Thoughts on the Linn LP12 turntable

I don’t see many discussions that include the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable and was wondering why? They’ve been around since the late 70’s and other then power supply and a few other minor changes (IMO) are relatively unchanged. I had one in the early 80’s and another in the late 90’s. They are somewhat finicky to get setup correct and once you do, they sound great. That being said I know there have been a lot better designs to come out since the LP12’s hey-day. Are they worth considering  anymore or has the LP12 just become another audio vintage collectors item?


I have always been a fan of vintage audio having gotten into my first “high end” equipment In the late 80’s. I had been using a SOTA Sapphire for many years but found a decently priced used LP12 (circa 1990) last year. As someone who likes to tinker, I took the time to upgrade the motor and control (dual speed) and tune the table. Once I properly installed my cartridge, I was extremely amazed at the how much better this table was than my SOTA- quieter background, phenomenal dynamic range and outstanding soundstage. I do see all the “naysayers” but in my system, the LP12 is staying. I like the fact that I can continue to upgrade it as time goes by. In fairness, I haven’t had any of the newer higher end turntables (don’t have any need at this point), but I wouldn’t dismiss the LP12. 

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I don’t own a LP12. But these threads on various forums always seem to be filled with posts that state “I had one in 1978” or “I have not heard one since 1982” but that 40 year gap does not mean that naysayers are not experienced “experts” in the steady evolution and upgrade path that so many owners have enjoyed over the years.

The LP12 is perhaps the most successful longest running product in high end audio history. Is it the ultimate for everyone? No. Is is a solid platform for those who enjoy long term tinkering with many upgrade options? You bet!

@photomax Thank you for your points. I pretty much agree with you, except if set up correctly, the current LP12 can actually be set it and forget it, no need to tinker.

Personally, I give no credence to folk who naysay the table and who do not own it, (even worse if they do not own it..and have never heard a current model--like most of the denigrators) or do own it, but have an older table that is nowhere near what the recent models feature and have never had it set up correctly!

I have an Ariston Rd11. There are many accounts of how this design was “stolen” by Igor Tiefenbraum, I am not sure if the whole story will ever come out. High quality bearing, 9 pound aluminum platter, clock radio motor with little torque, hence speed stability when up to speed.

and hard to balance the damn sub platter, having to take off and reinstall the plinth, having to dress cables, and boy are you on your own to install an arm (mine is n old Grace 707.

has a dust cover, which modern ones often don’t have.

 I have developed tremor in my hands, so adjusting the damn thing and the cartridge is one reason why I have gravitated to streaming- so easy, and yet superior in my system to vinyl.