What is your recommendation on upgrading a Linn LP

Here is what I own. A 1984-1985 Linn with BASIK PLUS ARM and no Valhalla. Other wise it is stock. What is my best course? 1) Buy a new component (Linn)and add upgrades I like. 2) Buy parts as they become available on Audiogon and build a top grade player with my old once as a starting point 3. Buy a used player that meets my needs and wishes.

I look forward to your help
If the plinth is nice keep it and maybe start with an Ittock LVII tonearm. Maybe some new springs. Linn makes too many upgrades. Diminishing returns do not always makes sense and are seldom worth the costs for what you get out of it. I've rebuild 3 Sondeks. New motors and belts can help too. The rest is pretty much cosmetics. Good luck.
In England, they would recommend you see a Linn dealer.  I know Thomas OK is one in the U.S., as he comments on the Linn Forum.  They usually recommend you get a Cirkus bearing(and now, with the Kore[one subchasis], you might do both at the same time.  If you get a general tune-up, the belt, springs, etc. will be looked at.  It's possible that you could, on your own, change the belt, and add the new Trampolin(the bottom baseboard).  If you have to transport your Linn, they recommend the packing that came with the turntable.  I'm not sure if you have the Cirkus or not(see Linn Forum).  In addition, a new felt mat makes an improvement, and one side sounds better than the other.
I owned an LP12 with an Ekos arm, and the one thing I learned in owning this table is: Tune up. Have it set up by a reputable Linn dealer and he will be the best to make recommendations of what should be done. If you don't have a dealer locally, contact Rick at audioalternative.com, he will advise you how to pack and ship the table to him. Once he has it he will access the condition and needs to return the table to optimum performance. Then once you have it, you can start deciding if it needs a new arm, power supply, keel, etc. But that is where I would start, the suspension on the LP12 is crucial to performance and it really needs to be done by someone that does it all the time. Just my opinion of course.
A standard Linn table is fine. The Linn upgrades are IMHO way to expensive. Better to safe you money and buy something else.
Actually many Users who can remember back to early 1980s models find that the Valhalla version has much to recommend it.
(The Valhalla is no longer supported by Linn so you can't buy one now BTW)
One way to get close to (or better) that performance is to buy the Hercules II AC PSU. It is an external supply so fairly easy to implement.

The only thing I would say about the Hercules is that it can be sluggish on startup and you should give the platter an assist to get it up to stable speed more quickly. Once it's running of course there is no need to switch off the motor - just flip LPs while the engine is running.
It's an art best perfected without a felt mat (use a Ringmat instead because it doesn't stick to the LP) ;^)
The 1980's Linns are keepers. I'd do whatever I could to keep mine going. I am original owner of my Linn Axis that continues to deliver the goods. I'll be keeping it still as long as is possible.
Get a VPI Prime with 3D arm....
The first thing I did to mine was to upgrade to an Origin Live DC drive. I waited and waited then finally made the switch. Kicked myself for waiting so long. You'll be amazed. I'm lucky to have a Linn tech less than an hour away. Even before I took it to him I did the switch myself. A huge improvement.
Linn with Ferrari drive or anything else is old school.
I agree with Stringreen..I owned a lp12 and never could get it to sound good...and I know "good" is different to all.Sold it and im glad I did.I bought a scout at half the price.Setup was easy and no constant tinkering.Buy a different table!
I've known a few younger, naïve audiophiles who bought the whole Linn propaganda manifesto. Wonder if their close audio buddies ever did an intervention ;-).
Long before reading his comments, I invested in one of those "superior" turntables that Arthur Salvatore bangs on about, equipped it with a Phantom mkII. Yes it does do all the details, dynamics, stability and realism that one would expect from such combinations.
Despite this I still love the LP12 and wouldn't mind buying another 1980s example equipped with a Linn Ittok. Running a well set up LP12 on an Audiotech table mounted on a concrete floor through a substantial amplifier and a pair of electrostats permits a level of clarity that would even have woken up old Arthur ;^)

(Not to mention the wraparound surround capability - from only 2 channels - and the bringing of performers into the living space right next to your listening chair in 6ft tall tangible corporeal realism! Show me another turntable that pulls this trick off as effectively and cheaply as a 1980s Linn and I'll buy it!) :)

Ironically (and this will upset Arthur in his capacity as a former top VPI salesman) the worst T/T demo I've ever had was a VPI Classic/JMW Memorial 12" arm/Transfiguration cart. It was my worst nightmare. Constant (every second or 2!!) ear shattering pops & clicks from new vinyl despite multiple washes and even replacing the discs with other freshly washed examples (VPI 17.5).
I had 2 hours of it and it's not an experience I'll easily forget. By contrast I don't think I remember any surface noise at all from the old Linn Sondek on nearly all of my material over a period of a quarter of a century. Nor indeed do I feel the setup was fussy after it was done. The turntable went for 17 straight years without further setup and behaved as flawlessly as on day 1.

Not saying VPI is a poor T/T manufacturer, just recalling that particular demo. Was it the discs? MRA? The cleaning process, the T/T itself or a combination of several factors? Who knows. Listening through the noise the general standard of SQ left me cold. A bit CD like, not especially involving and nothing to get excited about.
Nothing sounds like a Linn. Get a tuneup, buy a new cartridge. Play records. There are lot of new designs out there that all offer a different sound and all of them are easier to own, but they are not LP12s.

If you can upgrade the arm at some point or add a power supply, that would be great but a full spec LP12 now costs like a mid size car. If you have a local dealer you trust, they might be able to provide some idea if which upgrades make the most difference.

I myslef am looking for a newer used Majik.
Moonglum.....what in the world were you listening to. My VPI is as quiet as a CD (though much better sound). Something is very wrong here.....
Dear SG,
I can appreciate your confusion. It's good to hear your VPI is working properly ;^)
I'm certain many VPI owners would echo your sentiments.

To make matters worse in this example it used all the standard gadgets (clamp, periphery ring etc) intended to advance its performance so it looked like a million dollars but sounded like $1.

As a rule I would tend to blame the LPs themselves, but if this is the true explanation they must be the worst examples of new vinyl on the planet.
The thought did occur to me that the periphery ring might have been acting as a circumferential "lightning rod" for static but the noise was persistent from beginning to end of each side.
I dismissed that explanation but I admit I've never heard anything like it...
I suspect it wasn't grounded properly. I've noticed excessive static with my tnt that manifests as surface noise if not grounded properly.
There are many good tables these days, and Linn is just one of the favors available.

That said, do enjoy my Linn unite a bit. Whether the OP want to update a Linn is determined by how committed the OP is and whether the OP wants to spend $

My Linn is not a top spec Linn any longer but it does music well-
Here's my set up- LP12 w/Cirkus, Lingo, Trampolin, Ekos II, Arliv B and Kore

If I were starting from scratch I would look at a VPI Prime and if I had more $ to spend, an SME
Replace the Linn with a VPI Prime / 3D atm. Nothing can be done to a Linn that will make it sound nearly as good as a modern design. VPI Prime with the 3D arm is probably one of hte better bang for the buck table / arm combos today.
Well, since the OPs 3 preferred options are all Linn-based I'm going to stick with that question and keep it relevant. ;^)

The LP12 has the distinction of being the (only?) turntable that can be built from scratch using readily available non-Linn parts. Not only that but there could be massive number of permutations possible through alternate combinations!

Lets look at some options -
- Origin Live motor kit (highly regarded vs more expensive options)
- "Hercules II" (mentioned earlier).
- Cetech sub-chassis (again very popular & relatively inexpensive. Not sure if this is available now but Linn are countering the aftermarket sub-chassis suppliers with their Majik (£300) & Kore (£750). Both are way cheaper than a Keel.
- RubiKon = aftermarket competition for the Kore.
- There is also the TigerPaw Khan top plate upgrade. Bit pricey so I'm not sure I'd entertain that one. I'd consider a "BooPlinth" first.

Speaking of the "BooPlinth" (a continuously NC machined bamboo variant) which the former editor of HiFi+ Roy Gregory was ecstatic with. Roy, you may remember, spent a fair bit of time in that capacity doing VTA "roadshows" to illustrate the benefits of accurate VTA (during a time when very few arms had this capability) using a VPI with Tri-planar. In fact Roy said in a recent issue of HiFi+, "It's been 30 years since I last owned an LP12 but all of a sudden I'm taking the idea seriously again..." such was the impression the BooPlinth made on him.
His review is an interesting read and he is convinced it is a real game-changer.

The BooPlinth is not the sort of thing you'll see heavily advertised as the 2 guys who created it barely managed to scrape together enough money to get them manufactured(!) - so not much profit in it (and certainly not enough for "payola").
It's not cheap at £1650 so some serious decision making required there... (but I know one or two folk keen on buying it already)

Finally there is the question of implementation. Getting a franchised dealer to upgrade the T/T with aftermarket parts on your behalf might prove difficult but there are plenty of skilled amateurs/pros, I'm sure, in your neighbourhood who might offer to help if required?
All the best, whatever you decide.
Well, since the OPs 3 preferred options are all Linn-based I'm going to stick with that question and keep it relevant. ;^)

Suggesting a better option is completely relevant don't ya think?
I have a friend with LP12/Valhalla/Ittok and a top VPI. Guess which one gets more involved?
Firstly, that depends on your subjective definition of "better".

Secondly, turntable design is not as straightforward as ya might think so ya may be astonished to know that your "better" (insert as applicable) design has flaws.
(This also means that the LP12 has its own flaws).
If we're referring to VPI(?), until recently, their "engineering solution" to the problem of anti-skate was to twist the tonearm wires if required...
It's great when a manufacturer can omit a moderately costly engineering feature then advertise this absence as a "strength" thereby saving himself money but charging you more for the end product because it's "stronger". It's a win-win.

Thirdly, I'll leave it to the Schatzman to decide whether your advice is relevant or not.

Fourthly, if you are a particular turntable dealer or manufacturer who has infiltrated a Forum I am sure it's entirely relevant.
Add a Linn Itok LVII tonearm and a Hercules power supply and sit back and enyoy your table. While you at it, give your table a good tune-up; new oil, springs, gromets,etc.
The suspense is killing us, Emil... ;^)
Add a Linn Itok LVII tonearm and a Hercules power supply and sit back and enyoy your table. While you at it, give your table a good tune-up; new oil, springs, gromets,etc.

For the price of an arm, power supply,springs etc etc one can get a nice used VPI complete,lol..not such a good thought IMO....

Firstly, that depends on your subjective definition of "better". ;^)...forgot I was dealing with "audiophiles",sorry wont make that statement again

Fourthly, if you are a particular turntable dealer or manufacturer who has infiltrated a Forum I am sure it's entirely relevant. ;^)...I think analog and all its hassles is inferior to so it certainly doesn't apply to me
Best Upgrade : sell the linn and buy a SOTA!
A used Linn Ittok LVII will set you back $600. A used Hercules power supply cost $200 or brand new at $300.

What used VPI table costing $1,000 are you suggesting?

VPI and Linn sound quite different.
A used Linn Ittok LVII will set you back $600. A used Hercules power supply cost $200 or brand new at $300.

What used VPI table costing $1,000 are you suggesting?

I did all the upgrading that is suggested on a lp12 and im quite confident you cant buy an Ittok VII for $600, at least one that is worth buying...a nice one will set you back $800-1200 on the bay..I bought a use scout in excellent to near mint off this site for $700 a month ago,with some nice upgrades all boxes,a better gauge for setup but forgetting that buy at the time I was looking I could of bought a brand new scout jr for a grand with warranty,a scout 1.1 for $1250..and of course several travelers under $900.Having now owned both a lp12 with tons of ungrades and this scout Id say IMO the VPI is easier to setup,easier to maintain and sounds much better.One thing I will say about the LP12 I had,I recouped most if not all my money.
I think that the best idea on here is go to your dealer or technician, and get his or her recommendation.

He or she can do a tuneup for your Linn, and then after listening to it, with you, and getting an idea about your listening preferences, and an idea about your budget, make some recommendations about which upgrades to pursue.

I could just say to go get the Trampolin, the Lingo, the Kore, the T-Kable, because that's what I have had done, but maybe that won't work for you.

Go see your dealer!
A good suggestion but some like myself who are in small towns and have nothing within 100s and 100s of miles merely don't have that luxury.We post questions seeking advise simply because its our only option.If we all could do what is suggested I'm guessing this forum might not exist or be very boring reading audiophile posting about really nothing.
Mission, being a small-town guy clearly didn't stop you doing all the updates you mention on your LP12 did it? ;^)
Boy ,I have no idea what the heck you are talking about.Anyway,all Im saying as well as a few others to original poster is before spending a bunch of money on upgrading maybe seek another option that a lot of us think is a better and cheaper option.
...Or, he can disregard the hard-sell and go with his stated choice.... ;^)
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If you are into sound, ditch the Linn and spend the money on something better. It really isn't up to current standards.
What a fool I've been! Now I get it!

"Current standards" must be the reason people are still listening to (and sometimes investing serious $$$ in) classic Direct Drives, Garrard 301s, 401s and Technics SL-1200 etc (not to mention the countless classic MM carts listed in the biggest thread in human history.)

We thank you for such an enlightened view ;^)
I wonder how many people who say the Linn is a dud these days have actually heard a current top spec Linn. I sure have- Ekos SE arm, Kandid cartridge, Keel subchasis, Radikal drive. And I have heard other tables in the $15,000 - $20,000 retail range. The Linn is competitive.
Your comment or comparison makes no sense.This guy has an old LP12 which in this current market will fetch tops to the wrong guy $1200 on a great day with that arm and that's being very very generous.We are not talking multi 1000s of dollars here on a table.Focus,we are speaking of tables under 2 grand I think and really closer to a grand.IMO he can go buy an Ittok arm,new springs,hercules etc etc...spend maybe 15-1800 bucks and still wont have a table that can compete with a stock used VPI scout table at around half the money.
Upgrading a Linn? Don't waste your money. Even a fully upgraded up to day Linn is still terribly colored and not up to any of the competition. Except maybe an AR.
I already own an expensive, "current standards", "neutral", massive, unsuspended turntable fitted with a Graham Phantom MkII which IMO beats, hands down, any of the alternatives mentioned above and I personally would be more than happy to own a 2nd hand Linn LP12 and tweak it. ;^)

Just my opinion....
Well..I already own an epxpensive digital player that beats any of the alternatives suggested above but that means nothing in this discussion..I would rather spend half the money and get a better sounding table IMO than taking a thirty old table and try to tweek it,,been there,done that..Waste of time
I own a very late 80's Linn plinth...that's all that is left of my original table. To that I have added a Cirkus/Kore and a Radikal D power supply, a Tramp 2 base and new springs, etc. The arm is a custom WTA Black arm with VDH internal wiring. I just AB'ed this table against a new Palmer with the Origami arm, the Palmer owner easily heard why the LinnLP12/Radikal D is still one of the top tables today.
The Palmer is now going on the block for sale!!
To those who have NOT heard a current top spec LP12SE, I suggest a listen before one comments on the demise of the LP12!! As to the OP, I would suggest, depending on funds, an upgrade path of your table, one that can be best suggested by your Linn dealer.
Excellent point, Davey. Rumours of the "Death of the LP12" are greatly exaggerated... ;^)
I don't think anyone is stating"death of the lp12".Thats a bit over exaggerated to say the least..The point to the original poster is before going out and dropping lots of money he could simply buy something current which IMO will out perform what his end result would be with less money.
One thing I would say to the OP is to get the ideal support in the form of an AudioTech, Mana, or Sound Organisation table properly levelled - and not micro-rocking - on a solid composition floor (or a very rigid wall shelf with a loosely coupled spiked top board). That is one area of pandering that shouldn't be compromised.

The reason that all 3 are so good is that they were specifically designed with the LP12 in mind. Moreover the Audiotech doubles as a setup mounting jig if you are feeling DIY orientated and wish to get your hands dirty. ;^)
Useful :)

The SO is the least good of the 3 - particularly as the original ones that I had experience of were non-adjustable.