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What does one look for when faced with an LP12 of unknown age with an Itok LVII fitted for a little under $1500? I'm uncertain if there is a lid. Uncertain what the cartridge is either. Is this a fools errand? Be as brutally honest and vicious as I am about turntables in general. I don't even have room for it! Why do I browse hifi forums late at night? Why why why?!

Edited by Jail4CEOs2

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Step away from the edge Sir!

I don’t own a LP12. But from what I have seen these used “bargain” LP12s are just a gateway drug for seducing one into an endless series of expensive upgrades. Like a powerful magnet that just sucks money out of your wallet. Be careful!

That being said I admire your fortitude here. I have had similar thoughts and look forward to watching your progress. I considered an LP12 for my island location. I thought about hunting down a used sample and upgrading it. But having to transport it back and forth on a ferry to get professional dealership service made me give up that idea. New LP12s come in different options with a skyrocketing asking price. 
 

So, I opted for the “sensible” option and purchased a new Rega Planar 6, Ania MC coil and the Rega Aria phono stage. This was pretty easy to set up vs the LP12. I have since upgraded my other components on this system: Pass Labs XP-20 preamp, Bryston 4BSST-2 power amp and just recently Spendor D9 speakers. I played some classic vinyl with this system for the very first time last night. The sound was just amazing. Would a Klimax level LP12 sound better? Of course it would! But that asking price...

But I have had these dark thoughts: selling the Planar 6 and getting an LP12. But my focus is on the digital side of things.

Sigh: I am right back where I started. Even though I have upgraded everything I still find that playing vinyl sounds superior to digital streaming! I upgraded from Sonos Connect to a Sonos Port. I then dumped that and my Rega DAC and plugged in a Linn Majik DSM. A real improvement but there is still a steel digital brightness with streaming that is just not there when paying vinyl.

Good luck Sir...

Max

Edited by PhotoMax

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If you can't define the age, then i assume there is no serial number. The earlier serial "plates" fell off after a decade or two when the glue dried up, or, maybe more commonly when the Plinth was swapped out for a newer more exotic wood. Good chance this is a Franken-deck, made up of discarded cast off parts left over from upgrades. Doesn't make it a bad deck, just highly unknown and a roll of the dice if you don't audition first. 

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It's described in a foreign language, but in my town. Good comment about the serial. That will tell a lot. I think there are external power supplies, this one doesn't? Comments on how to assess power supply and motor? I just viewed an LP12 video of a build, so I'm now a bit cognizant of that stuff and keel. Any comments about the tonearm? I remember it was good in the eighties?

Oh, while I love my MDSM, that could be the source of steel digital brightness Max. Theoretically Katalyst in my Exaktbox-i will tame that for me I hope!

Edited by Jail4CEOs2

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Even if you have the serial number, that would only tell you when the deck was originally made and what its specification was on leaving the factory. When you consider that more than half of Linn's LP12 business is in upgrades, there is always a good chance, with a deck of any age, that the specification has changed during its life. For instance, on my deck the plinth and therefore the serial number, dates back to 1989. The rest of the deck is newer than that by 30 years.

As regards power supplies, IIRC all the early models up to and including the Valhalla were fully internal, as is the current Majik power supply. All the Lingo models have some form of external component, though with the current Lingo 4 this has been downsized to something that looks a bit like a laptop power brick. The Radikal (both models) also has its external case (Akurate or Klimax), of course. Which motor is used depends on the power supply; the Lingo 4 and Radikal come as a package with the motor and speed control, for instance.

Similar complexities, resulting from 45 years plus of development and modification, arise when you consider bearings, subchassis and armboard, pickup arm and cartridge. The easiest way to understand what goes with what, at least in the current models, is to look at the LP12 page of the Linn price list.

My own view, having been through the LP12 build and rebuild process on several occasions during the past couple of years, is that buying any deck from an unknown source and without either expert knowledge or dealer help is highly risky. The deck mentioned in the original post is likely to be of some age, and the asking price of $1500 can usefully be compared with the current UK asking price of £2,930 for a brand new Majik level deck. The new deck is more than twice the cost, but will very probably perform better, not require any immediate upgrades, and will have a full warranty. As ever, you get what you pay for (if you are lucky).

David

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@Jail4CEOs2(and people complain my user name is impenetrable!) you are the the ideal customer for the many unscrupulous/clueless people selling on the second hand market. These days there are many Frankenstein LP12’s around - decks made up of bits from random time periods and some bits may, or may not, be in good condition. So you find very old plinths on relatively modern spec decks but then a Cirkus chassis with non-Cirkus bearing and old springs etc.

Your best bet is to buy a second hand deck from a dealer like Cymbiosis who will ensure/guarantee that the deck you get is what it should be and not some weird amalgamation of worn out bits.

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44 minutes ago, YNWAN said:

Your best bet is to buy a second hand deck from a dealer like Cymbiosis who will ensure/guarantee that the deck you get is what it should be and not some weird amalgamation of worn out bits.

Fully agree in principle, but Jail4 is in Taiwan; Linn dealerships with LP12 expertise may be a bit thin on the ground there. So whether any LP 12 purchase makes sense for him will depend on the availability of local support.

David

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It's only 33 1/3, no 45 rpm. But even if it has bad parts, will it still not be pretty darn gud sounding? There is a dealer, one on the whole island, who's been in that role for a long time. My problem is just language. Expressing the nuance needed for these technical matters just won't happen. Also, and I know I'm going straight into Hellfires with this blasphemy, are there non Linn alternatives for armboards, bearings, motors and power supplies that are cheaper and maybe good? I know the Urika stuff, and understand it has to be Linn. Is the MM phono section in my MDSM relatively adequate?

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Lots of informative stuff from folks above ...

... I think the bottom line is that you either have to really know what you're doing  with an LP12  or  buy it from an accessible  respected dealer .

If you don't have the luxury of a dealer within reasonable travelling distance  ...then think at least twice  !

With regard to the age of the deck ...

In all cases, condition of the vital parts is critical .  That said , an LP12 of any vintage , if in good working order , will deliver a wonderfully rewarding musical experience.

But if you think that you'll then want to embark on a long term upgrading path, the older ones may not be the best value for money in the long run unless you have a friendly local dealer with lots of used bargains  available on a regular basis.

Edited by Smokestack
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I'm with Smokestack all the way, which is just as well, as he has far more experience of the issues than I do.

6 hours ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

It's only 33 1/3, no 45 rpm.

That makes it very old, pre-Valhalla I think. Note that it will be directly mains powered, so adapted for the local mains voltage and frequency (115v, 60 Hz?). I'm sure Smokestack is right to suggest that it is not the right starting point for creating a modern standard deck. If it is in good nick, the best thing would be to service it (unless the owner can produce a good service history), and use it as it is, albeit perhaps with a replacement cartridge or stylus. Also note that you need advice on how to transport it, as it needs to be partially dismantled to avoid damage to the bearing.

6 hours ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

But even if it has bad parts, will it still not be pretty darn gud sounding?

With a deck of any age, condition and setup are key. A badly set up modern deck will sound worse than a well set up older one.

6 hours ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

There is a dealer, one on the whole island, who's been in that role for a long time. My problem is just language. Expressing the nuance needed for these technical matters just won't happen.

So, if you want to take the big risk, take the deck to him as it is, and let him get on with servicing it. Frankly, the end result could be anything between miracle and total disaster (if, for instance the bearing is shot). Of course, if he is the only dealer on the Island, he may already know the deck ...

6 hours ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

Also, and I know I'm going straight into Hellfires with this blasphemy, are there non Linn alternatives for armboards, bearings, motors and power supplies that are cheaper and maybe good?

Yes, there are. Opinions vary, of course, on how good the aftermarket alternatives are. And I'm suggesting that, for the oldest decks, the best thing is to leave them in as original condition as possible, and just service them. With a more modern deck, the clever thing is to see what a dealer has to offer; for example, the plinth, Radikal, Keel and arm on my deck were all pre-used parts. Some dealers (including mine) will offer non-Linn alternatives if they think they are good value. (I'm carefully avoiding the vexed topic of whether, if an LP12 has non-Linn parts, it is still an LP12.)

6 hours ago, Jail4CEOs2 said:

I know the Urika stuff, and understand it has to be Linn. Is the MM phono section in my MDSM relatively adequate?

Urika (both versions) is MC only. And the phono stage does not have to be Linn; for MM cartridges my recommendation for a separate phono stage would be the Lejonklou Slipsik 7 (or the Lejonklou Gaio if the Slipsik breaks the budget). But the MM stage in the MDSM is AFAIK perfectly competent (I think that its pretty much the same as the one in the ADSM, which I used satisfactorily for several years), so I'd suggest that you don't need to concern yourself with phono stages just yet.

David

Edited by DavidHB
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11 minutes ago, DavidHB said:

I'm with Smokestack all the way, which is just as well, as he has far more experience of the issues than I do.

That makes it very old, pre-Valhalla I think. Note that it will be directly mains powered, so adapted for the local mains voltage and frequency (115v, 60 Hz?).

Valhalla is only 33rm so the rest of your analysis might be inaccurate

Edited by dol
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2 hours ago, dol said:

Valhalla is only 33rm so the rest of your analysis might be inaccurate

Thanks for the correction; I was under the mistaken impression that Valhalla provided a speed change capability. The deck, if it has the Valhalla, will probably be 5 to 10 years newer than I was assuming, and, if an early Ittok is indeed fitted, could also I suppose have an MC cartridge, which would definitely need checking.  There might also be an issue with the phono stage, as the MDSM does not have an MC option as standard. The cheapest way around that problem is to buy the analogue input board fitted to the ADSM, which is compatible with the MDSM, and which costs £330 in the UK.

In other respects, I think that my advice, which follows that of Smokestack, remains valid. Just possibly, if and when the deck requires dismantling for a full service, it might benefit from a Cirkus bearing. Likewise, if the Valhalla ever gives up the ghost, one or another Lingo, depending on what is available, might be a sensible replacement. But I'd still try to keep the deck as original as possible.

It's now up to @Jail4CEOs2 to decide whether he wants to bet $1,500 plus the cost of a service on a good outcome ...

David

Edited by DavidHB

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And, of course, many second hand decks are already made up from component parts of varying age and specification .

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Having already made one error already, I have been doing a bit of homework on t'internet (I may live on the South Coast, but I'm a Northerner born and bred). If @Jail4CEOs2 has been correctly informed that the arm on 'his' deck is an Ittok LVII, and it does have a Valhalla, and that is its original configuration (all points to be confirmed), then the deck was produced between 1982 when the Valhalla was introduced and 1989 when the LVII was replaced with the LVIII.

I'm rather warming to the idea of betting Jail4's money on this deck ... :D

David

Edited by DavidHB

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Thanks guys, it's in a local Facebook group. I spent several hours reading here last night for a serious crash course in this. The Ittok2 is a decent arm and that was the extent of my knowledge when I first looked at it. I just went back and looked. The MDF arm board is cockeyed in the hole, which obviously says there is serious problems from a grainy cellphone photo. The top plate doesn't fit the plinth perfectly. The counterweight looks ok. The seller (might) be saying he has the cover, but no mounts on the plinth. I can't see anything about the cartridge. This was a quixotic thought anyway. I don't have any records either, in a country that doesn't share my musical tastes too. Keep it coming though, as future researchers have a ton of good info here. This one is a project for a local, not me. I guess I just wanted to own one once in my life to compare to how good streaming is. My system is pretty special now, and it would be a fun experience to DIY. For those of you who've done it, what have you heard it cost for a sub chassis (springs?)/arm board, and bearing used from one of the respected uk dealers who may have the oft mentioned here, elusive floating stock? I'd live with the existing motor. I'm assuming the arm would be serviceable as they're quite well built, and have decent wire in it, and maybe splurge for a new MM cartridge if the existing is totally fracked. 

Sondek 1.jpg

Sondek.jpg

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