Should I replace my LP12?

I've had an LP12 for the past 23 years. In that time, I've done all the suspension upgrades. It still has the Valhala supply. It also has the original Ittok arm, but a Goldmund platter. It has served me well and still works fine. However, I'm thinking that it might be time to go for a new, quite different approach to analog. I could save my pennies and get the Keel upgrade, new arm, etc, but maybe I'm simply ready for a change. I'm thinking I could get around $2.5k for what I have, including Clearaudio cartridge. My problem is where to go next for about the same money? The Pro-Ject tables look interesting as to the VPIs. I'd like to trade the LP12 signature lower mids for something crisper with a very sweet top end. I'm a tube guy so that might be considered a guiding principle. Any thoughts?
If it works well and if you would be spending for a new one what you could sell your old one for, I personally don't think "turntable technology" has advanced faster enough over inflation that you would be able to get anything better. You have a classic. It works. Appreciate it.
no..stay put

Better than an Lp12 for 2.5k USD... fuhgeddaboutit!
Different... that's up to your ears.

Here's another vote to keep the Linn Sondek because it's not cost effective to sell it. Still have mine since 1982.

But something is confusing me here...what prey tell is a goldmund platter doing on a Lp12?

I would suggest up-grades, you have a great reference table. Do you have the Cirkus bearing? It is outstanding. It single handedly cut surface noise (which was low to begin with) in half and then a whole lot of previously unheard low level detail came out to play. This was a bigger upgrade than even the Lingo power supply, which would also be a very substantial improvement over the Valhalla. And then there is a Ekos arm, with the new Ekos SE arm on the market, I think some close watching over the AudioGon used equipment ads may garner you a value.

Last but not least, how long has it been since you had your dealer reset-up your deck? I would also be curious to what cartridge you’re fitted with, and if it is a competent MC, what phono-amp your running. LOL.

Happy Listening!
I agree with the other folks. You might be pleasantly suprised by the Lingo/Ekos upgrade. I'm not a big Linn fan but the LP 12 is a tough one to beat.
I think there is a very, very high probability you will do better upgrading your LP12 with the funds you have than buying something new. Actually, I think it is pretty much a certainty. If you had 5k to 7.5k to spend, then maybe you could try something else (e.g, Michell Orb with an appropriate tonearm). I don't know that something would for sure be better than a *Keeled* LP12, which you get for the same kind of money, but it could be.

But LP12's are untouchable for the money on the used market, so long as they are properly serviced and set up. Other table's I've heard for around 2.5 K simply don't belong in the same room with even a reasonably tricked out LP12. And 2.5 K will definitely trick out your current LP 12: $600 for cirkus bearing (new and installed by a dealer), and then $1000 for a used Lingo II power supply. That leaves you with $900, which after you sell your Ittok, should buy you a used Ekos II with T cable.

Although there are some strong anti LP12 opinions out there, most of whom have never heard the modern version of the table, I just don't believe you could possibly do better than this with your money.

P.S. You have to have a dealer or Linn tech involved in all this. DIY is a bad idea with LP 12's for most people - you are pretty sure to end up hearing only 50% of what you could out of the table. Also, get that Goldmund platter off your table! Get a proper LP 12 platter and use a felt mat. The LP 12 is designed and precision engineered to have the parts it does - they are not randomly interchangeable. Granted there are some companies that make modifications that have a following (e.g., Funk), but I never have heard of a Goldmund platter being one of them.
You should give a VPI Scout or Nottingham Analogue's Spacedeck a try if you want a different flavour from a Linn.
Those smaller tables are not as bad as their lager ones. imho.

Neither tables groove as well as a well-set up Linn, but they are easier to set up and at least keep the nice flow of music going.

A Linn upgrade path is quite costly these days, and I am not sure if you should stick to it especially if you are wanting something *new*.

However, a Lingo II is a worthwhile upgrade for the money, and will address some of your issues.

Just curious, has your table maintained by a competent set up man?

Not doubting your ability to do it yourself, but it's not as easy as it looks to make the Sondek sing as intended.
Thanks all for your comments. R_F, I had the table realligned, etc. about a year ago by the local dealer, Gifted Listener, here in NOrthern VA. I do have the Cirkus and Trampalin mods. I'm not certain of the precise origin of the Goldmund platter. I bought the table used at Stereo Exchange in the Village in NYC. IT had been modified with that platter and new arm wires for the Ittok. Maybe the Keel and Ekos are the way to go. The current cartridge is a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood II. Up until recently, the phono stage was an ARC PH5, but now I'm shopping for other things. I'm not sure where I will end up there. At some point, maybe I'll just dabble in used versions of some of the other tables to see whose flavor I like best. Where should I go to get an original platter? I'm supposing the dealer can order it.
Pscialli, I think the dealer might be the only sure source for a Linn platter. Finding bits and pieces on AudioGon or Ebay is spotty at best for a non-upgradeable component but, not impossible. If you’re running a goldmund platter, is the spindle a Linn component with the Cirkus? I had no idea that such a thing was available. It leaves me curious to whether your non-Linn upgrades are helping or hurting or just changing the flavor. If I were you, I would pack up my table, go to Gifted Listener (who I've heard excellent feedback about) and A/B your table against a similar Lp12. I realize that it will be nearly impossible to do a real apples to apples comparison but, it may help you understand if the true Lp12 sound is vastly different than yours and whether you truly dig the groove it makes or if you need to head in a different direction entirely. On the chance that you like what you hear than comes the hard part of sorting out what has to happen with your deck. It sounds as if the rest of your set-up is of a good caliber so I don’t recognize a mismatch there. Personally, I would look at upgrades in this order 1.Lingo, 2.Ekos, then 3. Keel and agree whole heartedly with Newmanoc comments as far as value is concerned. The Lp12 on the used marked is a tough act to follow for the dollar. IMHO nothing comes close in total package, musically.

Happy Listening
Don't trade just for the sake of it! I traded my Lp12 on a VPI Scout because I was looking at a Cirkus Lingo Ekos or Ittok (I only had a basik plus) What a disapointment the VPI was. Yes it was much quieter but dead, dead, dead! Now I coughed up the dough and bought a used Ekos (sent the arm back to upgrade to Ekos II) and Cirkus Lingo and can't say how much better the arm is still in Scotland. LP12's are awesome. That you have had one for 23 years speaks volumes! Just buy and enjoy. I loved mine for 7 years. In two weeks the VPI was sitting in a box waiting for a buyer. That you can get 2.5k for your LP12 and there has been over 100k produced speaks volumes about the LP12. I won't stray again. Best source I have ever heard and yesterday I heard the unidisk, nice but NO Lp12!
I'm sort of in a similar boat. As far as I know, there is no Linn TT dealer here in the SF Bay Area any more, so upgrades and proper setup become a real problem, which is why I think about moving on to something else.

07-11-07: Drubin
I'm sort of in a similar boat. As far as I know, there is no Linn TT dealer here in the SF Bay Area any more...
According to the "Dealer Finder" on Linn's website (, there are Linn dealers in San Jose, San Rafael, Sebastopol, Burlingame, and Saratoga.

I'd be really surprised if they've all folded or dropped Linn.
Thanks. Only one of those is a "turntable specialist", which is
what I
would need, but that's better than none. Has anyone used Access to Music
LP12 set-up or upgrades?

Oh, I see there's also one in San Jose -- Ultimate Control. Never heard of
them, but good to know.
There is a new Linn platter currently being auctioned on ebay with a buy-it-now option of $380. I, too, would keep your turntable. You can radically change its sound, it you want a change, by changing cartridges.
well I will buck the trend on this thread.
a year or so I was sort of in your dillema. I had an LP12/Ekos/lingo and loved what it did well and hated what it didnt do so well. I found myself only listening to what "sounded" good on it, but put anything remotly complex and it just gets itself in a mess. I demoed many modern decks and ALL of them sorted this problem out but brought a few of there own. In the end I went VPI SSM (not a natural choice in the UK) but I felt it gave the best comprimise between what the LP12 did well (groove and musicaility) with the ability to handle anything you throw at it.
Dont get me wrong the LP12 can play out of its skin but unfortunatly on only a few types of music.
I was having my doubts about the ability of my LP 12 - it is an old standard (+-1975 Model) with an Ittok LVII and a Origin Live DC motor & Speed control. The cartridge is a Roksan Shiraz.
The past weekend a friend brought over his Wilson Benesch Full Circle sporting a Ortofon Contrapunkt C. Let me tell you that the LP 12 put the other TT to great shame - Now I am really impressed with my TT (Bought for $200)
Hang on to the LP 12 and set it up properly!
I have tossed this idea around a number of times. I had an identical post about 1.5 years ago. I've chosen to stay at home with my LP-12. I have the Trampolin,Cirkus, Lingo, and Ittok LV II with a Shelter 90X. I've thought about/played with Teres and Avid but have not budged. The most recent confirmation to stay with my Linn was the audition of the keel upgrade. I have put approximately 30K into my system and have experienced that most improvements are slightly marginal at best. However the sonic improvements with the LP 12 upgrade with the Keel/Ekos/Suspension was in no way marginal. It was mouth dropping. It re-affirmed my decision and gave me something new to save my pennies for. BTW, I have had my LP 12 for 12 years.
I've been saying this for years on AudioAsylum forums. You simply cannot beat a used LP12 for the money. When the VPI Scout first came out and reviewed by Art Dudely I had to point out to everyone that his review showed that the Scout was NOT in the same league as an upgraded LP12. Prices for LP12's have risen alot in the last few years. But still a better value for the sound you get against anything else under $2,000

For tables that cost over $3,000 I have no idea. Those tables seem to be very nice.
I bought my LP12 in '84...don't replace it!!!
I agree with Stringmun1. I bought mine in 1977. In 2002 I did the Lingo-II, Trampolin upgrade and I had my local dealer replace the springs and adjust the suspension. I've been listening happily ever since. The Lingo made a HUGE difference. DON'T REPLACE IT !!!
Forgot to add one thing. The Lingo upgrade replaced a Valhalla power supply. I had the Valhalla upgrade done in 1982. The Lingo was a HUGE improvelement over the Valhalla.
I used an LP12, Ittok, valhalla for years. It was something I lusted after(nurses first of course) as a Junior Doctor, back in the late 70's. Eventually, after a lot of auditioning, I changed to an Origin Live Resolution Illustrious. I far prefer the sound, detail and neutrality is way better. I can quite understand why others would love the musicality of the Linn, I think the OL is near the Linn in that respect and way ahead in others.
My problem with Linn is pricing, to me the company is being greedy. They have a 30+ year gravy train which they are riding to the end. The Keel is about £1600 I believe, hear in the UK. What it costs in the US with the current $ price, I hate to think. I can not believe the materials and development cost of the Keel, Lingo and other add ons, justify the price. This is an expensive hobby and a second hand Linn is still a good deal, but I don't think a new LP12 or current new add ons are a good deal at all. To me, some of the newer companies give far more for your $ or £.
I would suggest taking off the trampolin base unless you have your deck on a massive piece of furniture. If you have the deck on a wall shelf (ideal) or proper stand the trampolin will result in a softer sound, not the highest resolution. The small stick on 3M brand. feet from home depot will be a nice improvement. I know the LP12 extremely well but do prefer the Avid.