LinnJim

Temptation to jump down the LP12 rabbit hole

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The Akurate Kontroll sounds like a very tempting option. This would maximize my spending on an LP12 and leave room for on reasonably priced upgrade to KK/1, Gaio at a later date.

I presume that nobody here would consider buying a 2nd hand LP12 on "the auction website" ? I know it can be a bit of a rats nest at the best of times but I have seen decent spec decks go for under £1000 recently.  Ittok LVII,  with Hercules or Lingo etc

One of my hobbies is restoration and general tinkering so I'm more than happy to put the time into learning how to revive a tired LP12, or is this just not possible after a certain point?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LinnJim said:

The Akurate Kontroll sounds like a very tempting option. This would maximize my spending on an LP12 and leave room for on reasonably priced upgrade to KK/1, Gaio at a later date.

I presume that nobody here would consider buying a 2nd hand LP12 on "the auction website" ? I know it can be a bit of a rats nest at the best of times but I have seen decent spec decks go for under £1000 recently.  Ittok LVII,  with Hercules or Lingo etc

One of my hobbies is restoration and general tinkering so I'm more than happy to put the time into learning how to revive a tired LP12, or is this just not possible after a certain point?

Second two paragraphs sound good to me. With a considered and careful used purchase (perhaps even from a dealer?) you would get to "dip your toe in the water", see how you then felt about the overall idea and how far you might want to go, with the attraction of re-selling/trading in without a potentially large depreciation element.

Unless of course the expenditure of money is absolutely no object.

And you might even get to restore and tinker during the (now extended) lock in !

If you buy new, what are you going to do next ? It seems to me that a large proportion of owners deeply involved in the Linn, general hi-fi thing are always looking at some form of upgrade/improvement/tinkering. Start fairly humbly and you can potentially have years of future tinkering. You can then experience that particular form of madness whilst down the rabbit hole !

Edited by LanceG
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2 hours ago, LanceG said:

With a considered and careful used purchase (perhaps even from a dealer?) you would get to "dip your toe in the water", see how you then felt about the overall idea and how far you might want to go,

For sure, this is an attractive (and potentially very sensible) proposition. But it does come with two health warnings. The first is

2 hours ago, LanceG said:

It seems to me that a large proportion of owners deeply involved in the Linn, general hi-fi thing are always looking at some form of upgrade/improvement/tinkering.

That is, if I may say so a pretty accurate diagram of the rabbit hole. The LP12 experience is, as LinnJim is already sensing, unlike its streaming counterpart. The latter is about sound quality and accessibility, for an easy and enjoyable musical experience. By contrast, the physicality of using a record deck offers a greater engagement with the process of music reproduction, at the cost of some (not always unwelcome) user inconvenience. With the LP12, I see the.desire to upgrade as, in part at least, an expression of that greater engagement. And (here's the health warning) it can be more than somewhat addictive.

The second warning is that LP12 tinkering is not necessarily straightforward. Getting it right is a matter of experience and 'feel' as much as of DIY capabilities. Think back, if you are old enough, to the days when our cars were simple enough to service at home, but the nature of the engineering was such that some people had a much better feel for it than others. For all that individual components have been improved down the years, the basic engineering concept of the LP12 dates back to the 1940s and 1950s, so long before Linn itself came into existence. You can get a very good idea of what is involved in LP12 setup from Peter Swain's excellent three volume Guide, which can be found at https://www.cymbiosis.com/downloads/.

3 hours ago, LinnJim said:

I presume that nobody here would consider buying a 2nd hand LP12 on "the auction website" ? I know it can be a bit of a rats nest at the best of times but I have seen decent spec decks go for under £1000 recently.  Ittok LVII,  with Hercules or Lingo etc

It all depends how risk averse you are. The LP12 does need to be properly dismantled and packed for transportation, which is something best left to a dealer, though many of them do operate through auction and selling sites. I think that the LP12 second hand market essentially has three segments:

  • Historic, which in my book is pretty much any deck made before the introduction of the Valhalla in 1982; these decks (many of which will have non-Linn tonearms, such as the SME II) are probably best brought back to and used in as near original condition as possible; they will have their own character, which is actually part of their attraction;
  • Vintage decks from the 1980s up to the introduction of the Circus bearing in 2003, which will typically have a Valhalla supply (or a Lingo if you are lucky); given that the Valhalla is not compatible with the new Karousel bearing, it could well be sensible to fit these with a Cirkus bearing and compatible sub-chassis, but (assuming that the tonearm is OK) leave it at that;
  • More recent decks, where what is most cost effective will depend on the original purchase price and what you see as your 'endpoint' build standard, but be warned - in the two years I have had my LP12, my view of the end point has changed three times.

Actually, if you are better than I was at containing your ambitions, a current standard Majik deck (i.e. with Karousel), with a Lingo 4 in place of the regular power supply and motor (cost less than £4,500), could very well be a better long term buy than many second hand decks needing early upgrades. You pays your money ...

David

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3 hours ago, DavidHB said:

Actually, if you are better than I was at containing your ambitions, a current standard Majik deck (i.e. with Karousel), with a Lingo 4 in place of the regular power supply and motor (cost less than £4,500), could very well be a better long term buy than many second hand decks needing early upgrades. You pays your money ...

David

I am terrible at containing my ambitions unfortunately.

The more I research and shop around the bigger my budget is becoming in my head already.

I have seen a 2nd hand Urika 2 for the same price as a KK/1 it's a shame that they need a Radikal to function.

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I jumped down this particular rabbit hole very recently... I don't know where you are based but I would highly recommend you contact Peter Swain at Cymbiosis, in Leicester UK, With Peter's expert guidance on where best to spend the money we spec'd up a deck that was a mix of new and used parts and built a deck that is just getting better and better and significantly better than an off-the-peg Majik.

I'd also say that starting with a few LPs is a great opportunity to start to build collection to love, even better now that you can stream it and decide whether you like it or not before committing to buying.

Of course there are inevitably hidden costs, decent LPs aren't cheap actually they are f**king expensive! And you will need to set aside £400-£500 for a decent record cleaning system, which I have yet to do... I spend £40 on a Spinclean thing, its ok but its not nearly good enough really!

So having said all that, would I give it back if I had the chance?

No way! :D

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59 minutes ago, JohnnyBuchan said:

I would highly recommend you contact Peter Swain at Cymbiosis, in Leicester UK,

I agree Johnny. Peter & Wayne @Cymbiosis are absolutely brilliant. Not connected to an LP12, but I bought a KDS/3 from them recently, and I just can’t rate their customer service high enough. Cheers Guys!

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23 hours ago, DavidHB said:

And that's the point. I could easily resist the blandishments of the KEB/1, the Klimax Twin and the 350s. But, somehow, once started on the LP12 ...

David

I tend to agree David. However irrational our fixation on a modified, ‘pimped-up’ Ariston RD11 may be, there’s no doubt about the musical enjoyment this legend gives us.

Like you, I can easily resist the ‘draw’ to upgrade to superior amps & speakers. I still run M140’s, and love them. I’m sure that Akubarik’s are clearly superior, without even hearing them. But that’s not the point - my Majik power amps & speakers give me so much joy, I have no inclination to audition alternatives.

But I would tend to agree, that our preoccupation with upgrading the LP12 borders on obsession. But it’s not pathological. Almost nonsensically, we justify ploughing thousands and thousands into this rotating platter. And the joy it subsequently brings us is priceless! Long-live vinyl!

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1 hour ago, kelly200269 said:

a modified, ‘pimped-up’ Ariston RD11

Ivor T. may be getting on in years, but I strongly suggest you do not say this anywhere near him, or you might discover just how Glaswegian he can be.

1 hour ago, kelly200269 said:

there’s no doubt about the musical enjoyment this legend gives us

Bingo!

1 hour ago, kelly200269 said:

And the joy it ... brings us is priceless!

Bingo again!

David

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5 hours ago, LinnJim said:

I am terrible at containing my ambitions unfortunately.

The more I research and shop around the bigger my budget is becoming in my head already.

So set a budget soon. Ideally one that She Who Must Be Obeyed will not freak out at :) .

5 hours ago, LinnJim said:

I have seen a 2nd hand Urika 2 for the same price as a KK/1 it's a shame that they need a Radikal to function.

Actually, the Radikal is, in terms of sound quality, a much bigger step change up from a Lingo 4 (good as that is) than a Urika (either version) would be from, say, a Lejonklou Entity - and I have heard all of the above either in/with my own LP12 or in/with very similar ones. And, if you want to add an LP12 to your system, you are going to need some sort of preamplifier. Am I right in thinking that you must now face the fact that your LP12 reach exceeds your budgetary grasp? It's a painful realisation that hits us all at some point along the Yellow Brick Road.

David

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My budgetary grasp has never been able to catch up to my hifi related plans in all honesty but I always find a nice, slightly off middle, ground in the end.

What started as £2k budget is now somewhere nearer to £5k.

I'm thinking take my time to browse and spend as much as I need to on a TT that is worthy of upgrading over a life time.

If I end up with an LP12 and no pre amp for a while, then so be it.

Ideally an lp12 with Urika II and radikal will appear for £4999, who knows.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, LinnJim said:

What started as £2k budget is now somewhere nearer to £5k.

I think that's a realistic starting point, given the need to provide pre-amplification as well. You could get a new Majik TT and, if available, an Akurate Kontrol within that limit. For a little more (or maybe from a dealer who has second hand parts), you could squeeze in a Lingo 4 as well. If your listening room has a suspended wooden floor and you are not using a wall shelf, a Trampolin at £170 might also be worth factoring in. 

47 minutes ago, LinnJim said:

I'm thinking take my time to browse and spend as much as I need to on a TT that is worthy of upgrading over a life time.

In a sense, that's what I did. My initial budget was less than yours, albeit that I already had the preamplifier, phono stage and (significantly) tonearm from my previous deck. The upgrade process accelerated somewhat, but that's because I was fortunate enough to have the cash. It was initial caution that kept the starting budget low, and once I knew how much I was using my LP12, upgrades became worthwhile.

If you are buying second hand as the start of a long term investment, the bearing becomes a significant issue. In the upgrade hierarchy (which most of us here think is generally sensible), the bearing is at the top, that is the first component you need to upgrade. When times are better, fitting a Karousel is, in my opinion, a must. That has the advantage of requiring a full strip down and rebuild of the deck, which, if correctly done, will mean that it has had a full service.

47 minutes ago, LinnJim said:

If I end up with an LP12 and no pre amp for a while, then so be it.

If that happens, you won't be able to use the LP12 (unless it is fitted with the budget busting Radikal and Urika II), because you'd have no volume control. I fear that you are between a rock and a hard place on that issue.

David

Edited by DavidHB

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I’m going to suggest something very ‘left-field’ to the OP, especially if you don’t have any/much vinyl to play yet.

I would certainly keep your eyes pealed for an AK/1. I think that particular purchase is a ‘no-brainier’.

As far as the turntable is concerned, I would personally suggest you go for a new Rega Planer 3, and start with vinyl here. This would give you a very cost-effective solution (probably around the £2k mark), and free-up more money for vinyl purchases. IMO it just doesn’t make any rational sense to sink thousands into an LP12, unless you have a decent-sized vinyl collection to start with.

I owned an RP3 before I traded it in for my LP12 in 1987, and it’s a cracking starter deck. It also holds its value very well on the S/H market, so if you decided to sell it at a later date, you should see a good return.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, kelly200269 said:

As far as the turntable is concerned, I would personally suggest you go for a new Rega Planer 3

The Rega Planar 3 with the Elys 2 cartridge is advertised by (for example) Sevenoaks Sound and Vision for £649. Too good to be true? Yes and no. I've heard a Planar 3 - not the current version, but a reasonably recent model - and it is a seriously good deck for the price. I rated the one I heard as at about the same performance level as the Linn Basik I had at the time (and had owned for over 20 years at that point). The difference in sound quality from even a current Majik deck (with the Majik arm and Karousel bearing) will, I guess, be comparable to that between LinnJim's ADS/3 and a Sneaky or a Kiko. For occasional listening this is fine, but whether it is a sensible start to a new way forward, which is what Jim has in mind, is a more open question.

That said, I still think your suggestion is helpful. The Rega range, which now has a longevity of its own, has held a place in the market that Linn have never been able to capture, simply because its lower priced products in particular represent such good value for money. When we are contemplating the outlay of what most people would regard as stupid amounts of cash on the purchase of of Hifi system components, it is as well to remind ourselves of what is available at less stupid prices, and consider why we believe all that extra cost is justified. Cue the chorus extolling the LP12 and the musical satisfaction it can give ...

David

Edited by DavidHB

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20 hours ago, JohnnyBuchan said:

 And you will need to set aside £400-£500 for a decent record cleaning system, which I have yet to do.

I don't know how I've managed without one these last 55 years.

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43 minutes ago, Guzziboy said:

I don't know how I've managed without one these last 55 years.

Would your favourite music be the Click Song? :) 

David

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