the thorens 850....with the stock arm
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Diamondslife I have owned a Linn LP12 for the last 20 years and have grown tired of the plumminess. Some of the UK hifi mags have been running reviews of retro analog gear so I decided to try an 80's Technics direct drive table.
In their heyday direct drives fell out of favor because isolation from acoustic feedback was not well-understood so when placed on a piece of furniture didn't perform at their best.
I picked up a SL-150 for £75 on eBay, to which I've fitted an Expressimo modified RB250 arm and Denon DL-103. I built a sandbox shelf that is supported by four high density concrete building blocks.
It sounds very neutral, with clear, deep musical bass, no bloom or plumminess. It's dynamic and exciting enough. I'd say the Rega-derived arm is a bit unrefined, slightly metallic, but it's way clearer and more listenable to than the Linn.
The imaging and resolution are not up with a Galibier but it's a fun, neutral sounding table, and a refreshing change from the murky Linn.
My hunch is the Linn suffers due to the bouncy suspension and the speed stability from the cheapo ac motor is poor, also the rubber band adds a muffly veiling to the music. The direct drive table gives a cleaner, more precise presentation.
I'll add to flyingred's suggestion. You should consider a modified Technics SL-1200mkX. I have an old SL-1200mk2 to which I have added the tonearm fluid damper from KAB. The damper improved tracking with my Denon DL-160 cart which really has an audible effect in loud orchestral passages for instance. www.kabusa.com sells various mod kits (including an external beefed up power supply) for the Technics and also fully modified turntables.