Linn LP-12 Configurations for a Newbie

Hello and thank you for your input.

I am confident that this topic has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, as well as many others. Nonetheless, I haven't owned vinyl or a turntable in about 20 years and would appreciate the collective insights of others.

I recently purchased a second hand LP-12 Sondek (Cirque 1970s). The turntable was upgraded in the early 1980s with a valhalla power supply and nirvana suspension. The unit has a basik tonearm, as well as a K-18mII cartridge. Obviously, sonic improvements would come from a better tonearm and a MC cartridge.

My question, however is as follows. Based upon people's past experience, what are some recommended upgrades that I ought to consider and why? Other have told me that the newer cirkus units sound "too much" like CD players (which I would like to avoid). What are some of the more "musical" configurations that other's have heard that optimizes the LP-12's strentghts?
Here are my thoughts. I have owned many Linn tables and arms. This is what I would recommend to you.
1. Make sure your table is tuned.
2. Arm second. I do not like the basik at all and think it is a terrible arm (my opinion). That is the weakest link in your system from my perspective. I have the Naim Aro and much prefer it to the Ekos. You may get many opinions here, that is mine. Its more to my style.
2. Second would be to get a lingo.
3. these will make a big difference. You can then do cirkus if you want, keeping the old parts. If you dont like it, put em back and sell the Cirkus. But I think you will keep it. Many people say the Cirkus upgrade is too sterile. I disagree. I put Cirkus on mine and never looked back. Its all in the system matching with front end components all the way to the speakers.
Good luck
I concur with the above. If you need a pdf file for setup and other items email me through Audiogon. I'll be glad to forward them. One point regarding tonearms. The Naim Aro is a great one. A Shroder is another. You will keep these for decades while you change to better tables. The single most important adjustment is the cable dressing and p clip which secures the tonearm cable to the plinth. It's covered thoroughly in the setup manual. If you find the music becoming uninteresting it's likely the Valhalla is going bad. Linn sells a repair kit for about $16 and is something you can do easily. Enjoy this table. It's performance far exceeds the typical audiophile opinion regarding this fine table.
I think the previous advice is solid, but on a value-oriented basis I might put the Cirkus at the top, after tuning the 'table. It makes a substantial difference in clarity and depth of bass, as well as overall rhythm, pace, and timing. If you can find one used, it will set you back $350 - $450 or so, a drop in the bucket compared to the top-flight arms recommended here (ARO's and Ekos's are found 2nd-hand for around $1500). Even new, it's still good value. You might also consider an Akito ($350) or an Ittok ($650). The Ittok, even the LVII, is the value leader, in my opinion, although the newer Akito's (version 2) are quite good as well. Happy listening.
No differing opinion with Achandross. I did the Cirkus upgrade when it first came out and am glad I did even though the cost was high for the benefit gained. I own an Ittok LV II myself (since 1984) and love the arm. My point is that it's cheaper to do things once. The Schroder II will do justice to the very best cartridges at a small price @ $2150 today. So many choices....
Any idea what the Cirkus and Lingo cost today? Are there still dealers who do the Linn TT upgrades?
Yes, there are dealers that do the upgrades but I can't justify the cost. For the money I'd sell a table and then buy one with the stuff I want. It's way cheaper. After owning a lesser LP12 you know what questions to ask the seller and depending on their feedback you can buy with confidence. Nice ones are readily available.
Visit and click 'Linn'. You will get what you want. They offer Cirkus upgrade and other upgrade services include supplying new suspension + gromet and bearing oil. Good Luck!