Settings for A&R P77 (gold body) on an LP12 and longer term ideas

A hoping for some guidance.
My elderly uncle has very kindly bequeathed his LP12 to me. It is approx 1983-84 vintage (s/n 046…) so has Valhalla with Basik ‘S’ shaped arm and A&R P77 cartridge. As far as I know it has been used little and not for some years.
Now I know the first thing everyone will scream at me is to send it for a service and depending on a couple of other decisions I may well do that.
But… before I shell out money I want to just try it and see how it sounds in comparison to my circa 1986 RP3/Elys 2 which has been fully serviced and tonearm completely rewired by Rega a couple of years ago.
My issue is that my uncle was ‘tinkering’ with the turntable before passing it to me so the arm is not balanced, no idea on the tracking force etc to use so it needs some basic set up prior to this.
Is there a simple way to get the basics right myself so I can give it a simple spin without the hassle of sending it off first?
This in the longer term leads me to make a decision of either keeping/poss upgrading the LP12 or considering selling both turntables and getting say a new RP3/RP6 for example. I have the Rega MM phono stage. I don’t want endless tinkering if an LP12 demands it which is where Rega scores on the ‘plug and play’ element, conversely if the sound is vastly better… :thinking:
I don’t play vinyl massively as mainly stream into NAC172XS / NAP 250.2 but do want to get into vinyl more in the future, there is something lovely about turntables and the vinyl interaction…
As a note I’m also considering a change from 172/250.2 to a Nova to diminish boxes.
I would appreciate any guidance from you knowledgable lot :smiley:

Yes, a quick and simple guide to setting up the deck. First check that the belt is OK. If it’s slack then you should get a new one (you’ll likely want a new one anyway. Check that there’s some oil in the bearing. Make sure the armboard is level with the outer plinth, and check that you get a nice even bounce without any rattling, or swaying side to side. If not then you’ll need to set up the suspension properly otherwsie it’s not really worthwhile because it will sound pretty horrible, in which case go straight to a proper service.

To do a basic set up of the arm and cartridge. First set the anti-skate to 0, then turn the counterweight forwards for backwards until the arm balances perfectly and is suspended. This is your zero point for the tracking force, so turn the front indicator ring to 0 on the counterweight. Now as you turn it to move forwards towards the pivot, it should give an approximate reading of tracking force. For the P77 I would suggest somewhere around 1.8-2g. Then set the anti-skate dial to the same number.


I think the recommend force is 1.6-2.0. I had one at the end of a Basik arm on a 1983 LP12.

Thank you Richard, the basics of the turntable look fine (belt, suspension, bearings etc). The main issue is getting the balance and tracking force about right I think.

Thank you Tony, yes the P77 is just like your pic

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It may be possible that if the P77 stylus is original 1978ish, that the suspension has perished or hardened. So, if you get it set up and it sounds worse, it may not be the turntable. A replacement stylus by Jico is advertised at £209, so an expensive trial. I think the E77 stylus will fit, at £36 a bit more affordable.


Richard Dane has beaten me to it here & provided you with very helpful advice.

What I would add is that my basic 1981 LP12 (still in regular use but much updated) replaced a Rega Planar 3 & was superior in every way. The Rega sounded OK a lot of the time but not quite right (I could never really put my finger on what was wrong with the sound) the rest of the time.

The LP12 just sounded right from the off & so much better than the Rega all of the time. The authority I have for saying this is my wifes’ only ever comment on the sound of my system in 42 years of marriage on the day I installed the Linn, ‘that sounds really good, what have you done to it?’.

I would be very surprised if you don’t find the same, assuming the Linn is set up & running as it should be.

A word of warning though. I have updated my LP12 over these many years with Linns’ own upgrades only & have found, without exception, an improvement in sound quality with each upgrade. This was very noticeable with my likely final upgrade last week, adding the new Karousel bearing. Between upgrades I have never found the LP12 requires any attention at all. If yours has had no attention at all since new, a service from an authorised dealer may be very beneficial. If you like the sound you may well be on the expensive upgrade path!

I run my LP12 through a Nova which I think is a great piece of kit. However, as I have commented in other threads, good as the streaming & internet radio quality is, the LP12 sound quality still is best of all.

Please do give the Linn a good go. What ever you end up doing, good luck!

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I very much appreciate your advice and insight. I’ve read many times on the forum about the slippery LP12 slope! I will definitely follow the help given and give it a good whirl and see how it goes, I’m lucky to have such a good starting point I guess as the LP12 is in good condition. It’s also good to know you play into a Nova.
As an aside, if I do want to get on the said slippery slope, where is best to send it for servicing etc? Whenever I read anything about LP12’s the one name that always crops up is Peter at Cymbiosis


Yes, it sounds as if you can’t go wrong with Peter at Cymbiosis.

However I have always used my local dealer. A Norwich business when I lived there & my current dealer here in Cornwall where I have lived since 1986. I only actually discovered my current dealer when my old Naim amps required servicing in 2015. I had no idea we had a Linn/Naim dealer in the county until Naim pointed me in their direction. They have made an excellent job of my deck, fitting a Kore, Krystal & Karousel since I was introduced to them.

I have been very pleased with my dealers work & would suggest that it may be beneficial for you to see if you have a local Linn dealer & go & have a chat with them first. If you don’t then it will do no harm to give Peter a call.

Either way I am sure you will end up with a turntable that you will be delighted with.

Don’t forget to come back & tell us how you got on.

PS - I use a Linn Crystal cartridge through a Rega Aria phono pre-amp into my Nova & think it is superb, the Rega particularly impressing me.

After much time spent going round the houses, my approach is to keep vintage decks in original spec and to partner with a vintage system in which they were originally voiced.

If looking at a modern system then try a modern player from Linn, Rega, Well Tempered, etc.

I think I’d sort out the main system first and take it from there. If your deck isn’t delivering (post service) then audition 2-3 modern players to suit your taste and to match your new setup.

For test purposes, I think they could be a good match.

Please report back.

Setting the tracking and anti-skating are not too difficult.However, I think quite a few people did as I did - started with the rega 3 and then moved on to the lp-12 (1989 ish) I think. I started with Valhalla and then moved on to circus and lingo 2. I’m (I think) one day away from getting my tt back with a new lingo 4 and Karousel, at the akurate level now. The arm is an early Ekos which replaced an ittok. I would think the lp-12 would be worth using over the rp-3. Also it can be brought up to modern standards as time passes.

The both the A&R P77 & E77 are very happy in the 1.6, to 1.8g range, but are high compliance cartridges, The Linn Lvv is very much towards the upper range of suitable effective mass for this cartridge. One significant advantage over the lower prices AT cartridges is that they are tolerant of load capacitance, anywhere 200pf to 400pf is fine (arm capacitance + lead capacitance + phono amp input capacitance), and these values are much easier to achieve in practice.


The tone arm is the LV V. I have set both to 1.8g which seems the general recommendation.

Ok, so following the above setup help, and thank you all for helping with that, I am now spinning my second disc on the LP12.
S**t… it’s like chalk and cheese over the RP3 even after such a short listen! Fuller, deeper and wider soundstage, definitely more detail and seems better musical timing too.
What have I let myself in for… !!


The other thing to keep in mind is (as I understand it) all but the very earliest lp-12’s can be brought up to modern standards, if you want.

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