LP12s: a Replacement Thread - and Questions

There have been many broad LP12 threads here over the years, but as far as I can see there isn’t an open one now - hence my earlier specific threads on LP12 baseboards and Krystal replacements (and thanks for all the useful contributions), so I thought I’d give this a try.

The old lags here may well think that there is nothing that has not been said a thousand times on this well-worn topic, newer members (like me) may still have questions & things to learn.

If I am the only one posting on this thread, I’ll take that as a hint!

I have already done a lot to the hi-fi in the last couple of years - see my profile for the current boxes. My need for advice is not urgent, but I will need to replace my cartridge soon, and that would be a natural time to do other things or actively decide not to bother. So…

I have Karousel, Kore, L4, original Ekos, old Krystal feeding a Naim Superline/52/SC/300DR/B&W 804 D3s.

A. Upgrade nothing. Just trade Krystal for a new one. £1300? Spend extra cash on replacing more vinyl.
B. Upgrade Krystal to Kendo (or equivalent). £2600?
C. Trade Krystal for Krystal and upgrade top-plate to TA Karmen. £2700?
D. Trade Krystal for Krystal and upgrade sub-chassis from Kore to s/h Keel or TA Phoenix. £3200?
E. Replacement Krystal and s/h Keel/ Phoenix and TA Karmen. £4500?
F. Kendo and s/h Keel/ Phoenix and TA Karmen. £6000?

Buying s/h Phoenix looks possible for £1300, ditto Keel for around £2000 (if patient) or I might even find a Karmen (irf patient and lucky). Buying at those prices would get more done, but depends on whether I can find someone closer than Cymbiosis/ Criterion/ Ripcaster willing to fit s/h Karmen and/ or Phoenix/ Keel.

Infidelity is advertising a s/h Stiletto for £9500. It has Keel, Skorpion, Radikal, Kleos and a more modern Ekos than mine. I probably can’t have that, even allowing for the cost, due to the weight and my wall shelf, but comparing cost of option E or F (plus my LP value of c.£6K-ish) to that £9500 Stiletto suggests that options E and F can’t be good value if forced to buy new parts.

I also don’t know whether I will hear any difference between any of these options, or which partial solutions will have more or less impact. I am also aware that past issues mean that Infidelity simply won’t fit second-hand top-plates and sub-chassis - I have not asked Grahams yet and certainly won’t be doing it myself.

Assuming someone will fit it, I could get a Stack Alto top plate for £550, armboard for £200 and cross-brace for £50. If it is better than Kore, as many suggest, I could also get the matching Alto sub for £350. This won’t help s/h value (all Franken-decks suffer that way as far as I can see), but I am not planning to sell.

The big problem with this idea is that I can’t hear it the effect of these first – the best I could do is buy and fit to listen – and then remove and return within 90 days if I don’t like it/ can’t hear any difference.

All of this sounds like a lot more bother than just listening at a shop to 3 or 4 cartridges and buying my favourite, which is why I have left the whole issue until last perhaps.

My reluctance to ‘buy blind’ or make lot of effort may well put me off everything but the cartridge change. However, the consensus here from the many people who have been down similar roads themselves will be interesting and could be compelling.

I should say that my experiments on support and bases mean I now have an SRM baseboard and platform under the LP12 - still on my original Target wall shelf. As that suggests, I am also potentially open to off-the-wall suggestions, e.g. changing an Ekos 1 for Ekos SE / AO PU7 / Vertere SG-1 / that Supatrac device if easy to dem.

I am also not assuming that only Linn make cartridges. For new Krystal above you can read ‘new Krystal or similarly priced rival’ and the same applies to the Kendo too.

People can of course discuss what they like here. However, I personally am not looking for advice that begins by explaining (a) that pre-Cirkus LP12s are perfect or (b) that only the deaf/ daft/ deluded can put up with the sound of a turntable or (c) that the last ounce of tonal neutrality matters more than foot-tapping fun.

Any takers?


You really need to speak to a good LP12 set-up dealer.
So many ways to go with LP12 upgradious.
A dealer may have good pre-owned upgrades that can stretch the finances further, and a good set-up by experienced hands should never be underestimated.


If you are patient you might find a dealer willing to trade your deck for a ex demo Klimax LP12 with low hours for a lot less than £12k. Better value than individual upgrades.


Option A. Vinyl and coffee|wine|beer|tea. It’s already more than good enough.


You mention Cymbiosis, but you maybe based in Wimbledon by your moniker.

It would well be worth a trip up to see Peter Swain at Cymbiosis. Although based in Leicester, they will have most of the variants set up so you could demo them.

Send him an email with your thoughts so he gets an insight of what you are looking for. He is very experienced and has a lot of pre-used parts that could also be brought into play.

I don’t have my LP12 now, but I used them for all my upgrades over the years, even thought they are about two hours north for me.

Make it a day out and take a friend to enjoy the experience with you. I know I had many a happy time there playing with LP12s.



Assuming you have been happy with the Krystal, my suggestion woyld be to have your deck serviced and replace the Krystal like for like.

I woukd then take this as an opportunity to ask your selected dealer to let you have a listen to a full-house Klimax LP12. This may give you an appreciation of what a higher-spec LP12 is about and whether that level is cost effective.


The last time I went to Audio T Brighton they suggested I upgraded from Lingo 1 to Radikal. Then to look at tonearm which is an upgraded Akito by Audio Origami , get an Ekos, and look at Keel. Then cartridge. The original Ekos is a good tonearm. I would look at your power supply before venturing into expensive catridges. The Keel will be better than a Stack. Also keeping it all Linn may be a better way of doing it.
Go to a dealer and get some advice on upgrade stategy. As with everything, where do you want to be?


Ultimately go for Full Klimax and look at trading it all in. Can be found used for good prices. May save all the heartache.


Hell it looks complicated but talk to Peter @Cymbiosis. Worth a visit as he can demonstrate different cartridges with his Aro tops.


That’s good advice.


There’s a few ex demo Solstices around too if you fancy a change from the old fruit box


Upgrading bit by bit costs more money in the long run. The spec of my turntable is slightly lower than yours @NickofWimbledon but not far off. I am leaving it for a while and will consider going for full Klimax when funds are available. You are in a really good place at Akurate level. Either leave it there or go full blown Klimax. I wouldn’t spend a fortune on a cartridge without a better tonearm , Keel and Radikal. If the cartridge needs doing maybe just do that as an interim and speak to a dealer for longer term goals on your front end.


I agree. So many people waste time looking at the plethora of upgrades available. The only one worth considering it’s Tangerine in my opinion. The next upgrade that should be done next is a Radikal.
The new radikal/2 is brilliant but if you don’t want to spend that kind of money Nick then find yourself a dealer with a secondhand Radikal/1 as if you wish to then upgrade it to/2 specification later you can do it.


Thanks for all the comments.

@Debs - A good dealer is vital, but not enough - I have only good things to say about Infidelity (over 4 years) and Grahams (over 30+), but dealers are not necessarily happy to fit other people’s bits, and few have he facility to compare (say) Kore-to-Keel versus Linn-to-Karmen top plate - 4 otherwise identical LP2s. Nor does every dealer have experience of quite the range of bits available for an LP12.

As @LindsayM says, Cymbiosis has a big advantage over many if we are trying to do such a comparison, and not only because of Peter Swain - the sheer number of options they have on site is relevant. So is the fact that they are 3 hours or more away from here and that I cannot use them simply for an extensive upgrade to my education and then buy bits from eBay/ a different dealer.

@Paul52135 - I haven’t seen many going cheap. Having heard Trampolins on ‘light and rigid’ supports like mine, I’d rather keep my SRM base, and I would struggle to find room for a Radikal without stacking, and I think I’d rather have a Superline than a Urika. I think that means this would be less cost-effective in my case

On the other hand, combing your comments with @BigAl flags an obvious first step. I can go to a dealer and compare my LP12 to a high spec example. If I don’t hear a compelling difference with (say) a 500 system, I can be pretty sure I won’t hear one at home. Job done - option A wins.

However, the total extra cost of Klimax LP12 is daunting compared to a guess of £5K - £6K value of mine today.

Does anyone know what a Stiletto weighs? The Stiletto at Infidelity at £9500 has Keel, Radikal and Kleos for £9500. If a keel alone is (a) a big upgrade and (b) £3K by itself, then selling my LP12 and buying that Stiletto would be a cheaper option. I could potentially make it even cheaper (and easier to accommodate) if I swapped my Lingo 4 onto the new deck and sold my old deck with the Radikal (presumably increasing its value a bit).

So, the first step is to find out how much extra weight is actually involved. If it is not likely to rip my wall shelf down, then I should compare my LP12 to the Stiletto at Infidelity.

If I think it wonderful, then I have an existing LP12 to sell.

If I can hear no actual difference - option A above is the winner.

If I hear a material difference but am not bowled over by the Stiletto/ Keel/ Radikal/ Kleos, or if it is great but cannot go on he wall, then I need to keep thinking about the relative merits of the other options. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

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Sorry - too busy typing to see your reply, which is as always helpful.

If the weight is not unmanageable, a Stilletto looks a compelling option. However, I note your comment about a Radikal versus my Lingo 4. Until my CD player finally dies, I am not sure where I would actually put a Radikal.

Perhaps another wall shelf is the only option.

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When I got my Kore and Cirkus done I listened to a Klimax through a 252 with 500 at Audio T. When I got back home I listened to my system and was happy with it. Yes. The Klimax sounded more detailed. Bigger sound, more of everything. But I thought my system still sounded fanatstic. You have a great system. Go to a dealer and have a listen without expectation.

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Maybe look at new racking system. A Fraim perhaps?


The Keel was the biggest single upgrade (of very many) that I ever made to my LP12 in 40 or thereabouts years of ownership. (And, oddly enough, the two dealers mentioned here, Cymbiosis in Leicester and Grahams in Islington, seem to have been the driving forces behind persuading Linn, who were initially reluctant, to make the first batch of Keel/As of which I was thrilled to buy one, through Grahams).

PS Apologist to Peter Swain, this was intended as a reply to the topic in general, rather than addressed to his post. (Oddly ironic, perhaps spooky, that this happens to refer to you personally, Peter. Sorry again, I think that my confinement is causing me to lose the plot!)


Cymbiosis put his money where his mouth is. :+1:t2:


It’s a good thing to think about.

I do like my table (from specialist HNE, small-grain black granite and spikes), and lots of experimentation (and some here) would suggest it is hard to beat. I am also aware that the vast weight is a particular help here, given my bouncy floor.

As for Fraims, that would cost as much as a major turntable upgrade and I am not sure about fitting 2 stacks into that alcove. without staggering them. A huge single stack would be aesthetically challenging I suspect.

I may be making a mountain out of a molehill again anyway. IF the weight can safely be put on the wall (an extra 10kg would be fine, an extra 30kg probably not), and IF I like what I hear of the Stiletto, then I should get it. I can put the Radikal on an isolation platform on the floor, since it is only 6cm high. When the CDS2 finally dies, the Radikal can move.