Upgrade my older Linn Sondek or move on?

Hi All,

I have a 1984 Linn Sondek that is still as it came new with a couple of exceptions. I did rebuild my Valhalla board as I was having some issues. Still has the Basic LV X arm, but I added an XTC counterweight as the stock counterweight bushing turned to mush. I am running a Nagaoka MP-200 cartridge. 

Question is do I drop the money to upgrade the arm, bearing, and power supply or move on to a new or used table? Looking at used parts to upgrade the Linn I can easily spend $2k. I can sell the Linn and that puts me in the $3.5k budget range for a different table. 

I have been looking at Well Tempered and VPI. Any thoughts on these or other recommendations? Better sound quality and ease of set up / use would be the objectives. The rest of the system: Quicksilver M135 mono amps, Fisher CX-2 preamp, and Magnepan LRS+ speakers.


I’m the current caretaker of what was my pop’s LP12 with the Valhalla mod and Rabco straight line tracking tonearm. I completely retuned, leveled, lubed and rebelted it a couple of years ago and it sounds lovely. 

I liken it to my ‘93 Ducati also known as “the world’s greatest kit bike”; You could enjoy it as is from the factory or heap time and money at it with all sorts of modifications! LOL

Really there is no wrong answer though now I’m thinking of unpacking his old SOTA Sapphire and getting THAT going again  


Happy listening  



To be clear, I do NOT think the LP12 is in any way inferior to the tables mentioned above, including the table( a Technics) I would recommend IF one cannot get the Linn set up professionally. On the contrary, I think the LP12 with its ongoing ability to be upgraded is superior to the others mentioned!! With the proviso that a tech is able to do the set up. I once owned a SOTA, and while it is a nice table, it really is not in the same league as today's LP12 Akurate or Klimax version. YMMV.

For over two decades, I dreamt of having a Linn Sondek LP12 in my system. When the opportunity arose of a good high-quality used LP12 (single-speed) available from Canada, I jumped at the chance. It had Mitch Cotter silver phono cables, and a Grace G707 tonearm. I added a Sumiko Bluepoint to complete it.

At first, the table was an improvement over my old Rega Planar 3. But the more listening I did the more I noticed some weirdness, an underlying rumble tone in the sound. I called my local Linn dealer and he told me to bring it in. He suggested I fix the suspension, because it was not working the way the specifications stated. So I spent the money and fixed it. He also suggested, quite rightly, to get a new tonearm and cartridge but my budget wasn’t there yet at that time. The sound improved a bit, but not by the amount I thought it would. In the end, upgrading the whole enchilada would have been too expensive. As all of you on this forum know, a brand new Linn Sondek LP12 with all the bells and whistles costs north of US$30,000. The immutable law of diminishing returns.

After seven years I finally sold it. I was underwhelmed by its sound and disappointed. I went to a VPI turntable and haven’t looked back.

At least I can say I fulfilled my dream of owning a Linn…

I have a VPI and love it. The only change I would ever make would be to a WT. The arm design is brilliant.

I have 2 LP 12s and have done upgrades on both. One started where you are and has been modestly upgraded. (The other done full-out including Ekos SE arm, Karousel, Radikal ...) 

You could start with a Karousel bearing at $1,100 and $1k for a new base and Majik sub chassis. These would give you better grip and overall nicer musical presentation. If that's good stop there. . 

Later on your could add a used Lingo power supply at around $1k and get a new arm. A new Krane is $1.8k or get a used one you like. 

Also, Linn tables are very fussy and I would strongly recommend that you find a dealer to do the bearing, base, sub chassis at least. Those are installed prices anyway I believe.