Getting close to starting upgrade process...

snatex

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Jan 8, 2020
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About a year ago, I decided to get back into vinyl. I've had a Linn system for about the past 20 years. I use it for both 2 channel and video. I've got a Majik DS, Roon, Linn Kisto, 2x 5125 5 channel power amps with active cards installed, bi-amped active Ninka's, Sizmik Sub, Trikan center channel, and Unik surround speakers. I added an Emotiva MC-700 processor above the Kisto when the codecs evolved and run analogue outs for each channel into the Kisto for video.

I was not sure how much I would use a new turntable so I started out by buying a base Rega P1 plus. I ended up buying a bunch of records and really enjoying it. While buying someone's record collection off craigslist I was also offered their turntable. It was a Micro Seiki dd-35 with the MA505 arm and an AT150MLX cart. I picked up a Mofi studiophono preamp and tested against the base Rega. No contest. The Micro Seiki smoked the Rega. I sold the Rega and have been using the Micro Seiki for almost a year now. Since getting back into vinyl I've been buying and playing more 2 channel music than I ever did in the past. As a result I have been considering upgrading part or all of my system.

After months of research, I am getting close to making my first big purchase and wanted to get some opinions. I have explored several options on where to start (and possibly end) on this process. I have considered starting by replacing my older sub with a pair of new REL's. I have considered starting by getting a more robust phono preamp (possibly a used Uphorik or a Sutherland). I have also done a deep dive on turntables and have considered starting with a new deck. I have looked into new and used options from Linn, REGA, VPI, Technics, Mofi, Clearaudio, Sota, Well tempered, Origin Live, and GEM Dandy. I like to buy equipment that will keep me happy for a very long time. When possible I try to buy used due to the tremendous values that can be had.

After digesting a lot of information, I think I am leaning towards starting by getting a new GEM Dandy Polytable Super 12 with the 12" Jelco arm and a moving coil cartridge (still undecided). It seems like a really well designed table that clicks all the boxes for me. I like that it seems fairly priced, easy to setup and use, handmade in the USA, and that it has all of George Merrill's best turntable designs/upgrades including the fluid damped motor system of the 101.3 and the digital motor drive to change and monitor speed. It seems like everyone that buys that table is happy with it. You don't see many on the used market. I am thinking of pairing that purchase with a Sutherland phono (possibly the Little Loco) and seeing how those two upgrades integrate with my existing Linn electronics and speakers.

My issue with trying to stay Linn and get an LP12 is that new I would probably want at least an Akurate level table and I don't want to spend $10k on a table. I considered used but LP12's are so finicky and I know service and upgrades at my local dealer cost a fortune. To be honest investing significant money in any used table scares me a little. I did find a good deal on a used Uphorik preamp but now that I am considering leaving the Linn ecosystem on the table that purchase does not seem prudent. All the other turntable options seemed to have issues with regards to price, features, performance, ease of use, reliability or support.

I realize that this level of front end will probably make me want to upgrade the Linn electronics and speakers at some point. Maybe not? I think leaving the Linn ecosystem for this first purchase, will give me more flexibility as I move forward. It would be nice to have the freedom to easily swap out or try something new. Right now I can't easily change my front speakers because my power amp has cards installed in it for the speakers. There are tons of great values in electronics and speakers in the used market too. I am actually looking forward to exploring other speaker brands and technologies. I will probably stay solid state with the electronics though because the system is used so often with video.

I would love to get your thoughts on any of the subjects above. I would especially like to hear from the GEM Dandy Polytable Super12 and Little Loco owners. I would also love recommendations on picking out a cartridge for this setup. The Hana ML and Ortofon Credenza Blue were recommended by George. The ML is at a much better price point but I have not really done a ton of research on cartridges. I listen to mostly jazz, vocals and classic rock. I despise surface noise and a harsh or bright high end.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 
Last edited:

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 3, 2014
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I was not sure how much I would use a new turntable so I started out by buying a base Rega P1 plus. I ended up buying a bunch of records and really enjoying it.

From my experience, the better the table/arm/cartridge/phono-stage, the more you'll use it. :--)

Don't forget to factor in cleaning your records.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
10,560
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IMO as good as the Linn was always a problematic design. Sort of like the rear engine Porsche.
.Morden designs don't have these problems. Don't get me wrong,
I love vintage products. Linn is all about the set up. There are several good mods. I don't know if anybody still does them.

I don't envy your having to pick from all the excellent Choices. Some are even reasonably priced.


.
E
 

snatex

Well-Known Member
Jan 8, 2020
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0
66
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Thanks for the responses. I have developed some good habits cleaning my records with a Pro-ject vacuum cleaner and using the Mofi inner and outer sleeves.

Some more questions...

Phone Stages - Would love if anyone has thoughts on the Sutherland Little Loco or its big brother. Also, the Linn Uphorik in and out of a Linn system. Thoughts on exploring a tube phono stage with Linn amps and speakers?

Turntables - Any Polytable opinions out there? Thoughts on 12" arms? When VPI owner built his own table it appears he used a 12" arm. Pros and cons of the tables I listed above? Does each manufacturer have a sound profile?

Speakers - I feel like my speakers are very accurate and dynamic but they lack some soundstage and textures in the bass. Not sure if upgrading table/cart/phono amp will translate to a big improvement with the same equipment. It might? Been seeing many people enjoying speakers lately that have fewer but bigger drivers (Tannoy, Devore, JBL, Klipsch, etc). Thoughts?
 

Addicted to hifi

VIP/Donor
Sep 8, 2020
4,610
2,039
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Australia
Thanks for the responses. I have developed some good habits cleaning my records with a Pro-ject vacuum cleaner and using the Mofi inner and outer sleeves.

Some more questions...

Phone Stages - Would love if anyone has thoughts on the Sutherland Little Loco or its big brother. Also, the Linn Uphorik in and out of a Linn system. Thoughts on exploring a tube phono stage with Linn amps and speakers?

Turntables - Any Polytable opinions out there? Thoughts on 12" arms? When VPI owner built his own table it appears he used a 12" arm. Pros and cons of the tables I listed above? Does each manufacturer have a sound profile?

Speakers - I feel like my speakers are very accurate and dynamic but they lack some soundstage and textures in the bass. Not sure if upgrading table/cart/phono amp will translate to a big improvement with the same equipment. It might? Been seeing many people enjoying speakers lately that have fewer but bigger drivers (Tannoy, Devore, JBL, Klipsch, etc). Thoughts?
Godo ldea to clean lps even if brand new.
 

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