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Greenstreeting my LP12

Discussion in 'audio' started by James, Jun 11, 2011.

  1. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    By most accounts, my LP12 - which I have owned from new since 1987 - is a good 'un. It grooves like a bastard, plays beautiful toons, and has kept me motivated to retain my modest collection of records (about 2,000 albums) that I have built up since the early 1980s. To recap, it's one of the last pre-Cirkus edition with braced plinth, glued sub-chassis, Naim 'Geddon and ARO, and supported by Mana Sound Shelf. I have never wanted another turntable.

    If there is a weak point, it'd be the sub-chassis and bearing. Many years ago, I almost bought a Cirkus kit, by my then Naim dealer advised against it, saying that the last of the pre-Cirkuses were just fine. When the sub-chassis wars broke out, I wondered whether the glued steel sub-chassis could be improved upon. I chose to try Greenstreet Audio's keel klone, mainly because David Genther offers a full money back guarantee and it's closer to the real thang than other variants. I'd like to try them all, but my location would make that an expensive exercise.

    Anyway, I fitted the Greenstreet this afternoon in about 2.5 hours. I'll post some pics later, but I'd like to share my initial impressions first.

    The most immediate difference was clarity. The effect was not unlike replacing a worn and tired cart with a new and better one. Except, I'm using the same cart - a Lyra Clavis DC. There is improved incisiveness to the way notes are shaped and protrayed. I'm not talking about starting and stopping, but the manner in which they unfold and decay. It sounds altogether more organic.

    On listening to a few very familiar and dear records, I could swear the bottom end is considerably firmer, and more muscular. I don't think it goes any deeper as such, but what it extracts from the microgroove is far more convincing and punchy. Now, listening at late-night volumes, it's a fair bit easier to discern basslines. My LP12 never had much of that rose-tinted midbass hump. Now, it's gloriously tuneful and entirely even-handed.

    I think resolution has improved too. I'm now hearing more vibrato effects on some pieces whereas previously they sounded like straight notes or chords. Can you improve the timing on an LP12? You betcha! I found it hard to stop playing long enough to prepare dinner. Now, I'm setting myself up for a late LATE night of music to see and hear what else has changed on my LP12.

    David Genther, you can keep my money. This sub-chassis is staying put.

  2. nitrous

    nitrous pfm Member

    Hi James, thanks for sharing you experiences, looking forward to seeing those pictures when you have time off from listening of course!

  3. John

    John pfm Member

  4. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Wow, I would never have taken you, a designer, to be a man who buys cloned designs. Funny old world.
  5. MVV

    MVV pfm Member

    Bingo! I claim my £5:00. I remember when I got an artisan to copy some Mana for me, they were frothing at the mouth. (not the artisan you understand the Mana moonies)
  6. John

    John pfm Member

    Like James said, I bought mine because "it's closer to the real thang than other variants." In James' case, being of the Aro variety, it's even closer. :)
  7. ex brickie

    ex brickie pfm Member

    Being one of the first to get the Greenstreet version on here (I think) I can only agree that it is a very worthwhile purchase.... Catch one while the exchnage rate is in our favour...
  8. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    It's a fine line ...
  9. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Indeed, the fact that Linn are basically charlatans themselves made it easier no doubt.
  10. rontoolsie

    rontoolsie pfm Member

    I am willing to bet that there is less similarity between the original Keel and the GS one than between the original Ariston tt and the 1973 LP12.
  11. Wolfmancatsup

    Wolfmancatsup Linn Lad

    You're right. All those 'speakers, amps, streamers and stuff they sell have all been copied from other companies' designs.

    Oh, hang on...

  12. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I was never going to pay the asking price of a Keel, so it's not as if they lost any of my business. It's a good thing when sellers and buyers have choices, don't you think?
  13. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    No, we're discussing the LP12. It's hardly a Linn original.
  14. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    Fitting the GS sub-chassis is fairly straightforward. The platter and sub-platter are first removed and the bearing capped. The ARO is unplugged and it's anti-skate weight taken off and put away safely. The ARO lifts straight off and, together with the Lyra stylus guard in place, is also put out of harm's way.

    Here is what they all looked like before surgery.


    My LP12 does not have a baseboard, so it's a simple matter to flip it over to expose it's innards. I took a few photos to make sure I have some point of reference just in case I had to reverse anything. Here is the simplicity of a Naimed LP12.



    I had earlier prepped my LP12 for the motor corner bolt mod, but didn't like what I heard. This time around, I had the chance to re-torque all the other bolts to give it a fair chance to work.

    Now it's time to get serious. First to come off is the arm cable, then the arm base collar and arm rest. It's much easier to remove the armboard first.

    The crossbrace is next to come off. This means unclamping the arm cable and removing the earthing wire. The tag on mine was pretty much munted from previous services, so I took the opportunity to solder in a new tag to ground the deck.

    Springs and grommets were the next to go. I checked and compared the springs to see if they had sagged and needed replacement. They were identical in height (uncompressed), so I took that as a sign they were fine. The old sub-chassis was a snitch to remove once everything that was keeping it secure was taken off.

    The only real surgery required was to cut a small relief in the plinth bracing at the arm corner to avoid fouling. I used a variable-speed jigsaw with a fine blade on the lowest speed. Rather than a semi-circle, I made a slightly convex V-cut. It's enough to clear the space and I don't see it when the LP12 is normally positioned.

    The GS was then prepped for installation. This was nothing more complex than fitting the bearing with the supplied longer bolts (done up Linn tight) and the ARO arm collar. The GS then slips in just as easily as the original slipped out. I fitted the crossbrace, grommets and springs, and dressed the cables. Here is how the new sub-chassis looked before I turned the LP12 back over for its tune-up.


    I spent a further 30 minutes twiddling the suspension for the perfect pistonic bounce. Unfortunately, the perfect bounce also results in a mere 2mm gap between the arm board and the top plate. But they don't touch and they are perfectly parallel, so I'm happy to leave that alone. I had the same anomaly with my original sub-chassis, so it's what makes my LP12 a bit special.

    I won't bore the rest of you with the tune-up procedure, but here's my 'new' LP12. Isn't she a beauty?



  15. Wolfmancatsup

    Wolfmancatsup Linn Lad

    No, I was replying to someone who said "Linn are basically charlatans", so discussing Linn generally, rather than specifically the LP12.
  16. YNWOAN

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    It really is not
  17. John

    John pfm Member


    Looks real nice, thanks for the pics!

  18. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    My pleasure, John.

  19. John

    John pfm Member

    I think you'll get used to the arm board. It looks fine to me with that Naimed setup.
  20. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    It'll look even better with a new Lyra Kleos that I hope to buy in a month's time.

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