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Advice with Vinyl.

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by TT9, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. TT9

    TT9
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    I am currently rebuilding my home music system. I have kept my Bryston Power Amps and PMC speakers as regard these worthy of a 'high end system'

    However, I was thinking a bit about my source. I still have my DVD32R transport and was thinking of partnering it with a Dan Wright Signature P3A and a decent Pre. Recently I heard a full 4 piece dCS front end so have been telling anyone that would listen about this baby. However one of my work colleagues with the Linn CD12, assures me that the route to audio harmony is still Vinyl and his LP12 is levels above his CD player.

    Vinyl is not something I have given too much thought to - until now:

    Is Vinyl still a better listening experience to the top transports available these days ?
    What sort of catalogue is available and are the record companies releasing much in this format ?
    What examples are considered 'high-end' in turntable circles these days, and do tone-arms, catridges etc. make much of difference ? What makes one turntable better than another ?

    I would like to hear from any vinyl enthusiasts who want to share their experiences with this format, particular with highend CD players/transports as comparisons.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Stephen.
     
  2. CJROSS

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    Stephen it looks like quite a major system change you are about to head into :

    DAC with a digital pre-amp into your PAs.
    Or
    DAC + separate Pre-amp (with phono stage onboard) into your PAs.
    Or Phono stage into that pre-amp with a TT to get vinyl in your system.

    So what budget are you thinking of spending in each area ? For example you can a lot of TT (Deck-arm-cart) from £1000 or even less these days ex-dem.

    As for TTs being beitter than CD its purely a personal opinion, Im into DACs and I love the sound from mine, I also have a mid level LP12 and its stunning sounding too, but I don’t buy into the idea that vinyl is instantly a better format than CD both can sound stunning but take lots of effort to get there, ie with TTs – decks, arms and carts, and then finally phono stages all colour what your hear from a TT. Every manufacturer (and more importantly every listener) has a different idea of how to coax the best sound from their design, the only way you will know what you like is by listening yourself.

    FWIW its worth doing a search on the term LP12 in this forum, you will explore many different threads that include many other decks that are as comparable as the LP12 some better some worse, the LP12 is a benchmark in TTs (and quite a few people resent that about it), newer designs have improved what TTs do but its still a great TT. I would agree with your colleague BTW my LP12 is better than the CD12 I heard in a £75K system. Vinyl offers a different presentation to my ears than CD akin to a fluid smoothe feel, the music floats over. CD and digital has much more visceral impact if you forgive the journo speak, I like being able to switch between the 2.

    Just having a quick glance at your system you could spend :

    £1000 on a DAC
    £500 on a pre (although I would suggest something like a Wadia DAC + Pre)
    £3-500 ish on a Phono stage
    £7-1000 on a TT

    All 2nd hand BTW and giving your system a whole new feel, There are so many choices to go for TBH. I would also be inclined with a transport source like yours to pay attention to what DACs can handle decent stereo decoding from DVD-V material like PCM stereo or the like, Ive heard DVD-V that has bowled me over in sonic quality, and that compared to virgin 180g vinyl, HDCD CD & DVD-A stereo.

    And just to show you what a grey area vinyl is someone will along just shortly to disagree with everyone I have said.

    ATB
     
  3. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Umm, not being funny here, but I thought the DVD32r was supposed to have superb CD sound?? Is it really necessary to spend a grand on a DAC that might not make that much of an improvement (if any)?

    Haven't ever listened to one, but going on the machine's reputation (and my faith in TMA's engineering ;) ), I'd just question the need for an offboard d/a converter in this case?

    Sure, you could change the sound by using something "valvey", (like an Audio Note), but would it actually be any better?

    (Also have to factor in the cost of a decent quality 75 ohm cable and the effect on the mains of introducing another component in your audio chain.)

    Can't really help you on the pre-amp side. The only devices that instantly spring to mind are the much-hyped TacT room correction digital pre-amps, the Music First Audio Passive Pre and Stello Digital Pre.

    I think a pre from Copland would be a great fit with the Brystons & PMCs - a CTA305 perhaps? Valve based with a good phono stage included (RRP£1200 - sensibly priced and beautifully made :smashin: )

    As for turntables - they are a nightmare to demo (very few hi-fi dealers stock them), set up, calibrate, maintain and use (have to get up to flip sides every 20 mins :rolleyes: ).

    They are a labour of love and generally very time-consuming - much like a classic car. If everything isn't *perfect* they sound rubbish and you'll spend a fortune replacing all your digital music with over-priced 180g "audiophile" pressings :laugh:

    Still, the benefits are absolutely worth it. God, the sound has a fluidity and rythm that CD could never have. Music also has texture, and surprisingly (IMPE) MORE detail!!

    Just remember the caveats :lesson:

    DT
     
  4. TT9

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    Thanks for the constructive replies guys. I think if I decide to go down this route, I might and borrow one for an extended time and see if I can live with it given the maintenance you suggest it can require. And then decide if (any) improvement is sound is worth it.

    dynamic T - without an off board d/a convertor, the DVD32R is a little muted I am afraid - as its a transport only! But yes, you are correct that given a correct partnering d/a convertor and pre-amp, CD reproduction is very good.

    Regards,
    Steve.
     
  5. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Oh, now I see.....

    Guess TMA thought everyone would be using it with an AV32r so why put audio dacs & output stages in there too?

    Lovely looking beast. You must be very proud of it!
     
  6. SKA.face

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    I think buying a TT would be a exellent choice,you want something fuss free,eayt to set up,no maintenance,and sound good.Well no.1 on my list would be the Rega P5,very well priced,no maintence.Add a cart such as a dynavector 10x5 MC,into a little Creek OBH phono stage and your laughing.

    The suggestion of the Copland is exellent,built like tanks,stunning with vocals,a Conrad Johnson PV10b,is also worth a look.
     
  7. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    I'm going to presume from your original post that you don't own any vinyl records at this stage. Instead, as an audiophile, you have been told that vinyl can offer the ultimate audio experience, and that those comments have pricked your curiosity.

    For what it's worth, I also believe that a suitably set-up (and nice) turntable, with a decent and appropriate piece of vinyl on it offers the best sonic performance you can get. However, there are a couple of big 'buts'.

    It's worth noting that for the last ten years (and probably much longer) any half-decent commercial studio will have recorded in a digital format. Even if they have released their output on vinyl, then you are still listening off a digital master - which mostly defeats the whole 'analogue is good' philosophy. Furthermore, the quality of vinyl used these days for most commercial pressings is atrocious.

    Therefore, your route to vinyl nirvana will necessitate you abandonding listening to any new or modern output (which has all been digitally mastered anyway), and instead see you trawling around the secondhand shops searching for vinyl of a certain vintage which was mastered before digital took over the world. I'm sure some others will disagree, but I've yet to hear a digitally mastered recording sound better on vinyl than on CD.

    If you are prepared to do the above, then by all means go for it. Or if I've called you wrong, and you do indeed have 6,000 LPs sat in the garage gathering dust up until now, then rush out and buy yourself a Michell Orbe or similar.

    However, rather than giving a long and tedious breakdown of the merits of vinyl etc, I'm going to finish by purely answering your question in the context that I think it has been asked. No, modern records (if you can get them) will not sound better than the CD versions - because they will have been digitally mastered anyway. No, there isn't a lot of output available on vinyl now. What is available tends to be released by specialist labels whose content is often drab at best. The turntable is not a good choice for those looking to build a music collection. A turntable is only a good choice for those who have accumulated a lot of records during an era when records (and cassettes) were the only choice. Play some of those on your turntable and you've got the potential to outperform any modern CD player. But as for starting from scratch with a turntable now ? No, it's not the sensible choice because everything is digital further up the chain. So, unless your aim is to buy a load of Fleetwood Mac and Zepellin from the secondhand record store, then you're better of planning your future around the DVD32R.
     
  8. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Another very good t/t is the Gyrodec although its looks wont appeal to everyone, or if you want to go rally high end you could consider one of the Clearaudio designs. SMe cartridge manufacturers do some very tasty ones as well or a Blue Note t't from this website:
    http://www.eminentaudio.co.uk/Instruments/Turntables/Turntables.htm
    As has been already said adnauseum its all matter of personal taste and half the fun is going out on a search and listen.Rule number one find a good dealer
     
  9. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Very sensible advice there from Lost Cause.

    One small point not mentioned is the issue of copy control. Most chart albums have copy protection, which tends to massacre the sound quality. Whilst I agree that "digital vinyl" is a little pointless, it does get around this problem. I don't think D-D-A pressings are quite as terible as LC makes out though - most of my recently acquired chart vinyl sounds fine. Some are absolutely diabolical though (U2 deserves a special mention here!).

    I recently acquired an analogue front-end, even though I did not have any vinyl. My flatmate had about 200 rock & pop albums gathering dust in the garage (believe it or not LC!) which he had not listened to for at least 10 years. This was the main catalyst for my TT purchase.

    Also, my mother works in a charity shop and literally gets a hundreds of LPs arrive every week. I've given her a list of labels & artists to look out for (wouldn't be seen dead in a charity shop myself!). Where else can you get Mercury Red/Blue Label vinyl for 50p?

    I certainly do not regret the decision, its been a real eye-opener.

    As for there being digital/micro-processor/transistor-based devices further down your equipment chain, I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's high quality, transparent kit that should preserve the TT output nicely.

    DT
     
  10. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Presonally I would not touch an LP12 with a barge pole .Its basicallyt a copy of an older design( think it was an AR) which Linn very successfully marketed and persuaded everyone that the front end was the most important link in the chain.When Linns started making electronics as well this viewpoint changed.Odd really??
    When it first appeared in the seventies it sold for litttle more than £ 50 ,since then it went through a few " improvements " which were given fancy names such as Nirvana and Valhalla and the price rocketed. Always thought the sound overrated.Nottingham Analogue makes some decent t/t s as well
     
  11. CJROSS

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    :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:
     
  12. karkus30

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    Some are good, some are bad and thats the problem with LP12s you never know quite what your getting. It doesnt matter if its Lingo'd, Valhalla'd or Cirkus'd or how well set up its supposed to be. Ive heard around 50 of the things and around 5% have been really great, around 70% have been pretty mediocre and the less said about the rest, the better. There does'nt seem to be any reason for this inconsistency, one of the oldest, most dog eared that had the laminate peeling away sounded superb, whilst a top of the range brand new model with all the tricks and tweaks was terrible.

    Many people think they are the greatest thing ever, but its delusional, more modern designs and a greater degree of QC (or whatever) have meant that they are no longer the great force they once were
     
  13. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    I remember on one occassion venturing into a well known dealer and being told to keep quite as someone was " listening to a Linn". It was his rather reverential tone regarding the blessed thing that encouraged me to walk out. talk about an OVERHYPED PIECE OF NONSENSE!

    Any way this dealer here seems to have quite a lot of analogue gear which looks quite tasty:http://www.walrus.co.uk/vinyl/vinyl.htm#turntables
     
  14. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    I really cant believe the vehemence which surrounds the LP12 (one way or the other), sort of surprising really, I picked mine up second hand and in 2nd hand form its the best used TT to buy IMHO. Karkus do you feel I have one that fits in your magical 5% range that would sound acceptable to you ? I happen to like mine, no read that I love it, but Im not as daft to think its the best thing ever, just as I find it not daft to think its as bad as "bargepole material" reading anti LP12 childish nonsense like the last few posts makes me cringe. Delusional my backside. What makes you think your views are not delusional ? Oh and credit where its due, when a poster arrives out of nowhere like the one above and starts dissing folks kit, it helps to avoid them TBH not agree with their silly comments.

    PS 5% of 50 LP12s is 2.5 by my poor arithmetic, what state was the one you heard in half ? :D
     
  15. karkus30

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    Chill out CJ no one is out to get you :)
     
  16. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    No one is dissing anyone just expressing a sentiment about a particular product thats all. If you happen to like it then thats all well and fine :) its just that I happen to think its overrated. I remember during the eighties when the hifi press reckoned it to be the best thing since slliced bread ignoring other worthies such as the Gyrodec Alphason Sonata and Voyd my cynical mind led me to think that money had found its way into back pockets. The hype surrounding the Linn was just too ridiculous. I remember talking to one dealer who reckoned it cost not much more than £ 50 to make , if this was true then it was surely overpriced. :thumbsdow
     
  17. CJROSS

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    Karkus, I don’t think anyone is out to get me, Im more than happy with what I hear even if it quoted as being delusional. There has just been some daft stuff written here quite frankly (including you calling people who enjoy said deck as delusional), I take issue with it. FWIW Ive heard I reckon 7 LP12s, 3 Gyrodecks, 2 Orbes, 4 Rega P3s, 3 Rega P3s, A Project Debut, And a Audio Note TT2.

    The best one of the lot ? the Audio Note TT2 without doubt. Does not make the other stuff bad just different and there is no way on the planet the LP12 I hear is as bad compared to the Michell or Rega decks Ive heard above as made out here - and you can take my word for it.

    Le Gran - one last point about the design of the LP12, the quality and machining of the bearings and platters cost more than £50 Id imagine it did back then too, every deck on the planet has a mark up for example Clearaduios Emotion costs us in the UK £675 bran new in Germany it costs £500, they still make a large profit on the £500 in Germany does that make the Emotion a bad deck ? Ie because its sold here for £175 more ? Linn new rrps for a LP12 are a joke when you see what you can purchase for £600 quite frankly. Speaking of copying designs I noticed in an old HFC review of Roksans Xeres flagship TT the £8000 TM2, an exploded view of the components that looked suspiciously like a LP12 inner platter with spindle and an outer bearing, oh and armboard mounted on the same housing as platter bearings – does that sound familiar ?. As close up of the “laminate” sandwich material also looks suspicously like corian work surface. Funny you never see these sort of comments pushed to other decks like the TMS2 ?

    http://www.roksan.co.uk/tms2_recplayer.html

    £8000 to you FWIW.

    I would re-iterate that I don’t think the LP12 is as bad as your making out, sure its been hyped by some elitist owners to get a reputation evident here by some posts haranging it, but is it as bad as pointed out ? No certainly not. No TT is to be honest, it would be good of you to take that small point onboard.
     
  18. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    If its a choice between an LP12 and a Gyrodec I'd take the Gyro everytime on the grounds that it looks better is easier to set up and to my ears sounds far better. Id laso take a Nottingham analogue product over a Linn( who wants that fiddly setting up procedure anyway?) . Even the late Townsend Rock or Alpohason Sonata would be better. Its all personal opinion of course.
    I'd agree t/t manufacturerrs have to some extent poached designs but what irkes me is that one well known one through clever marketing and an over supportive media should set itself as the tt par excellence and effectively drive the competion into oblivion including the AR Legend
     
  19. Jules Tohpipi

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    Whilst I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to get into the Linn debate - of which I was already fed-up with 10 years ago - I have to say in Roksan's defence that I cannot conceive a TT more differently constructed to the LP12 than the Xerxes or the TMS2. Having set up all three at some time in the past (some more than others obviously) then the Roksan construction is as different as different can be - both in execution and concept.

    However, the LP12's lineage can be traced easily back to other manufacturer's turntables - be that a relevant point or not. The construction of the Roksan decks is pretty much unique (bar the fact it has a platter and motor and tonearm).

    In my retail experience, by far the most reliable and easiest to set-up (and keep in tune) of the higher-end turntables is the Michelle Gyrodek. The Gyrodek can easily be tuned by the customer on-site to keep it in top spec. The Linn needs to be done by a dealer every six months (and may move in subsequent transport), unless one paints the bolts to the wooden plinth - which is a drastic solution. The tune of a Linn is critical to its sound unfortunately. And I don't think anyone knows how to tune a Roksan properly ! To set-up the more popular Xerxes deck then the retailers used to joke that you either needed to be very lucky - or a witch...

    But comparing the construction of a TMS2 to an LP12 is an utter joke quite frankly, and not once have I ever heard a similar comparison made within the industry.
     
  20. CJROSS

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    Lost cause, I was not comparing the construction of a LP12 to a TMS, I was highlighting the similarities in inner – outer platters design (they look identical to me from a photo), the fact the arm board is on the same suspension as the platter bearing again judging by the photo. Some points where the LP12 is popped at for copying an older deck seem to miss the TMS or AN TTs that’s the point Im making. There is obviously a lot more going on in a TMS2 @ £8000 which Im unaware of.

    I think I will desist from even sticking up for the LP12. What I cant understand TBH is the anti LP12 vibe, can you imagine someone quite happy with a Gyrodec getting the same comments ? I think you guys are doing a dis-service TBH to newbies getting into hifi who would avoid looking at second hand LP12s, Im glad I tried one out its nowhere near as bad as made out here, and that is compared the Gyro SE & others as well.

    Oh and BTW I know you don’t want to get involved about a Linn debate but to say a LP12 needs a dealer check up or setup every 6 months is an utter joke frankly and not once have I heard a similar comment made in LP12 circles (I know a few owners of said deck).
     
  21. Jules Tohpipi

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    You can stick up for the LP12 - that's absolutely fine. Linn have done a great deal to cause the bile that most people reserve for them, but mostly it is generated from the way they manipulated the press and dealers, and the utterly ruthless way they handled their accounts. The customer never saw any of that (nor was it their concern to be honest), but behind the scenes Linn were doing things that now surface in the spitting reactions they get here and everywhere else.

    Ulitmately, the Linn is a fine deck if you like that kind of sound. Each deck has its own sound and it's for you to choose. You are quite correct that Gyrodec owners would not get a similarly rough ride on here, but that's because everyone loved the late and great Jon Michell, whereas in the 80s and 90s Linn were as dislikeable as a company as it's humanly possible to get (to deal with professionally that is). As a company, one makes one bed and has to lie in it. And the Linn opinions literally speak for themselves.

    I've owned two Sondeks from new (I don't now), and both were owned before working in the industry. In those days every dealer I spoke to recommended to get it tweaked every six months - one year at max. These days, of course, the new youngsters in the shops don't have the need for learning how to set-up a turntable as a key skill-set, plus, who wants commercially to spend two hours fiddling with a turntable (oh how I remember the joys) to only charge 60 quid, when there's ready-to-go from the box DVD players and CD players to be sold for far less hassle ??? Dealers have actively retreated away from servicing turntables now (for better and more profitable options - based around time efficiency), so chances are they don't want to see you every six months now ! Particularly on a Saturday of course. Things are so different from 15 or even 10 years ago. I diligently took my Linn in every six months (and in later life used to service other people's Linns) and it came back sounding better everytime. The problem with wood as a plinth is that the screws relax in the wood, and everything needs tightening up again. But that shouldn't stop you buying a Linn if it is the deck for you. If you like the Gyrodek, then you can do that yourself (the springs are all exposed and easily reached) as it sits in your lounge - and that's a big advantage, and no mistake.

    Yes, some of the anti-Linn sentiment is over the top (and of little relevance to the end-user) - but then, what a bunch of gits they were for such a long-time !

    P.S. The similarites you see in the Roksan platter (inner/outer) and the armboard mounting were, of course, standard on every mid-price deck upwards for donkey's years. Not least the (ahem) Thorens decks from a good few years before.

    No, you praise the Linn that's fine - it's a good TT in many ways - whilst the industry will happily slag the utterly ridiculous way Linn conducted their affairs for a very sorry 15 year period.
     
  22. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    Biggest mistake I made is opting for an Alphason Sonata over a Gyrodec not that there is much wrong with the former other than the fact there is now no servicing to be had where as John Mitchel( not sure if I've got his name right) takes great pride in his products and of course continues to service them.Mike Knowles ,sadly, refususto have anything to do with his previous products prefering to concentrate on his undoubtably more profitable equipment supports .
    To this day I cannot understand why during the eighties his ( and others ) products were largely ignored in favour of an LP!2 and Roksan given how fiddly these two are to set up. I mean how many people want to go to that aggravation? The Gyro is unquestionably a very good t/t with rega arm and external power supply and is simplicity itself.
     
  23. la gran siete

    la gran siete
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    :blush: Oops, sorry, didnt realise that he had passed away
     
  24. Jules Tohpipi

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    Yes, it was terrible news. What a wonderful man he was in every regard. But, in the final years his Gyrodec was starting to become the dominant TT amongst the dealers (outside of the Linn dealers of course - who wouldn't be allowed to stock it). And that was a little victory for him - albeit it took far too long to come.
     
  25. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Lost cause your views above to me look like a rant at Linn not the LP12, I guessed as much earlier when it looked like you were unjustifiably slagging off a TT that many enjoy IMHO, FWIW I concur with a lot of your views on Linn (Naim are/were no different either) both companies set up a snob culture in hifi evdient to this day and pop up when TTs are mentioned for example the LP12 gets a fair broadside for being at the front of Linn co., Linn user & press manipulation. But that no reason to give a deck that’s available for £300-500 ( for some good examples ) the bird IMHO. I don’t know a single person that has bought a new LP12 in the last 5 years, on the other hand I probably know about 20+ LP12ers on the HFC Forum that have bought second hand, thats the direction the LP12 has been heading, it’s a prime example of product that was/is sold for too much, but ones that available a few years down the line (mines is a 1991) in no small part to the quality of the engineering and still represents a fine buy for sonic quality and compared to what you can buy for the same money = ie second hand wise today.

    Out of interest, my LP12 is checked by me once a year (bolts, nuts, belt & oil) it has never needed a single visit from my toolbox in the 4 years Ive had it – it has been plonked onto my rack and away it has went from day one. Just goes to show how even a LP12 owner can have a different experience from another. Ive added a new cart and a new phono stage (which has lifted performance by a fair margin FWIW) so its not like I cant hear any improvement. The deck sounds fine in its current and past state.
     
  26. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    At no point in this thread have I slagged (or even passed comment upon) the sound or merit of the LP12 - let alone had a rant about it. Others have (and quite amusingly so !), but not a single adverse comment on the LP12 if you re-read it. As I've said, it's different strokes for different folks.
     
  27. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Lost cause I think we are a lot closer in our thinking than initially appeared, FWIW comments like this made me think the LP12 was getting the standard LP12 slagging you have seen earlier.

    I also don’t think a LP12 needs six monthly dealer services.

    ATB dude.
     
  28. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    Yes, it was the debate I was referring to (like the Apple vs PC debate) as being totally fed-up with, rather than being fed-up with the product. Albeit I have moved on from a Linn now. So I can see where the confusion arose from.

    :)
     
  29. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Guys, this is getting boring :boring:
     
  30. alexs2

    alexs2
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    OK guys....time to get the thread back on topic....
     

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