Linn LP12/Akito - "To buy, or not to buy, that is the question."

Hi All,

I have a chance to replace my Rega P3/RB300 (not the 24v version) with a Linn Sondek LP12/Akito. I’m not sure what the exact age is but it has a 81,000 series serial number so from what I can see that lands it around 1989-1990. The unit looks to be in pristine condition (9/10) with a black ash plinth, but the age does concern me. Having said that, I’ve always wanted an LP12 and the black ash is a bonus for my ascetic tastes.

Any thoughts on whether this would be a good upgrade from the P3? I was originally looking for a newer P6 but this opportunity has just kind of landed on my lap.

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Regards,

Matt

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There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a 30 year old Linn, and there are many older ones still going strong. Just be aware that there may be things to upgrade or get into shape, and that it needs setting up by someone who knows what they are doing. Depending on price it’s worth considering also the Rega P8 and P10, which you can set up yourself in five minutes. They don’t look like a ‘traditional’ LP spinner though.

The old Akito is not that exiting, sure a Rega arm is better on most cartridges.
LP12 deck has endless upgrade levels, a matter of budget really.
Setting up is for skilled individuals only.

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The old Akito would need to be properly appraised. Any sign of bearing issues and it’s fit only for scrap. Having said that, some have excellent bearings and the best ones can be surprisingly good. I was once given an Akito that was supposedly the best one particular dealer had ever come across and it was really rather a nice arm. I think the problem was that many succumbed to owners over tightening things and wrecking them in the process.

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Really depends on what you want to do long term. What PSU does it have? I doubt as it stands it will offer much if anything over your Rega but with a Lingo, Ittok - and so it begins! As @hungryhalibut rightly says a Rega RP8 is a great alternative.

Is it from a dealer who can support?

Regards,

Lindsay

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Valhalla would have been ‘standard’ then, AFAIK - in 89/90…

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As a Linn LP owner of a deck from the late 70s, I would say go for it. In addition to the great sound quality one of the best attributes of the Linn is you can upgrade as funds allow, mine has had many upgrades over the years. Another is buying second hand you are likely to sell on without any loss if you maintain it well. As Richard said, check the arm bearings out before buying but if they are OK, you will have a deck that will give years of use.

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You are right to be concerned with age.

The majority of us here seem to have purchased ours in the 1980s. The one you’re considering may not be fully run in yet…

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Or… just plan to buy it a ‘new’ arm… Like say a Rega RB300… :astonished:

My first LP12 config had a Valhalla and Basik Plus, with the last pre-Cirkus bearing. Once during a move I had to keep it in storage for a few months and bought a P3 of similar vintage to the OP’s to tide me over.

The difference between the two was very, very large.

Have your RB300 upgraded by J7 of Audio Origami, he upgraded mine, at a cost, rewired, replacement bearings. It suddenly changed into a giant killer, or perhaps ask him about the upgrades he might be able to do to the Akito, google will help you here. He works from home, and has a great reputation. Please do get a dealer to set up your LP12, although if you cannot Cymbisosis have an excellent downloadable guide.

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A lot of ifs and buts to weigh up.

If you don’t know one end of a screwdriver from the others, you’ll need to get somebody to set it up.
But, if you’re mechanically minded, set up won’t be a problem; there are plenty of guides on the internet. It’s not exactly rocket science.
If you buy a new cartridge from a dealer and pay to get it fitted, they will probably check the setup for free anyway.

If you’re the kind of person who constantly upgrades your system, there is plenty of scope for you to do so with an LP12.
But, if you’re like me, you’d be quite happy with an LP12/Valhalla and not have the urge to upgrade. Even without the Valhalla the LP12 is still superb sounding deck, there is no law against not upgrading an LP12.

If the arm or Valhalla do need replacing (and there’s no saying they do), that will increase the value if you eventually decide to sell it.

And, as with everything you buy, it’s not the purchase price that is important, it’s the cost of ownership. As somebody pointed out, you’d probably be able to sell it for the price you paid, even if you spend £500 on it, over 5 years that’s only £2 per week.

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#Canaryfan - Brilliant!!

Thank you to everyone for the thoughts and advice. It’s quite a bit to unpack given the variables. From what I gather this LP12 is bone stock (Akito/Valhalla). I don’t necessarily have a budget at this time for upgrades but I’m mechanically inclined and would look forward to it in the future. I also have a local dealer (Vancouver, BC, Canada) so I’m certain I could get technical support and parts.

The seller is looking for around $2K CDN which is equivalent to £1,166 GBP. I was thinking more like $1,600 CDN or £930 GBP but it’s still a lot for a table with unknown condition. Other than the tonearm bearings is there anything else you would advise me to look out for? Any other advice would be welcome as well.

I’ve also included some photos for reference.




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An easy check is the bounce. Not a huge issue if it needs balancing, but a service would cover that.

How shall it bounce and where to tap?

If the platter takes a long time to get upto speed at startup, it’s a sign the Valhalla board may need attention.

Lol…centre spindle for me, and a succession of up and downs in lessening amplitude, but straight! I prefer no creaking too, but that seems variable :grin:

Thanks for that advice. I’ve seen some good videos of the bounce test; I’ll be sure to do that as well. Any advice on how to check the tonearm bearings?

What cartridge do you have in mind to use,? thinking that old Linn (K5/K9 ?) need at least a new stylus if at all available ?