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Linn LP12s – Fire away!

Discussion in 'audio' started by NickofWimbledon, Aug 24, 2022.

  1. NickofWimbledon

    NickofWimbledon pfm Member

    It has been suggested that this opinions and advice on LP12s should probably have their own thread.

    Vigorous exchanges on the virtues of LP12s seem to often turn up in other threads, not always helping to answer the question asked.

    In addition, while most old lags here will already know what they think, I was reminded just today that there are newer contributors who might like to hear some pragmatic commentary and simple explanation of the pros and cons on LP12 instead of treating them as some arcane mystery.

    The fact that LP12s divide consensus as much as the relevance of valves after 1970 or CD versus LP versus streaming or electrostatic speakers ever did is probably a bit intimidating for anyone who wants to find out for the first time (but without having one in front of them) what all the fuss is about.

    Does anyone want to comment on such a thread?

    Is every LP12 the embodiment of musical perfection, amazingly over-priced/ musically dreadful/ an outdated rip-off of an old Ariston, or somewhere in between?

    Which of the hundreds of variations on the theme of plinth, sub-chassis, bearing, arm, cartridge and PS (old or new) make sense and which are best avoided?

    How much does it actually matter what’s under an LP12?

    Is it actually ok to spend (say) £2K on an LP12 off eBay?

    To what extent has the much-mentioned ‘character’ been fixed in the last 30 years and is that good or bad?

    Which third-party bits make sense?

    If contributors do nothing else, can we at least agree that this thread is the obvious place for people to explain/ comment on/ decry/ eulogise over LP12s as a specific topic?

    If yes, should we all (including me) try to avoid having those exchanges in threads where we risk (a) just trotting out the old arguments with new words and (b) messing up other discussions?
  2. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    coredump and w00fer like this.
  3. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

    LP12 owner Nick my 3rd one over 35 years.

    I find it very musical and listenable but no way would I think it's the best deck out there.There's so many great decks that I haven't heard yet and probably won't.
    I think with LP12 owners and most other turntable users of other makes their happy with what they use.
    I have a Karousel on mine and it's so detailed and smooth almost digitally quiet but sometimes I miss the pre cirkus bearing and that upper bass bloom..not accurate I know but it did have that LP12 magic about it.PRAT in spades !
  4. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I’d like to try one but just out of curiosity, I wouldn’t expect it to better what I have. Still one of the best looking TTs.
  5. tpetsch

    tpetsch pfm Member

    I've too have also owned several LP12 over the past 35 years and was happy with them FWIW, then the P10 came along and relieved to me what was fundamentally wrong with them, at least the ones I've -and my friends- have owned.

    But it's the lengths that people go thru to massage an LP12 into their systems that I find interesting, upgrade after upgrade, different phono stages, power supplies, belts, cartridges, cables, stands, weeks if not months of burn-in etc, etc. People are willing to give their LP12 every opportunity -some at great expense- for their LP12 to work in their systems. Like the OP said "Hundreds of variations" and an LP 12 owner might have you believe that any combination of parts will still yield the best version of any TT at that price.

    But when it comes to other turntables many times it seems that someone -out of curiosity- will listen to a few tracks at a dealer or maybe even take one home from their dealer for the weekend, a day or two, plop it down & plug it in, listen for a few hours and conclude that "It's nice, but not for me.." Then they come hear and write about it and get a dozen reinforcement posts about how -whatever they listened to- was obviously inferior to an LP12 and how the OP still made the right choice by purchasing their LP12 in the first place..
    sonddek likes this.
  6. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    LP12/Naim the perfect combination. You can spend money on both getting them to sound better. For ever.
    Mynamemynaim and tonyw1 like this.
  7. Ian Hughes

    Ian Hughes pfm Member

    I’ve had my LP12 for nigh on 30 years. Acquired second hand, it has had various updates over that time. I was trained as an engineer, and I appreciate what went into the deck and how it should be set up to sound its best. That said, I wouldn’t attempt to service it myself. I have heard expensive variants serviced by an amateur, and it sounded very ordinary. I have also heard a low spec one set up by an experienced LP12 fettler and it knocked the former into a cocked hat.

    So, if you wanted an economical solution, my opinion is to avoid EBay, go to a Linn specialist and get a second hand one. Failing that, many LInn dealers will build you one out of good condition used parts. Either way they’ll set it up, and you’re good to go. You’ll get a bit warranty, and be comfortable knowing that will sound great.
  8. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    Good advice.
    NickofWimbledon likes this.
  9. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    It’s just a turntable.

    Not another endless thread about a very nice deck which may well be bettered elsewhere.
    tpetsch likes this.
  10. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Not again…!
  11. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    Had one, sold it

    Three reasons:
    - Cheaper to get a 2nd hand SME20 and brand new SME V than upgrade the LP12 yet again

    - After living with both for some time, I preferred the sound and ergonomics of the SME (until this year I had a phono stage with three individually configured inputs)

    - The dealer who maintained the LP12 quietly informed me he was retiring (apart from getting the dealer to fit a cartridge every so often, the SME requires no regular fiddling/adjusting etc)

    No love, no hate - it's a tool for a job not a girlfriend :)
    NickofWimbledon and Mr Pig like this.
  12. Aethelist

    Aethelist pfm Member

    Seems lots of new people recently joined this forum.
    Paul Hindle likes this.
  13. MVV

    MVV pfm Member

    What a load of shite this thread is.
  14. MVV

    MVV pfm Member

    A really helpful post from someone who knows a bit about turntables.
  15. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Me too, I ate one sour too.

    Well, it beats banging two empty halves of coconuts together.
    Robn and Paul Hindle like this.
  16. halvis

    halvis pfm Member

    My ramble on the subject:
    For £1000-£1500 you could build yourself a nice pre-Cirkus deck with a good Linn arm. I think most would be happy with that if they wanted to put together a quality British system to consume a diet of rock, jazz and midrange vocally stuff. It will probably look nice in your sitting room, hold its value and give you pride of ownership. It will also be serviceable for many years to come for not a huge amount of money. You can't say that of many decks for this kind of money.

    It is pretty much what I did about 15 years ago, the first time I could really put the time and money in to get it right after growing up regarding them as the go to deck. However, then I got the upgrade bug and it eventually started to annoy me. My own fault, I should have just stayed away from forums and such. When I sold it, I took it to the guys house and plugged it in and it sounded bloody great in his system, at least with the LP he put on. I did regret the sale for a while.

    Since then I have had many of the usual suspects from Rega, Nottingham Analogue, Mitchell, Technics and Thorens. The Thorens TD321 was a very similar sounding table, probably better and I kept if for a long time. Probably better engineered too, but just didn't look as a tidy as an LP12.

    I never went back to one but nearly did this year, but didn't quite do it as in the end I think my Technics GR has moved things on considerably in a number of important ways. It's nicer to use, feels like a quality item and suits the records I play better: dance, jazz and other stuff with a driving beat which the Technics really excels at. It also does the rock stuff justice too, but with a more matter of fact sound which doesn't draw me in as much as the LP12 could. The LP12 sounded more delicate, textured and of course had the midrange bloat that can be nice. Other advantages of the Technics include removable head shell and 33/45 and even 78 at the touch of a button for free and many other speeds in between ;-)

    I think ideally I would like both decks, the Technics and a pre-Cirkus LP12 for its classic sound and the reasons given above, but I can't really justify it.

    As far as the new ones go, I don't believe a Majik is even worth the money and starting at the bottom of the range even with a Karousel and the arm, it would need upgrading IMO (especially the PSU) and it would probably not sound different enough to the Technics to justify it now, given they have spent the last 30 years trying to make them sound as neutral as other decks.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2022
  17. forester

    forester pfm Member

    For me the very thing that people slate the LP12 for - the upgrades - are what makes it a keeper in the long term. To improve most turntables you have it sell them and buy another one. With the LP12 you have the manufacturer supporting it and the option to make improvements at a fraction of the cost of a new TT. In the scheme of things is it really a big issue if something equivalent can be bought a bit cheaper when to do so takes days of time trawling round dealers? I bought and kept mine because I've enjoyed the way it sounds for 36 years, the rest are an irrelevance to me as I'm sure the LP12 is to those who have found something else they like as much. After years of musical enjoyment together I couldn't part with it anyway.
    Darren, Chas B, Musicman19 and 4 others like this.
  18. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Too much to answer here really, so I’ll keep it simple. The LP12 is best thought of as a brand/platform rather than a single model given the massive amount of variables. It’s an extremely capable platform, but can be poor if the implementation is poor. Add to that, the fact that even a top end, perfectly set up deck won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, no one product suits everyone.

    My advice to anyone new to the LP12 who has an interest, try and hear some examples within your budget… or even just buy something which you can flip without losing if you don’t like it (shopping around and looking at re-sale values of various combinations, and reading up on Peter Swain’s guides should help minimise the risk of you being left upside down on a deal).

    @AnilS has just bought a nice vintage LP12 with a clean, solid Rega RB250 arm and new AT-VM95… I’m not disclosing what he paid, but having heard it, I think he’s done well. It sounds good even before a proper setup (which I will be performing for him). He won’t lose if he chooses to move it on… but I can’t see him bettering it for the money.
  19. suzywong

    suzywong Wot, no electrons?

    Had just the one since ‘81. Couple of upgrades over the years.

    It just plays records very nicely. <shrugs>

    This thread is typical of the “too much banging of the coconuts” syndrome.
    kendo and NickofWimbledon like this.
  20. Alun Rains

    Alun Rains Jus Juan Cornetto

    Bought my LP12 in 1991 with Valhalla, Akito 1 arm & K18 cartridge.
    It remained upgrade free for 20 years until a Mose / Hercules 2 PSU was added.
    A further 5 years went by before trying further upgrades. It now has many upgrades, mainly 3rd party ones
    (As I do not tend to pray to the Linn China God very often) and it sounds superb..
    So it really is up to the individual whether you follow the upgrade path or not. It simply allows you to have that choice if and when you may decide to do so. Also there are some excellent 3rd party LP12 components available these days that offer even greater freedom of choice.
    Few other turntables offer that amount of flexibility.

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