Advice on upgrading a Linn

Sabby

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Jul 22, 2009
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I need some advice on the next upgrade path on an mid 80's Linn Sondek. So far I have had a Rega RB251 arm fitted together with an OL counterweight. Possible upgrades I'm considering are the power supply to either a Valhalla or an Armegeddon clone, a complete rewire of the arm with Cardas wire and a new cartridge. Present cartridge is an Ortofon 2M Red. Which upgrade would bring about the biggest improvement in sound quality?
 

bretty

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Jul 20, 2007
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You know what cart i'm going to suggest, don't you Sabby? Starts with a 'G' and it aint Goldring
 

Sabby

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Jul 22, 2009
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Hi Bretty

Thanks for the suggestion, but do you think the Grado would make a bigger difference to SQ as opposed to a better P/S or an arm rewire? I've read on other forums that the first upgrade should be the P/S, followed by an arm rewire then the cartridge. What I'm really looking for is an immediate improvement rather than a gradual progression of improvements.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi Sabby,

My experience with LP12's is that the power supply influences the whole sound of the deck quite profoundly. Rythm, pitch and timing are a result of the platter turning at the corect speed, with as little motor vibration as possible, so this aspect affects the performance of any arm and cartridge that's fitted. As the Valhalla boards tend to be very old now and they often fail as a result, you can get a Hercules board for around £250 fitted. This replaces and fits in where the Valhalla goes, inside your LP12, gives 33 and 45rpm and much better musical performance. The Naim Armageddon type uses a large torroidal stepdown transformer with capacitor supply - better sound, but only 33rpm. To play 45rpm with this supply you need a 45rpm adaptor pulley that fits over the 33 pulley. The Linngo, however, gives the very best improvement with second hand ones going for £500ish, this is a much more sophisticated supply than Valhalla or Hercules.
 

bretty

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Jul 20, 2007
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Sabby said:
Hi Bretty

Thanks for the suggestion, but do you think the Grado would make a bigger difference to SQ as opposed to a better P/S or an arm rewire? I've read on other forums that the first upgrade should be the P/S, followed by an arm rewire then the cartridge. What I'm really looking for is an immediate improvement rather than a gradual progression of improvements.
Honestly, I can see the merit of a better PSU, but personally I wouldn't bother with the expensive re-wire. If it brings any difference at all, it'll be negligible.

If it was me and my money, this is how i'd be doing it: Cart first (for that immediate improvement in SQ that you're after). Then, and only if your not completely happy with the transformation the cart brings, upgrade the PSU. Then, if you REALLY have to, rewire the arm.

If you're like me, the new cart will be enough for you. With my deck, like yours, there's plenty of expensive upgrades that are available but once I popped the Grado on, the sound was so fantastic that they all seem a bit unnecessary.

Keep us updated, matey.
 

shropshire lad

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Feb 18, 2010
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My suggestion is to buy yourself a Grado cartridge , like Bretty's , and a little while later get yourself a Michell Tecnoarm ,like Bretty's, and fit the Grado to that . Then a little while after that sell the Linn , keeping the arm and cartridge , and buy yourself an Origin Live Calypso turntable , and put the arm and cartridge onto that , like mine !

Other than that I haven't got any sensible suggestions for you . Sorry ,

Nick
 

Sabby

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Jul 22, 2009
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Thanks to all for your helpful suggestions. It seems that a cartridge upgrade would be the simple option as it doesn't involve taking the Linn to a dealer for minor surgery. However what Andrew said about the power supply having a profund influence on the sound has also got me thinking. Perhaps power supply and cartridge would be the logical upgrade option. For the sake of simplicity, I think I will try the cartridge option first and see if that satisfies my needs for now.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Yes, I think Andrew's answer is along the lines that Linn have long suggested - namely to improve the TT itself, then the arm, then the cartridge, and so on down the line.

Years ago Linn would demonstrate top-spec Sondeks with their then best arm and cartridge with modest amps and speakers, rather than spending less on the front-end, and more on the remainder.

Any new brand of cartridge will give you a different sound. If you prefer it, great! It's a bit like switching from vanilla to strawberry. But a better power supply gives you top quality vanilla, which might be tastier than a modest strawberry version!

Good luck, whatever you decide.
 

Sabby

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Jul 22, 2009
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Thanks for your comments nopiano. What you say is logical and certainly makes sense. I've done a bit of further research and the general consesus seems to support the theory that upgrading the PS should be the first option. I think I will go along with the Linn suggestion of what order the upgrades should be done, i.e. first the TT, then the arm and finally the cartridge. I hope this works out and gives me the improvements I'm looking for.
 

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