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.


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.  


Or if this seems like a hassle, get the best Rega table you can afford and have fun with it. 

Either way, good luck and enjoy!