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Linn Sondek “2020”


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Finally!! Must have been the Covid brain syndrome, but it was an unprecedented, once in a lifetime event. 🙄
The various components of a “2020” Linn Sondek were put together over the lockdown and final components expertly installed on Tuesday evening. 

The only original component left from my all Linn 1989 LP12 is the fluted Aframosia plinth and the outer platter!
The full “2020” installation comprised a Linn Karousel bearing and Akurate Radikal, Collaro mat, Stack Audio Ultimate black top plate and baseboard, Serene Subchassis and armboard and an Audio Origami PU7Ti Tonearm!


The Subchassis, armboard, Foilflex “Spiroground” tonearm cable and Tonearm were installed and expertly set up by Mark Döhmann ( Döhmann Audio), designer and maker of Helix Turntables. Mark is well known in Australia and Mendo Ristevski (Audio Origami Australia) recommended him as the best in Australia for setting up LP12 and tonearms! Fortunately, he lives 45mts from my place!
He came and did the installation and setup in my listening room at home. It was great experience to watch an expert at work!

 

I can only refer to the immediate impact of the combination of changes made on Tuesday evening. These were the AO PU7Ti, Stack Audio Subchassis and armboard, replaced tonearm cable, cartridge tracking weight and set up itself.


We listened to one side of an LP before and after the installation. The immediate impact was the presence, immediacy, weight and body, lower noise floor, great micro detail- when drum struck you heard the body of the drum, not just the strike on the skin. The body of double bass, the draw of the bow across the string etc.
The system was very musical anyway, but the transparency and lower noise floor enhances the this.

So the immediate impact was very impressive !😊

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I'd give you a like but a comment is a much more immediate observation.

 

Lovely to see a LP12 being fettled and your a lucky lucky man to have an expert in close proximity, very few of us do.

 

LP12's suffer from twin opinions and have for decades. They're a black hole you throw money at yearly and Linn encourages it by it's constant you beaut upgrades.

 

But on the sidelines are all the smart operations that build and market stuff way way way below the ridiculous prices Linn like to think you want.

 

A juxtaposition is a way many non-purists can get their LP12 up and running. We all take different approaches and it's always rewarding to see another person's take on their  take on Scotland's best export (bar whiskey of course!)

 

Well done. The thing looks lovely.

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4 hours ago, vivianbl said:

Finally!! Must have been the Covid brain syndrome, but it was an unprecedented, once in a lifetime event. 🙄
The various components of a “2020” Linn Sondek were put together over the lockdown and final components expertly installed on Tuesday evening. 

The only original component left from my all Linn 1989 LP12 is the fluted Aframosia plinth and the outer platter!
The full “2020” installation comprised a Linn Karousel bearing and Akurate Radikal, Collaro mat, Stack Audio Ultimate black top plate and baseboard, Serene Subchassis and armboard and an Audio Origami PU7Ti Tonearm!


The Subchassis, armboard, Foilflex “Spiroground” tonearm cable and Tonearm were installed and expertly set up by Mark Döhmann ( Döhmann Audio), designer and maker of Helix Turntables. Mark is well known in Australia and Mendo Ristevski (Audio Origami Australia) recommended him as the best in Australia for setting up LP12 and tonearms! Fortunately, he lives 45mts from my place!
He came and did the installation and setup in my listening room at home. It was great experience to watch an expert at work!

 

I can only refer to the immediate impact of the combination of changes made on Tuesday evening. These were the AO PU7Ti, Stack Audio Subchassis and armboard, replaced tonearm cable, cartridge tracking weight and set up itself.


We listened to one side of an LP before and after the installation. The immediate impact was the presence, immediacy, weight and body, lower noise floor, great micro detail- when drum struck you heard the body of the drum, not just the strike on the skin. The body of double bass, the draw of the bow across the string etc.
The system was very musical anyway, but the transparency and lower noise floor enhances the this.

So the immediate impact was very impressive !😊

 

7E9305B0-4DF5-4E3C-A319-4F2364E89EFC.jpeg

 

 

 

Very cool, vbl!  :thumb:

 

I'm wondering, though, why you chose that mat?

 

And I suggest to really finish off your LP12 ... you need a new plinth - say a Woodsong!  :)

 

Also - what cart is on that wonderful PU7 arm?

 

Andy

 

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15 hours ago, Luc said:

I'd give you a like but a comment is a much more immediate observation.

 

Lovely to see a LP12 being fettled and your a lucky lucky man to have an expert in close proximity, very few of us do.

 

LP12's suffer from twin opinions and have for decades. They're a black hole you throw money at yearly and Linn encourages it by it's constant you beaut upgrades.

 

But on the sidelines are all the smart operations that build and market stuff way way way below the ridiculous prices Linn like to think you want.

 

A juxtaposition is a way many non-purists can get their LP12 up and running. We all take different approaches and it's always rewarding to see another person's take on their  take on Scotland's best export (bar whiskey of course!)

 

Well done. The thing looks lovely.

Yes, Interesting observations. While I’m not a Linn “purist“, I hadn’t made any changes, apart from the Cirkus bearing upgrade (2003), since I bought the LP12 30 years ago (1989). As the bearing to me is the most important component, I had no problem with getting the new Karousel. The price was relatively accessible.
The Stack Audio component made sense in terms of what they were attempting to do( minimise vibration of the platform) to enhance the sound. These were priced sensibly (compared to others!). Mark, who was Impressed with Stack Audio components, commented that one of the good things about the Linn design philosophy was that it enabled independent component development/ upgrades. That also spawned aftermarket third part developments and increased options for consumers and facilitate keeping their LP12 to current standards if they wanted to. The Karousel Bearing, for instance, can be installed on the earliest Linns. 

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15 hours ago, andyr said:

 

Very cool, vbl!  :thumb:

 

I'm wondering, though, why you chose that mat?

 

And I suggest to really finish off your LP12 ... you need a new plinth - say a Woodsong!  :)

 

Also - what cart is on that wonderful PU7 arm?

 

Andy

 

The reason I “chose” that Collaro mat was my 30 year old Linn felt mat had shrunk a fair bit and was contemplating a replacement. Over the yeasts had experimented with leather, cork etc. but they changed the sound. The Collaro was getting very good feedback from users in Linn forums and had a return/ refund policy. So tried it and kept it. Very light, soft and thin- Had to lower VTA to balance. Lowered noise floor, increased transparency and clarity. Red because that was the only colour! But worked out well, because the top plate and armboard now black!
 

Aaah plinths! Might need a Covid third wave for that!! But yes, some of those plinths are very “aesthetic”. I keep saying to myself, I now have all the parts for a second turntable bar the plinth. Woodsong very nice, but Paul Knipe is making some beautiful ones. (Photo of two that caught my eye attached🙈)

 

The cartridge on the PI7Ti is the Kiseki Purple Heart NS.

B5BD0CC7-4237-4925-B942-31B6D7CCC202.jpeg

023858D7-0A95-4030-981E-F6360AD238D4.jpeg

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7 minutes ago, vivianbl said:

The reason I “chose” that Collaro mat was my 30 year old Linn felt mat had shrunk a fair bit and was contemplating a replacement. Over the yeasts had experimented with leather, cork etc. but they changed the sound. The Collaro was getting very good feedback from users in Linn forums and had a return/ refund policy. So tried it and kept it. Very light, soft and thin- Had to lower VTA to balance. Lowered noise floor, increased transparency and clarity.

 

Very interesting!  :thumb:

 

7 minutes ago, vivianbl said:

 

Aaah plinths! Might need a Covid third wave for that!! But yes, some of those plinths are very “aesthetic”. I keep saying to myself, I now have all the parts for a second turntable bar the plinth. Woodsong very nice, but Paul Knipe is making some beautiful ones. (Photo of two that caught my eye attached🙈)

 

B5BD0CC7-4237-4925-B942-31B6D7CCC202.jpeg

023858D7-0A95-4030-981E-F6360AD238D4.jpeg

 

Yes, they are very noice!  :)

 

 

7 minutes ago, vivianbl said:

 

The cartridge on the PI7Ti is the Kiseki Purple Heart NS.

 

 

42 ohms coil impedance, I see from the specs.

 

As a matter of interest ... what loading have you set, on your phono stage?

 

Andy

 

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51 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

42 ohms coil impedance, I see from the specs.

 

As a matter of interest ... what loading have you set, on your phono stage?

 

Andy

 

I used 100 Ohm and 470 Ohm with my VTL Ultimate. Worked out ok on 200 Ohm on another phono Pre I trialled.
I have very recently got an Audion Select MC1 moving coil Step up Transformer and using 1:10 ratio. It also has a 1:20 ratio.
Sounds good, but trying to sort out a hum problem at this stage. Much reduced after Mark D. made sure earthing on turntable was correct. Now seems to be responding to positioning. So a bit more experimenting this weekend!

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13 minutes ago, vivianbl said:

I used 100 Ohm and 470 Ohm with my VTL Ultimate. Worked out ok on 200 Ohm on another phono Pre I trialled.
I have very recently got an Audion Select MC1 moving coil Step up Transformer and using 1:10 ratio. It also has a 1:20 ratio.
Sounds good, but trying to sort out a hum problem at this stage. Much reduced after Mark D. made sure earthing on turntable was correct. Now seems to be responding to positioning. So a bit more experimenting this weekend!

 

Aah, OK.  I see from your July 5th post last year that the (minimum load!) recommendation is for 400 Ohm (manufacturer) but some reviewers suggest 800- 900 Ohm.

 

My own view on cart loading is that the load which makes the cart sound its best can be anywhere between 10x and 100x the cart's coil impedance.  So, for the Purple Heart ... that is 420 - 4200 ohms.  (Note a cart will "sound OK " at loadings outside this range ... but there is an optimum-sounding load somewhere within the range.)

 

The 470 ohms you are able to get on your VTL Ultimate puts it inside the range ... but I strongly suspect a higher load will make it sound better (as the reviewers found).  However, I would suspect that higher than they were able to go ... would be better.  :)

 

With your Audion Select MC1 SUT, understand that the 1:10 ratio will produce a load of 470 ohms for the cart (47K / coil ratio^2).  As the Purple Heart's output is .48mV ... that's the appropriate option to use.  The 1:20 option is too high for the PH's output - and will produce a loading of only 118 ohms.

 

Andy

 

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4 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

Aah, OK.  I see from your July 5th post last year that the (minimum load!) recommendation is for 400 Ohm (manufacturer) but some reviewers suggest 800- 900 Ohm.

 

My own view on cart loading is that the load which makes the cart sound its best can be anywhere between 10x and 100x the cart's coil impedance.  So, for the Purple Heart ... that is 420 - 4200 ohms.  (Note a cart will "sound OK " at loadings outside this range ... but there is an optimum-sounding load somewhere within the range.)

 

The 470 ohms you are able to get on your VTL Ultimate puts it inside the range ... but I strongly suspect a higher load will make it sound better (as the reviewers found).  However, I would suspect that higher than they were able to go ... would be better.  :)

 

With your Audion Select MC1 SUT, understand that the 1:10 ratio will produce a load of 470 ohms for the cart (47K / coil ratio^2).  As the Purple Heart's output is .48mV ... that's the appropriate option to use.  The 1:20 option is too high for the PH's output - and will produce a loading of only 118 ohms.

 

Andy

 

Thanks Andy, that is useful info to help my understanding. The VTL Ultimate had many options with the dip switches that I could set a variety of loadings. Next option was about 1000 Ohms, but can’t remember whether I tried it or not. Some reviews preferred the 800-900 Ohm range. Step up Transformers are new to me, even though I used a Fidelity Research FRT 3 with FR-64 Tonearm and cartridge. In the 70s.  Reading up a bit more now.
I connect the Select MC1 to a MM phono Pre. 

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1 hour ago, vivianbl said:

Thanks Andy, that is useful info to help my understanding. The VTL Ultimate had many options with the dip switches that I could set a variety of loadings. Next option was about 1000 Ohms, but can’t remember whether I tried it or not.

 

Aah, so you no longer have it?

 

What phono stage do you have, now?

 

1 hour ago, vivianbl said:

Reading up a bit more now.
I connect the Select MC1 to a MM phono Pre. 

 

Yes!  :thumb:  But you cant get any higher loading for the Purple Heat than the 1:10 ration delivers (470 ohms).

 

Andy

 

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27 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

Aah, so you no longer have it?

 

What phono stage do you have, now?

 

 

Yes!  :thumb:  But you cant get any higher loading for the Purple Heat than the 1:10 ration delivers (470 ohms).

 

Andy

 

I still have the VTL Ultimate preamp (with MM and MC phono stage) and using till a about 3 weeks ago. I can use the Audion Select MC1 with the the MM on the VTL, but now use the Audion Premier MM Phono Pre and the connect direct from there to the mono power blocks (that have volume attenuators built in).

 

Unfortunately, less Loading flexibility with the SUT.

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40 minutes ago, vivianbl said:

I now use the Audion Premier MM Phono Pre and then connect direct from there to the mono power blocks (that have volume attenuators built in).

 

Unfortunately, less Loading flexibility with the SUT.

 

Audion Premier MM Phono Stage sounds very nice!  :thumb:  But if you're interested in experimenting with different loadings, to see how different they make your Purple Heart sound, I can (now that we are no longer in lock down!  :) ) lend you a head amp and a collection of load plugs for you to play with.

 

You may find that you prefer the sound at 470 ohms - in which case your Select MC1 is perfect.  But if you find you prefer it at 2200 or 3300 ohms ... then you might have to think about funding  a head amp (like the AKSA 'Paris', which I can provide) from the sale of your Select MC1.  ;)

 

Andy

 

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1 hour ago, andyr said:

 

Audion Premier MM Phono Stage sounds very nice!  :thumb:  But if you're interested in experimenting with different loadings, to see how different they make your Purple Heart sound, I can (now that we are no longer in lock down!  :) ) lend you a head amp and a collection of load plugs for you to play with.

 

You may find that you prefer the sound at 470 ohms - in which case your Select MC1 is perfect.  But if you find you prefer it at 2200 or 3300 ohms ... then you might have to think about funding  a head amp (like the AKSA 'Paris', which I can provide) from the sale of your Select MC1.  ;)

 

Andy

 

Thanks for your kind offer. Maybe I can pm to follow up.

Could have tried  higher loading with the VTL, but didn’t cross my mind. I remember now that I tried the 1k Ohm loading and went back to 470 Ohm. Didn’t think of trying anything higher!🤷🏽‍♂️

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1 hour ago, vivianbl said:

 

Thanks for your kind offer. Maybe I can pm to follow up.

 

 

 

Sure, PM me if you wish to take up my offer.  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 13/11/2020 at 8:57 PM, vivianbl said:

 The Karousel Bearing, for instance, can be installed on the earliest Linns. 

 

Apparently not.  The pre-Cirkus subchassis mounting area is too thin to clear the "nubbies" on the Karousel (as is the Greenstreet).  And, apparently, the Rubikon is too thick and causes the big Karousel retaining nut to foul the underside of the inner platter.  ☹️

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1 hour ago, sktn77a said:

 

Apparently not.  The pre-Cirkus subchassis mounting area is too thin to clear the "nubbies" on the Karousel (as is the Greenstreet).  And, apparently, the Rubikon is too thick and causes the big Karousel retaining nut to foul the underside of the inner platter.  ☹️

That’s interesting info. I haven’t heard that. Don’t know about the third party products, but I heard there was no problem other than the size of the hole on the early Valhalla. Will check out further. Thanks

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Vivian,

 

I am just about to pull the trigger on my own PU7Ti and will possibly have it installed by Mark as well :)

Can I ask if you went with the continuous run of phono cable or a DIN connector and separate phono cable?
I'd prefer a continuous run but am concerned about the impact on the suspension and the ability to get an ideal 'bounce'.

 

Thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/12/2020 at 2:55 PM, markus46 said:

Hi Vivian,

 

I am just about to pull the trigger on my own PU7Ti and will possibly have it installed by Mark as well :)

Can I ask if you went with the continuous run of phono cable or a DIN connector and separate phono cable?
I'd prefer a continuous run but am concerned about the impact on the suspension and the ability to get an ideal 'bounce'.

 

Thanks!

Hi Markus, apologies for late response. I just picked up your post. 

That was exactly the issue, I agonised over and left the decision to the last minute! 
My view was that the least number of connections the better. Consulted with a few Linn people in the UK who recommended the seperate Din cable connect for the Linn. I think it was to do with the suspension, but also flexibility to use different Tonearm cables. Then spoke with John Neilson himself, who gave me the impression that a continuous run would be the best, but the difference was marginal as the Cardas Din plug was very good and so was the Linn Din connector.


I had another conundrum, I already had two very good Tonearm cables  (one silver and one copper) and a Linn T cable.🤷🏽‍♂️ I understood that the AO cable used was about the level of the T cable. So decided in the end to use my own Lenehan Audio Tonearm cable.

I don’t think there will be any problem with the suspension with a continuous run. Mark Döhmann can set it up properly anyway.

 

Let me know what you decide.

 

best wishes 

Vivian

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