The Linn LP-12 arrives

A quick journey to Echo Audio in Portland, Oregon today yielded a big surprise – a mint condition, mid vintage Linn Sondek LP-12. The one you see here has an Ittok arm and Valhalla power supply, so it’s not the latest, hi-zoot Keel/Trampolin/blah blah model. Best of all, this little jewel set me back a thousand bucks. I just happened to have an unused Shure V15vxmr on the shelf that managed to mate up to the Ekos perfectly.

Nope, I’m not a good Linn setup guy, and I’ve never pretended to be, but Kurt Doslu, the owner of Echo is a master. By the time I had a few beers with a good friend down the street, the table was ready to rock. Doslu called just as we were paying the check, “you’re LP-12 is dialed in!” Now this is the analog magic as far as I’m concerned…

Back at the TONEAudio studio, the new table was instantly dropped into the system, playing through the Icon Audio phono preamplifier that Paul Rigby reviewed last issue. The match is fantastic and this table really does offer up a friendly presentation. No, you won’t mistake it for a VPI Scoutmaster or a Rega P9 for that matter, but what it does, it does so well that I can see why so many audiophiles are willing to go to fisticuffs defending the honor of this classic.

When auditioning a few new pressings from Mobile Fidelity, it was clear that my AVID Acutus Reference SP offered up a bigger sonic picture, when switching to a few things found in the budget bin during today’s record shopping expedition, that Linn allowed the cheapo records to sound much better than they should, yet still offering up a highly palatable presentation.

Ralph Lauren once said that every man should own at least one 12 cylinder car in his life. To that list I add a Linn LP-12. While I could go crazy upgrading this one to the current specs, or investigating some alternative parts, (Art Dudley of Stereophile recently wrote an excellent article about this) I’m going to leave this one as it is – and enjoy the hell out of it.