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Linn Keel - What's so special?

Discussion in 'audio' started by jimification, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. jimification

    jimification pfm Member

    Apologies if people have been over this already. I read a lot of old threads on here but still found some aspects of the Keel that weren’t discussed.

    The Keel is a very nicely made (and very nicely finished) product but the strange thing to me (from how good the reviews are and how much it's rated over something like the Greenstreet copy) is that I don’t see any special magic in the design….To me, it looks simply like starting with a desired shape, fixing points, centre of gravity, then we need to machine it from solid, so the 45 degree webbing is introduced to reduce weight without losing stiffness.

    Maybe the webbing also serves to increase surface area for dispersing vibration? I don’t know but the layout of the webbing doesn’t look to me like it’s done with any special mathematical formula or specific attenuation in mind (unlike the Rubykon, for example). It’s regular….The only “unusual” part I can see is the shallower pocket below the spring mount hole near the motor position (maybe for balancing CofG?)

    Is there some feature of the design that I’m missing that makes it special?





  2. cliddell

    cliddell Demented Member

    I think the main thing is the fact it's made from a single billet of aluminium. The shape isn't hugely complex, but it is an expensive shape to machine from a single billet. I suspect the cost of the large billet, and the extra machine time account for a fair amount of the extra manufacturing costs over the Kore.

    I haven't knowingly heard either the Keel or the Kore, so I cannot comment on the efficacy of the single billet construction, but the fact that the arm board is part of the single piece would put me off..... I don't plan to change arms in the future, but who knows....

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    As above, it's machined from a single billet and designed to closely emulate the shape (obviously :)), geometry and mass distribution (varying depth of the machined pockets etc.) of the steel chassis and separate armboard combination it replaced. Because it is essentially a triple plane design (chassis, armboard and arm collar) and made from a single piece, there is a lot of material that must be machined away - very time consuming.

    One key aspect, that I have rarely seen mentioned, is that the Keel is actually a very lively structure in terms of resonance (because it is a single billet machined part) and far less damped than the glued steel and laminated MDF armboard combo it replaces.
  4. Rob400

    Rob400 pfm Member

    I heard a full monty LP12 earlier this year (Keel/Radical etc) Very good sounding and an improvement over the 90's vintage one I owned. But very expensive mods just to bring the LP12 up to the performance level of SEVERAL other cheaper turntables like my WT Versalex. The Keel/Radical etc are "sledgehammers to crack a nut" IMO.
  5. jagdesign

    jagdesign pfm Member

    There is a fair bit of material to take out, but the majority of the machining is just pocketing, which can be done realtively quickly, see below around 1:45 in.

    I'm sure Linn hold tight tolerances and the part undergoes some further processing beyond machining (stress relieving, anodising, logo treatment etc) but it's a fairly simple part by all accounts. One can only assume they are trying to recoup quite a large R&D expense with the price they charge.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2018
  6. colasblue

    colasblue pfm Member

    Or maybe their rip off marketing policy has just massively backfired on them!

    They charged way over the odds, nobody bought it. That in turn inspired a whole load of third party alternatives which outsold it and finally Linn had to introduce their own "cheaper" alternative to claw back some of that market.

    Of course a fair few of us just bought different turntables and we're now lost to their customer base for ever.
  7. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Just cast them. A fiver each plus margin and vat.
  8. jagdesign

    jagdesign pfm Member

    Mickdale likes this.
  9. John

    John Fore!

    I always thought $3,600 was way too much for a Linn upgrade. I wonder how many folks would have bit on one if the price was half that. Does seem that Linn lost a lot of LP12 owners when that product came out and the cost to have the "best" became too prohibitive.
  10. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    Do any of us know how many Keels they have sold?

    All this is otherwise conjecture.
  11. SteveS1

    SteveS1 I heard that, pardon?

    There is a generation of vinyl lovers for whom only an LP12 will do, the fact that it may have been equalled or surpassed in performance or the upgrade prices go off the scale wouldn't be of interest. Sometimes it's just what people want to own, nothing wrong with that. Getting reliable comparisons when you can improve what you already know possibly plays a part too.
  12. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    Can you give us an example of rip off marketing and how you have come to draw that conclusion?
  13. wiresandmore

    wiresandmore pfm Member

    I have one for my Aro and I understand Linn make them in batches of 50; only two runs were ever done for the Aro. So 100 maybe.

    I think the Linn Keel probably outsold the Aro Keel 5:1, possibly a bit more (this was the view of the dealer at the time) So that makes 500 ish for Linn cutouts.

    So 600 or so, I would say 1000 max.
  14. Daniel Quinn

    Daniel Quinn Banned

    With radically reduced electromagnetic noise levels, the precious-metal brushed DC motor delivers a huge improvement in signal-to-noise ratio, getting you even closer to the music

    hows about this after 35 years of telling us AC is were it is at .

    to be fair rip off marketing is a poor term , inaccurate hyperbolic marketing is better . rip off pricing however .

    read the website it is full of such gems .
  15. John

    John Fore!

    I'm not aware of any reviews or listening tests on this site where the two were directly compared.
  16. John

    John Fore!

    So less than one percent of LP12 owners took the plunge, one wonders how many they would have sold if the price was more like $1,500.
  17. cliddell

    cliddell Demented Member

    There are also people out there who just like the LP12, who have demmed plenty of other turntables, and who have concluded that, other virtues aside, they just enjoy the LP12 more than any other viable alternative.

    I am one of those LP12 users, although I find Linn's marketing and pricing structure of recent years, let's say, unattractive..... I like the idea of a modular item that can be upgraded piecemeal as and when funds allow and new options become available, but I do think the prices are rather "out there".
  18. DNM

    DNM pfm Member

    Tends to be a recurring theme on here that as soon as the Scottish TT is mentioned, the Hyena's gather to take bites out of the thread. Nothing wrong with having an opinion but whenever someone asks a perfectly reasonable question about anything to do with the tartan spinner, it gets derailed by thread crappers. Its only a turntable FFS, get over it!

    Sorry, OP, I can't help you with your design question except to say I found it to be a significant improvement over the standard sub chassis and a more fundamental improvement than the Radikal. But then again I do like my Walnuts, especially at Christmas ;-)
  19. YNWOAN

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    I've directly compared the Keel to one of the alternatives (not the Greenstreet) on identical decks, arms and cartridges - personally I liked the Keel but preferred the alternative design - but I was biased.

    Very few Aros were ever made/sold so it's inevitable the Aro Keel has been hugely outsold by the standard item - there were more than two runs though, I'm sure I recall at least three. I believe that sales of the Keel have been really rather healthy so Linn can't have judged the price too badly. For those who can't, or won't, stretch to a Keel there is now the cheaper Kore - so Linn appear to have it pretty well covered.

    I see there are at least two manufacturers attempting to make Keel copies - personally I have no time for such intellectual plagiarism.
    Mickdale likes this.
  20. htm_1968

    htm_1968 pfm Member

    I have an LP12 with Keel and Aro. I really enjoy it. I inherited the deck as a NAPSA/Prefix/Cirkus/Aro deck (the Keel/A was also inherited but had not been fitted to the LP12 at the time I acquired it). I have upgraded it slowly to Radikal/Keel/Urika/Aro/DVXX2 II. It sounds fantastic and has great sentimental value for me, so it is unlikely to go anywhere soon.

    I believe that the estimate of the number of Keel/As sold mentioned above is wildly biased downwards. Cymbiosis alone sold a batch of 50 Keel/As in the recent past made specially for them by Linn. I have no idea where the 5/1 ratio of Ekos/Aro discussed above came from either.

    Crap photo:


    Another crap photo

    I would have to spend a silly amount of money to improve upon this deck. A new cartridge is on the cards though.....:cool:.

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