Upgrade LP 12 or...

I've recently rediscovered my vinyl, but I'm not going to give up digital. I have an LP 12 with an aging Troika, Ittok LVII, Valhalla and Cirkus, and I'm considering some upgrades. If I go the Lingo, Ekos II and Akiva route, it is really going to add up (Akiva around $3500, Ekos about $2750 and Lingo $1600). That's a bunch of dough, and I wonder if I can do better for the same money or less. I listen to about 80% rock/pop/folk/progressive, 15% classical and 5% jazz. I've been interested in the Teres, Wilson Benesch Circle, new P9 and Acoustic Signature turntables. Something that is easy to set-up and maintain would be a plus for me. If I change turntables, I'll probably replace the entire rig. What do you think?
If I could I'd seriously consider the Teres, or the Sota Cosmos TT. But I can't!
I'd have my present rig tuned up, get a new cartridge like a high-end Koetsu or the Arkiv/follow-on, consider the Lingo. Then I'd work on the placement of the table in order to minimize acoustic and environmental feedback.
I was a long-time Linn LP 12 owner. I followed the upgarde path from Ittok to Ekos, Vahalla to Lingo, Cirkus etc. I had a Koetsu Rosewood signature and then a VDH Black Beauty on it.

I recently went to a VPI TNT Mk V with JMW 12.5 arm. (I still use the VDH BB) This was by far the best upgrade I did.

To my mind the LP 12, while it sounds good, was very light, and also indistinct and "boomy", in the bass area. (Yes mine was set up by a Linn tech and the "bounce" was right on). While other areas have improved as well, this was the most noticeable difference. It was so dramatic that I don't think I could live with an LP 12 again, knowing how much is missing in that region. Given the extent of the upgrade you are talking about, I would suggest moving to another table that doesn't suffer from the Linn's deficencies.

I've had 2 Linn lp12s, a used one from about 73 (!) believe it or not, and my current "anniversary" edition (1999).

I'm not going to say I would recommend it over another table, it's just the table I wound up owning for various reasons. The lp12 has its pros and cons. Getting it to sound right can be a PITA, but it has a certain musicality within certain constraints. I think it basically comes down to taste. Bass can lack control as Jackcob points out, although this can be tamed somewhat through setup.

To see how much you really like your table you should do the following (if you havent already):

Make sure arm bearings are good (set everything to "zero" on the tonearm settings and the arm should float (when tapped) effortlessly without interruption or irregular movements. if not it will cost around $500 to fix the Ittok.
Once you've established the bearings are good, NEVER tighten or loosen cartridge bolts with the arm attached to the table or you may ruin the arm bearings. I have ruined the bearings on an Akito by doing just that.

Get the best Linn set-up guy you can find to tweak your table.

Place table on a rigid surface perfectly leveled (from the platter of the table). Good choices: Sound Org floor stand (that's what I've got), Target wall shelf, Apollo wall shelf, Ikea end table (good $15 alternative). Use the heavier of the two Ikea end tables, the light one lacks warmth sonically.

Like I said I'm not endorsing the lp12, just throwing out some critical points I have found neccesary to make it sound acceptable. Best of luck whatever happens! :)
Just looked at your system and it looks amazing! - completely out of my $$$ league. Only thing I might say is you might want to get that TT off the multi-component rack, the combined mass of all the components will not please the turntable. Try putting it on a dedicated stand that is rigidly seated to the floor or wall, and also the Linn's internal suspension will probably work better without any "footers" or such underneath the table.

I must add I am very jealous of you disc spinner, I had a Musical Fidelity Electra cd player (only $650) that was very satisfying. I can't even imagine what yours is capable of!
I don't know from your post what it is you think you're missing.

That said, I agree with Benthar about the placement of the tt, unless you have a cement floor. I have mine on a Mana wall shelf that makes a hell of a difference. I would also do something about whatever those feet are that the tt is on. They must be dampening the sound too much (my gut feeling).

"Aging" Troika, though, is what I picked up on. I don't know why you'd fork over the cash for those upgrades. Personally, I don't think they're worth that much in sonic enhancements. I'd throw on a new cartridge and live with it for a while, then figure out what tweeks/"upgrades" to do next.
Arthur Salvatore has some strong opinions about turntables and potentially some offensive words about Linn tables. Search for high-endaudio.com. I've found much of what he says about tables, arms and cartridges to be accurate.
One of the big problems with the Lp 12 is it's set up, most dealer's said, they are specialists, but based to my experience, leaving their shop, and the player wasn't the same.

The best upgrades for this one, are in my opinion, from Naim, specially the Aro arm. It's a very good one.

Another frustrating fact, even when full upgraded with very much money, all owners I know, who changed later to a serious design ( VPI TNT, or Basis 2400, Basis Ovation, Well Tempered, Michell, Oracle ) couldn't believe the huge difference in sonic improvement. All told me, it was frustrating to realize, spending so much money for a inferior design ( in comparison ).

It was a super product for dealers, always with upgrades, a dealers dream for making money, and for all set up guys.

Their work never stopped.

And the owner was always ready to pay .....

Anyway, when you want to go with it, try it with Naim ARO arm, avoid the Lingo.
I looked at your system pics -
1) get rid of those gawdawful blobs under the Sondek
2) at the very least(for the sake of matching cosmetics) get a separate 2-3 tier Quadraspire stand and use it only for support of the turntable- wallmounting would be even better
3)consider replacing or rebuilding the Troika- it's probably knackered

Only after you've addressed the turntable's feet, cartridge and support should you consider upgrades (particularly psu and arm) or changes(unless you just want to change for the sake of change- a potential quagmire if you like what the Linn does and have built your system around those qualities)

Given your system, I would put the LP12 on a better support and change out the cartridge to a Dynavector. Or, if you want a set and forget type TT, go for the P9. From your system description, you have a need for speed. I have an LP12 and have not personally heard the other tables, but I think the other tables (except the P9) play up the hi-fi aspects of music (soundstage, even frequency response, detail retrieval, air etc) more, but do not quite have the musicality (i.e. PRAT) of the Rega and the Linn. The two biggest upgrades to my LP12 were the Mana wall shelf and the Dynavector 17D2 (which is why I suggested them). For more discussion on LP12s, I suggest going to the Naim site (www.naim-audio.com ?).

Yes, you do have the Linn placed in the worst possible manner. It should never be on an equipment rack with other gear. It should always have it's own light rigid stand, preferably lower to the floor. I agree to get rid of the "God Awful Blobs" under the TT feet. Just placing the TT on a Sound Organisation TT stand, would make the Linn sound 10% better than it does now.

If you want to get a new TT, the Teres 255 will blow out any turntables that have thus far been mentioned. And it is lower cost than most of them too. Just for reference, I lived with a Linn LP12/Ittok/Karma for years, so I can give an accurate comparison to what you have. I have also heard most of all the other high end tables too. The Teres is a truly exceptional table, and is very good value for dollar.
The Troika rebuild is a great deal. And a used Lingo is too, since they have a nuclear half life. You might need a dealer to install it, though. You're even more in the Church of Linn than I am (anything better than a twin climax? Sorry, meant Klimax Twin), and changing out my LP12 is almost the last thing on my audio todo list.