Anatomy of an LP12

I think the problem is that the definitive list, components, dates, serial numbers etc disappeared with the linn forum.
The wikipedia list isn’t too bad. But which component or combination can be a matter of personal taste and budget. Some prefer the fluted plinth. Personally the trampolin in my house, in my system, with my choice of music, doesn’t work.
I cannot afford the radikal or ekos se, therefore the lingo 4 and ittok are “better”.
Some commentators argue that more recent changes make the sound more digital and prefer the earlier iterations.
As to meanings of the names, some seem obvious, trampolin for instance. Lingo = linn go?
I seem to recall a conversation many years ago the ittok was Ivor Tiefenbrun Turntable OK. That might just be an urban myth!

I have had my Linn since about 1980, initially with a Syrinx PU2 and Asak cartridge, which was the top of the food chain combination when I got it. Since then it has been serviced and updgraded many times so that not much of it remains original. Initiallythe servicing and upgrading was done by me, using Paul Messengers great article in Hi Fi Answers as a guide. However, I soon learnt that it was easier and got better results when done by an expert in setting up Linns… Still sounds excellent even though not a top spec deck, just one that get looked after and enjoyed. For the last couple of decades it has been upgraded by John at Audio-T in Brighton and he really gets the best out of a Linn LP12.

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I’ll confess I blindly bought the Lingo Mk I, Cirkus and a Linto many years ago.

The Lingo in particular was a revelation.

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What was the upgrade?

Above lies part of the problem.
I bought my fluted plinth LP12 over 30 years ago. I only recently discovered that some are not fluted and never knew there was a sonic difference.
I upgraded the arm from a Basik to an Ittok and recall upgrading something to do with the suspension and changed the cartridge and added a power supply called the Lingo. (Original one)
But now, all these years on, I have no idea what spec my turntable actually is and I have no idea what Radikal, Trampolin, Syrinx, Cirkus etc. actually are.
Suspension? Plinth? Sub-cvhassis? Power supply? Bearing? Arm???
All I know is my turntable sounds pretty good to my ears and most people who hear it have never heard vinyl sound so good.
I guess I could spend thousands on “improvements” but I wonder how much “better” it would actually be in real terms.
An LP12 is, in my opinion, one of the greatest ever record decks, even as a basic specced model. Add a better arm, an external power supply and you’re already at a very high level.
The increments above I suspect are small in real terms and as others have said, can be very expensive!
Perhaps someone who knows, might like to post a dictionary for what the different parts mean - Lingo, for example is a power supply which was produced in original, then MK2, 3 and 4 guises (if I’m not mistaken).

Sondek = Lego® of Turntable! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Every part is changeable. Whether it’s considered to be upgrade is depend on personal taste assuming
every installation is done correctly.

If you are contemplating a new table, look into the new Rega Planar range. I recently listened to a Planar 8 against the RP10 and was very impressed! Not to mention the set up took all of 5 minutes! ( from taking out of the box to up and running playing a record ) Aside from RP6 I have always prefer the Sondek but the latest iteration of RP8 ( which I wasn’t too keen on my last AB test with an LP12 ), the sound of their turntable was pretty convincing as a Sondek.

Have you auditioned a Sondek?


There was some explanation of their product names in Linn Magazine Interview from 1985 by Ivor.

COOK: You’re Scottish, so why do your products have funny Scandinavian-sounding names?

TEIFENBRUN: We thought Sondek was a catchy play on ‘sound deck’. As I said earlier, our main tone arm is made by a marvellous Japanese engineer called Ito. We reckon he’s OK so in honour of him we called the arm Ittok, continuing the final ‘k’ theme. The L bit simply alludes to Las Vegas where we met at a hi-fi show and finalised our relationship.
We were helped on the Asak cartridge by a man called Asakura -hence Asak - and the DC2100K simply refers to the fact that it operates from DC to 100k Hetz. Isobarik is from Isobar, the equal pressure principle upon which our speakers work. the DMS and PMS stand for Domestic and Professional Monitor Speakers.
With the Kans we’re showing we ‘kan’ make cheaper speakers.
I could tell you SARA stands for Small Accoustic Reproductional Apparatus - but it’s named after my daughter who, where we were developing the speakers, was small like them and made a lot of sound.


Keel and Kandid.

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People have mentioned fluted or non-fluted plinths. I am not sure that this has any audible effect, although it might as I know that type of wood can affect the sound (although the skeptic in me says that that could be down to set-up). More important in the evolution of the wooden plinth was the introduction of corner bracing. But the most important thing if I recall correctly is the fit between the plinth and the top plate, particularly round the motor corner.

As I mentioned above, there are now two competing options for aluminium plinth, both of which include an integral top plate.

As far as I’m concerned the two biggest improvements were the Cirkus bearing and the Radikal power supply together with its DC motor. The Radikal can also be used to power a phono stage preamplifier called Urika, which is situated on the baseboard, which is a Trampolin type. The Radikal power supply is available in two versions with identical electronics, but different casework. Unbelievably, the machined from solid version sounds better, but comes at a cost, of course.

Another major mod is in the sub-chassis. I believe there are now three versions offered by Linn (as well as others). The Linn versions are the basic which uses a separate arm board, the Kore, which is pressed steel and integral cast armboard, and top of the line is the Keel, which is one-piece, machined from solid.

Your best bet is to visit a dealer who will be able to demonstrate all variants.

I apologise if I’ve made any errors in the above.

Apart from third party plinths, I think there have been four variations of the fluted design -

  1. the original with a slot in for the lid to be propped open
  2. the hinges for the lid were changed to a spring on so the prop was not needed, so no slot
  3. corner braces were added - if you shine a light into the gap between the armboard and plinth at the front right corner you should be able to see if you have corner braces
  4. an anniversary special edition to celebrate 45 years

There have been additions to the subchassis, welding, bonding, cross brace (I think all these were last century, currently there are Majik, Kore and Keel variants

Radikal is the top of the range power supply
The original baseboard was fibreboard, this was then changed to metal sheet and then to Trampolin that has “bouncy” feet.
Syrinx is a non-Linn brand tonearm
Cirkus is the latest variation of the bearing

If you want to check which bearing you have, the best option is to download the set up instructions from @Cymbiosis where not only are there explanations but pictures that Peter has included.

Yes, Lingo is the “mid-range” power supply, personally, the big steps for me were a Cirkus bearing and Lingo 4 power supply.

As often mentioned, if you are within distance of Cymbiosis it is well worth going simply because Peter has so many decks with so many options.


I’ve owned my Linn LP 12 since 1978, in that time i’ve gone the red switch standard supply to The Valhalla. The change over to black springs and grommets.
This followed with an arm change from Grace to Ittok from Supex to Asak. In the early 80’s my Afromosia plinth started “ opening “ on the corners. During the change from the Ittok the dealer changed my arm 3 times the issue with the bearings the last arm stayed with me till 2007 and I changed to the Aro which I still use to this day.

When the Lingo came out in the very early 90’s I had one fitted. Late 80’s had the plinth replaced to the corner braced type with the black bearing.

Early 90’s had the Cirkus bearing assembly with a new sub chassis. In 2007 when I had the Aro fitted I went for the Armeggedon power supply much superior to the Lingo.

In 2013 I had the Khan installed followed in 2016 went full Tangerine Audio with the Stiletto plinth, Plateau chassis, Trampolin mk2 base board,

Cartridge changes since ‘78, Decca Gold, Supex 900E, Asak, Asak T, Karma (3 of ) ,Dynavector 20L. Then moved to a Micro Benz Wood SL, finally I’ve had a Kiseki Blue NS installed which I use today.



I am still not totally convinced on Radikal DC Power Supply. It lowers noise but musically ( yes very subjective here ) Armageddon was to my liking.
After XX years, my dealer is still trying to convince but AB comparo takes too much work at this point and too costly for me to do a blind purchase.

Love to try Kore and new baby DC PS Lingo 4 but probably too much work for most dealers for AB.

It’s a bit of a contradiction isn’t it? Laudable that the upgrades are retrofittable though.

Imagine how much worse one is if they are at the beggining of their journey. And especially if they wish to buy a used LP12. I was hoping to buy a used LP12 but without the knowledge i would end up buying something that is out of date such as Valhalla which I believe has been discontinued and few 3rd party places can repair.

Exactly what I was trying to ask in my original post but you have put it so much better. All the links I have looked at so far give no chronology. This is raher surprising considering the LP12 is so legendary and has such a following. I would have thought that Linn at least would have kept an up to date chronology on their webiste somewhere. I will put a post on the Linn facebook group to see if I have better luck.

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I guess buying any “older” piece of equipment is bound to raise questions about how much better it might be…
SBL MK1 or MK2, early or late 250 or 250.2 or 250DR or…
I “think” my LP12 has Cirkus (sounds familiar and I recall having a new bearing which I think is part of that upgrade) but I have no idea about the plinth bracing.
However, it sounds damn good to me as it is :slight_smile:

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In some ways the question is impossible to answer, if you were to contact Linn with your question they would surely tell you that the Radikal version of the deck with all the latest parts is the “best”. The cost of that may be over your budget, so a question, where are you located, what is your budget (the latest posting suggesting you are looking at used and not buying from a dealer?). How confident are you with any diy work such as Bobthebuilder has done?
Certainly due to age of the components a Valhalla powered deck may be best avoided.
As it is not possible post links in this thread, search for uk hifi history society who have a pdf of the full service manual up to 1998.
As this is turntable specific also try registering on the vinyl engine site.

Has anyone ever compared a top spec Linn LP12 with a non Linn fully hotrod version made up completely from 3rd party parts ?

IIRC back in the early days of the magazine, hifi plus did a three way comparison between the linn version and a couple of favoured “hot rod” LP12s. I can’t recall which was favoured over all though.

Slightly predictable answer but I’d suggest a trip to Cymbiosis where there is an astonishing array of LP12’s in various levels of Linn and other third party guises at differing price points. IMO you do benefit from the upgrades however, we all have to work within a budget which you’d be well served writing on the back of your hand/ forehead before stepping across the threshold! Mine is a bit like Trigger’s Broom with several non Linn parts fitted.


Apart from plinth (Woodsong), top plate (Tangerine) and tonearm (Naim), mine is still all Linn. And the outer platter is still the original!