Linn Majik LP12 turntable system

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Linn Majik LP12

You can hear some of what our American counterparts point to as ‘The British Sound’ in terms of frequency extension. The Majik LP12 bass has a gentle bloom and a slight roll-off next to more traditional ‘high-end’ sounding decks, but that actually gives the Linn a delightful ‘bounce’ to the sound. Similarly, the treble lacks that high-end ‘shimmer’, but this gives a feel of ‘space around the notes’ to the LP12 presentation in a musical rather than dimensional feel.

Perhaps the best way of describing this fundamental difference between what the Majik LP12 does and more ‘po‑faced’ turntables is if you imagine going to that ultimate gig you wished you’d seen: Hendrix at Monterey, for example. The LP12 is like going to that gig with a similarly Hendrix-loving friend, while some of the more detail oriented turntables are like going with an ‘on message’ guitar tech. The former will be gushing with enthusiasm; the latter will be discussing how difficult it is to maintain intonation with the Fender Stratocaster’s whammy bar (which he will undoubtedly call a vibrato arm). The LP12’s warm-toned enthusiasm wins over on so many records, it’s hard not to smile when playing LPs.

The Majik LP12 is also a great leveller of LPs. Those carefully massaged 180g virgin vinyl albums sound good, but so do the bin-end charity store discount specials. The difference between worst and best album in your collection is made less immediately noticeable. That being said, good vinyl still sounds very good on the Majik LP12, but lacks that absolute ‘warts ‘n’ all’ function of über-turntables to extract all there is to extract from the vinyl. At least, at the Majik level: what the LP12 extracts at this point is the musical marrow, but there is more to extract. In part, this is what the Upgrade Path is about.

No discussion of the LP12 is complete without discussing the Upgrade Path; a hierarchical move through good, better, and best turntable parts taking the Majik LP12 (or, notionally, any LP12 from the last 42 years) and building it up to the Akurate LP12, the full-bore Klimax LP12, or some intermediary step. This runs through two upgraded sub-chassis (the Kore, then the Keel), two upgraded and external power supplies (the Lingo, then the move to a DC motor with the Radikal), two upgrades to the arm (Linn’s Akito and Ekos SE), and two moving coil cartridges (the Klyde and the Kandid). The Klimax also brings the Urika phono stage into the turntable itself, and there is an optional Trampolin baseboard for greater isolation.

Starting with the Majik, and upgrading a piece at a time, Linn recommends the Kore, followed by the Lingo, the Akito, and the Klyde, to bring the turntable to Akurate level. Linn then follows the same round of upgrades a second time in the same order (Kore to Keel, Lingo to Radikal, Akito to Ekos SE, Klyde to Kandid, and ending in the Urika), bringing the deck to, er, Klimax. The company is less comfy with out-of-sequence upgrades, such as upgrading the Lingo before the Kore, or upgrading an otherwise all-Majik turntable with a Keel sub-chassis. Not everyone goes along with this strict pecking order, however.

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