Linn LP12 vs SME 12A

Hi all,

I’m looking to upgrade my turntable to either a Linn Akurate LP12 or the SME12A with a 309 tonearm.

Does anyone have any advice on which turntable would best suit/pair with my SN3 and Superline phono stage?

I listen to a fairly wide range of music: Alternative Rock / Indie / Electronic / Vocal Jazz.

Any advice would be much appreciated (or alternative suggestions).


Both will be great but at that price I would add an Avid Volvere and Vertere MG to the list as well. Really personal preference.


I would not upgrade more , until having something more serious than SN3.
An SME 12 deserves a minimum of 282/200 level.
The Magik is more well balanced with the SN3. But you will be continuously tempted by Linn upgrades.
So difficult to give a definitive answer, all depends of the system you want to have in the future.



Can’t agree with FR comments

I run a LP12 ARO with a SN3/HiCap DR with superline and supercap DR

The LP12 is probably at the akurate level although the ARO arm probably better. Cartridge is the Linn Krystal

Of course a split pre amp and amp would be better but the SN3 is an excellent piece of equipment

In your situation I would go with the LP12



Your SN3 is a bit like a bottleneck in your situation. But till you don’t upgrade the amps, you will not notice it.
You have near 20k source ( Lp12 akurate/ Aro / Superline/ Supercap) into a 2k preamp ( something like that).
However you are not far from a high level and balanced system.


@Monkey_Jim was in the same situation as you and responded similarly as you some months ago.
I am sure he can share here.

Thanks Bevo. Is the LP 12 a “set it and forget it” turntable? (if set up correctly by a dealer). I have read some reviews that say it requires regular adjustment.

Thanks LinsdayM , I’ll look into the Avid and Vertere.

Well FR it’s not too worry

It’s my secondary LP12 system so won’t be taking the amp up the ladder any further

I am aware of the SN3 slight limitations



There is a longstanding and well supported school of thought that the source has priority. This is particularly important in building a system over time. The SN3 should easily be good enough to make your proposed TT upgrades easily to hear.


Hi Dave

There are a lot of myths around LP12’s going out of alignment frequently

Of course yes it they are moved around a lot then that can occur

My Naim/Linn dealer visits me from time to time ( have been a customer of his for 37 years) and checks out my 3 LP12’s

Never had an issue


Totally agree jlewis

My SN3 has been fed with a Rega RP6, Majik LP12 and now Akurate LP12 - each time the change in the source could clearly be heard. It’s a perfectly capable amplifier.


Second and third that Richard

You’re building a source first based system as Naim advocate. This is how to maximise musical communication within a given budget. Although, you still need to put something together that sounds well balanced. Spreading funds more evenly can provide clearer Hi-Fi but it will be less musically coherent and engaging in my experience.

A full force source first system would be LP12 (Karousel/Radikal/Keel/Ekos SE/Adikt) straight into your SN3 so what you’re attempting is pretty mild :smiley:


A good source is not enough. Very often the importance of the preamp is forgotten. And a system has to be balanced.
But as I said earlier, an Lp12 Akkurate is fine with an SN3. But not an SME 12A , which is something else.

@frenchrooster is right that I discovered thwt the SN3 was a limitation in my ND555 fronted system. Now I’m discovering the importance of a preamp. At the same time, until I upgraded I was delighted with my SN3 and that the system always sounded right, for me that’s the beauty of a source-first system. The great thing about either of your front ends is that they’ll see you through any improvements you want to make and in the meantime your system will sound as good as a Supernait can.

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Exactly this. You can never go wrong by maxing out the source even with relatively basic (but competent) amp / speakers. The result is pretty much guaranteed to be musically the most rewarding way of allocating funds.


Hold on guys. I’m far from a source first advocate but the OP has a great integrated with PSU and phono stage and wishes to buy a top flight TT to best exploit his electronics. Would a separate pre/power be better, quite likely but that shouldn’t stop the purchase of a top flight TT.


Good to bring back on thread Lindsay

All about what Turntable the OP wishes to purchase