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Smokestack

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About Smokestack

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  1. Exactly so . An upgrade should be to make something that's already good a bit better...not another desperate attempt to drag some element of musical satisfaction from a system that's clearly not working . Helping folks escape from that kind of vicious circle was one of the things that gave me the most satisfaction when I was in the trade. And yes, there are days when you switch the system on and it doesn't quite hit the spot . Maybe the power is a bit iffy ?...or maybe your just not really in the mood ? Go and do something else. It'll sound wonderful tonight or tomorrow.
  2. Ninkas [and for that matter Kabers] are potentially quite a bit better than Keilidhs...but a lot depends on what you're driving them the with. One of the reasons for Linn dealers having sold so many Keilidhs in the early '90s was their kindness to the amps and sources in front of them. They got better and better as you increased the quality of the signal but didn't sulk if you just plugged them into an Intek with a Mimik CD player . The same is not true to the same degree with the Ninkas...and certainly not with the potentially much better but very demanding Kabers.
  3. You're right David, it's a fascinating thing. But the most important thing with any interest in Hi Fi, be it from hobbyist or a professional point of view, is that we don't forget what the sole purpose of the system is. The big irony with "Hi Fi" is that obsession with it can totally ruin our enjoyment of music. [We've all known the folks with 20 grand's worth of kit... and about half a dozen records ] No idea about who might own the Nagaoka brand these days.
  4. Indeed . And on the subject of Goldring that we touched on. Yes , the Linn Adikt is made by Goldring. However, the Goldring 2400 & 2500 are evidently made by Nagaoka . Life is far too complicated these days
  5. I think reports of premature ware to Parabolic styli may be exaggerated. ..or linked to other specific issues in some experiences. Folks long enough in the tooth will recall the range of aftermarket Parabolic styli offered by Elite to fit a number of then popular cartridges. Many folks used those quite happily, reporting good durability and longevity. I was never a huge fan of Parabolic styli , due to cartridges so equipped often being overly fussy about VTA... which then often required the arm to be set noticeably low at the back to achieve a nice neutral & tuneful response. My interest in the Goldring 2400, rather than the 2500 , is substantially down to its Vital stylus. And, though I'm sure its more down to coincidence than the stylus profile, just about all my favourite cartridges down the years have sported a Vital nib. Real stylus experts tell me that the vital stylus is kind of like a slightly less extreme Shibata profile . They say that it's similarly kind and forgiving of surface noise when well set up...so I'm thinking I might like those too, maybe in the guise of an AT 750SH stylus for my K18II .The new higher range AT magnets also have revised suspensions, now optimised for sensible tracking forces in medium mass tone arms...so could now be really good in Linn arms. The proof, as ever, will be in the listening....not in the talking about it
  6. The Ittok LVIII was indeed pretty much as good as the earliest Ekos arms...and better looking in my opinion too . The Ekos II pulled away from it a bit more and you could then quite easily hear the improvement. The SE is a further step forward in sound quality ...but still not as pretty as the beautiful Ittok LVIII . [I remain very happy with my Ekos II ...and, especially having recently re-discovered a taste for "Low Fi" cartridges, I suspect it will stay that way. power supply upgrades from my existing Lingo would be the way forward for me if my upgraditis ever did come out of remission. They would improve the musical resolution without changing the "sound" too much. When you have what might be called a "Heritage" system, you have to be careful not to upset the balance. Such systems may be old and lagging behind the new stuff in absolute terms, but they can still sound "right"...a rare quality that's easily lost if you're not careful. ]
  7. Yep, In the absence of a new K18 stylus , those were my first considered options. [They all fit the K18 so long as you either cut the front off the stylus carrier or trim down the alloy nose of the cartridge .] But the new VM750 SH looks perhaps to be a better quality option when the time comes. It has a tapered cantilever like the K18 & possibly a better quality Shibata diamond than the AT95 derived varients. Once the flip up guard is removed, it may also require a little less Stanley knife butchery to make it fit The stylus fixing bolt doesn't concern me too much . As good a route as any to a rattle free stylus with any AT95 or K series cartridge is via a tactically placed spot of nail varnish in an area where the stylus carrier mates with the can. The stylus is then secured to the can and not the mounting section of the body ...theoretically not so good...but the sonic differences are very subtle . Folks have used Super Glue but its then a bugger to get off when a new stylus is required. Nail varnish works just as well but can later be freed with a firm tweak .
  8. I'd often found a good moving magnet cartridge to be more satisfactory than a budget moving coil, often at a similar cost. No surprises there because you can probably get a better engineered MM than a MC for the same outlay. The thing that stunned me is that I'm getting more musical enjoyment now from a moving magnet than I've obtained from a number of high end moving coils. [used both long term and over shorter periods of weeks to audition.] Until I popped in the NOS K18 I hadn't used a moving magnet in my own system on a day to day basis for nearly 40 years ! I hadn't expected to be able to live with it as anything beyond a temporary measure, pending something like a Krystal or lower range Lyra . About three months later I'm still digging out old records and grinning . I very much doubt that I'll ever use a Moving Coil again . For the considerable amount of time I'm now able to spend listening to records, I couldn't afford to run one ...but I'm over the moon to find myself not even wanting to I obviously don't know anything of your financial status David, but as you're another who has appreciated the surprising capabilities of modest cartridges when you give them half a chance , you might think twice before committing to the regular outlay of £1,000+ trade in for a new stylus every year. In any event , your upgraded arm with an Adikt will blow you away and keep you happy for some time I would think. [I remain keen to hear from anybody who has heard the Goldring 2400 in a Linn based system. It's description is very interesting , with a strong alloy body and a Vital stylus on a tapered aluminium cantilever . It looks ,on paper, more Linn than the Adikt ...but what does it sound like ? The Audio Technica VM750SH is another interesting little beastie...with its square shanked Shibata stylus a strong candidate to replace my K18 stylus in a year or so. ]
  9. I've totally lost my bottle when it comes to giving LP12 upgrade advice. Partly because I'm not exposed on a daily basis to LP12 variants in their currently evolved forms...but mostly because I'm still coming to terms with a NOS K18II producing a more satisfying musical result than a brand new Krystal ! I had a customer many years ago who swore blind that all moving coil cartridges were rubbish...he always used good moving magnets in his otherwise top end systems. They always sounded great but I used tell him how much better it would sound with a Karma or whatever was the king of the heap at the time. "Nonsense...I've heard them all" he would say. "...they sound like Hi Fi " . I'm starting to understand and, perhaps, half believe him.
  10. Smokestack

    Valve info

    FWIW , Watford Valves probably understand valve performance and match them better than anyone. Most valve suppliers these days cater mostly for the guitar amp market... where some slightly different criteria may apply Watford Valves take valves for Hi Fi applications just as seriously and can be trusted to give very good expert advice and recommendations. They also stock just about everything that's in current production or can still be sourced as NOS . [I don't have any connection with them...other than as a very satisfied customer over very many years]
  11. I've no idea what Stillpoints are I'm afraid. It is fair to say that the introduction of any compliant or tuned isolation device beneath a suspended sub-chassis turntable should always be on a "try before you buy" basis as the interaction of differing structures and compliances can be very unpredictable .
  12. You're basically right Colin...but it's not quite that simple. The LP12 traditionally works best on a light rigid support for two reasons. A light turntable support will not exacerbate any existing low frequency floor or wall generated structural vibrations and won't add any of its own [unlike for example a heavy wooden sideboard]. A rigid support will resist any lateral wobbling about at low frequencies [which the turntable suspension is less well equipped to deal with] and its rigidity will avoid it introducing any low frequency resonant behaviour of its own to the equation . So when we place an LP12 on a light rigid structure , we're helping the suspension to isolate it from its mechanical surroundings and ensuring that the support itself doesn't add any additional hard to deal with resonances. The Trampolin is then a kind of additional and carefully tuned mechanical filter, further isolating the deck from vibrational energy at frequencies it doesn't like. It is most valuable & effective in circumstances where it is not possible to site the deck on its own light weight support but, in my experience, it provides an audible improvement in almost every instance. [My own LP12 is fitted with a Trampolin , atop an Audiotech table, sitting on a suspended wooden floor. It's much better with the Trampolin than without. It arguably sounds more impressive without...which is where some folks get confused...but it's far more controlled & musical with the Trampolin fitted ]
  13. Smokestack

    superfi gone under?

    Ultimately the only bricks & mortar dealers who survive will be the true specialists, who sell and install a high proportion of expensive high end kit [with good margins] to a relatively low number of clients . They simply don't need the footfall numbers or numeric customer base that a traditional high street shop requires to make a living. The best ones still carry and demonstrate good inexpensive Hi Fi as well ...and aren't too far up their own arses The guys who continue to do a really good job can still thrive ...because the best route to getting a really good sound at home is via competently demonstrated and installed systems. And you can't get that on Amazon ...even with Prime.
  14. That's you safely away from trouble and off street corners for a while then Puffin.
  15. Issues like this are always very frustrating and highlight just how lucky the folks are who can just pop their LP12 on the back seat of the car and drive 20 minutes to their trusted local dealer. I'd echo Thomas's advice re checking the bearing. That method is plenty reliable enough in the context of this problem. If there's then no reason to specifically suspect the bearing , the dealer ought to be happy with furnishing fresh electronics to try out and spending some time again talking you through the relevant details of installation & function .