Technics 1200G or Linn Sondek LP12

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Airbus, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. JoeSmo

    JoeSmo SL1200 lover....

    Location:
    Maidstone
    I am sure, had I had a competent Linn dealer nearby, they would have sorted it. I didn’t, and that’s the LP12’s “Achilles heel” and my point.
     
  2. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    And an absolute valid one, but as you can see from my real life experiences, Linn are a far way from being alone in this, which certainly doesn't make this outcome any better.

    In this day and age when brick and mortar companies are really struggling, it makes no sense whatsoever for the manufacturer (who invested goodness knows how many man hours and money into the development of a product) and retail outlet to have unhappy customers. Both Linn and the retailer have lost rather more than one customer.

    As we have seen within the last few days, even at the highest level (sorry, pun intended), things do go wrong and rockets do fall out of the sky, but the whole world knows about problems very quickly. Serious investigations follow...
     
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  3. tzh21y

    tzh21y Forum Resident

    Location:
    Buffalo
    the dealer told me straight away that even the newer models needs tune ups. I respect that he was very honest with me.
     
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  4. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    How often does he suggest? Particularly with the Keel there is very little to go out of adjustment and work lose. I honestly believe all turntables to perform at their optimum, occasionally need a little attention, but the days of LP12s suddenly going off, are long gone, if it was done well to begin with.
     
  5. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    This setup issue depends on the customer. I learnt how to fit cartridges years ago out of necessity and rate my ability to get it right over most dealers (not including Linn who should be better than most even if I am not in love with the brand).
     
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  6. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Many customers do an excellent job, as the numbers bare out, but sadly not all. Whatever equipment, it is a big shame if some performance is unknowingly lost, and surely an outlet selling expensive turntables and cartridges, whatever the brand, should be able to align them correctly?
     
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  7. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Big thread starts here
     
  8. tzh21y

    tzh21y Forum Resident

    Location:
    Buffalo
    the dealer actually took the arm ff the table to install a cartridge. you really need a jig to maintain your lp12. he said that was another issue that many buy arms with bad bearings due to tightening cartridges when the arm is in the armboard. with a technics, you can always remove the headshell.
     
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  9. tzh21y

    tzh21y Forum Resident

    Location:
    Buffalo
    he said it varies but said every year or two. thats a lot of time away from home
     
  10. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I'd guess tightening the headshell connector puts a lot more stress on the bearings than the two little cartridge screws :)
     
  11. tzh21y

    tzh21y Forum Resident

    Location:
    Buffalo
    nope. its a very precision fit to be honest.
     
  12. cre009

    cre009 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Removing arms from Linn decks to change cartridges arose from the concept of "Linn tight" where they recommend tightening the cartridge bolts using significant pressure that if misapplied could jar the arm bearings. The same could apply to any arm with fixed headshells so should just be regarded as good practice. Removing the arm from the decks for maintenance is pretty straight forward though a bit more difficult that removing a bayonet style headshell.

    Removable headshells are a compromise for convenience of installation but introduce other things with the potential to go wrong. They create their own additional risks over time for structural and contact integrity. For new decks it shouldn't be a problem but as decks age and headshells are swapped in and out then increased care will be needed due to tarnishing, thread integrity etc
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  13. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Frankly another bit of a Linn myth. You have to be careful and earlier Linn arms had a reputation for easily damaged bearings. I have changed cartridges on Linn Basic Plus and Rega RB300 many times without damaging bearings. It was easier to remove the armboard on older Linns - the Keel looks different (integrated armboard?).
     
  14. cre009

    cre009 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    As far as I am aware the only Linn arm that had any bearing issue was the early Akito where they could be a bit sticky over time. Bearings for the Ittok and Ekos are of a high quality and I go with the Linn guidance for those. I have changed cartridges on a Basik plus with arm in situ and no issues but for that arm I don't do Linn tight.

    Linn baseboards have a hole to allow access to the din plug attached to the arm so no jig is needed for arm removal and arm board removal is not needed. I would prefer not to remove the arm board because of the wood screws and potentially messing up the board
     
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  15. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Rega don't say the arm should be removed, and apart from taking care with the bearing housing, which I have seen half a dozen fractured, so can only assume the same fate has occurred to dozens, if not hundreds over the years, with common sense the arm isn't removed, but with very heavy handling, it is possible to degrade bearing performance.

    With the Keel, the subchassis, armboard and arm collar are machined from one solid piece, so exactly the same procedure as any Linn arm, except the Basik LVV which was S shaped with an SME type headshell. If you (unnecessarily) remove the armboard, losing the setting of spindle to arm collar (why the Linn Kinky is important), you still have to remove the arm cable and arm from the collar.

    Linn felt the SME removable headshell compromised sound quality, so the Linn Basik had a far more secure removable headshell, and the better sounding Basik Plus a fixed headshell. When the Akito was introduced, there was not a removable headshell option. Obviously when Rega introduced the RB300 and RB250 they lost the removable headshell of the R200 and more tellingly SME themself with the introduction of the Series V.

    Removing a Linn arm from a LP12 takes two minutes! Fit LP12 in jig, remove bass, loosen grub screw, remove arm lead. Loosen screw on arm collar and gently lift arm out.

    At every Linn dealer I have worked at, whenever a cartridge was fitted to a Basik Plus, Akito, Ittok and Ekos arm to Linn Basik, Axis, LP12 turntables and non-Linn, the arm was removed and cartridge bolts tightened off the turntable. Certainly in my time in retail, I know of no Linn dealer who didn't do this.

    Yes, the bearings in the Basik Plus and original Akito are not adjusted to incredibly tight tolerances, but the customers property was respected and the arm removed. I know of no Linn dealer who wouldn't attempt to extract the best performance from any turntable / arm / cartridge, though being human the best intentions are not always 100% realised. It is so much easier to hand over a sealed box!

    This is a quote from someone who damaged their own Ittok by not removing it.

    "The force of tightening a cartridge can cause a movment between the fixed potitons of the bearings if the bearing houseing is fixed to the turntable and has to take the strain. This will cause excess friction or chatter.

    If you damage the bearings you are downgrading your arm."

    Another on line warning.

    "I only twice ruined the bearings of a tonearm. The mounting board for the original Systemdek turntable had the screw-holes slightly off center. So with the brand new tonearm still mounted (a Syrinx PU-2, that cost me my entire's terms worth of discretionary income) I drilled out some new ones, watching as the tonearm vibrated vigorously while the drill bit was doing its work. It mounted just fine, but sounded dismal-very fat and lacking in any life or sparkle. Bearings were shattered. I sent it back to Syrinx saying it sounded poor, and without question they mailed me a new one that was simply superb sounding. Until I tightened the lug screws of its poorly fitted mass ring into one of its bearings and ruined it. Another trip back to Syrinx, who sent me another PU-2 and a cautionary note that the next replacement would result in being billed for all three.

    I never managed to ruin the bearings of my first Ittok, although my 'Linn tight' torquing of the arm pillar screw cracked the screw and the arm pillar. Linn replaced the Ittok for free and kept the old one for their 'hall of shame'."

    Linn have warned about the dangers since 1979 and still do! Is it suprising that some users have sub-optimal performance from their equipment when they know better than the manufacturer, and play Russian roulette with very finely (expensively) adjusted bearings?

    Myth or not, over the years I shudder to think how many arms from various manufacturers, have either been scrapped, repaired, or still in use giving a performance level way under the design's potential.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  16. tzh21y

    tzh21y Forum Resident

    Location:
    Buffalo

    true
     
  17. tzh21y

    tzh21y Forum Resident

    Location:
    Buffalo
    Well, this guy who was a dealer was actually pretty knowledgeable when it comes to Linns. All those tables that were there for a tune up were there for a reason. He knows what he is doing. The Linns are not bad by any stretch and I almost bought one back then. When I came home and listened to my scout with the same cartridge I listened to on the Linn i was surprised how good the cartridge sounded on the scout as opposed to the Linn. He even mentioned it did not sound right on the Linn. It was a Benz Ref S. When he put the Linn cartridge back on it sounded great.

    He was a great guy and went through the bother of taking his Linn apart to show me what was involved, installed my benz on his Ekos 3 I believe it was which was a very tight fit may I add, and actually was one the more professional guys I've ever dealt with. He was very upfront about everything and it ultimately came down to the sound and it was great, but not what I expected. It was an all Linn system, maybe that had something to do with it. It just reminded me of the SME 20 I heard, to me these two tables sounded very similar, I actually think the Linn sounded better than the SME. Its all personal preference and the 1200G really is a special table that is pretty easy to set up, but if you take the time to really get it right, it sounds very good. My cartridges really show their true colors with this arm and table.
     
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  18. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    I think the message here is to avoid Linn arms. I still think the crux of the problem here is being told to tighten bolts within an inch of their life. Anyway I'm sticking to removable headshells from now on. Hence I have an SME 309. The fixing provides an insignificant loss in rigidity in this design. Even the ultra expensive SAT arm has a removable headshell. I am thinking this over egging of rigidity is not the answer to good sound. You can still damage the bearings tightening headshell bolts even if the arm is off the TT if you are clumsy. I would say detaching headshell wires is a bigger source of jolting the bearings.
     
  19. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    It isn't just rigidity with a detachable headshell: you are introducing 8 (or 16 if you count the solder joint): this loses musical information. The benefits may outway this fact for many, and the loss may not be big, but it is a compromise. That detachable headshell design on the SME 309 is very similar to what Linn used on the Basik arm and is far more rigid than the old screw collar SME type.

    Ever since the Troika, Linn's top cartridge has always featured flying leads which does away with another 8/16 joins. Obviously during the design, build, evaluation process, this would have had much listening to confirm theoretical benefits.

    Linn tight does not mean tighten until it breaks, then back it off a fraction, within an inch of their life!

    From Linn:

    "Since we are dealing with a transducer that has to recover information considerably smaller than a millionth of an inch from a phonograph record, it is important that all fasteners (screws, nuts, and bolts) in the turntable be very tight. Whenever the instructions call for you to tighten a fastener, we do mean tight probably tighter than you would have imagined. However, there is no advantage to tightening past the point where materials will deform, or where you damage the materials and destroy their structure. A good rule of thumb is simply to bring the nut or screw up to where it seems tight and then turn it about 1/8 turn more (in the case of armboard screws, which are put in the wood, 1/16 turn will do)."

    Regarding avoiding Linn arms, the current Akito and Ekos SE are excellent arms, Ittoks very rarely had issues, and the problematic early Ekos repaired free of charge 25 odd years ago!

    Is it feasible that there are plenty of non-Linn arms that are damaged and not performing to their optimum where the owners are simply living in blissful ignorance?

    Of course you can damage any arm on or off a turntable if you are clumsy. My cartridge tags, I simply removed the arm and carefully removed and refitted them a couple of times, before refitting the arm - with a jig a very easy, safe and quick procedure.

    Early in my LP12 fettling career, I accidentally stripped an armboard. I learnt quickly after apologising to the customer and replacing it at my expense. Cartridges and arms I couldn't afford to replace, so treated them with care and respect.

    A large number of cartridges have inserts these days, which probably helps the nerves of the fitter, and as far as I know, all Linn dealers follow the manufacturers advice, and remove the arm for cartridge bolt tightening.
     
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  20. chacha

    chacha Forum Resident

    Location:
    mill valley CA USA
    The Troika was my favorite Linn cartridge.
     
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  21. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    This is why I have long refused to own any arms witch have lacked either a headshell or a removable wand. I simply can't imagine pulling the entire arm just to change a cartridge! What a complete and total PITA. This is actually one of the reasons why I run an ET-2 tonearm on my Linn, despite how strange this combination may otherwise seem.

    And this is one reason why this new generation of significantly improved SL1200s are so great: You can achieve a similar level of performance, without all of the pain associated with the typical high-end turntable and tonearm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  22. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Fascinating choice, how long have you used the combination?

    Think I ever saw one at a show, and can't recall whichever turntable it was on. You certainly can't be accused of running with the pack.

    Any turntable / arm combination that allows people to get more from their music for less money has got to be a good thing, and if I was in the market for a turntable, I would certainly audition the SL1200G. I will not speculate on something I have never heard and have a healthy cynicism, putting it mildly, towards magazine reviews!
     
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  23. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I mounted my ET2 on my prehistoric Linn in 1987. It is difficult to balance the very light suspension for this arm, but I compromised by balancing it precisely with the arm set mid-record. This minimizes the rocking motion to negligible levels.

    And believe it or not, this combination sounds fantastic on this table.
     
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  24. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Do you know anyone else who has uses that combination? You see a large variety of different arms on LP12s, but not an ET2!

    I have never been a big swapper of cartridges, so removing the arm has never seemed a big deal, especially as my earliest experience with Linn arms was fitting the Basik / Basik Plus to the Systemdek IIX.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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  25. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'm sure that somebody else must have done this. But I personally don't know of anyone. My buddy who recommended this arm to me had one mounted on a Sota back then. And I just happened to need to upgrade the mediocre Basik arm on my Linn at this time. I had been leaning towards buying a used Ittok. But he had line a used ET2 for just a little bit more than what I was looking to spend. So I decided to jump for it since I loved that arm on his Sota to much.

    Personally, despite how great it sounded on his Sota, I always preferred the sound of my Linn with my ET2 to his Sota with his ET2. My Linn always just seemed to have slightly better PRaT when compared to his Sota.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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