LINN Sondek lp12 TurnTables

4.33/5 (55 Reviews) MSRP : $1700.00


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Reviews 1 - 5 (55 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Andrew Blake a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 30, 2017

Bottom Line:   
I bought my first Sondek in the mid eighties. It was the deck to have, I was told. Running through Naim pre, PSU and power amps it was, well OK. It had an Ittok arm and Asak T fitted.
At the time I was proud to own it, but never felt it was anything other than adequate.
I sold it with the Naim amps and moved to CD for a source. Audio Alchemy gear. I liked that, but after a while felt it was too clinical, led by detail rather than musicality.
So, I bought another Sondek to hear if I was missing some "soul" in the reproduction. But, it was back to the "fruit box" as far as I could hear. Time for a rethink.
I took the Sondek apart only to realise how flimsy and cheaply made it was. The chassis was pressed steel, the top plate thin steel. The bearing was of good quality though. I set about improving the deck.
Bought a heavy plinth from an Austrian company that specialise in plinth replacements, damped the chassis with bitumen pads, damped the inner platter with bitumen pads but kept the outer platter unmodified. Definite progress, the "fruit box" coloured sound was gone. Musical flow was less forced and timing was equally as good. Next was a thicker steel top plate, also damped. Good improvement.
I replaced the armboard with the later laminated type, that brought a slight improvement. I did experiment with acrylic armboards, but felt they were a bit too clinical sounding.
So the platter was next. Pick up a Sondek platter and flick it with a finger - it rings like a bell. In fact, being so heavy, not only does it store energy, it releases it out of phase with the record. Colouration. I have found it to be the Achilles Heel of the Sondek. Its greatest problem.
Following on from my previous experiments, I took a Linn Axis platter, damped and weighted it with non-resonant material. It was a revelation. Far less smearing of the sound. The last vestiges of the "fruit box" were gone. music flowed effortlessly, yet had a timing and punch that shone.
To finish the deck I manufactured a rectangular carbon/foam/carbon unipivot tonearm. All one piece cut from sheet. Huge leap in the sound quality. Only one thing left to do. Uprate the power supply. So, I built a Naim Armageddon clone from scratch, fitted it into an old Naim enclosure I had lying around.
Job done. Punch, dynamics, rhythm, timing and musicality of a high order. I feel no need to change any of it, just spend hours listening to music.
So, is the Linn Sondek a good deck? Maybe in later very expensive revisions. But anyone can take an average LP12 and transform it into a super deck for little cost and some well rewarded effort.
In summary, I found that the Sondek Platter was its biggest problem. A sound storage capacitor that blurs and colours anything the deck attempts to reproduce. Maybe one day, Linn will experiment with that Mazak platter and improve it. Strange that it is one of the very few common components still used throughout its history. Linn probably never gave it a second thought. Time they did!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Nathan a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 9, 2013

Bottom Line:   
I have owned my LP 12 for 15 years now and am quite satisfied. It's been through some changes in tonearm (RB300, then an RB600 and then an Ekos), cartridges (K9, Rega Exact, Troika and an Arkiv B) and power supplies (Basik then a Lingo). Current spec is LP12/crikus/trampolin/ekos/arkiv B/lIngo and I am quite pleased. The single biggest upgrade was the Lingo, followed closely by going from a Troika to an Arkiv B (yet the Troika is not without its charms). This probably isn't the best TT in the world, but it sounds spacious, dynamic and sweet. Bass is solid and the treble is sparkly but grain free and not bright. The mids sing. So, over all, I am quite satisfied, and while I would like to fool around with other TTs (A VPI Classic 3 seems interesting) I am keeping this table until either it or I dies.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by HP a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 5, 2011

Bottom Line:   
It is hardly a secret that the earliest versions of this ’table were
far from my expectations or affections. The initial quality of
construction was poor, and, oh boy, was the LP12 ever susceptible
to feedback. Nor did it exactly run on speed.
But: It did have belt drive and, thanks to the religious fervor
of its backers, taught all of us to listen to the “sound” of a
turntable, which, believe me, in that sense, hardly anyone did
before the Linn. And that was its decisive contribution to the art
of turntable design. Because the Linn did not reach down into
the bottom octave or far into the midbass, its midrange and highs
achieved a transparency, which accounted for its “sound,” thus
accounting for the beginning of its legend.
Needless to say, in its evolution, both via the company and
the DIYers, it got better. But I never, as they say Down South cotton to it

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by du marcom a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 10, 2011

Bottom Line:   
I own a linn lp12, which has been upgraded as funds have allowed. The deck spec is now as follows. A cirused lp12 with an armogeddon power supply, naim prefix powered by a hi-cap, naim aro tone arm and a dynavector 17D2 moving coil cartridge. This is amplified by a naim hi-cap 72/ 140 naturally. I can honestly say that this set up gives a true taste of high end performance. The bass is deep and clean, not at all confused, as often stated, mid- range is articulate, and the treble really sings, this I think is due to the signal being amplified closer to the cartridge. As for the sound stage, well it feels like you could touch every instrument. I also own a naim cd3.5 powered by a flat- cap as a second source but i ultimately feel that this is a poor comparison, even though this is a 1000 pounds worth of player. Although this is possibly the best lp12 combination available, if you buy second hand and have the deck upgraded by an lp12 magician, sit back and have your mind blown away. Just a little note of caution. Buy yourself a decent record cleaning machine, a carbon fibre brush on it's own simply won't do and steer clear of digitally remastered albums of the mid-ninetys and you will be in audiophile heaven! Try a copy of Prefab Sprout, Steve McQueen in both formats to see what I mean. If your music leaves you with goose bumps, you now you have arrived in musical heaven

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by servicef a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 4, 2010

Bottom Line:   
This is an excellent turntable. I use an SME tonearm with it and every musical nuance comes through. The turntable has been working without fault for over 20 years. No rumble and speed control (pitch) is right on. It has never been in a repair shop. Once set up I have left it alone. This is the turntable that I recommend of all others that I have owned or heard over the last decades.

Turntables that I have owned in the past. Dual, Thorens, Rega, Ariston, Pink Triangle, Stromberg Carlson, Weathers, Garrard, and many more. Also I recomment the VPI record cleaner, the one that has the means to go forward and reverse. That's the one I own, and it cleans records very well.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995




Reviews 1 - 5 (55 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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