.
I have all three and a VPI, Artemis labs and Yamaha GT-2000...I know.

Theer is something really organic, natural and my ears immensely pleasing about the 301 and 401. I bought two in ok shape with need to replace several readily available components.
I am not a very handy person but was able to do a bunch of stuff myself, add a nice Ortofon arm and some vintage cartridges.

The VPI Prime with Ortofon Cadenza black and Auditorium SUT sounds incredible. But just different. I use Shindo entry level components and DeVore O/96 or Altec Flamenco mainly.

If I would need to give up several TTs I would keep the 301. BUT honestly I am biased towards vintage gear (have many vintage tube amps/systems) cars, etc...

I think the OP needs to find a way to listen and decide as there are so many wonderful modern options as well that it is hard to chose.
Like an entry level Kuzma or PEAR Audio can be really great.
As well as many noted above.
I would suggest to start with cartridge upgrade first. In vinyl playback cartridge is responsible for 70% of sound, phono preamp for 20% and only remaining 10% are dependent on table/arm combination. All this of case when we you are dealing with real high-end gear. Thus cartridge is the component where you can have most improvement or simply change in sound, if this is what you are after. What cartridge change does not produce further improvement, you can proceed with upgrade or replacement of phono preamp. Only when you still want to get  a notch higher - you should look at new table/arm combination. Of cause when you are selecting cartridge, make sure it is compatible with your arm (height, weight, suspension flexibility are all important in that).
Thanks all but I'm not sure which posts are response to me or the OP.
I have a Benz Micro Wood M2 with minimal play that was just serviced at VAS. So it is like brand new.
I like my Basis 2001 w/suspension. I've never read a bad thing about Basis. I THINK the motor is high torque.  And the motor sits off of the plinth. I know the bearings etc are very high tolerance and precision. But, it was recommended to me by Basis and dealers to get the Calibration Base along with the Vector 4. That is $8,000-$9,000 right there. With any substantial upgrade I do believe it is time to upgrade from my McCormack Micro Phono Drive as well. That is why I was considering the Vertere Mg-1/SG-1/PHONO-1 rig as all of that, even with a tonearm wiring upgrade to hand built is in the $9,000-$10,000 ballpark.... But, very different designs. MG-1 motor on the plinth and no suspension(I think).
@xagwell Your Linn has a great upgrade path..Karousel and Radikal along with either a Kore or a Keel. Karousel is the first in line, then Keel or Kore and lastly the power supply. Having said that, a top end Basis is where i would go next if going away from a Linn. Not a model like the 2001 or even the 2500, but 2800 Signature and up. Very pricey upgrade but one of the few tables that I have heard that can give slightly more SQ than a LP12 Klimax ( mainly due to the ability to have a Vector or Superarm 9 arm). The Linn LP12 is hobbled at this level by the Ekos SE arm and its weak phono cable.
vinylshadow

"Thanks all but I’m not sure which posts are response to me or the OP."

You should start your own post with your question.

" ... it was recommended to me by Basis and dealers to get the Calibration Base along with the Vector 4."

Look for a used Vector tonearm. They show up from time to time.  It will make a huge difference. I was skeptical, but adding a Vector tonearm to my Basis 2001 allowed me to understand the importance of a good tonearm. Hifishark will make your search easier.
I do know I need to upgrade my tonearm more than anything. While the 2001 is very precise(as is Basis's slogan)I just am unsure if upgrading the t.t. will add an even higher level of sonics...Yes. I will start my own thread. Thanks.
xagwell, I think you were on the right path with Basis and Oracle. I personally would never live with a turntable that was not adequately isolated. The other three turntables that are adequately isolated are Sota, SME and the Dohmann Helix.
The SOTA Cosmos is easily the best value. The Dohmann is easily the best turntable of the group and the price reflects that. 
The Cosmos has several very attractive features. It has vacuum hold down, the best isolated dust cover which can be used while playing a disc, an excellent motor with excellent speed control, and a magnetic thrust bearing similar to what Clearaudio uses. On the problematic side the Cosmos limits the tonearms you can use. I think an Origin Live Enterprise would be perfect. This would certainly run circles around your Linn. 
Having said all this you can isolate any turntable by putting it on a MinusK platform but this would add another 5K to the price. The Dohmann has MinusK trickery built in. Michael Fremer uses a MinusK under his Continuum. 
Good luck and do tell us what you wind up with!
Go to the Jean Nantais website and see if it might be a good fit. I've been with him 15 years and he changed the way I listen to music and what I hear.