|Linn Sondek LP12 Turntable|
|Home Theater Audio Sources Vinyl/LP|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Sunday, 01 August 2004|
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Spinning records takes a bit more effort than playing compact discs. CDs you can just slap in the player, skip tunes with ease, and change discs in a blink. LPs, on the other hand, need to be handled delicately and cleaned for best performance. And forget skipping songs. This however is not a downside, in that I think CDs have made it too easy to skip songs you don’t favor, never giving them an adequate shot.
LPs will skip if the player is bumped, requiring them to be placed on solid footing, away from kids and drunken friends. There are stands that wall-mount and floor-mount. Either way, extreme care should be taken to protect your software and hardware investments.
LPs are larger than CDs and take more storage space. Additionally, they need to be stored vertically, preferably in a cool area. If you are like me with CDs scattered all over the floor during long detailed listening sessions, this laziness will not work with LPs, as they are easily damaged.
LPs sound their best when brand new and freshly cleaned. Because the stylist travels along a plastic groove, records will wear out and your favorites may someday need to be replaced. This is a vast departure from CDs that can be treated like red-headed stepchildren (cliché not factual) and play for a lifetime. The moral to this story is that records are delicate and therefore you likely won’t want the uncoordinated kid next door pawing your best albums.
Enthusiasts have long debated the question of which is the best-sounding format. All agree that the CD is convenient, durable and a fantastic invention that keeps improving. 98 percent of music enthusiasts look upon record playback in the same light as eight-track and cassettes with no knowledge that digital reproduction, although very good, fell miles short of Sony’s original claim of “the perfect format forever.” Many people who I discuss this with cannot fathom how LPs could be as good or better than CDs. It’s simple. Records are analog and are never converted to digital or any other format. The biggest shortfall in digital music is the D to A (Digital to Analog) conversion. This is very complex and only mastered by the very best. Poor conversion makes CDs sound metallic and synthetic.
It’s a major pain to clean, load and manipulate records compared to CD maintenance, yet the reward for doing so is unmistakable. I had the pleasure of possessing the Linn SONDEK CD12 for close to two years and consider it the best CD player in the world, hands-down despite its hefty price of $20,000. If that’s a little rich for your blood, the Linn LP12 is better-sounding at half the price. You have a collection of LPs that have sat idle for years or infrequently find their way to your older player? Perhaps it’s time to fix this problem. The LP12 is what I consider to be the workhorse of the LP player industry. It has been around for 25 years, a huge testament to its reliability and value. I have heard LP players from several top contenders, some costing many times more, yet found the set-up, operation and sound of the Linn LP12 to be over the top. It’s the first high-end LP player the market saw and would be the last player you would ever have to buy. I will pay the Linn LP12 the ultimate compliment – I’m purchasing it. Why? I can’t imagine my life without it – it’s that good.