Linn claim that the new Karousel bearing is not only incredibly precise, but also the fact that it is now far more rigidly attached to the sub-chassis is bringing about the results. It seems it is not just the increase in accuracy of machining, but also in the attachment method. Nonetheless, the results speak for themselves.
@roberjerman With an attitude like that, I can understand why there would be folks in the dark ages...lol.
@brf The upgrade costs $975- and may or may not include fitting...depending on your dealer. The kit contains a female bearing, a new inner platter with a the male spindle ( this has changed very sightly as I noticed that the spindle top is now a stainless look vs. chrome..which looks great) and new springs/grommets and oil. The bearing is now completely made from stainless....and very impressive looking, IMO.
The new Karousel is priced at a point that does seem fairly reasonable...and for the increase in SQ that it brings...well that really tips the upgrade in the consumers favor, IMO.
Like I noted before, the price may or may not include fitting. I had to have my own 'fettler' fit mine, and this was an extra cost to me. However, that is mostly due to the fact that i do not have a local dealer who can set up the table. The nearest being about 250 miles north of me...and with the coronavirus the round trip there and back could take a day or so to accomplish. ( Due to having to drop off the table and wait in the city to pick it up once ready). This is really a crazy situation due to the distance for me to this particular dealer, but the next one up from them are close to 1000 miles away! Linn LP12 dealers who can actually do the work on the table are not as common as they once were, and as such i am lucky to have a local 'fettler' who can. Problem is Linn is being stubborn and doesn't want him to be 'authorized' to work on the LP12, as such i have to source the part from another part of the country...a real PITA. Nonetheless, my 'fettler' is truly an expert in this area and well worth his price. ( We both wish Linn would acknowledge this fact--they let him be the authorized Linn repair guy, but not the authorized Linn LP12 upgrade installer, even though they know he has worked on the table for decades...makes no sense!!).
Like most great upgrades, the longer one listens, the more one hears. The Karousel bearing is no exception. Like zavato states above, if you can swing the cost, it should be on your very short list of things to do for your LP12. It is interesting how the bearing, like Linn says, is the most important part of any turntable design. The LP12 may be an older design, BUT this new bearing is a serious design that can compete with just about anything out there at any price, IME.
To clarify a few things about the LP12, years ago I used to work for an authorized Linn dealer and setup quite a few LP12's at and around the time the Cirkus upgrade came out. First, their were I believe a couple of changes to the original bearing. The last one was pretty substantial in that it had a bearing liner made of PEEK. A difficult (at the time) material to machine that created a tighter bearing tolerance. A much lower expansion/contraction coefficient. It was black and the oil was black. Linn also made the bearing and bearing shaft out of the same materials to keep expansion /contraction coefficients the same to keep tolerances from changing because of differing materials. Then the Cirkus bearing came out as a response to some owners dislike of the linn's mid bass performance or something like that. By the way their was a great article a few years earlier in Hifi News & Record Review about this very issue written by Martin Colloms where he figured out the (problem?) issue with a fix for it including measurements to backup his subjective impressions.
As far as the Cirkus upgrade went, while it took care of this mid bass bloat it also took away a lot of the character of the LP12 that made the LP12, I don't know, shine. I and quite a few others didn't care for the upgrade that daveyf gushed on about which leaves me to suspect that maybe his table had a more serious issue. I'm guessing. Not just customers but dealers who were quite familiar with the table personally didn't bother with the update.
Also the Majik and Kore (and Keel for that matter) are different sub-chassis' models made for the LP12. By the way if you own an earlier Linn like a Valhalla model you will need to update the sub-chassis to install the new main bearing.
Lately you don't hear much about LInn like in the golden era of audio. When I look at the LP12 I see a product with a lot of firsts in design and engineering. Mine is thirty odd years young and admittingly most of it has been changed. But after everything else in my setup that has been replaced, it has stood the test of time.
@vitussl101. I can tell you that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my LP12 when I changed out the original bearing and heard the significant across the board improvements with the then new Cirkus bearing. If you ask most folk who own Linns that were updated to the Cirkus, they almost universally heard what I did when the bearing was replaced. The same goes now for the new Karousel bearing, but perhaps it is like everything else in this hobby, the more resolving your upstream gear is,,.the bigger the improvements you will hear.
It also depends on your power supply. if you have a Valhalla, then you would need to change that to at least a Lingo ( the Valhalla board is not sized to accommodate a Karousel). The sub chassis probably works if you already have a Cirkus fitted, but it would be helpful to know which sub chassis you do have. Is it the bonded Cirkus sub chassis or something else?
Yes, I've been told the Lingo 4 is a significant upgrade.
The Karousel is an amazing upgrade. the noise level has dropped significantly. IMHO, the bearing upgrade is fundamental to the table as it removes a lot of the vibration from the turntable.
The old saying that the notes "come out of the black" is true. The dynamics, micro and macro, are sooo much better that the imaging is far more accurate. The position of instruments/voices is now accurate front/back and left/right. and low level signals are not lost when the music gets loud.
In the meantime, I upgraded my preamp.... got a CJ ET3SE line stage ( keeping my DIY Super Duper Adjustable DIY Clone Pearl 2 solid state ).
Mostly, I'm on a tear to lower the noise floor. Right now I can play Warner Brothers LPs from the 70s ( after vacuum cleaning ) and the noise floor is as low as playing Tidal 24/96 over a Burson. And THAT is awesome.
Gonna start looking for the Lingo 4 in early '24.
@esporma Nice review of the Karousel. I agree completely with your findings. IMO, the bearing changes over time have really been perhaps the most beneficial of all of the LP12 upgrades.
BTW, if you get a chance, I would ( budget allowing) look at going into the Radikal power supply vs. the Lingo 4. The Lingo 4 is very good, IME the Radikal is even better.