Justin’s 100 year old Redgum LP12 plinth

Justin’s 100 year old Redgum LP12 plinth

It was a pleasure helping Justin upgrade his LP12 I’m excited to post this review about his experience and look forward to following the development of his LP12 over the coming years.

The below text is a review he kindly wrote for HiFi Guru on the Stereonet Australia website the original post can be found here.

Justin wrote:

“This review is somewhat of a hybrid review, being the component in question started off as somewhat of a mongrel, as many Linn LP12s are- an original afromasia plinth with the classic fluting, made in 1975. When I first purchased it, I took it to Audio Genesis in Sydney, where they performed budget priced upgrades to a late pre-cirkus bearing and subchassis, along with a new armboard and cable for the Basik arm which graced it. For some years I used a high output excel MC cartridge, and then an AT OC-9, and all was well, as I enjoyed purchasing second hand vinyl in the 1990s at cheap prices. After moving down south to Melbourne, it continued to make good music, with a steady diet of music from the 2000s, and the riches of the as yet sleepy used market. After having kids and spending lots of the past 15 years riding bikes, in the past 3-4 years, I decided that it was time to give the old girl a bit of love. I had purchased a few cartridges over the years, which given it was running through an ME-15 pre with an MC board, were all moving coil. AT PT-33 was a well priced favourite, which was superseded by an AT OC-9/mk3, and the Basik gave way to a Jelco 750D, with it’s ability to swap head shells. The first big structural modification that I did to the table was a about 2 years ago, when I bought both a cirkus bearing and kore subchassis. This clearly made a difference to the sound of the deck, and the subchassis was much easier to set up, largely due to the fact the the old subchassis was slightly bent! The turntable retained a lot of the Linn rhythmic sound that keeps you listening, though the bottom end was tighter. I found that at times the detail in the high percussion was good, though it seemed to come and go a little. I also bought a trampolin 2 base, which I thought was an improvement on running it without a base, as I had done. Given I had given myself a little bit of a buzz before with the valhalla and its greater than mains voltage, and my kids were getting tall enough to reach it on the wall shelf, this was more a safety upgrade rather than a sound upgrade, though it definitely improved the looks of the deck. Another amateur structural mod that I did was to fit corner braces to the original plinth, and re-glue the corners, which did seem to tighten up the sound. This brings me to the subject of the current review…

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2019 was a year of reduced spending and hard work, and towards the end of it, as a Christmas present, my partner suggested that I should think about getting one of those plinths that I had talked about after I saw them at the Hifi show.

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I had seen this sign with a few examples in the VAF room, and discussed them with Simon from VAF, who said that he and another bloke, Ben, were starting a business around turntable setup, maintenance and upgrades, and the plinths were part of that. No they weren’t yet for sale, as they were needed to show some shops. I put thoughts of immediate purchases out of my mind, and thought about other things. Now that the opportunity came to purchase one, got into contact with Ben, through the website www.hifiguru.com.au . I checked out a few of the models they had on offer on the still pretty rudiimentary website, and really had my heart set on a red gum plinth with a fantastic wavy grain. Ben got back to me via email, and we messaged about what was available, and agreed that I would get the Red gum, along with a new Linn top plate. The cost of the plinth was about $1500, which is a little more than a stock Linn plinth, but much cheaper than importing a Woodsong plinth or Booplinth, which were crazy prices. It may seem a bit silly paying this much for the wood surround of a record player, but I reasoned that when I play a record, I listen, let my thoughts wander, and spend quite a lot of time looking at the turntable itself, so getting one that is just beautiful was not so silly. It took the better part of a month to go from agreeing to purchase to getting the plinth itself, due to christmas and holidays, and during that time, I took advantage of a sale at Tivoli hifi to pick up a lingo 4 at a good price. It just seemed that if I was going to update the plinth, the motor had to be done too. 

Come the end of January, and it was all coming together. I met Ben to pick up the plinth, and despite his offer to build up the player as part of the purchase, I really wanted to do it myself. The plinth looked even better in the flesh than I remembered, and certainly than in photos. The top plate was well set and the bolts were vertical. It was time to build. I had borrowed a set up jig and some tools, which make the whole shebang much easier. 

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First up was removing the subplatter, bearing and tonearm from the old table, which was no problem at all. Then was the process of fitting the Lingo 4 into the new plinth, along with the aforementioned bits. All went fairly well, with no issues. Soon I had a table which was fully stocked with parts, just needing tuning.

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If any of you have set up the suspension of an LP12, it is not magic, but it does require a bit of futzing around after you have set the platter to level, at about the height of the plinth edge. After the requisite twisting of the spring grommets, and bouncing of the platter, I had achieved a good bounce with no side to side movement. After that I attached and dressed the tonearm cable, which took a little longer, with a bit more twisting and bouncing for good measure. It was ready for the base to be reinstalled (a tight fit) and to be placed on the wall shelf (essential for any turntable in a house with floorboards, in my opinion). 

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The finished product looks fantastic- a definite step up from the old girl who has travelled so far with me. It sounds fantastic, retaining that rhythmic coherence that LP12’s are famous for, but what the Plinth/Lingo 4 add is a little more air in the upper frequencies- cymbals sound a bit more like they should, with less tizz, and a bit more separation of instruments. The biggest change to my ears has been the increased definition of bass guitar, bass drum, and the bottom end in general. It comes across as stronger, but without the kind of amiable boominess that the older versions of the deck have had. I have found that the change has been for the better with all the styles of music that I play, from rock/pop/metal, to jazz and classical. Overall this renovation of my LP12 has been just what I wanted- bringing a bit more audiophile into the musical fun of the original, without losing any of it.

For the moment I am just enjoying it, currently listening regularly, with no thoughts of what comes next.”