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cocovinyl176

New Linn Owner Sondek LP12 TT

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First off, thanks akamatsu for the kind comment.  I didn't reply earlier as I didn't want it to look self-serving, but I couldn't hold off when I saw there was need for more information.  Secondly, I agree with DavidHB and akamatsu that, after getting the Valhalla taken care of the Cirkus is what you should be looking at.  There is no question that the Trampolin 2 is a great upgrade for the money but it is less important and substantial musically than the Cirkus.  When you are talking about getting a full setup, which normally runs $225 to $300 here plus any needed parts - maybe $25 for springs and grommets, $30 for a felt mat and $80 for a belt, and add the other parts you are talking about things tend to add up.  The Grado Reference Platinum 2 is a pretty good cartridge, although a fair bit short of an Adikt and it runs $350 (all these prices are US so figure accordingly for Canada).  The Trampolin 2 is $250.  So if we put this together we have $1035.00US.  The Cirkus kit with the Majik subchassis and armboard is $1280 but this would include most of that labor, the springs and grommets, and the belt.  Add the felt mat (it's only $30 and musically a fair bit better than the older one) and a good basic cartridge like the AT-VM95e at $50 (which we currently don't sell due to US distribution problems)  or a Grado Black 2 at $75, plus maybe an hour of labor at $75 for things not covered in the Cirkus and cartridge install and you are around $1460.  Not chump change, certainly, but not a huge upcharge for getting the foundation of your current LP12 up to the latest standards and ready for anything you might want to throw at it in the future.  Apparently the dealer you talked to deals in used gear as the Asaka hasn't been made for decades (and hence I would be a bit leery of it - it also needs an MC phono stage), so he might have an older steel Cirkus subchassis laying around at a good price.  It isn't as good as the Majik aluminum one but since that runs $480 and I would typically sell a traded in steel Cirkus subchassis for in the neighborhood of $90 would save almost $400 and put that $1460 price at $1070 - within rock throwing distance of the type of upgrade path you mentioned.  

The Valhalla would have to be rebuilt either way.  It would be hard to tell from just looking at the caps whether they have been replaced as Linn used a few different ones at different times, some green, some blue, etc. for the main three, which are the ones commonly replaced.  If you can see the top side of the board and look at the solder joints you can see if they have been resoldered.  But even if the three main caps have been replaced,, there are five other electrolytics and the input resistor and rectifier to be dealt with.  I rebuild Valhallas for $150 parts and labor, I replace all eight caps (generally even the big three if they have already been replaced, as some I have seen are less than the best caps and those three also wear out the quickest) and other necessary parts using the best parts I have found, and I go over the traces and solder pads carefully as the heat generated on that board can lead to board traces lifting or cracking.  I then test the board with the appropriate Linn motor (50Hz or 60Hz depending on the board) and adjust the voltage level on it.

So this should give you a good idea of why you are getting these strong recommendations to go with the Cirkus and economize elsewhere.  In the end it is the best path musically, both now and as a foundation for the future, if you can find a way to swing it.

that is a lot of info. I appreciate your insight. thank you. I made the mistake of writing Asaka-I meant Atikt. I am just getting familiar with all the Linn names, so you will need to excuse me for my ignorance. the dealer is Linn authorized and the guy came highly recommended. Apparently, folks travel cross Ontario  to get decks worked on. I've thought about the the Cirkus upgrade, but as previously written, it wouldn't make sense at this point to go all out with upgrade when I could have just bought a deck with many of the upgrades you speak of. Little things, such as the updated (thinner) felt mat seem a bit silly to upgrade. Although, pretty insignificant a cost at 30 dollars,  I am quite certain just as insignificant of a difference maker. I am sure there is no question, making the upgrades you (and the dealer)  listed will take it's current performance to another level, but in the end I'll need to really listen to it set up bare bones for many hours before getting to the point of rebuilding it-or putting well over 1k into it. As far as the  Grado Vs. Linn Atikt...Truth be told, I like the way the grado looks, but if it's not a good match for the Ittok tonearm, or out performed by the Atikt, that decision  is an easy one.

Edited by cocovinyl176

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I think the way this  thread has developed just confirms how confusing it can get ...and  that the smartest option for a new owner of an old LP12 is to seek the guidance of a good dealer.

Just look at all the stuff and the number of upgrades mentioned and debated ! :D

For  someone looking to get the best value In the context of a given second hand  deck , its important  to figure out which cost effective upgrades might deliver a lot of bang for the buck ...but the most important  thing is to ensure that the deck is correctly set up and working at its best, with no significant wear or damage related issues holding it back. 

Remember . An original spec early 80s deck,  in good condition and well set up , will still sound wonderfully musical... and will outperform a brand new LP12 of any spec which is not correctly  set up or has damage  issues affecting  any critical component .

Edited by Smokestack
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Ah, the Adikt is a different question.  I definitely feel the Adikt is musically superior to the Grado and is easily the best phono cartridge I have heard under $1000.  It is also a great match for the arm.  The Grado Reference Platinum 2 does not have a replaceable stylus, the whole cartridge has to be exchanged.  The cartridge is $350US and the exchange is $240.  The Linn Adikt is $640US and the replaceable stylus is $320 - half the price.  This also means that it is much easier to replace as you just plug the new stylus in rather than having to replace the cartridge and reset the arm.  I expect the difference in price in Canada is likely less since the Grado comes from the US so no duties here whereas the Adikt is from Scotland so there are duties and a higher shipping cost figured into the price.  In Canada those variables would change so I don't know how prices compare over there.

The only thought I was trying to express is that a Cirkus with Cirkus steel subchassis and new armboard at $890US plus a good $50 to $75 cartridge will musically outperform an Adikt and Trampolin 2 at $890US.  It would also actually save you money as all except maybe an hour of the setup would be included in the price of the Cirkus.

As Smokestack says, an original spec 80s LP12 that is well setup will definitely be very musical.  Doubly so with an Ittok and an Adikt on it.  If this is how you feel most comfortable going then go for it and you should be thrilled. 

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I would certainly never quarrel with any recommendation to fit a Cirkus .  That's one mod that represents a lot of bang for the buck in the context  of any deck which pre-dates its introduction.:D.

[I remember fitting the Cirkus kit   to my own deck  at the time...and  phoning scores of customers to insist that they order one.]

Edited by Smokestack

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Appreciate the feedback. I decided not to go in the direction of the Grado and still waiting to hear back from the dealer on what is needed for my deck. I am leaning in the direction of the Atikt, but have been reading positive reviews about other Carts, Hana EH, Nagaoka mp150/200, both have very good reviews. 

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1 hour ago, cocovinyl176 said:

I am leaning in the direction of the Adikt, but have been reading positive reviews about other Carts, Hana EH, Nagaoka mp150/200, both have very good reviews. 

Cartridges are nearly as difficult as speakers when it comes to choice, and someone's good review is no guarantee that you will like it. What makes the Adikt a relatively 'safe' (if not the cheapest) choice is that you know that it is well matched to your arm. I am currently using an Adikt with my Ekos SE/1 arm, and frankly am feeling no great need to upgrade to a moving coil cartridge with its much greater cost of ownership and logistic complication.

Whatever cartridge you choose, all the things we said about basic improvements to the stuff in the deck that you can't see but which matters most still apply, of course.

David

Edited by DavidHB
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You can't really go wrong with the Adikt.

[ Especially if you don't want to faff about auditioning a whole bunch of cartridges ....which is a far from  easy thing to arrange  these days !]

The Adikt  matches your arm perfectly and  has a very tuneful, natural sounding  presentation which doesn't get in the way of the  music.

As with many really good cartridges, you're just not aware of it being there.

Some cartridges may sound initially more impressive....but many are  just big show offs...thinking themselves more important than the music  .:D

Edited by Smokestack
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I can get the adikt here (in Canada) for 599+tax Can, which is not bad, given the exchange rate of around 450 or so. I should have work on my deck this upcoming week and see where we are at, but looks like Adikt makes the most sense. Appreciate all your help/assistance. I'll post pics when all is set up. 

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On 12/11/2019 at 13:58, ThomasOK said:

Ah, the Adikt is a different question.  I definitely feel the Adikt is musically superior to the Grado and is easily the best phono cartridge I have heard under $1000.  It is also a great match for the arm.  The Grado Reference Platinum 2 does not have a replaceable stylus, the whole cartridge has to be exchanged.  The cartridge is $350US and the exchange is $240.  The Linn Adikt is $640US and the replaceable stylus is $320 - half the price.  This also means that it is much easier to replace as you just plug the new stylus in rather than having to replace the cartridge and reset the arm.  I expect the difference in price in Canada is likely less since the Grado comes from the US so no duties here whereas the Adikt is from Scotland so there are duties and a higher shipping cost figured into the price.  In Canada those variables would change so I don't know how prices compare over there.

The only thought I was trying to express is that a Cirkus with Cirkus steel subchassis and new armboard at $890US plus a good $50 to $75 cartridge will musically outperform an Adikt and Trampolin 2 at $890US.  It would also actually save you money as all except maybe an hour of the setup would be included in the price of the Cirkus.

As Smokestack says, an original spec 80s LP12 that is well setup will definitely be very musical.  Doubly so with an Ittok and an Adikt on it.  If this is how you feel most comfortable going then go for it and you should be thrilled. 

Adikt is a great cartridge FTM, no doubt. One correction is there is current no duty for goods from Scotland thanks to the Duty free trade between Canada and the EU. For now. Exchange rate, well , that’s a different story. BTW, there wasn’t much of a price change when the 18% duty on all EU products was dropped , BUT it seems like ( some) Canadian Linn dealers offer an easily offered 25% off list due to the bigger margin without the duty. Make sure you try for a good discount, it’s technical built into the Canadian market. 

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10 hours ago, cocovinyl176 said:

I can get the adikt here (in Canada) for 599+tax Can, which is not bad, given the exchange rate of around 450 or so. I should have work on my deck this upcoming week and see where we are at, but looks like Adikt makes the most sense. Appreciate all your help/assistance. I'll post pics when all is set up. 

Go for it at this price, and if it’s from the former Linn dealer it think it’s from, you might be able to shave a bit more off, think they have had this Adikt for a while now. 

Edited by arm

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9 hours ago, arm said:

Adikt is a great cartridge FTM, no doubt. One correction is there is current no duty for goods from Scotland thanks to the Duty free trade between Canada and the EU. For now. Exchange rate, well , that’s a different story. BTW, there wasn’t much of a price change when the 18% duty on all EU products was dropped , BUT it seems like ( some) Canadian Linn dealers offer an easily offered 25% off list due to the bigger margin without the duty. Make sure you try for a good discount, it’s technical built into the Canadian market. 

Thanks for this explanation. I’ll be sure to bring the thumb screw along for my next visit to my local dealer in Vancouver. 

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I too have a mid 1970's deck which has been upgraded with Ittok LVII, Lingo 3, Cirkus, Kore, Trampoline 2. I'll highly recommend getting the Cirkus done if your deck is pre-Cirkus. Big difference in sound, nice tight low end with increased dimension. There is so much you can do with the LP12 and I've been fortunate with a great dealer and knowledge from member Akamatsu who has helped in a lot of my buying decisions. 

Edited by HDMan72
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