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The Karousel has landed

Discussion in 'audio' started by Bob Edwards, Jul 24, 2021.

  1. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    I've picked up my LP12. Rick of Audio Alternative in Ft. Collins added a Karousel and Trampolin2 while rebuilding it (and fixing the Ekos VTF dial!). Part of his rebuild is to clean and polish everything on the table, inside and out. So it looks like a new turntable. As to how it sounds?

    Wow. The Karousel stands out as the single biggest and unambiguous upgrade I've heard on an LP12, besting the Lingo and Cirkus. The Karousel makes music make more sense. Bass is more extended, tuneful, and responsive - if it should be soft and flabby, it is. Conversely, if it should be taut and lean, it is. The Karousel also reveals a great deal more detail across the frequency range, while at the same time integrating or organizing it more intelligibly. And as many others have noted, the reduction in background 'noise,' for lack of a better term, is striking. Voices are particularly well served. And this before the Karousel runs in.

    The Karousel does the above while adding to what I think is the LP12's greatest strength - connecting the listener to the music. Put another way, the Karousel, I think because it allows so much more information to be retrieved, is even more involving - it seems to improve that sense of balance and inner drive that (for me) makes an LP12 so 'musical.' Or, if you prefer, it maintains the 'soul' of an LP12.

    I also had the chance to hear an LP12 with Karousel and one with a relatively new Cirkus - same PS, arm, cartridge, etc. You can hear the difference instantly - we played Aerial Boundaries by Michael Hedges, and you could tell after the first two notes. They were better defined, more forceful, more together - and the Karousel revealed far more ambience. It also showed that while the VM95E on my table sounds better than a $69 cartridge has any right to, the table needs/deserves a better cartridge.

    Replacing the new-style baseboard with the Trampolin2 isn't nearly as dramatic, but is worth doing. It improved focus and precision somewhat - enough to hear, but nothing like the Karousel. Worth the money to me.

    I was also reminded of the value of servicing by someone who knows - REALLY knows - what they are doing. Even back when I worked for him, Rick had people from across the world sending him LP12s for servicing and upgrading. And if I understood why even then, my latest LP12 is a powerful and timely reminder.

    My LP12 now sounds much more . . . powerful, clear, and musical than before. And if the money involved was almost as much as I paid for the deck, arm, and original cartridge, it was worth every penny.
    dan m, Rosewind, Dark Lord and 11 others like this.
  2. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    Wait til it clicks into place in a few days.

    I put blood sugar sex majik on the player for the first time in years today. I was amazed how it now sounds like a hifi recording with definition and dynamics. I always thought it was compressed to beggary before.
    Bob Edwards and Miss Ariel like this.
  3. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

    Glad your loving what the Karousel is breathing into your records Bob.
    I love how it lowers the noise floor and sounds like a high quality digital source.
    Just everything is easier to follow in the mix.
    It's a real no brainer for any LP12 user.
    It should come with a warning though it could well keep you up past your usual bedtime :D
    Featsdont and Bob Edwards like this.
  4. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    As it did re bedtime!
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  5. sktn77a

    sktn77a pfm Member

    Wow, someone here in the USofA who can work on Linn arms......... That's a first (and a good one)!
  6. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Sounding good Bob. Keep us posted as it settles in.
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  7. Featsdont

    Featsdont pfm Member

    I’ve already commented on another thread but the Karousel upgrade is a fantastic improvement on Cirkus in my view. Agree with the OP’s comments- the better bass - more clarity - is very much what I experienced- my dealer says that it’s the best pound for pound upgrade you can do to an LP12! Can’t really comment on that personally but I would do it prior to Lingo 4 - which I did first as Karousel wasn’t released then!!
  8. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Back in the day dealers were saying the Cirkus was better than a Lingo (Mk1) so that doesn't surprise me. The Karousel is a much larger departure than the Cirkus was.
  9. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    The Ekos came out in 1989, the Lingo 1990 and the Cirkus kit in 1993. I had a LP12/Ittok/Troika and purchased a Lingo in 1992 after hearing it against a Valhalla in a box that allowed you to compare the two power supplies using the same turntable. The Lingo was a pretty substantial improvement as I recall. I had the Cirkus installed a year later.

    Not sure what I would have done if I had to choose either one. I wonder how many folks already had the Lingo prior to the Cirkus as there was three years between their release.
  10. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Well the Cirkus was a lot cheaper so that might have swayed things.
    John likes this.
  11. naimnut

    naimnut Deep in the Mines of Soul

    What are the options for fitting a karousel to a pre-cirkus LP12 with pressed steel subchassis? My local dealer wants to sell me $$$ options...
  12. Bob Edwards

    Bob Edwards pfm Member

    Find a used Cirkus subchassis or try a Stack Audio subchassis.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  13. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    It’s doable, you need a shim that Linn can supply that makes it possible for mounting on an older subchassis.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  14. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    I’d personally stick with a Linn sub chassis but the cheapest majik chassis will be adequate and a huge upgrade from the old steel one.

    Which is probably what your dealer said already.

    Also Linn don’t supply shims.
  15. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Stack Audio also supply shims as standard with their sub-chassis and I'm sure they'd sell you one if you asked nicely. I'm going to bet for less that Linn might charge too.

    Is your bearing worn out? The reason I ask is that I reckon a pre-Cirkus bearing on a better sub-chassis might be great. If you think about it, a better sub-chassis is going to effect more than just the bearing. None of the later Linn sub-chassis will accept a pre-Cirkus bearing, not properly, and they're all expensive anyway. I just fitted a Stack Audio Tenor sub-chassis a few days ago. It will, it only costs £200 and I'm impressed with it.

    And of course you'd still have the option of fitting a Karousel bearing at a later date.
  16. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    Linn part number MISS 894

    See this thread.
  17. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    The Majik subchassis looks interesting. I like that it provides a full platform for the laminated armboard. $480

    Providing a solid and rigid platform for the LP12, the multi-layer box construction of 1.5mm thick aluminium provides strength and rigidity and when teamed up with the LP12’s five-layer laminated armboard, creates a firm and acoustically damp platform for your tonearm.

    The Majik Sub-chassis is fitted as standard to the Sondek LP12 / Majik LP12 turntable. Also available separately as an upgrade, this offering increased performance for any earlier deck that features the older 'standard' sub-chassis design.


  18. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    It does. I actually considered buying one but the Stack was a simpler and cheaper option.
  19. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    I know in your case you compromised to keep your options open for a Linn arm.
  20. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    I don't see buying non-Linn parts as necessarily a compromise.

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