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Depends how much an upgrade would cost compared to how much you can afford and want to spend.
The LP12 was a fine turntable in its day but designs have moved on a lot since it was first created and it can be improved upon. If you've been out of vinyl for a while why not have some fun and go and audition a few alternatives.
You have a very capable performer.
For 5K I think you stick with what you have since you need a new cartridge anyway. Do some research on reputable Linn experts and get your table brought up to snuff with part of your funds. Then spend the rest on a great cartridge.
There is no way you can spend the 5K on a new table + new arm + new cartridge and beat what I suggested.
My thought is that updating the LP12 would be more cost effective. I think you would have to spend more than the updating cost in order to get the same level of performance from a new table. Although it is true that the LP12 is an old table, Linn keep it up to current spec if you take the upgrade mods they provide over time.
I believe that Linn are finalizing a major upgrade to the base and armboard. I think it's called the Keel, but I'm not sure of the details. Somebody else may be able to provide more information. If that is the case, you might want to hang on a bit to see what its about and what it might cost.
Bryans, I agree with the suggestions to upgrade your LP 12. Not only is Linn coming out with a major upgrade to their subchassis and armboard, but Funk Firm has some after market carbon fiber upgrades to the subchassis as well as a new DC motor and power supply. Art Dudley has reviewed the funked upgrade in the last 2 issues of Stereophile and reported a more musical turntable. It sounds as if most of the critisisms leveled against the LP12 have been addressed. Good luck with your journey.
As a former LP12 owner, I'll disagree with the above. The LP12 design stood the test of time until the late 90's but has been surpassed by many new models since then. The VPI Scout series being just three of them. Linn has never been known for "value for money" and I think it's incorrect to say that the upgrades will be less money.
Have a listen to the VPI models and see what you think with your own ears before making the decision. I'm ecstatic with my Scoutmaster/SDS.
Sounds as though youre in pretty good shape. Maybe a visit to your Linn dealer for a tune up and have the Valhalla board checked out. Most all the comments to save the Lp12 and upgrade are with merit IMHO as it is a matter of what you can get for the money that will sound this good.
I would suggest a new Akiva cartridge by Linn. It is manufactured by Scan-tech who also offer the Lyra line of their own and indeed the Akiva is a well suited cartridge for your deck and arm. It is an obvious match. If you do not, you will need a competent phono amp. Linns Linto phono stage is excellent and the quietist phono amp I have ever heard. Linn has offered a handsome trade value on old Arkiv/Arkiva trade ins to the tune of about 1100.00 USD toward a Akiva. I went this route a couple of years ago by picking up an old Arkiv B on ebay for about 200.00 USD for trade with my dealer and have not regretted it for one minute since. Check out Stereophiles Art Dudley review of this cartridge in which he makes the comments that it is one of the quietist cartridges for record surface noise that he has ever heard and if he could only have a monogamous relationship with phono cartridges for his Lp12, this (Akiva) would be the one to spend the rest of his days with. I would concur.
Linn upgrades to the Lp12 from Glasgow are said to becoming. My opinion is that the cost is outrageous and not competitive in the market place, not like upgrades in their past. Talk of a 5000.00 USD aluminum billeted replacement for the wood surround that we all have and thousands more for a new sub-chassis of some undisclosed material composite, and a refresh of the existing Ekos arm with even tighter tolerances and a material change on the arm tube, again for thousands more, doesnt sound like anything Ill be investing in.
I have had my Linn Sondek Lp12 since 1983 and still find it both competitive and a value today. Happy Listening!
You should upgrade your LP12. I have both the LP12/cirkus/trampoline/naim aro/old lingo owned since 1985 and also the VPI HRX. The HRX does sound better overall, but the LP12 is not chopped liver and sounds great. The naim ARO arm especially is world class. The superscout master is not going to sound better, just different.
Like Raul said, change to either an ARM or Ekos. dyna, Linn and ortofon cartridges go well with Linn's.
I agree with Ghunter. The LP 12 is a money machine, and every upgrade remembers me about the reanimation from a dead donk.
When yoo love it, ok, stay with it, when you can't hear a difference to better designs, great, stay with it, when you want something less coloured, check the market. Endless choices.
Like others have said or implied, it could be a matter of whether you like the Linn's performance overall. That is, when it is operating properly. I too have had the LP12 for years, since around 1984 or so. Recently, it was not sounding very good and was pretty unlistenable for me. However, a rebuild (new suspension) and having the Valhalla board repaired did the trick. Actually, the board was repaired and it was better, but I replaced it with a used Lingo anyway (which is better still).
Wanting something new or different is fine, but, IMHO, the Linn is still one of the best at getting the jest of the recording off of the disk. I could be wrong (and the LP12 is the only Linn I have ever owned, except for a K9 cartridge), but it's my current opinion. There are many others who swear by VPI, and Acoustic Solid is one I would check into if I lost my Linn.
Cheers for the New Year.
I've wrestled with the same question for several years, also being a 20+ year owner of an LP12. I've started coming down on the side of upgrading the Linn, but it is as much out of a romantic attachment as anything else. The new Funk Firm upgrades look intriguing as hell. I think I'm emotionally opposed to the upcoming Keel upgrade as at some point, it stops being an LP12.
I still have the original Ittok arm along with the now twenty-something year old crappy arm wire. I think those might be first on my list.
If you can find a supplier the Funk Firm Vector Link upgrade package will transform your old Linn. I had the mods (new mat/sub-chassis/top plate/DC motor+triple pulley peripheral belt drive) fitted to my Lingo-ed LP12/Ittok LVIII. The result was a wider, more open soundstage and greatly improved tonal accuracy as a result of which a few previously fairly doubtful LPs have become highly listenable;classical stuff is much much more realistic. UK cost is £1290.00 - making it a bit of a bargain compared with the cost of upgrading to current Linn spec and leaving plenty of cash for a decent cartridge. Was also able to off-set the cost by selling the Lingo on e-bay :)