How much software do you have? You may want to consider the cost of that if you don't already have a good size stash of LP's. You already have a superb phono stage (I have one, too)so you're all set there.
Nothing wrong with VPI, but there are many other tables in the price range that you indicate. My own opinion is that by the time you upgrade your LP12 you would probably have spent close to the cost of a new table. Also, do you have any floor issues that would cause problems for a suspension table? There are some really good suspension tables out there that would easily best the LP12. In this category I'm very partial to Basis. I'm between tables and have started the process of deciding what will be next purchase. Like you, I'm looking at non-suspended but I'm also looking at much higher mass. Tables like Galibier, Teres, Avid, Acoustic Signature, etc. I'm just offering something to chew on.
I currently have about 300 LPs. Also I don't have any floor issues so I should be OK there.
Cool! Have you had a chance to hear your Rhea? What pre-amp is it mated to?
I have had an Aesthetix Rhea and Calypso now for about one year and a Sondek LP12/Ittok LVII since 1983 with no regrets whatsoever. I could go on and on at length about the musical value of these choices, but I'll spare everyone that for now. Sufficed to say they are all outstanding.
Bryans, First, how much do you have to spend?
What does your Linn deck have done to it as far as upgrades, anything?
What tonearm do you have?
What is the deck sitting on?
Without knowing where you're at I would suggest getting the cirkus bearing upgrade, if you don't already have it. It is worth every penny sonically and will virtually eliminate any surface noise.
Let us know the whole story and we could better offer you our help and experience. Cheers!
My LP12 has no upgrades and has the Ittok LVII. Deck is sitting on a LP stand attached to the wall. I am looking at the VPI players which retail under 8K new.
I went from a fully decked out LP12, except the cartridge which was a Benz Ruby 2, to a Basis 2500/Graham 2.2/Ruby and am absolutely delighted. The new front end sounds better, is near bullet proof in terms of reliability and is very user friendly. In other words, you don't need dealer support to set it up and fine tune it.
It's your choice of course. But consider a deck that will work as long as you will. In 10 or 20 years who will still be around in case you need support or parts? This is one reason I chose a Basis, they are so over-engineered they might survive nuclear attack.
You are the second person to recommend Basis. I will have to look into them.
upgrade the Linn still one of the best tables ever.
OK Bryans, Here is what I think... You already have the LP12 and I don't hear any complaints, Why not upgrade?
Well, the VPI Scoutmaster is one sexy deck and with their JMW arm you will get VTA on the fly. Something you don't have with the Ittok LVII and there are plenty of other TT in this price range.
What's funny about this hobby is that you may well get a dozen responses, with a dozen different recommendations. To me it sounds as though you are looking at dropping a serious amount of money and could afford to look and if you can, listen to a lot of choices. To continue on with the Linn deck (which there will be a reasonable amount of argument against) I would recommend the following:
* Cirkus Bearing @ $650 virtually eliminates surface noise
* Trampolin Suspension @ $250? Supports isolation from vibration
* Lingo Power Supply @ $1700 everything improves and firms up bass
* Neuance Platform @ $190
(I highly recommend it, read my thread on this platform)
* Akiva Cartridge @ $ ? works excellent with the package
I made the decision this year to invest in an Akiva cartridge made by Scantech to Linn spec. retailing for $2950. Scantech produces the Lyra Helikon and Titan and I like the way both of them sound. This Linn MC fits in between these two in both price and performance. The Ittok LVII tone arm handles this cartridge most aptly but one could always opt to the Ekos arm and get the benefit of the tighter tolerances. The Akiva for me does the trick quite nicely. Sonically it is lacking nothing and I also find it a very quiet listen on older well-worn vinyl in my collection. If you were interested I could show you how to get one for a substantial price improvement from Linn. Finally, I love this turntable and it still holds its own with many decks costing a hell of a lot more money and it has been an excellent value for all these years. To buy one new and full-blown today is not a bargain IMHO.
Is all this worth the cost
No one will better answer this question than you and your ears. It worked for me (and it still does) but again, Ive had my deck since 1983 and have upgraded it along the way. Most of the TTs that others will recommend didnt even exist when I was already upgrading my Linn deck. It made sense then but to go out and shop for a TT now with all the competition and the kind of dollars your talking about I might well come home with a different deck if I were you. Take you time and look at every turntable you can.
I like my VPI. Not nuclear proof, but neither am I. I guess we will die together ;) - VPI is a good value, lp12 is long lasting and good. Tough call. Good Luck! They are all better than digital, so you can't go wrong.
I have been a Linn owner for apprx 10 yrs, and have flirted with the same question of late. I have upgraded over the years including Tramploin suspension, Cirkus bearing, and Lingo power supply. I have the Ittok LV II/glider and use ARC PH -3 phono stage. I have auditioned Oracle, Nottingham, VPI, SME etc. My purchase of a new deck probably won't be based on the sonic improvements (subtle if at all), but ego. It seems I am flirting with other decks for asthetic reasons. So....until you upgrade your Linn: How will you really know. Must updrades would be the suspension/Lingo/Cirkus bearing.
So, Bryans, what type of sound do you like? Are you happy with the warm, musical or do you long for detail and dynamics? No wrong answers, just asking what your preferences are as this will help you decide what you want to do.
Dear Bryans: I agree with Dan and Thomas: go for a better table.
The best times of the LP12 are already past/over, with all its up-grades, the design is exahusted.
I think that you have to look elsewhere like: Galibier, Acoustic Signature, Simon Yorke, etc, etc, now it depends too which your budget for it. You have to choose too for a cartridge/tonearm combo that fit your music priorities/budget.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Making this post exactly 2 years and 18 days later. Keep the Linn!!! Well, now you can buy the Keel, which is one of the most dramatic improvements they have ever engineered since the lp12's inception!. You can also get the ekos se titanium arm, the new akiva, and the new trampoline. The lp12 isn't dead, it's alive as ever and sounding better than ever. keep the tables, as they're starting to claim more demand now.
Bryan for what it's worth I had a Linn like yours. LP12 no Cirkus but just Basik Plus arm Adikt. I went to a VPI Scout after all I read. Bought the Scout was at first astonished at the quiet background but after a few weeks I was finding I did not want to listen to vinyl anymore. So packed up the Scout and bought a another/better Linn. If you are happy and have liked the Linn for all these years think about it first. Your Linn is long neglected (at least 25 years out of date) with massive upgrades since yours! There is Ekos I and II and now Ekos SE. Not to mention the short lived Ittok LVIII. There is Cirkus, Lingo I and II. There is Keel now as well. In all total you are miles from current. VPI sexy and dead in my opinion. Current Linn LP12 won in Europe for highend audio product of the year. So long live the LP12 far from dead. Maybe yours is dated but like you I owned my first for 9 years and loved it I was bored (and I am not saying it was bad just did nothing for me) with VPI in 4 weeks. No PRaT! Linn so famous for.
Thanks for the update Jody.