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Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
2012-02-12, 19:18
Post: #1
Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
This is my first venture onto the Linn forum. I’ve owned an LP12 turntable since 1978 (not the same one during all those years, though) and recently decided to upgrade the sub-chassis and arm.

The existing sub-chassis was the standard Linn one, less than two years old, whereas the arm was a 1983-vintage Ittok (still in excellent condition after all those years), supporting a Linn Karma cartridge (original, not rebuilt, and still in good condition). The deck had been set-up by one of the most skilled operators in the business (Peter Swain of Cymbiosis) and yes, it sounded better than it ever had previously. And yet that fulsome upper-bass ‘bloom’, so characteristic of the (non-SE) LP12, was still evident, together with the rather lively presentation of the Ittok/Karma combination. So, what is the most cost-effective way to make a real improvement? Well, the sub-chassis seemed to be a good starting point. Whereas Linn’s Keel is undoubtedly a fine piece of kit, the high cost has understandably resulted in numerous third-party alternatives appearing, all of which claim to offer much of the performance of the Keel but at a fraction of the cost. Having considered the various options, the Sole, by Analogue Innovations, seemed to offer by far the best combination of innovative design, engineering quality and value for money. The latest (Mk VI) version has a superb fit and (black anodised) finish, and now comes with the option of a matching armboard - which has the same multilayered construction as the sub-chassis.

At the same time, the arm was changed to a PU7, designed and made by Audio Origami. One of the many remarkable things about this arm is that the designer and manufacturer offers a bespoke service in terms of the length, effective mass and type of finish to the PU7. Not only that, he makes each arm himself and is an exceptionally helpful and enthusiastic individual to consult. And the result of his labours? Well, I have seen it written that the PU7 is probably the single most important hi-fi product to be produced in Scotland since the LP12 itself. It’s possible to see some superficial similarity to the Syrinx arms of many years ago, which isn’t too surprising as the PU7 is a radically improved descendent of those rather idiosyncratic devices. (I write as someone who owned a Syrinx PU2, thirty years ago).

OK, with the Sole Mk VI subchassis and PU7 arm expertly fitted by another of the leading names in the LP12 business – Derek Jenkins – the question is: how does the LP12/Sole Mk VI/PU7 combination sound? Well, the short answer is: exceptionally good. I just didn't know how much information (and emotion) I'd previously been missing. I have to admit that first listening impressions left me feeling a bit uneasy. I was so used to the rather lively and forward presentation of the Ittok/Karma combination, together with the upper-bass 'bloom' of the Linn Cirkus sub-chassis. All that was now gone. The bass is now notably clean and remarkably deep. Playing the wonderful Syrinx recordings from the 1980s (I treasure these, engineered by Syrinx founder Scott Strachan himself), I've never heard that music sound so realistic. With all other albums tried, the verdict was the same – a much more natural and detailed sound than I've been used to, with no obvious colourations.

The combination of Sole Mk VI and PU7 is clearly symbiotic, and with the Analogue Innovations armboard in place (though a standard Linn armboard can be used, if so wished), the performance is remarkable. I didn't know that my venerable old Karma cartridge could sound so good. The tracking seems improved; surface noise is now almost non-existent; there is more detailed information retrieval. And, that upper bass bloom has been banished. Indeed, the depth and clarity of the lower registers has to be heard to be believed.

One plea to Linn: if you put the smart LP12 logo onto the Analogue Innovations armboard and used that board instead of the standard armboard on every non-SE LP12, the performance of the turntable would be significantly enhanced for relatively little cost. No doubt it won’t happen, but really it should.

Finally, let me offer a grateful note of thanks to John Ruggles and John Nilsen, the respective designers/manufacturers of the Sole and PU7, for their advice, enthusiasm, and remarkable talents. Not forgetting the skill and painstaking patience of Derek Jenkins in setting everything up so beautifully. A modern, high-performance cartridge will no doubt improve things even more (a Lyra Kleos is already on order), but would be completely wasted without the Sole/PU7 already being in place.

A photo of the unit is as shown. The plinth is a macassar ebony one, made by Chris Harban of Woodsong Audio in the USA. And the cork composite mat? Well that’s a Plattamat, from Analogue Innovations. And just in case I be accused of sycophancy, let me say that I’m not fully convinced that this mat offers an improvement over the current (thin) version of Linn’s felt mat. To my ears, the jury is still out and I occasionally switch back to using the felt mat. But, at less than twenty quid for a Plattamat, including postage (and a ‘money-back-if-you-don’t-like-it’ guarantee), you can’t ask for fairer than that.


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2012-02-12, 19:25
Post: #2
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
Hi welcome to the Sole/Pu7 club. Agree with all the above including your view of the platter mat.

regards

LP12/CIRKUS/Sole Mk V1/LINGO/AO PU7 / Ortofon Cadenza Bronze /Trichord DIABLO+NCPS,ICON AUDIO STEREO 40 MK.111/ Acoustic Energy Radiance 2
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2012-02-12, 22:30 (This post was last modified: 2012-02-15 20:13 by Analogue innovation.)
Post: #3
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
Gorgeous looking LP12 you have there Martin and I know that it sounds as good as it looks, as apart from the Chris Harban plinth it replicates one of my Sondek's very closely.

Good to read it's doing the business for you too! Nice account of your upgrade path.

I'm sure the Plattamat will grow on you.

Regards.

John R.
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2012-02-13, 18:44
Post: #4
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
Great looking Sondek Martin. I have a Woodsong plinth also, they are very beautiful indeed! As for the new Linn felt mat, I replaced my original mat with the newer thin version...and there was an improvement (much to my surprise). Happy listening!
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2012-02-14, 16:47 (This post was last modified: 2012-02-14 16:48 by Rajacatur.)
Post: #5
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
(2012-02-12 19:18)MartinM Wrote:  This is my first venture onto the Linn forum. I’ve owned an LP12 turntable since 1978 (not the same one during all those years, though) and recently decided to upgrade the sub-chassis and arm.

The existing sub-chassis was the standard Linn one, less than two years old, whereas the arm was a 1983-vintage Ittok (still in excellent condition after all those years), supporting a Linn Karma cartridge (original, not rebuilt, and still in good condition). The deck had been set-up by one of the most skilled operators in the business (Peter Swain of Cymbiosis) and yes, it sounded better than it ever had previously. And yet that fulsome upper-bass ‘bloom’, so characteristic of the (non-SE) LP12, was still evident, together with the rather lively presentation of the Ittok/Karma combination. So, what is the most cost-effective way to make a real improvement? Well, the sub-chassis seemed to be a good starting point. Whereas Linn’s Keel is undoubtedly a fine piece of kit, the high cost has understandably resulted in numerous third-party alternatives appearing, all of which claim to offer much of the performance of the Keel but at a fraction of the cost. Having considered the various options, the Sole, by Analogue Innovations, seemed to offer by far the best combination of innovative design, engineering quality and value for money. The latest (Mk VI) version has a superb fit and (black anodised) finish, and now comes with the option of a matching armboard - which has the same multilayered construction as the sub-chassis.

At the same time, the arm was changed to a PU7, designed and made by Audio Origami. One of the many remarkable things about this arm is that the designer and manufacturer offers a bespoke service in terms of the length, effective mass and type of finish to the PU7. Not only that, he makes each arm himself and is an exceptionally helpful and enthusiastic individual to consult. And the result of his labours? Well, I have seen it written that the PU7 is probably the single most important hi-fi product to be produced in Scotland since the LP12 itself. It’s possible to see some superficial similarity to the Syrinx arms of many years ago, which isn’t too surprising as the PU7 is a radically improved descendent of those rather idiosyncratic devices. (I write as someone who owned a Syrinx PU2, thirty years ago).

OK, with the Sole Mk VI subchassis and PU7 arm expertly fitted by another of the leading names in the LP12 business – Derek Jenkins – the question is: how does the LP12/Sole Mk VI/PU7 combination sound? Well, the short answer is: exceptionally good. I just didn't know how much information (and emotion) I'd previously been missing. I have to admit that first listening impressions left me feeling a bit uneasy. I was so used to the rather lively and forward presentation of the Ittok/Karma combination, together with the upper-bass 'bloom' of the Linn Cirkus sub-chassis. All that was now gone. The bass is now notably clean and remarkably deep. Playing the wonderful Syrinx recordings from the 1980s (I treasure these, engineered by Syrinx founder Scott Strachan himself), I've never heard that music sound so realistic. With all other albums tried, the verdict was the same – a much more natural and detailed sound than I've been used to, with no obvious colourations.

The combination of Sole Mk VI and PU7 is clearly symbiotic, and with the Analogue Innovations armboard in place (though a standard Linn armboard can be used, if so wished), the performance is remarkable. I didn't know that my venerable old Karma cartridge could sound so good. The tracking seems improved; surface noise is now almost non-existent; there is more detailed information retrieval. And, that upper bass bloom has been banished. Indeed, the depth and clarity of the lower registers has to be heard to be believed.

One plea to Linn: if you put the smart LP12 logo onto the Analogue Innovations armboard and used that board instead of the standard armboard on every non-SE LP12, the performance of the turntable would be significantly enhanced for relatively little cost. No doubt it won’t happen, but really it should.

Finally, let me offer a grateful note of thanks to John Ruggles and John Nilsen, the respective designers/manufacturers of the Sole and PU7, for their advice, enthusiasm, and remarkable talents. Not forgetting the skill and painstaking patience of Derek Jenkins in setting everything up so beautifully. A modern, high-performance cartridge will no doubt improve things even more (a Lyra Kleos is already on order), but would be completely wasted without the Sole/PU7 already being in place.

A photo of the unit is as shown. The plinth is a macassar ebony one, made by Chris Harban of Woodsong Audio in the USA. And the cork composite mat? Well that’s a Plattamat, from Analogue Innovations. And just in case I be accused of sycophancy, let me say that I’m not fully convinced that this mat offers an improvement over the current (thin) version of Linn’s felt mat. To my ears, the jury is still out and I occasionally switch back to using the felt mat. But, at less than twenty quid for a Plattamat, including postage (and a ‘money-back-if-you-don’t-like-it’ guarantee), you can’t ask for fairer than that.


The picture bears a striking resemblance to the one on the Analogue Innovations site.
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2012-02-14, 17:57
Post: #6
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
That's because it is indeed the very same one! I supplied the photo (unprompted) to Analogue Innovations, after having had the Sole fitted by a third party (Derek Jenkins). And if they want to use the photo on their website, that is absolutely fine by me. I was asked for my permission and gave my consent. You will see that the photo on the Analogue Innovations site is acknowledged to me, anyway. So, there is really nothing improper going on... Smile
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2012-02-18, 19:44
Post: #7
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
thanks for the mention guys

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2016-02-27, 02:28
Post: #8
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
Just seen this for the first time and what an accurate synopsis of the outcome of putting Sole and PU7 together into the LP12. Really could not have put it better myself and with Radikal added it justs gets better.

Great post worth resurecting for those interested. Big Grin
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2016-02-27, 09:53
Post: #9
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
Worth resurrecting?

Maybe, maybe not; but doesn't this belong in "Third Party Mods"?
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2016-02-27, 13:21
Post: #10
RE: Sole sub-chassis and PU7 arm combination
Don't be so grumpy Jdec and have a nice day Sir! Big Grin
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