Origin DC Motor in LP12: Marketing or reality?

I have asked this before and gotten NO (zero, nada, zilch, bupkis, null...) response. From what I can tell, there is 10 times (100x?) the amount of promotional material as there is personal experience of this upgrade on the internet. I am starting to wonder if they have ever sold any.

My TT is a Linn LP12, with Linn Basik Plus arm and Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood MkII cartridge, and it is fitted with the Valhalla board. I have a great isolation stand that gives me incredibly musical and natural sound and I love this in my system. I do not want to screw up the sound, but I'm willing to try to improve it without spending big bucks. I can afford about $400-600 for a large upgrade at a time, once or twice a year.

Everyone I know who has added a motor drive (Lingo, Walker, Clearaudio, VPI) reports fantastic results, and I have heard it myself on many of those systems.

I have considered, on and off, trying to upgrade with the Origin Live DC Motor Drive, but I can only find about 2-3 professional reviews, and no individual (amateur) critiques, just comments from people who have read about but haven't actually installed one.

Have any of you actually tried this upgrade? Would I get a great improvement over the Valhalla board? How does it compare to a Lingo? What are the pros and the cons?

p.s. Does anyone else notice that there are certain products that are very heavily promoted in this and other sites (classified and dealer), but rarely see comments about someone who bought the product?
I cannot respond from experience with the OL DC motor system on an LP12. However, I have used the OL DC motor system on an OL turntable, and I have a Teres turntable with a DC motor system, AND I owned a Linn LP12 Valhalla for about 11 years.

In my opinion, the DC motor system has alot to recommend it over the typical AC synchronous motor that is used in the LP12. OL puports to use a Maxon motor that is Swiss made, and from the same company that provides the DC motors to the Teres company. Their controller is not feedback regulated for speed, and is user-adjusted by a separate strobe system that is not provided in the kit. At least it wasn't in the kit that I received. You adjust the speed with some small trim-pots on the circuit board and then you depend on it being right from there on. Not as sophisticated as the Teres system, but it is similar to several of the other DC motor systems on other TTs out there.

Basically, there is no doubt that improving the motor controller of the LP12 is a worthwhile undertaking. Of all the ways to do it, changing the motor to a DC type has the most theoretical advantage. Whether this theoretical advantage actually manifests itself in the outcome is based upon the execution of the design by the mfr. I can say that the OL DC motor system that I used worked well enough, but I was not too enamored with the way the speed was checked and adjusted. After I got it adjusted, it seemed to work fine.

Of the other types that keep the AC motor, I have heard from users that the Lingo puts noise on the AC line that can interfere with other components. I have also heard that the Naim Armageddon was an excellent improvement that didn't put noise on the AC line.
Thanks for the response...I really appreciate the information.

I am mainly concerned with two issues. I probably should have stated them up-front. And my concern is more in how it would affect my listening experience.

1. Will there be a gain or loss of dynamics in going from the Valhalla board to the Origin DC? I've read reports that the Origin DC doesn't have quite the same dynamics as a Lingo or an Armageddon, but I'm mainly interested to see if there will be an improvement over the Valhalla.

2. Is there a problem with speed fluctuations? I've read that a DC motor is dependant on the voltage for accuracy, so if my voltage fluctuates so will the motor speed. Is this a problem? Is it negligable?
I own an Armageddon on my Linn. Big improvement over the Valhalla. Speed is very constant.

I have not heard the OL but understand that since it is DC and the platter is not high mass that you will hear the speed fluctuations as variations in the pitch of your music.

I'd skip a year on the upgrade cycle, save up the money for a Walker, VPI, or Armageddon. With Armageddon you can't get 45 rpm without a pulley change on the table.

There is great discussion/information about Linns on http://www.extremeaudio.com and Analogue Addicts at http://www.n.mackie.btinternet.co.uk/linn/tlp12faq.html
I just had one installed on my Oracle Delphi turntable. I will pick it up tomorrow. The person that installed it on the Oracle expressed that he felt it was low in torque compared to other original motors on Mapleknoll and Sota. I purchased mine from a magazine reviewer in the US with the heavy power supply ($300 option). He never got around to try it. There is no flywheel what so ever. My sense it can handle light platter and not heavy ones. Say up to 10 pounds. Origin Live told me that I may need to help the platter to get rotation started with my hand. If this turns out to be true, this is unacceptable. I was not thinking that my hand would be a crank for the turntable start procedure. I will be happy to keep you posted.
So now I have the turntable. Running nicely. A little more noisy than the original Oracle motor. However, don't hear it when playing a record.
Much more torque. The platter does not slow down at all when you use a recod brush.
Seems completely stable speed.
I like it so far.
DCAudio...what do you hear as a result of the new motor? Are the dynamics changed? How is the soundstaging? Low/high ends? Is the music more 'musical'?
I replaced my Valhalla with the OL DC system and am pleased
with it. Distortions that I thought were caused by
catridge mistracking have disappeared. The bass is better
balanced, previously the bass was somewhat over emphasized
on some recordings, to the point of boominess. There was
a slight reduction in PRAT, but the Vahalla Linn seemed
overemphasized in this area anyway. I listen to
primarily acoustic jazz and the rythmic quality is just
fine. Have noticed no loss of overall dynamics. I
wouldn't necessarily describe the change as fantastic, but
have never for a moment entertained the desire to return to the stock motor.
please excuse my ignorance but what is PRAT ?
I have now had the turntable two weekends. Sorry to say, but this table was not working properly for a long time and sat in my basement. It is not going to compare before and after new motor. What I can say is that this table playing "Back to the U.S.S.R." from the Beatles White Album reproduced the jet engine at an unheard dynamic level. The cymbals played by Phil Collins on "Face Value" are fantastic and finally the glasses and bottles on "Jazz at the Pawnshop" are reproduced so well that you think someone is sitting next to you with a bottle. If it is the motor, the turntable, the arm or the cartidge. Who knows. It beats my SACD set-up by a mile.
Par3in1- PRAT is Pace, Rythym And Timing.
The best thing you can do to make to your Linn is to make sure the suspension is tuned. The difference between tuned and not tuned is dramatic. All the supplies sounded great to me and to be honest, I think the real reason people find the biggest improvement in power supplies is the fact that they usually retune the suspension when changes are made to the table. Having much much experience with Linn tables in all configurations, my advice to you for the best bang for your dollars, is blow off your Linn Basik tonearm and upgrade that. For the money spent, you will hear much more improvement than you will the drive system. A Linn Ittok is still reasonable in price, but difficult to work with because easy to damage bearing if mishandled. But I think it will be a very significant improvement over your Basik and will be in the same price range with a used drive system or much cheaper than a brand new Lingo. If you can afford it, Ekos or ARO. My 2 cents, everyone has their own opinion, but that would be my advice to you.
I've got the original OL DC motor on my LP12. Blew away the stock basic motor it replaced and is better than my memory of a Valhalla motored LP12 I used to own.

I disagree with Linnlp12's posting above. I am quite certain I heard a significantly better sound with OL motor in combination with a Grace 707 arm than with a Valhalla motor with the significantly better Fidelity Research FR64 arm. Plus I have never heard suspension tuning improvements to match those wrought by any of my motor upgrades.

The new OL motor addresses my one issue with my motor; it's too noisy. Nothing comes through the speakers, but the physical noise generated by the motor's brushes are audible across the room in quiet pieces of music. The new OL motor has rubber shrink-wrap damping to address this. I'm thinking about wrapping my motor in BluTack.

All-in-all, the OL motor is great value for money. Some rough edges in implementation, but what comes out of the speakers is many times what you could reasonably expect from any product at that price point.

Have never compared directly with Armageddon or Lingo, but these are out of my price range. OL was affordable.

I was impressed with the increased soundstaging, tonal neutrality and detail. Did not notice any loss of the Linn's toe-tapping PRAT qualities. Strongly recommended.
I have now had the Oracle turntable with the Origin Live motor for about one month.
Biggest issue so far. Motor noise. Very noisy compared to my old Oracle motor and my AR Turntable.
I've heard LP12s with a variety of power supplies, and I'd say the OL supply is comparable to the Valhalla but not a "slam dunk" improvement. It is considerably better than the Basik supply, but I think the Lingo, the Pink Triangle, and the Armageddon are all considerably better. It might be worth waiting until you can get a Lingo or an Armageddon. Having owned both, my personal preference is for the Armageddon, but others disagree.


DCAudio- I had an issue with motor noise on my OL motor. I let it run continuously for four days- that seemed to mechanically break it in. No noise since then.

My best advice: don't buy this junk!!! I bought the Origin Live DC motor for my REGA Planar 25 in 2002. I regreted my choice for several motives. Firstly, I asked a motor with a pulley for a round belt and they sent to me a motor for a flat belt!!! After that, I had a lot of technical problems with the motor. I don't remember all of these problems but I didn't have the choice to send the motor in England several times. Finally, the motor didn't work at the right speed. The speed fluctuated! A bad memory!! The AC motor of my Rega Planar 25 with the little anti-vibration electronic circuit is really better. The speed is stable. I removed the Origin live DC motor and put again my Rega AC motor. The best advice for you: don't buy the Origin Live DC motor. Buy the Linn Lingo!!!
Got to agree with Linnlp 12, I had a Basik plus mounted on my Valhalla LP12. It is amazing what a pile of -- this arm is. I replaced it with a WTA that simply put was like going from a cheap 80's CD player to a Linn in difference.
Nothing I have tried since has given me a bigger bang for the buck than this upgrade.
BTW, there seems to be much discussion on the web and elsewhere whether the Lingo is in fact an improvement over the Valhalla or whether it imparts a different set of colorations? Many people also have told me that the cirkus mod is also a step backwards. One of the really interesting things about high-end, is that people seem to assume that a mod or a later and more costly itineration is an improvement. Personally, I am not so sure this is absolutely true. Listen for yourself and I have always found that the hype tends to become obvious if it is indeed hype or reality.
I just installed the motor and it is an improvement in my old one. It is an easy switch, takes about 2 hours and comes with a 30 day return policy. Can't beat that. It also comes with a strobe disc which I did not use to adjust speed (preferring the counting method in the instruction book). I can't address how it will be in your Linn or if it is where you should spend your money but I did it as an after thought and am happy with the results (and I no longer wonder "what if?". It does take awhile to get up to speed and they recommend leaving it running while changing records which suits me but may not you. Of course now I want the better transformer.
I've just installed the OL ultra power supply and DC 200 motor on my Linn and am using the basic wallwart transformer. I'd like to upgrade the transformer but am balking at the $300+ price.

I understand that the guts of the upgrade unit is a toroid transformer so I'm thinking about building the unit myself. Anyone try a DIY on this before?
I have had the origin live Advanced Silver with upgraded transformer on my Linn LP12 since 4/06.It has been excellent in terms of reliability. The improvement in sound over the Valhalla was HUGE and I can absolutely recommend it. Installation was a snap. There are pots to tweak the speeds (33, 45) and they remain quite stable after you have run in the motor for a few days.I use a test record I have that has concert "A" on it and a tuning meter (music instruments) to set the speed exactly. Of course a strobe works fine.

Hope this helps.
Have had my upgrade for 2-3 yrs. now, and the improvement was huge. My experience for the most part mirrors Stops, above. I wish I would have made the change from the Valhalla to the Origin Live sooner! One can never be sure of how much bang for the buck one gets, and I wasn't sure I would get a $600 improvement. I took the plunge, and found it to be money very well spent.
I see the original post was nearly seven years ago, but it doesn't hurt to let people know about it.
OI put the OL motor on my Valhalla Linn some years ago and did'nt hear a dramatic change. My system wasn't that good then, so it may have been hard to hear the change. I put on a OL Silver taper tone arm and that was a real upgrade on the Ittok
I am late to this forum but here is my take on it.....

Synchronous motors are DESIGNED to be constant speed based on supply FREQUENCY.

DC motors have inherently variable speed based EXTREMELY  sensitively on DC voltage.

To ensure that a DC motor stays on constant speed, the speed has to be sampled many times a second and "CORRECTED" if the voltage drifts.  And, voltage will ALWAYS drift no matter what.

With a sync motor and specially with Valhalla, the frequency is derived from a xtal oscillator and is therefore EXTREMELY STABLE.

Therefore, in conclusion, it is much more difficult and troublesome to adjust speed by continuously correcting it, rather than having a motor which inherently runs at a constant speed by design, especially driven by a xtal oscillator.

The ONLY saving grace of the DC motor may be its quietness.  However, the synchronous motor can be made just as quiet by reducing the applied voltage to it and adjusting its phase shift capacitor to be as close to 90 degrees as possible.  These are still MUCH easier to achieve in practice than to build a speed sampler and correct the voltage.

Origin Live told me that I may need to help the platter to get rotation started with my hand. If this turns out to be true, this is unacceptable. I was not thinking that my hand would be a crank for the turntable start procedure.
I’m the opposite. I always ’help’ my platter get started and up to speed. Otherwise, all the work is done by the belt and motor, or on a DD, by the motor. It causes belts to stretch, and motors to do far more work to overcome inertia, and the heavier the platter (and most think heavy is good) the more work is required. Once at speed, maintaining speed is much less stress on motor and belt. And I don’t think I’m being imposed upon: I’m helping.

Synchronous motors are DESIGNED to be constant speed based on supply FREQUENCY.
Supply frequency is not stable nor reliable. I filmed a documentary in a new power station. Everything was the latest tech. Very impressive — until I reached the frequency control room. The "high tech" controller was a guy at a big steering wheel (looked like the helm-wheel on a racing yacht) and staring at a huge meter. 50Hz was the target, and despite his efforts, the meter was always moving — 49Hz, 50Hz, 51Hz — and he would correct by turning the wheel. Sometimes it dipped to 48 or rose to 52. It AVERAGED 50Hz over 24 hours, but with many fluctuations. I hope, but don't know, it's been improved since then...

There are many MODIFICATIONS by LP 12 which can't

be called ''IMPROWEMENT''. Raul ever stated ''if an design is

good why so many modifications?'' My Kuzma Stabi Reference

was without any modification for years. My old LP 12 have had very

simple capacitors network and old Philips motor. Both caused

me to buy OL alternative. If i remember well for 500 euro.

My other reason was the possibility to adjust the speed.

I deed prefer  OL version but in comparison with the old

LP 12. But since than there were many modifications about

which I have no idea. So my experience of limited ''range''.

There are numerous reasons why a table might need to be updated...if that is even possible with the design. Not the least of which are improvements in the technology and the ability to retrofit same.
Linn has offered this opportunity with its Linn LP12 over the many years, something that I personally think says a lot for them. If nothing else, this aspect insures the ability to keep the table current with the latest upgrades. How many other turntable manufacturer’s can you say that about?

Hi bimasta,

I do not know what country your power station experience was in but mains frequency is usually tightly controlled in most countries to be quite stable.  Even that is moot point since the Valhalla or Hercules boards generate their own internal frequency by an internal xtal oscillator which is usually about 0.1% stable.  No normal human will be able to tell the difference in pitch with that stability.  I have even found these guys online which have better than 0.002% stability.  That is almost literally satellite grade stability:


Having said all this, just as an experiment I want to play around with the Origin Live DC motor but have some questions that dont seem to be answered on their own web site:

- Is the motor BRUSHLESS ?  Otherwise it will not last long. "Long" is subjective but brushed motors will always eventually fail due to mechanical friction.  It is only a matter of time.

- I do not see any 'feedback' mechanism on the Origin Live system.  How does it compensate against 'voltage drift' which will always happen no matter what, due to temp changes, component tolerances etc ?