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Linn LP12 - To Buy or Not to Buy

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by dickz, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. dickz

    dickz
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    Currently pondering whether to buy a secondhand LP12 or opt for a more modern TT such as the Michell Gyrodec, the latter in my opinion being more asthetically pleasing and Wife friendly.

    Trouble is I have over 300 LP's many of which have not been released on CD., and really want to liberate them from storage.

    So if there are any hardened LP12 fans that could give me some guidance over what LP12 setup should be shortlised and what I should stay clear of it would be highly appreciated.

    thanks


    Richard.
     
  2. nathan_silly

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    I don't own a deck, but I guess since the Linn is springy, ask the guy when the springs were balanced/replaced last.

    mmmmm...michell...urrggghh..forbidden donut!
     
  3. Gambit

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    A good LP12 can be just as good as a michelle if it's still in good order and set up right. Does it have an out board power supply i.e. a Lingo? They're a worthy up grade if not. Any local decent hifi shop with a TT bloke will set it up for you. where abouts are you based?
     
  4. CJROSS

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    Richard : LP12s & DACs you are a man of fine taste. First off I assume you are looking to spend not much more than £500 if you are in 2h LP12 range, for that you should be looking to get a Valhalla PSU LP12 (You will be lucky to get a Lingod 12 for less than £1000 with a decent arm), with an Ittok arm or an Akito II, the basik arm is a good one, and I can vouch that the Akito does a good job (the Akito is reputedly best served with MM carts only) so push for a plain variant LP12 without any modification like the Cirkus or Trampoline (again these are probably out of your range), the first version of the LP12 is the Nirvana, this was replaced by the Valhalla & then the Lingo PSU. So aim for a Valhalla and above. Carts are next up this is probably the area you should change if you buy a second hand LP12. For example a decent MM cart like the Grado Prestige Gold can now be bought for £100 or a Goldring 1042, that on a decent arm like a Akito II or Ittok I/II will be an excellent starter deck IMHO. Now you have probably heard all the stories of dodgy LP12s being sold to people who don’t know any better and it happens, unless you know the person selling or the seller can produce service receipts etc from a dealer it is very much like buying a second hand car. A good local dealer will be able to service an LP12 for pennies circa £60-100, this will include changing parts like belts, grommet & lubing your deck etc etc. I can sat from hindsight that a LP12 is a fantastic 2h buy ( I bought one from a friend) they have a wonderfully involving & fluid feel to the music that is being spun, I personally feel that you have to spend upwards of £1000+ on a CDP to compete with a good LP12 at full song, great decks but not without their detractors for example a few people quote the LP12 as being boomy & flabby in the bass department (I have not found this in my system) so the LP12 go for a good basic plain vanilla version with little mods done (Cirkus & Trampolin) and source one with a Ittok I/II then think about adding a cart at a later stage.They make wonderful 2h buys IMHO but buying new, I think there are better VFM TTs out there that give you a big slice of LP12 action for less wonga.

    If you are worried or unsure of quality, you may consider a new deck at the £500 mark, 2 that come to mind would be the Project RPM6 for £500 without cart (I have been sorely tempted to sell the LP12 on looks alone to get this bargain) :

    http://www.sound-at-home.de/bilder/project_rpm6_vollbild.jpg
    http://www.hifistore.co.uk/product.php?qsProd=RPM6 £475 add £100 for a decent cart and you are off.

    and I hear that Michell are bringing out a stripped down version of the Gyro SE for £575 this has been on show in Bristol over the weekend, then you are pretty close to the Rega P25 another good TT which can be had for £600 new.

    Choices Choices dude. Here are some good links to check out for LP12s :

    http://pub65.ezboard.com/fpinkfishmediafrm1 The best forum on the net for future LP12 owners.

    http://www.sondek-turntable.com/index.htm
    http://www.nakedresource.com/version2lp12faq.shtml FAQ site
    http://freespace.virgin.net/tony.lonorgan/flatearth/lp12set.htm This dude runs the forum I mention above
    http://www.n.mackie.btinternet.co.uk/linn/tlp12faq.html Another half decent FAQ site

    Conversely if you are thinking of adding a good deck to your system it can be achieved at the £300 mark IMO with the Rega P3 or the Project RPM4, every TT I have mentioned above sound vastly different to each other so maybe a demo at a local dealers of say a Project RPM6 & a Michell Gyrodek SE would let you see how different decks can sound.

    http://forum.hifichoice.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=825 A priceless FAQ about TTs start here first then read the other stuff Dick.
     
  5. VMAX

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    CJROSS has already said it all. I used to have an LP12 Valhalla/Ittok but was hardly using it, so part exed it for a Ruark Dialogue One centre speaker and a Thorens turntable for the odd time I wanted to play vinyl. Had it mounted on a wall bracket to isolate it from the floor, think I still have it. Try www.dougbradyhifi.com in Warrington for a s/h LP12, he has them in sometimes and is OK to deal with. VMax
     
  6. dickz

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    Guys,

    Thanks for all your help, CJ if only the consultants I use could provide this level of info Gratis, i'd be a happy man.

    Richard.
     
  7. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Just a footnote, but LP12 always seem to have variable sound quality, the best I heard was an 20 year old one that had been stored in a damp garage, looked awfull but performed well. On the other hand Ive heard several new, perfectly (by Linn dealers??) set up examples with all the usual trick bits sounding very average.

    Gyrodecks always perform well and there is never much variance between models of the same type.

    Nicest TT Ive heard was a Townsend rock with off board psu, townsend arm and decca gold cartridge, that really did sing.........................not sure what the Decca was doing to the records mind:rolleyes:
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Further footnote:

    The nirvana was not the first LP12. It was an update for the springs, grommets adn suspension bolts. Valhalla was the first PS update and then they launched Lingo as a higher spec unit.

    LP12's sound different due to age, specification and due to who set them up.......I've seen a few LP12's many from Linn dealers who had done a bad job. There is more to making these things work than getting it to bounce nicely. When checking an LP12 S/H you will probably find the arm is the most likely candidate to be shagged. Particularily if it's an Akito. Ittoks are usually bulletproof and this is the model to seek out for under £1000.

    To check the arm you can adjust dials to O then move c/weight till cartridge just floats above felt mat. Stick at end of where record would be and dial in a little anti-skating, stop as soon as the arm starts to move. If it stops at any point you have notchy bearings. If you really have to turn on the anti-skatiing to make it go again then look elsewhere. You can do the same thing in the vertical direction by just giving the thing a little tap.

    I'd also try ad get a corner braced plinth model in your price range. This makes a big difference to audio quality.

    Gordon
     
  9. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Well Gordon I have always been led to believe by many in the TT fraternity that the LP12 can be broken down in 3 main categories (especially when describing the LP12 to those not familair with it) with the PSU being the noticable indicator of model type, the power switch on the deck ie :

    Big Red Light : Original LP12/Nirvana
    Switch with RED LED : Valhalla
    Swith with GREEN+RED LED : Lingo & other PSU upgdate like the Avondale etc etc.

    Now the Basi[k] LP12 may have been updated with the Nirvana Mods as you mention but every LP12 I have ever seen on ebay or the like with a RED power switch has been called a Nirvana, I believe it is the norm to call the level below a Valhalla a Nirvana not any other description, the sheer lack of any original LP12 without the Nirvana mods makes the most common “bottom” level LP12 a Nirvana from all I have seen, IMHO of course.

    Another LP12 starter tip, when the deck starts up from “cold” listen as closely as you can to the motor (ie ear an inch away from the platter), if it makes any audible “rumble or noise” when spinning the platter ie you will hear the bearing initially rumbled at start up but after that it should be deathly silence, if not leave the room immediately could mean a motor on the way out or ****ted platter bearing, this should be as slient as a baby snoozing. Don’t let these tips put you off buying a used LP12 BTW pound for pound there is not better 2nd hand buy, if you get a good one of course.
     
  10. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Better of with an Oracle Delphi IMO as a secondhand deal, I bought one and I love it:)
     
  11. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I have worked for Linn.
    I was the manager of the biggest Linn dealer in UK during the early nineties. I have seen a few LP12's and I have serviced MANY.

    Trust me when I say the Nirvana is not a p.s. upgrade. It is perfectly feasable you will get RED power button LP12's which do not have Nirvana chassis upgrades.

    The P.S is NOT actually the most important indicator of performance either, even if many folk talking about it believe it is. The thing which makes an LP12 so good is the main bearing spindle and housing. There are many varients of these. Latest (cirkus) is substantially better than all tat go before. One before with Pique plastic liner was better than the unit it replaced. You want to make sure you get one of those two version really.

    If the original poster just looks for a cross braced plinth unit with a quiet motor and valhalla p.s with a decent arm then he is laughing. You will find that the best Linn dealers (the ones who will actually have someone capable of making it work) will probably allow you to meet the seller onthepremisies adn they will inspect it for you, probably for a small fee. Get them to set it up afterwards.

    CJ: I think we are both on the same team. I LOVE LP12's. They are great. Never heard a better deck.

    Gordon
     
  12. CJROSS

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    Hey Gordon I think this just goes to show the complexities invloved with this wonderful old deck, I agree that the Nirvana is not a PSU upgrade as such but in quite a few forums it is discussed as the earlier version below the Valhalla (hence the mix up that it is a PSU upgrade). I was only trying to make a description that would be easy for any beginner to check when looking at places such as Epay/Loot as the model is nearly always called a Nirvana (ie Basik PSU) and as such does not have the Valhalla update. As a ex Linn dealer Im pretty sure you upgraded quite a few Basiks to Nirvana specs, in fact checking one of the links above with upgrade introduction 31,826 Basik LP12s are knocking about I wonder how many were actually upgarded into Nirvanas as I hardly see any Basiks for sale 2h wise.

    Well I think a lot of hype surrounds the LP12 as well Gordon, in my mind it is a simple & robuts design that does not some of the tweaks hardcore LP12 fanatics are want to try out, I have a nice plain Valhalla with a Mk 1 Akito & K9 and to be perfectly honest I have never felt the need to upgrade once (even though the very day I purchased it I was advised on another forum to get a better arm on the deck), I love its fluidity & warmth of presentation, the articulation & depth of bass the LP12 digs out of grooves astonishes me constantly, I just received my U2 1991-2002 last night and Im still grinning this morning, the goodlady had to tell me to stop playing “One” at full pelt continously.

    Gordon, I dont doubt anything you say above, the LP12 is in the envious spot that it brought real hifidelity in the TT sector to the masses, by that I dont mean people buying new units, I mean that the second hand sector has had a good part in the legendary status of this wonderful old deck, it has brought many people like me a real taste of high end vinyl for the same price as a competent CD player, as a second hand unit it is a no brainer being the Ford Sierra of the TT world (ie the spare available not the perfromance : Sorry Karkus its true it is the 2h buy of the century) in fact HFC had a “Most Infleuntial Hifi in the last 25 Years” and what was in the number 1 spot ? : :smashin:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    It is a complex device for something so simple isn't it. Every single bit of it has changed between launch and now, yet they look so similar. Some changes were done for performance reasons and some for ease of manufacture, longevity of set up. Good dealers can tell which is which and take base off to give you a detailed list of what is out of spec and what is most important to change.

    Dealers worth going to see for this service are...

    Grahams
    Martin-Klieser Beaconsfield (formerly Uxbridge Audio)
    Russ Andrews
    StereoStereo
    Griffin Audio
    Lyric HiFi

    I am sure there are others but I know there are folk at these establishments who understand the product.

    Gordon
     
  14. ReTrO

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    Might I add 'The Sound Gallery' to that list. Glyn knows his TT stuff.
     
  15. Gambit

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    And, if you're near Manchester, try Practical HiFi (where I work:blush: ) and ask for Dave, the manager. A man who loves his TT's:) and an LP12 owner himself
     

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