If you’re a vinyl enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of the Linn Sondek turntable. It’s a classic piece of audio equipment that has been around since the late 1970s and is still highly regarded today.
But what about the tonearms that come with it? Are they any good?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Linn Sondek tonearms and explore their strengths and weaknesses. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or just starting out, you’ll find plenty of useful information here.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive in!
Are Linn Sondek Tonearms Any Good
Linn Sondek turntables are known for their exceptional sound quality and build quality. But what about the tonearms that come with them? Are they any good?
The answer is a resounding yes. Linn Sondek tonearms are some of the best in the business, offering exceptional performance and versatility.
One of the key strengths of Linn Sondek tonearms is their adjustability. They offer a wide range of adjustments, including VTA, azimuth, and tracking force, which allows you to fine-tune the sound to your liking. This level of adjustability is essential for getting the most out of your vinyl collection.
Another strength of Linn Sondek tonearms is their build quality. They are made from high-quality materials and are designed to last for years. This means that you can enjoy your vinyl collection for years to come without having to worry about your tonearm breaking down.
In terms of sound quality, Linn Sondek tonearms are exceptional. They offer a balanced sound with excellent micro and macro dynamics across the entire frequency range. This means that you can enjoy your music in all its glory, with no frequency standing out of place.
However, like any piece of audio equipment, Linn Sondek tonearms do have their weaknesses. Some users have reported that the upper midrange can be a bit lively or energetic, which may not be suitable for all types of music. Additionally, some users have reported that the bundled cartridge is the weakest link in the chain and may need to be upgraded.
What Is A Tonearm And Why Is It Important?
A tonearm is a critical component of a turntable that holds the cartridge and stylus in place and allows it to track the grooves of a vinyl record. It is essentially a pivoted lever that reacts quickly to the minute movements of the stylus as it tracks the record. The tonearm needs to be both rigid and light, which can be challenging to achieve.
The quality of the tonearm is essential in ensuring that the stylus can track the record accurately and without distortion. A poorly designed or constructed tonearm can introduce unwanted vibrations, resonance, or friction, which can result in poor sound quality.
The tonearm’s adjustability is also crucial in achieving optimal sound quality. Adjustments such as VTA, azimuth, and tracking force allow you to fine-tune the sound to your liking and ensure that the stylus is tracking the record correctly.
The History Of Linn Sondek Tonearms
Linn Sondek tonearms have a rich history dating back to the founding of Linn by Ivor Tiefenbrun in the 1970s. The company’s logo, a simple geometric representation of the ‘single point’ bearing, was the unique selling point of the LP12 turntable, which was first sold under the name Ariston RD11.
Linn Products Ltd. was formed in February 1973 to sell turntables made by Castle Precision Engineering, and the LP12 quickly gained a reputation for its exceptional sound quality and build quality. Over the years, Linn has continued to develop and refine its tonearms, constantly revising every aspect of their design from the bearing housing to the tonearm cable, suspension to power supply.
One of the key factors in the success of Linn Sondek tonearms is their modular and upgradeable design. Owners can send their decades-old LP12 turntables to the Linn factory to be upgraded to current-day specifications, even those purchased over 40 years ago. This level of continuous improvement has helped Linn Sondek tonearms remain relevant and sought after by audiophiles around the world.
In recent years, Linn has continued to innovate with new tonearm designs such as the Ekos SE, which features advanced materials carefully selected for their sound performance and low resonance properties. The arm tube is machined from titanium to reduce resonance, and a stainless steel bearing housing ensures precision of movement.
The Design And Construction Of Linn Sondek Tonearms
The design and construction of Linn Sondek tonearms is a testament to the company’s commitment to quality and innovation. The latest Krane tonearm, for example, features a one-point cross bearing arrangement that creates a precise and rigid tonearm. The CNC turned aluminium and brass construction ensures that the tonearm is both lightweight and sturdy, while the die-cast headshell with 3 slot design makes it compatible with a wide range of cartridges.
But Linn Sondek tonearms aren’t just about high-quality materials and precision engineering. They also offer a unique level of adjustability that allows users to fine-tune the sound to their liking. The Krane tonearm, for example, features adjustable VTA, azimuth, and tracking force, as well as a detachable headshell for easy cartridge swapping.
The result is a tonearm that offers exceptional performance across the entire frequency range. Whether you’re listening to classical music, jazz, or rock, Linn Sondek tonearms deliver a balanced sound with excellent micro and macro dynamics.
Sound Quality And Performance Of Linn Sondek Tonearms
When it comes to sound quality and performance, Linn Sondek tonearms truly shine. They are engineered to provide a high level of precision and accuracy, which translates into exceptional sound quality. The Krane tonearm, for example, is a newly designed tonearm that represents a significant upgrade over previous models. It features a static-balanced design with a one-point cross bearing arrangement, which creates a precise and rigid tonearm.
The CNC turned aluminum and brass construction of Linn Sondek tonearms also contributes to their exceptional sound quality. The materials used are of the highest quality, ensuring that the tonearm is both sturdy and lightweight. This means that the tonearm can track the grooves of your vinyl records with incredible accuracy, resulting in a more detailed and nuanced sound.
In terms of performance, Linn Sondek tonearms are outstanding. They offer excellent tracking ability, which means that they can accurately reproduce even the most complex musical passages. They also have low levels of distortion and noise, which helps to preserve the integrity of your vinyl collection.
Comparing Linn Sondek Tonearms To Other High-end Tonearms
While Linn Sondek tonearms are exceptional, they are not the only high-end tonearms on the market. Other notable options include the AMG 9W2 and 9WT arms, as well as the Kuzma 4P 9.
The AMG 9W2 and 9WT arms are direct replacements for Linn arms and are known for their exceptional build quality and sound. They offer a balanced sound with excellent dynamics and detail, making them a great choice for audiophiles who demand the best.
The Kuzma 4P 9 is another high-end tonearm that is compatible with the Linn Sondek turntable. It offers excellent tracking ability and a balanced sound with exceptional detail and dynamics. It is also highly adjustable, allowing you to fine-tune the sound to your liking.
When comparing Linn Sondek tonearms to other high-end tonearms, it is important to consider your specific needs and preferences. While Linn Sondek tonearms are exceptional, other options may offer a better fit for your particular setup or listening preferences. Ultimately, the best way to determine which tonearm is right for you is to listen to them in person and compare their sound quality and features.
Maintenance And Care Of Linn Sondek Tonearms
To ensure that your Linn Sondek tonearm delivers the best performance, it is important to take good care of it. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your Linn Sondek tonearm.
Firstly, it is important to avoid blowing dust off the stylus. This can blow dirt and moisture inside the mechanism and clog up the coils. Instead, use a dry, ultra-sonic stylus cleaner in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Any liquid supplied with it should only be used to clean the pad after use. This method will clean the complete diamond if used for 3 – 5 minutes.
Secondly, avoid using any wet cleaners as liquids can corrode some cantilevers and drastically reduce the lifespan of the cartridge. Liquids can also travel up the cantilever and affect the cartridge suspension. Particular care should be taken to prevent any liquids from coming into contact with aluminium tube cantilevers.
Lastly, regular servicing is essential to keep your Linn Sondek tonearm in top condition. The recommended servicing package costs £150 (including VAT) and includes a full strip down, new springs, grommets, and bolts. If your deck is over 10 years old, it would likely benefit from a belt change and upgrades to the internal cabling, which can be provided for an additional fee. Additionally, it is recommended to get your records cleaned while your LP12 is having its service for optimum audio quality from vinyl.
In conclusion, with proper maintenance and care, your Linn Sondek tonearm will continue to deliver exceptional performance for years to come.