LP12 upgrade path

syncro · 7092

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Offline syncro

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on: July 10, 2010, 10:44:00 AM
How to get the most bang for the buck from my vintage LP12 is the question.  First of all, I am not very experienced in listening to audiophile systems.  I just don't get out much in that way.  Around 1990 was the last time I spent any significant time in listening rooms of the retail establishments of NYC.  I bought the used LP12 and had it completed and set up by Innovative Audio in Brooklyn around 1991.

Presently it remains as they left it, with original steel chassis, the Basik LV X tonearm and Linn K5 cartridge (a rebranded AT entry-level MM type).  From there I am using the Hagerman Ripper as the phono amp, Foreplay III and a stock vintage ST-70 amp.  Still listening to my 1980s Linn Index speakers.  There is really not much "buck" for the bang right now, but want to plan ahead.

Some friends and I listened to a comparison between vinyl and CD on my Rotel 975CD.  I thought that a good way to compare sonic qualities of the two inputs would be to use the same recording issued in both vinyl and on CD.   On LinnRecords label, it is "Hats" by The Blue Nile.    I was surprised that once we got the volumes adjusted equal, we did not find as much of a difference as I expected.  I was not blind-listening but they were, and though they could distinguish and select the two, they did not agree on the superiority of vinyl.   We did not compare at different volume levels, which might have revealed more difference.

I therefore suspect the turntable is not up to even a mid-level potential due to the tonearm and cartridge.  It is my understanding the Linn approach would first upgrade the power and chassis,  then tonearm, then cartridge.  I am not convinced the weak link is the chassis or power, but feel the tonearm may be the most significant deficiency. 

Before Linn made better chassis, they had the Ittok tonearm, which is the direction I am leaning.  There is one on ebay.uk now....  Thanks in advance for any input.  I am also interested in what folks on the LinnForums might advise so I'm going to cross post there after I, hopefully, get some input here.

David Bogle
LinnLP12>Hagerman Piccolo>Hagerman Ripper / Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC / Sansui TU-717>BottleheadFPIII>Yamaha M-45>Klipsch ForteII


Offline grufti

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Reply #1 on: July 10, 2010, 12:53:45 PM
The Ittok is a good idea, if you can get it cheaply. Ortofon's new 2m magnetic cartridges are extremely good value at each price level. I have the top of line 2m black ... and it's freakishly good, but the more reasonably priced ones are almost as amazing.



Offline syncro

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Reply #2 on: July 10, 2010, 03:39:43 PM
Thanks.  I have read a number of posts by fans of the Ortofon 2M series.  Looks like Ittok II arms are going for $450 and up in online auctions and from some audio businesses in the UK.

David Bogle
LinnLP12>Hagerman Piccolo>Hagerman Ripper / Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC / Sansui TU-717>BottleheadFPIII>Yamaha M-45>Klipsch ForteII


Offline Doc B.

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Reply #3 on: July 10, 2010, 04:10:51 PM
I've had an Ittok and a Basik LV X. I think you would hear an improvement going to the Ittok, assuming it's in good shape. When I got an SME 309 I sold both of the Linn arms.

Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.


Offline grufti

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Reply #4 on: July 10, 2010, 05:06:26 PM
Agreed on the choice of SME. I'm just clueless when it comes to used/eBay pricing for tonearms, because I've paid no attention to it for at least a decade.



Offline coca

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Reply #5 on: July 13, 2010, 08:18:40 AM
I own two LP12's, and they are both amazing. They both have ittok arms on them, and at present, one is without a cartridge, the other has a linn asak moving coil cartridge. As good as the basic arm is, the ittok will make quite a difference. I am not fond of Linn MM cartridges, but the sky is the limit as to what cartridges you can use. If you install an ittok arm, you will have to readjust the suspension, and at that time you can have the springs and groumets inspected.

Bernie.



Offline syncro

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Reply #6 on: July 13, 2010, 07:11:06 PM
Thanks, Bernie.   I appreciate your encouragement about the arm.  Looks like I will have an Ittok sooner rather than later, and by coincidence it is coming with an ASAK cartridge.   I am a day's drive from a Linn dealer, and want to avoid any expensive upgrades, so interested in adjusting suspension myself.  Advice is welcome, but I have the setup manual to guide me.  I also have a tonearm/stylus template.  Anything else I am missing that is necessary?   I know - a bottlehead phono stage....

David Bogle
LinnLP12>Hagerman Piccolo>Hagerman Ripper / Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC / Sansui TU-717>BottleheadFPIII>Yamaha M-45>Klipsch ForteII


Offline coca

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Reply #7 on: July 14, 2010, 06:07:03 AM
Syncro, just be careful with the handling of the ittok tonearm, as the bearing is so very light and can get away from you. It works quite well with the Asak cartridge. As for the ripper, I do not know how flexible it is to work as a stand alone phono stage, as it was designed as a converter for digital. I am familiar with the work of JH. He is very good at what he produces. Nevertheless, You said it, a Bottlehead Phonostage would be wonderful.

Bernie.



Offline syncro

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Reply #8 on: July 14, 2010, 07:26:11 AM
Thanks.  I will be careful as I install it on the LP12.

I have been reading that they can become worn, though this is hard to imagine from normal use.  Damaged from shock I can imagine.   

Do you know how to evaluate the condition of the bearing? I  know how to evaluate and adjust a bicycle wheel bearing.

David Bogle
LinnLP12>Hagerman Piccolo>Hagerman Ripper / Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC / Sansui TU-717>BottleheadFPIII>Yamaha M-45>Klipsch ForteII


Offline coca

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Reply #9 on: July 14, 2010, 08:43:56 AM
Syncro Just check the arm for a smooth left to right movement.