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About ThomasOK

  • Rank
    LP12 specialist, Lejonklou importer
  • Birthday Private

Personal Info

  • Location
    Westland, MI USA
  • Real Name
    Thomas O'Keefe

Wigwam Info

  • Turn Table
    Linn Sondek LP12
  • Tone Arm & Cartridge
    Ekos SE/1, Kandid
  • SUT / Phono Stage
  • Digital Source 1
  • DAC
    ESI Gigaport HD+
  • Pre-Amp
    Lejonklou Sagatun Ms
  • Power Amp/s
    Lejonklou Tundra Ms
  • My Speakers
    Quad ESL, JBL 4645C
  • Headphones
    None currently
  • Trade Status
    I am in the Hi-Fi trade

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  1. That's a bit of a long story, which some on here don't seem to appreciate, but I'll give it a go. Several years ago when the Rega RP8 had just come out I had a potential customer come in to hear one after reading some of the rave reviews. He was getting back into vinyl and we had him take one home for the weekend. He quite liked it but when he brought it back he asked if there was anything else he should listen to. I mentioned that the Majik LP12 was about $700 more so he listened to the two compared and said "The LP12 is better." to which I agreed. Then he asked about the Klimax LP12 with Akiva we had in the other room. I told him that was quite a bit better than the Majik but it is dangerous. He wanted to hear it and was pretty blown away. So he went home thinking about it and called me back about a week later asking about the AMG, which had just gotten several good reviews. I said I'd never heard one but I had my doubts considering how many expensive turntables had failed to better the LP12. A few days later I received a call from the US distributor saying that they had a call from a customer of ours inquiring about the AMG. He said they didn't have any dealers in the area and they would be glad to send us one to let the customer hear. There were no strings attached. If the customer liked it we could sell it to him even if we didn't want to become a dealer and if we did like it they would make us a dealer and give us normal demo price on it. If the customer didn't want it and neither did we they would pay return shipping. I was glad to take him up on such an offer as I try to hear alternatives when possible and it was an offer in everyone's best interest. They shipped us the AMG and I wanted to make sure the comparison was as fair as possible so I removed the Akiva from my Klimax LP12 at home and installed it in the AMG arm. I did a full setup on the Viella including precision adjusting the torques as I do on all turntables. I put it and the Klimax LP12 on the same Quadraspire SVT double wide rack but I had to put a Quadraspire glass shelf under the AMG as the slots in the SVT didn't work with the spikes on the AMG. On the lower shelves were a KK and a Klimax Twin Chakra which fed a pair of Vandersteen Treos. All wiring was Linn silvers and K20. The customer came in and brought four records with him. He listened to the first one and said: "Well the LP12 is certainly better in the midrange on up. I can hear how the instruments are playing better. The bass may be a little too powerful on the LP12 but everything else is better." On the next two records he felt the LP12 was easily superior. Then he played the last record and said: "Forget what I said about the bass on the first record, the bass is as good as I have ever heard. And I am sure how it should sound because I played the bass on this record!" He bought a Klimax LP12 a week later, minus a Urika as he already had a phono stage he was happy with. But there is a second part to the story. The person I had talked to at the distributor was going to be in town the next week (he was doing a product demo on some electronics they handled for another dealer about 40 minutes away) and asked if he could stop by the store. We were happy to have him and he spent a few hours here. He saw the AMG setup, checked it out and said that it was properly setup and on a good surface. Noticing the Akiva, which he hadn't heard before in the AMG he asked to hear it. I used the same system mentioned above. I played it and he said it sounded about how he would expect. Then he asked to hear the LP12. I played that for him. He smiled and said: "I probably shouldn't say this, since I represent the AMG, but that LP12 sounds very good." I received an email from him later thanking me for the hospitality and saying that the system he heard sounded so musical that he would buy that exact system himself if he had the money. So I think it is safe to say that it was adequately setup and in a system of high quality. It wasn't a bad sounding turntable, I have certainly heard worse in comparison that cost more - like an SME 20, but it wasn't musically competitive with the LP12. As you can imagine the AMG went back to the distributor.
  2. And having had personal experience of it, I can state that the original AMG Viella is one of them. I haven't heard the new Forte version.
  3. Sorry, but I can't agree with this. I have heard a Klimax LP12 with Urika II through a KDS/3 (Katalyst) compared with another Klimax LP12 with Urika 1 through an otherwise all analog system and the loss of shading and musicality I associate with even the best digital was still quite audible to me and one of my customers who heard the same comparison. There is still a flatness of tone and lack of engagement in the music compared to the best all analog reproduction. This, of course, requires that the rest of the system is all analog, no DVC or digital amps, crossovers etc. In this case the system used Lejonklou Sagatun Mono 1.4 preamps and Tundra Mono 2.2 power amps into some Vandersteen Quatro CT speakers, a system which can really get out of the way of the music. As I have stated before, the Urika II is likely to be an upgrade in a system using Exact or even just with a DVC based preamp as all inputs will already be digitized and the Urika II is likely to do it better. This is based on theory as I have not had the opportunity to compare a Urika 1 vs. a Urika II in an Exakt system. But in a system that does not digitize the music anywhere along the amplification/speaker chain, which are the types of system I prefer, I find the Urika 1 more musical. I was also able to listen to the above Klimax LP12 before and after the change to Urika II and heard the same reduction in musical naturalness in the II as when comparing the two separate Klimax LP12s. So make mine analog, please.
  4. I would say another leap of pretty similar size!
  5. I doubt over-tightening the rear bolt would have much effect. If you do that it first pushes up the corner brace and then snaps the stud off if taken too far. But the height of the wood strips that the top plate sits on can vary a bit from plinth to plinth. This causes the top plate to sit lower or higher compared to the top of the plinth, which would certainly have a bearing on the problem. As mentioned in the link, the paper test is the most effective way to know if there is something that needs to be addressed.
  6. Changing to a new plinth will not necessarily help as even current Linn LP12 plinths may be short enough to cause this problem. There is a relatively easy fix, and other possibilities have been mentioned too. This thread on the Lejonklou forum covers it quite well:
  7. We're starting to get into technical waters here and things can get pretty murky. In addition I am not an engineer, mechanical nor electrical, just somebody who experiments in a pragmatic way that allows me to find things like the torque system. So there are liable to be engineering mistakes here. While the Hi-Fi world tends to divide phono cartridges into MM and MC versions (leaving aside the outliers like strain gauges, ceramic, etc. for now), that is more a matter of convenience when talking about them. In many ways it would make more sense to refer to low output and high output cartridges as the amount of gain needed in the phono stage is really what tends to separate the groups. The MC group is simpler as they are generally all actual Moving Coil designs where the coil, attached to one end of the cantilever, moves in a magnetic field. Because the great reason for a moving coil is low moving mass so it can more precisely follow the high frequencies of the groove, the coil usually has few windings to keep the mass low. High-output moving coils use more windings to get output levels comparable to an MM cartridge, but lose some of the MC moving mass advantage in the bargain. With a true Moving Magnet cartridge, such as the Adikt and many, many others, the magnet resides on the back end of the cantilever and moves near the coils to generate the magnetic field. The magnet is almost always going to be heavier than the coil so it will increase the moving mass of the system. Likely as big a problem with MM cartridges is that they use an elastomer as both fulcrum and damping which leads to a compromise in getting the stylus tip movement accurately to the magnet. Most MCs have a damper separate from the pivot point, which is often a material that reduces or eliminates front to back motion of the cantilever. But there are many cartridges that are thought of as MM cartridges that actually use other systems. Basically pretty much all of them are variations on the Moving Iron principle which has been used by many companies. In a Moving Iron cartridge the magnet(s) and the coils are both in the cartridge body and a much lighter piece of iron is used to transfer the magnetism between the two. This is supposed to give the advantages of the low moving mass of a MC with the output of an MM. There are a number of variations on the Moving Iron design. Grado (who interestingly actually designed the first stereo MC cartridge but no longer makes them) calls theirs a Flux-Bridger. Bang and Olufson patented the Moving Micro Cross which is now made by Soundsmith. Decca has their own unique system that is nonetheless a variation on the Moving Iron design. By the way, those three companies: Grado, Soundsmith and Decca all make Moving Iron cartridge at or above $5000! So there is some research going on with high-end cartridges that aren't MC. They just don't tend to get as much press as MCs, quite possibly because there are fewer of them. Also possibly because they require more explanation. You can find info on the web on all three of these but it is safe to say all have different designs that they feel compete with the best of the Moving Coils. They also have detailed explanations of why they feel so. The Decca is probably the most unique but all try to give very low moving mass and accurate tracing of the groove. Also all have enough output that they can run with a normal MM phono stage like the Slipsik. While most actual cartridge manufacturing companies have tended to specialize in one type or another (Grado only makes flux-bridgers, Lyra, Koetsa, etc. make only MCs, I believe all Shures were MMs) companies like Audio Technica make MM and MC and Goldring makes MM, MC and MI! Somehow MCs still manage to hold onto the high-end cachet and account for most of that end of the market. When well designed and manufactured they certainly can wrest an amazing amount of music from the groove. But I don't have experience of the top MI models from the manufacturers above to be able to say how they compare.
  8. My suspicion is that you have to look no further than the Grado Lineage series, MM type cartridges that go for $12,000 for the Epoch and $6000 for the Aeon, to put that statement into question. Admittedly the Grados are actually Flux-bridgers (another term for induced magnet design) but are relatively high-output and considered in the MM grouping, along with many other variations on the theme. While the output is a little low for a typical MM, they have an output high enough for many, if not most, MM phono stages. So putting the same kind of design and production effort resulted in the same kind of pricing! And also in a non-replaceable stylus that requires a whole cartridge trade-in at a not atypical cost of two-thirds the price of a new cartridge with trade in of the old body.
  9. I expect you will be rather surprised at what your Adikt is capable of.
  10. The suggestions here are all good. But in addition you need to account for the fact that the seat bottoms in cars slant down toward the back. You want to keep the LP12 as level as possible to minimize any oil loss (if keeping the inner platter raised and in place, which is what I do) so you want it level. I keep an old bath towel in the car which I fold and roll up to keep the LP12 as level as possible. On cars with 12 way adjustable seats I further adjust the seat to get it level. I would also wrap the seat belt around the unit as an extra precaution. The belt should be marked not only for outside vs. inside but also top vs. bottom as that is audible as well. I have now traveled to 4 Hi-Fi shows with two LP12s, one on a car seat and one on the floor. Three of these were to Denver, an 1100 mile trip one way and the latest was to Schaumberg, IL a drive of 265 miles. I had swap out a Urika for a Trampolin 2 on my Klimax LP12 after this trip and I did fine tune the suspension a touch, but back home it is still fine. Otherwise both LP12s needed no tuning after any of the trips. I have also had customers drive me LP12s from a number of cities, some as far away as Raleigh, NC which is about 670 miles. They all have arrived happily still singing at their destinations. So I suspect that, with the reasonable care you are planning on, you should have no problems.
  11. It is always worth giving something a listen to see what you think of it. Personally I have never been a fan of the Quads other than the original ESL. When the 63 came out it was a complete redesign with a system of annular rings energizing the diaphragm in a circular pattern starting from the center and moving out to simulate a point source. It accomplishes its desired effect but I feel it has lost musical quality in the effort, possibly due to the signal going through ever longer induction coils to achieve the delays. All Quad ESL speakers since the 63s have been based on the same design with upgrades to things like cabinet rigidity (sorely needed) and internal electronics. They still all use the series of inductor coils to create a range of delays for the diaphragm. But I have not heard the latest versions so I can't say if they would be more to my liking or an improved version of the 63 with similar flaws. There do seem to be a fair number of people like me who feel the only Quads to have are the originals. PMC and Harbeth do also both make speakers worth checking out.
  12. Make that a plus 2 or 3. Go with an Ekos SE if you can or a good used Ekos 2 if that is what your budget will stretch to. I have not heard the Audio Origami, but doubt it is in that league.
  13. Great story! I'm glad you found what you are looking for and I'm quite sure the LP12 will bring you great musical enjoyment. Very good choice of plinth as well. I was not able to do direct A/B comparisons with an Ebony plinth vs. others on otherwise identical LP12s (although I did do this with a number of woods as posted on the Lejonklou forum). But one of my customers did pick up a Woodsong Ebony plinth and just from handling it and doing a bit of testing I feel it would rank in the top tier of plinths musically, at least an A- but likely an A. Physically the Ebony plinths are stunning and the fluted one will be quite special. Plus his plinths are built to even more precise standards and with superior finishes than on Linn plinths. Please post photos when it is done so we can all drool.
  14. Thanks for the plug David! We did indeed play a system with a full Klimax LP12 with custom Woodsong plinth and 1958 Quad ESLs. The Quads had their diodes replaced with stronger ones Quad themselves put into later production but otherwise were all original panels, crossovers and chassis. Just that idea blew a lot of people away. I thought it was great to use a system with arguably the world's most iconic turntable and speakers with Lejonklou's top electronics in between. Although Michael Fremer didn't apparently get to our room that could have had to do with logistics (see below). However we received plenty of positive comments from enthusiasts and industry alike. The Dynavector importer came by all three days, once with his own record, and sent me a note saying we had put the fun back into a Hi-Fi show. And John Atkinson, editor of Stereophile, said our room was a highlight of the show. Here is a link to his report: Although the big news for us was obviously the SINGularity mono block, copper chassis MC phono stage, we decided after two days of playing a $105,000+ system to show our other new product and what we could do with a much more modest system. So we hooked up a basically Akurate level LP12 (Lingo 4, Kore, Ekos 2, Trampolin 2, Adikt - $9510) into the new Slipsik 7 at $1795, the Boazu integrated at the new lower price of $3999 and the Quads at $2500 for a system at $19,420 (not including the $4700 Harmoni rack). Unfortunately, due to technical circumstances (a defective long T.Kable), Fredrik having to get to the airport in the snow, and my desire to get back to Detroit before midnight (the show was a bit of work for me still recovering from a hospital stay until the day before the drive to Chicago) we closed up the room early at 1:00. I wish we had been able to do more as the people who heard the more modest system were also quite impressed with the musical quality. In the end I think we had a really good show and showed many, many people the difference between a system that provides engaging and enjoyable music and one that just puts out a lot of sound.