Any experience with the new Linn Sondek upgrades?

The new arm seems monstrously priced since I just managed to do my upgrade three years ago. It was worth it but another five grand seems nuts. Perhaps the base upgrade at half that provides more benefit per kilo-buck, and it more in line with their theory that the platter comes first. Its gonna take me another three years before I can squirrel away that much if the new arm is that big an improvement.
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Sayles. The point of this little exercise was not to microanalyze each upgrade individually. It was to hear the impact of how the upgrades worked together synergistically. As a whole. Which I felt was greater than the sum of the parts.
Kinsedkd - The "whole nine yards" upgrade - Keel, EKOS SE, and Akiva lists for about $10,945 (3000+4950+2995) if my figures are correct. I assume you got a good deal, including the Circus, by jumping all at once. It's nice you can afford to drop a large amount and consider the unit as a "whole", rather than to "microanalyze", but I'm sure many if not most Linn owners go the piecemeal upgrade route and are concerned about which upgrades are the most cost effective, as discounts are generally less available when upgrading step by step.
So we are getting into the meat of it all. We want to know both step-by-step, as well as the total value of ownership. According to Ivor's cannon, Keel ought to be done first, and if one can take only one step it is the Keel.

It is the second step that troubles me. At nearly twice, we need some extraordinary synergy to fill this gap. Otherwise one might feel the EKOS so good that the SE will not make the value gap, to wit, any old cartridge will sound so much better with the SE that you do not mind having already spent $3,000 to upgrade to the EKOS and are keen to make it a cool $8,000 BEFORE even thinking you need a better cartridge.

Or is my logic flawed? There is a better match than the Akiva to the old EKOS?
There is an interesting review of the LP12 upgrade in the October 2007 issue of Stereophile magazine. One point I think we all agree on is that this upgrade is not for the faint of heart or thin of wallet. I had to think long and hard before taking the plunge. Eventually, I justified it by saying this is the last hurrah for me. At least as far as turntables go.
Aceto - As Kinsekd has mentioned, you must read the review article in the latest issue of Stereophile regarding the Linn upgrades. It appears that the Keel is logically the first choice step - to improve the table itself. After that there are many choices. Given the prices of the Ekos SE and Akiva, one must consider other manufacturers as well. One is not obligated to pick a Linn arm or cartridge for the LP-12. Other choices of arms - SME V, Origin Live, or Graham Phantom, may be as good if not better. For example, the late Alastair Robertson-Aikman, designer of SME products, created his SME V to have synergy with his tables, yet many prefer the Phantom instead.