Linn LP12 Upgrade Using Advanced DC Drive Upgrade
Review published with kind permission of Restek UK
Fitting the Origin Live Kit form advanced motor control and OL1 slotted arm to an ageing Linn LP12. The most time consuming job is to disassociate the original motor and power supply from the LP12, but once this is done and the arm board removed, the decks are cleared. Before preparing the LP12 for it’s upgrade I decided to play it in my reference system and grade it against my own development deck, which incidentally uses an older version of the advanced supply and motor, a one off Mission Mechanic arm and Ortofon 7000 hand built cartridge, the system being active Gradient Revolution originlikers, fed by a Restek balanced pre-amp, Perception Phono stage and Cymbol stereo power amplifiers. The standard LP12 sporting a Linn Akito arm and Ortofon MC-30.
All the test proved, was that the LP12 is appallingly bad at playing music, the average CD player being able to give it an unfair run for the money, and my Restek Concret CD making it sound completely Mickey Mouse, the comparison with my reference record deck being not worth stating, as it didn’t [compare that is.]
Fitting the new motor is simplicity itself, and utilises one of the original motor bolts, although I did find it necessary to add a small washer to the nut end as it was too small for the hole in the motor plate. To tension the belt requires the pulley to come awfully close to the top plate, you are left with a clearance of about 1/16th inch. Routing the wire is easy as long as you fit the motor the correct way round, there are only two ways, so one has to be right.
Fitting and setting up the arm and arm board is greatly enhanced by purchasing the screw VTA adjuster, at £25 an absolute godsend, fit the arm to the board finger tight, fit the assembly to the chassis and rough check VTA with the supplied gauge, tighten board screws and fit cartridge, rough check alignment, tighten every thing down and re-do alignment and VTA . Tidy off all cables, connect PSU and run, check the motor speed with the supplied strobe disk, now play…
First impressions. Bass power is the first thing to hit you, it’s obvious, it’s in tune, it’s real, it’s pushing deep and it’s controlled [quick check, yes it is an LP12, but like no other] Mid range is so good, musicians stand apart and are clearly definable in their own space against a totally black silence, the size of the recorded venue quite obvious, the instruments reproduced with clarity, none of the usual LP12 honk apparent, cymbals have lost their glass like clash, drums have impact, singers have shaken off their colds, the bass line is apparent and in tune, this LP12 is playing music and having a very real stab at convincing the listener that it now knows what it’s all about, this is all straight out of the box, no pretension to running in and way before the time I start to twiddle. This thing is entertaining me and I want to put more music on, I’ve lost my focus on the third triangle in the back row, all I want to do is listen to the music. It was not even on my mind to compare it to the reference, comparison are odious, it’s much more fun to play music. This complete kit including arm retails for under £1,000.00 and categorically quadruples the perceived value of the record deck. The humble LP12 never was particularly good or bad at playing music, but is well built and probably survives in greater numbers than any other record deck, what better reason can you have to Origin Live it. Go on give your records a birthday present and retire the CD player to the kitchen.
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