Having experienced various ‘life events’ myself, it’s often challenging to identify where one’s headspace is at times. Confusion, disorientation, with a loss of immediate focus are things which spring to my mind, some from recent memory – and treasuring family heirlooms and other physical items with strong emotional attachments, and what to do with them, is just one part of a larger puzzle about how to move forward in one’s life, without disrespecting what’s gone before and the memories you carry of times past.
One often sets out with noble goals and thoughts around such items but after a period of reflection and reality-checking, the economic sensibilities can become apparent, sometimes generating the need for unwelcome decisions. Around this, my thoughts are with you – and all us Forumites can do is share our knowledge and experience with you.
…and please don’t be scared. No question you ask will be ‘too simple’, as it can take years to understand the realities of domestic hi-fi systems, the lexicon used (especially with Linn’s products) and how to avoid making costly choices/mistakes (which happens quite a lot!). As you’ve seen from YouTube, there’s a massive backstory & folklore around the LP12, which continues to evolve.
As you may have detected from some of the responses to date, we Forumites tend to love our Naim kit, and LP12s for that matter, with a special fondness reserved for the legacy products like you have. But, everything has a price…….and it’s always easier spending someone else’s money.
At this point, all I would encourage you to do is to think hard about what you really desire moving forward.
That all said, in answer to some of the points and questions raised:
1- FYI, many of us started out with legacy-spec LP12s. Back in the 1970s and ‘80’s, many a hi-fi dealers’ system of choice was an LP12 front end, with Naim amps, due to the perceived synergies of this combination. Depending upon its operating conditions, an LP12 should have a service ~ every 5Ys – sometimes more frequently (i.e. replacement belt, springs, rubber grommets, with the suspension checked & fettled). Over time, the spring tensions soften and the ‘bounce’ of the platter suffers – some platters develop a lean, the siting of the armboard being an indicator i.e. it should sit with even gaps around it and be consistent as to level with the wooden plinth & top-plate. A service is usually relatively cheap, as the subject items are ‘consumables’ in Linn-land. Many undertake servicing on a DIY basis.
2- Cartridges – there are 2 primary types: Moving Magnets, which are cheaper and usually have what is referred to as ‘high output’ and Moving Coils. The latter offer better quality replay and, in general, are far more expensive and come in either ‘low or high output’ versions.
With vinyl replay, all cartridge outputs are relatively low when compared to (Cassette) Tape players and Tuners. So the inputs in to the Pre-amplifier for the latter 2 are often described as ‘line-level’ - and in later pre-amps with inputs for CD, this is also the case.
In Naim’s pre-amps and per @ricsimas 's comments, for the Phono inputs there’s a small printed circuit board (PCB) inside the unit which is interchangeable, in order to match to the output characteristics of the cartridge.
This is why I suggested that you stick with the existing cartridge (with new stylus?), as changing this might create other issues – which is where a Linn dealer comes in.
Changing Moving Magnet cartridges is usually quite straightforward, as they tend to have similar output characteristics. Moving coils not so.
You’re correct that matching the output/input aspects is crucial with Phono/vinyl replay. Naim and others make outboard phono-amplifiers, which take the signal from a turntable, amplify it, and then feed it in to a pre-amp at ‘line level’ (or thereabouts). The phono-amps have adjustable settings (capacitance and resistance) to marry to the cartridge output.
At one time, Naim produced a mini-amplifier called the Prefix, which fitted within the casing of an LP12. Per Richard’s answer below, this was for MC cartridges only.
3- Re transporting the LP12 – I’m assuming, if/when the time comes & conditions permit, you can drive to a Linn dealer. The ideal solution is to get a proper box from a dealer but last I knew these aren’t cheap. Also, packaging an existing build LP12 in to the box may not be straightforward – I’ll bow to the advices of others on this - @ricsimas ?
When an LP12 is delivered to a dealer it has to be built (arm installed etc) and giving a not-properly-boxed-up LP12 to a courier would be a nightmare for me.
This can be one of the issues with distance ownership.
I’m sure none of us underestimate the scale of the project before you in bringing all the kit back to serviceable life. Do keep us posted…and keep the Q’s coming. You know where we are.