IT’S been around for five decades, attaining well beyond cult status. Along the way, it has been updated a number of times, and such is its design that even the original version can be kitted out with new upgrades. It is, what else, but the acclaimed Sondek LP12 turntable from Linn. In its latest iteration, it’s the new Klimax LP12… or should we call it the hyper-Klimax?
“Announcing Sondek LP12 upgrades is always an exciting time at Linn; but when they improve our very best version, the Klimax LP12, it’s doubly exciting. Between our new Radikal motor, motor control unit, and power supply – and our new reference cartridge, Ekstatik – we’ve achieved an astonishing leap in performance,” says Linn MD Gilad Tiefenbrun.
The new Radikal features hyper-accurate speed management technology, a whisper-quiet power supply and state-of-the-art motor design. Linn claims it generates sustained, uniform rotation closer to 33⅓rpm than any turntable.
According to the press releases, the Radikal is now “accurate to five times tighter tolerance than its predecessor, its persistent auto-calibration making for more consistent and accurate speed management than ever before.
“The improved board design at the heart of new Radikal incorporates whisper-quiet power supply rails, coupled with the use of smaller, more modern components, yielding the all-time lowest noise floor in a Sondek LP12.
“An all-new, six-layer board, designed and manufactured in-house, facilitates shorter signal paths, smaller componentry, and minimal overall noise, via dedicated ground and power planes. These quieter, regulated supply rails not only provide impeccably pure power to the motor, but have the added halo effect of making Linn’s Urika phono stage sound even better.”
The new version of the Radikal has also migrated to a precision reference voltage, served up by a new DAC derived from technology found in Linn’s network streamer range.
“The cutting-edge motor design generates negligible electromagnetic interference, effectively eliminating it as a source of distortion. To make things mechanically quieter than ever, an all-new acoustic housing decouples the motor from the deck more effectively. The motor itself features smaller, lower-noise components, making everything electrically quieter than ever too.”
Then, there’s the new Ekstatik cartridge, keep in line with Linn’s eccentric names for its products.
“Setting a new bar for arm/cartridge synergy, Ekstatik’s unique construction forges an harmonious synergy with the Ekos SE tonearm; wicking away more unwanted resonances along the arm, and out through the suspended sub-chassis.
“In the search for ever better materials, Linn’s experiments led them to the implementation of aluminium-bronze inserts. Now a feature of Ekstatik, these inserts allow listeners to reap the sonic benefits this alloy possesses.
“With a custom honeycomb cut into the cartridge body, Ekstatik is skeletonised so that overall mass is reduced to Linn’s preferred sweet spot of close to 7g. A micro-ridge stylus on a sapphire cantilever makes for an extraordinarily responsive cartridge. The sapphire cantilever is far stiffer than boron or aluminium, resulting in less loss between the stylus and the generator.”
The new Klimax LP12 is available now with the Radikal and Ekstatik fitted as standard; the latter two are also available for order as upgrades to existing Sondek LP12s.
Existing Linn customers can part-exchange their Kandid, Akiva, Krystal, Klyde or Adikt cartridges, or their existing previous-generation Radikal or Lingo power supply, at their local Linn specialist.
The retail (exc VAT) prices for the new components:
Klimax LP12 (complete turntable) – £19,990
New Radikal (machined enclosure) – £5,960
New Radikal (standard enclosure) – £3,895
New Radikal (upgrade) – £1,605
Ekstatik (MC cartridge) – £5,040
I can’t imagine why anyone with any sense would give Linn (or any other manufacturer) £5K for a phono stage that has a pointless ADC-DAC step in it. The only interesting news here is what looks like a welcome return to the old fluted ‘fruit-box’ plinth design, but here’s what I’m waiting for:
Linn’s succession of crappy Pro-Ject and Clearaudio tonearms always seemed out of place on a high-end TT, but now that the latter manufacturer has redesigned the Aro for Naim it is, hopefully (if Linn has any business-sense remaining), only a matter of time before a scaled down version of that tonearm (i.e., minus the needless VTA-adjusment hoo-ha) makes an appearnce on the entry-level Sondek.
Imagine that — an LP12 with fluted plinth and brand-new Aro tonearm — these would fly off the shelf for £3K.
Now if only they would emulate the ‘Hercules’ power supply from Stamford Audio to give 33/45 switching (and keep their Lingo for the more-money-than-sense crowd), they’d be back at Number One.
Think about it, Ivor
If the LP12 is so good, why so many mods!?
I bought a Roksan Xerxes 20 instead.