Linn LP12 springs back to life!

Over 100,000 examples of the iconic Linn Sondek LP12 have been produced in the forty plus years since it first appeared.

Many, like this one, belonging to one of our long term customers, and bought here many years ago, have been resting unused for some considerable time whilst CD has been the primary source of music at home.

It's all there, and working, just a bit tired and in need of a bit of TLC and a makeover.  Like many, this particular customer, is reconnecting to his record collection and rediscovering the joy of listening to vinyl. There really is nothing quite like it.

Having recently invested in a significant system and speaker upgrade, the goal was to breathe new life into this classic vinyl spinner rather than go down the costly path of fitting every possible upgrade.

This particular example, from the early 1980s, has the early dark tinted lid.

A new clear lid will sharpen up the appearance but first the turntable is placed in a Linn set up jig and powered up to confirm that the motor and Valhalla power supply are both working correctly.

The Ittok arm is also checked to ensure both the vertical and horizontal arm bearings aren't exhibiting any sticky points in their travel and the arm moves freely in both planes.

The Linn Karma cartridge is well past it's best and will be replaced as part of the overhaul.

The stripdown commences with the removal of the arm and outer and inner platter.

The power supply, suspension and sub-chassis and armboard can then be removed.

At this stage the top plate is checked to ensure the correct fit against the wooden plinth.  Any movement or rattles in the rear motor corner badly affect the performance of any LP12.  The main bearing is also emptied of old oil and inspected for wear whilst the sub-chassis/armboard assembly is separated from the suspension.

The suspension bolts are checked and adjusted using the Linn T bar tool to ensure they are totally vertical before reassembly.  Failure to do this makes accurate suspension set up very long winded if not impossible.

New springs, upper and lower grommets and lock nuts are used to reset the suspension.  Thirty year old rubber will have hardened and springs this old are about as fit for purpose on a suspended turntable as ancient shock absorbers would be in a car.

The next job, and often the longest on a Linn, is to level and reset the suspension to ensure free and smooth vertical travel with no sideways movement, both when static and with the platter turning.  This example is one of the easier ones and soon settles into a satisfyingly smooth and precise bounce.  The alignment of the armboard is checked with a Linn Kinky tool (yes, really!) to ensure the correct position of the arm pillar relative to the centre spindle.

The bearing is filled with new Linn oil, a new belt fitted and a new Dynavector DV10XV high output moving coil cartridge is fitted to replace the ageing Linn Karma, the arm balanced and tracking weight and bias set. The cartridge is aligned with a Linn protractor and the VTA (vertical tracking angle) of the arm is checked and adjusted.


The turntable accuracy is checked with a Linn strobe disc and speed checker.  All is now as it should be.


Finally, thirty years of oxidation and pitting to the platter rim are removed by the application of Brasso and a lot of elbow grease!  The newly polished finish is protected with a high quality car wax.  Similarly the wooden plinth is cleaned and has several coats of wax furniture polish applied to restore it's lustre.


A new clear lid and hinges finish off the makeover nicely.


 Job done.  A thirty year old Linn looking as good as new and ready to spin LPs for a few more decades!

If you have a Linn LP12 or Rega in need of servicing, overhauling or updating please phone me or email first.  I'm quite happy to offer advice or look at other makes and models of turntables but space, and time, are limited, and there's only one of me!  Please call me and book a slot before bringing in your pride and joy.


N.B. The blog is from our Southampton store, however majority of our stores can offer a similar service.