What would you chose? VPI MKIII vs. Linn LP-12

Hi All,

Looking for some advice here. Which front end would you chose...VPI MKIII/Sumiko MMT/Grado Sonata or Linn LP12/Linn Ittok/Linn Karma? Either of these turntable combinations would be running through a MFA Magus. Thanks for you help.

I like the Linn of those choices, warmer sound, but why not the Grado on the Linn?
I had the VPI as a dealer , used the Ittok on it and have a Linn with Grace 707 now. I would probably go with the Linn also but think that the VPI would have the warmer sound, the Linn having more detail. We all hear differently. The VPI will be less trouble setting up, the Linn has an endless number of upgrades. I just ordered a new belt and new mat from the Linn shop on ebay. The new thinner mat is suppose to be a considerable improvement and is only $25 or so. Either way you will have a good turntable.
A Merrill or a Merrill modified AR would be my choice.

Thom @ Galibier
Macdadtexas, the VPI HW-19 frontend is in my current system. The Linn combination is available at a local dealer so the cartridge switch is not an option.
VPI, although I agree with Thom the Merrill/AR will outperform both.
Years ago I had a Grado with a MMT and I would blow woofers often,the arm will resonate right out of the groove (Grado dance). I love Grado but you have to match with right tonearm and the MMT is not.
Yogiboy, thank you for your comment. I have not experienced the problem you mention with my current cartridge or with the older model Grado which I replaced. Interesting???
I have had good luck with Denon 110/160 and AT 440 cartridges on the MMT arm. The Grado would not be my pick, unless (possibly) you were going to change to a different tonearm.
Dear Jemm: I think that you can up-grade your VPI TT through VPI options and certainly you could change the Sumiko tonearm for a different one too.

Regards and enjoy the music,
just an FYI, I own a VPI Table, but I have always loved the Linn LP-12, what a great sounding table! I also like the tweaks you can do with it.

Ahh the heck with it, buy the darn Linn!!!
Raul, thanks for your comments. Any suggests for the tonearm? If I keep the MMT, any other suggestions concerning cartridge. In my area Dynavector, Clearaudio, Benz are available.

Macdadtexas, thanks for your encouragement. I just might buy the Linn.
I use my Sonata with SME 309,the combination is perfect.Keep the VPI it is a great table.
Both great, but I pick the Linn LP!2 (I own one). From what I have heard it is both sweeter and more detailed with the right cartridge than the VPI which (to my ears) sound a little clinical. I like a Lyra on a Linn.
I have/had both. I replaced the Linn with a Michell Orbe and never looked back. I think the LP12 is overly fussy and a PITA to ste up (spring bounce). I have a VPI
HW19Mk3/mod'd Rb300 in a second system. I mainly use it to play my older 60's-80's purchased LP's. It may not be the most resolving TT but it is musical and sounds great with new and old LP's. I was really taken by suprise how good it sounds. My friend uses a MkIV and it sounds great as well. The nice thing about it is that you can upgrade it gradually with PSU's, SAMA, acrylic or the older heavier platter.
I'm curious that you are choosing btwn two TT's at opposite ends of the spectrum. I think there are so many TT's out there as good or better than a LP12. If you do a lot of listening to used LP's and rock I'd go with the VPI. I never heard a LP12 (my own or any dealers) do justice to older rock Lp's. My Michell totally trounced my Linn in that dept.
Any chance to go with a Basis? There is a used 2500 w/o arm for sale. I've heard that TT w a Graham 2.2 and really liked it. It's an awesome deck.
Dear Jemm: If you go for the VPI up-grade then you could consider a VPI tonearm.

here are some good options for a different tonearm:





and for a new cartridge this one is very good:


Regards and enjoy the music,

Thanks for you help with tonearm recommendations. The Audio Technica certainly looks interesting. Upgrading the VPI may be the best way for me to go.


I had a VPI HW-19 Mk II with Rega RB-300 and still have a Linn LP-12 with Origin Live modded RB-250. The VPI seemed to have deeper bass but the Linn seemed to sound more up-beat with more pace. They're both good turntables but they do sound different. I preferred the Linn but I can see how others might go the other way.
To all Linn LP-12 owners
I decided to try adjusting the ant-skating less then the factory settings. Example my Arkiv Linn Cartridge is set at 1.75 grams tracking force. And now my anti-skating is set at 1.6 instead of 1.75 that Linn has recommended.
Put on a record that you're familiar with and try it.
I'm sure you'll be amazed after doing this!
Try 1 or less and listen again!
Well I gave it a shot and took your advice. And yes it's even better at (1). I tried it less but (1) was the best!
Thanks and Happy New Year....