Here’s a little journey I recently completed.


I have read endless threads on the importance of the correct lubricant for the LP12 bearing, so I decided to experiment.


For reference, my LP12 is circa late 1980s.  Fluted plinth, pre-Cirkus bearing and Ittok arm.  It was originally a Valhalla model, which I upgraded to the OriginLive DC Motor Kit.  My beloved Shelter 501 II LOMC cartridge completes the ensemble.

For many years I have been running good quality automotive transmission oil in the main bearing.  I have experienced no problems, but had a few ideas I wanted to try.


I cleaned the old bearing, removing all of the old red transmission oil with Qtips; and inspected the bearing.  It all looked okay with a very slight inclusion on the polished bearing face, where most of the platter load is carried.  Not too bad for a 30+ years old machine, I reckon.

First up, I tried some very heavy, thick and gluggy, black graphite grease.

I wanted to introduce some “drag” on the motor to see if it provided any useful sonic advances.

The outcome was terrible.  There was just no way I could get the speed stable – even after running the combo at 78rpm overnight – something that is easy with the infinitely variable OriginLive motor controller.

Out it went.



Next up, I wanted to try an oil that provided massive vibration dampening.  After another thorough bearing clean-up job – with the aid of white spirits to break down the black graphite grease – I opted for high quality 200 (medium viscosity) Silicone oil and got spinning.
Right from the start, speed stability was spot on, so I progressed to serious listening.
Frankly, I could not believe what a massive difference the silicone oil made to the sound.  On the upside, the sound was purer and more refined than I could ever have imagined.  Like a load of artifice had been removed.  On the downside, dynamics were severely impacted, to the point that I simply could not live with it.

Out it went.


Finally – after another thorough bearing clean-out job – I opted for the popular thin machine oil option.  I went with the Bernina Swiss Sewing Machine Oil, but added the Nulon E20 Modern Engine Treatment oil additive in the hopes that I could halt any further bearing wear.  The final mix was 80% Bernina / 20% Nulon.

(Always loved that 80/20 rule that applies to so much of life…)

Right from the get go, speed stability was spot on, so again I settled in for a serious listen.
This was fantastic!  My LP12 had never sounded better.  The dynamics were back in full measure and much of the purity that the silicone had revealed, also remained.

Everything just clicked-in and sounded superb.

It stayed.


Job done.  Time to sit back and spin the black stuff.  Loving it!


…But ever the fiddler, I am thinking about giving the later Cirkus bearing a try.



No one should use teflon based oil additives like Nylon E20 because when the metal bearing wears metal particles will embed themselves in the teflon and ACCERELATE WEAR.



The Royal Purple “Synfilm” from their Industrial line of lubricants is exceptional with many different ISO viscosities to choose from depending on clearances. 

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