LP12 upgrade alternatives

I know I keep on about this, but to change the Akiva to a kandid is one hell of a high price to pay at €5000 for the kandid. Ok there is a generous trade in for the Akiva but even so still a very high price.
So instead, what other cartridge alternatives are there where it is noted I did not like the Klyde and assume I will not like the Krystal. No idea about kendo but the price is over the price I paid for the Akiva several years ago.
The idea would be to keep the linto, lingo 2 and Ekos2 but use a decent MC cartridge which would work with those.

What about Hana cartridges, they look very reasonably priced. The lowest cost Lyra (Delos) is still pricey but feasible.

Not sure what subchassis you have. A couple of years ago I got rid of my Cirkus subchassis and the wooden armboard. Biggest upgrade I have done to my LP12.

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In that price range the Audio-Technica AT-ART9XI is a lot of cartridge for the money.




To what? Karousel and keel/kore?
Which Hana cartridge do you have?

I may do karousel plus kore but not a keel


+1 for Dynavector a good alternative


I have a Lyra Kleos in an Ekos. It superseded a Krystal, and I had an Akiva B (into a Linto) some years ago.

I think the Kleos is a good deal better than those Linn cartridges - technically better but also more involving for whatever reason. The Lyra exchange scheme is also a good deal more generous than Linn’s, which matters a lot when these things need replacing every few years. On balance, I would hope that the Delos too would give more vim than the Krystal.

So you could just hear Delos against Krystal or Kleos against Kandid. But hold on before buying….

I had a Linto for years, and liked it more than many here seem to have done. However, I currently have 2 LP12s (long story and I will probably sell the less flash of them), one with that Kleos and a Naim Superline and one with Krystal and Dynavector P75 mk 4. The former combo is the best I have tried at home - but so it should be, given the cost.

Nevertheless, mix-and-match showed that the DV is remarkably good - for overall sound quality, I reckon it’s closer to the Superline (above it) than to the Linto (below it), and I would take it over more expensive Rega and Trilogy choices too. It’s also a bit better at adapting easily to different cartridges and resisting interference/ hums than either, so placement and cable-dressing matter less.

It would be worth hearing the difference in phono stages, even if you don’t want to spend Kandid/ Kleos/ Delos/ Krystal money. If you prefer the DV, you could allocate a bit of the available cash to swapping phono stage, rather than maxing out on your cartridge spending.

Mine only cost £400 from eBay. You might prefer a Rega or a Superline, but those will cost more.

Given the overall cost, changing phono stages might mean getting a DV-20X2 or an AT-OC9 - or a Benz, a Hana, a Clearaudio, a Sumiko or whatever. However, they are all decent cartridge options, and that split of spending might give you a better overall outcome. In addition, phono stages last a lot longer than cartridges, so I’d argue that it might well be better VFM in the long term.

Most important of course is not to believe me but to listen to 2 or 3 options and to find out what your ears say.

I’d also say that a Karousel is a decent sound-per-£ upgrade. However, unlike phono stages (or sub-chassis or power supply options), you probably can’t buy that second-hand.

Finally, I’ll be very surprised if the right answer is to buy a Kandid and play it through the Linto.

Good luck!


Maybe have a look at the SQ hierarchy for the LP12 as recommended by some well known dealers before taking the plunge into the cartridge

bearing (karousel)
power supply
sub chassis (Kore in your case)
and lastly the cartridge


I’ve owned Akiva, Klyde, and Krystal and also think it’s not that likely you would be happy with the Krystal after the Akiva, but of course it’s impossible to be sure. It’s a shame the Kandid is so much more expensive as I really enjoyed the Akiva.

Would be very interested in what you think of the Delos if you go that route. Any idea if the Delos is a good match for an LP12/Ekos?

I don’t know any Lyra dealers so it will be a difficult one,

Good question and would be good to know of people’s experiences

This is also firmly in the back of my mind and there is a dealer in Mulhouse that is not too far or possibly a trip to Versailles or perhaps Lyon

Rega Planar p10

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Lyra would be my choice

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I must admit, I am quite fed up with Linn and what I am hearing is they are becoming more and more difficult to deal with. A setup man is key and not easy to find. What about Bergmann audio Magne turntables?

I was proposed this and would keep my ekos2 plus add maybe a Lyra kleos, which seems a bit weird since on their site it is proposed with a linear tracking tonearm

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I am a bit confused. To me, Linn’s parts are sometimes remarkably expensive, but they are no worse to deal with that they were and you don’t have to buy new or to deal with them at all.

If you want max SQ per £, second-hand bits in your LP12 make huge sense (except bearing and cartridge). If you actually want to move from Linn to another deck, then how you feel about Linn as a business probably doesn’t matter.

If you already want to give up on Linn, you have lots of rival options. I’d suggest you decide about that before making any cartridge choices.


Yup. My (relatively recent) Lingo and Kore were both pre-loved, via a well known Linn dealer, base near Leicester… :slightly_smiling_face:

To me, pre-loved makes sense every time, except with brand new models - such as the NC series.


As stated above, 2nd hand parts make a lot of sense. Not wanting to pay Linn prices, I went down a different route and have used third party Subchassis and armboard from Stack Audio. A big improvement and I like what I hear. The old linn laminated armboard sounds soft and blurred so that has gone as well.
For me tonal balance and warmth are important. I tried one set up which produced astonishing clarity, detail and transparency, After the initial wow moments I realised I wasn’t enjoying the music and my foot was not tapping. I have had the same experience with an expensive cart. ( caution required)
I enjoy my Hana SL as it is, I think, fairly warm relaxed, but detailed. It plays music and not HIFi.
I was warned off spending serious money on power supplies by two users who had been there. Still happy with my Lingo 1 which has been recapped.
I also added the new Karousel bearing. In my deck and system it is not as bright and toppy as the Cirkus bearing. The karousel is very good but “tonally” a step back towards the original bearing imho.

A good rule of thumb for me is that if I keep wanting to turn it up, I like it. If I keep wanting to turn it down then I don’t like it.
Just my thoughts.


I would add my vote to the two already given for Dynavector. They have a real range of very different cartridges, across the range. I personally think that the sweet spot is in the middle of the range.

I had three XX2 MkIIs in succession over about a dozen years. I recently traded up to a Te Kaitora Rua, which is absolutely beautiful - all the detail and refinement of the XX2, but just so much more across the bass , mid and high frequencies.

And for ARO users, they fit the limiting geometry of the headshell perfectly, with the two front holes perfectly aligned.

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If you really like the signature of the Akiva then the alleged natural progression would be as you thought a Kandid.
It is indeed a great step up but at a cost.
When I had superb support from my dealer having unfortunately two faulty Krystal’s I was determined that I would stick to the three point mount.
Now after some time had I not been so narrow minded I should have got the offered alternative being the Lyra Kleos.
In future now not wanting to go EMT for my cartridges and let’s be honest at “ my” age how little a difference do we hear bang for buck.
I’d have no hesitation in sticking with the Akiva Lyra signature and go for either the Kleos or indeed the bargain that is Lyra Delos and future trade ins are much more generous too. :+1:t2:

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I had a Lyra Delos in a Ekos arm ,but it had to high output for Naim K boards, it sounded clinical and not so musical as a Troika or Krystal.

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Sorry to confuse you but I think we can agree that unless an LP12 is setup properly, then a lot of the hyper expensive upgrades are absolutely worthless. Yes I experienced this in 2005 (pre ekos/se, keel/kore, karousel etc) when I upgraded in one go to ekos2, Akiva and linto. This is before all the options we have now to upgrade the deck.
Don’t get me wrong but when it was set properly I absolutely loved it, but there is after that always a doubt.

This is a myth perpetuated by the Linn dealers who profit from it. Anyone with a good understanding of how the turntable works and basic manual skills can setup an LP12.

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