Linn Sondek LP12 Setup Procedure

The object of posting this procedure is not to encourage DIY LP12 setup.  It’s conceivable that these instructions may actually discourage you from attempting to set up your own turntable – possibly no bad thing? – but at the very least, if you’re hell bent on having a go or simply have no choice, this may help you to avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls and worst excesses that I’ve come across over the years.

Neither are these instructions comprehensive. They were originally produced several years ago, certainly pre-Keel/Radikal/Urika – but if you have an LP12 at SE level, I would strongly advise against “having a go” anyway.

There’s also no mention of the current versions of the LP12 baseboards, Trampolin and otherwise with their associated earth straps but to give you a clue, a 5 litre paint tin takes the pain out of fitting and removing these. Go figure!

Also, please bear in mind that no set of instructions can ever convey the “feel” of how tight a component should be e.g. most cartridge bolts are not tightened enough whilst most arm pillar base bolts are overtightened; the sense of when it feels right really only comes with years of experience and hundreds or even thousands of LP12 setups. Ideally, book your LP12 in with us for a re-set but if you can’t be discouraged from having a go yourself or simply need to work on your own LP12 due to lack of an official Linn dealer in your vicinity, please read the instructions carefully and best of luck!

Chris Brooks – March 2014

 

LP12 Setup Procedure

Basic Tools

1. LP12 setup jig
2. Assorted posidrive and flat head screwdrivers
3. Suspension-bolt straightener (T-shaped with spirit level)
4. 8, 5.5 & 2.5mm nut runners
5. Assorted tiny metric Allen keys for arm leads & tubes
6. “Kinky” arm/spindle coercer
7. Accurate spirit level
8. Linn strobe disc & cartridge alignment protractor
9. Linn strobe light
10. VTA (SRA) alignment gauge constructed from horizontal lines
11. LP12 bearing oil and possibly: belt, grommets, domes, springs, armboard, bolts, screws, P-clip…
12. Pledge wax-based furniture polish – double check: no silicone
13. Isopropyl alcohol
14. Dispensable 12″ vinyl record, preferably 180g

 

Notes

Ÿ       invert = turn upside down

Ÿ       revert = turn to correct, normal attitude, hinge furthest from user

Ÿ       right of LP12 = corresponding to right hand of user when facing reverted LP12

Ÿ       read entirety of each note before taking any action

Ÿ       keep fingers clean (oil free)

Ÿ       prevent any components dropping off as nuts or screws are removed

 

Sequence

1. Secure LP12 in jig and level entirety using spirit level on wood plinth at front and right of LP12

2. Remove LP12 base

3. Undo hex nut holding arm lead into arm pillar base and remove arm lead from arm pillar base

4. Secure tonearm tube to the lift/lower device with insulating tape

5. Undo arm pillar’s 4 or 5mm hex nut that holds arm into pillar base and remove the tonearm, carefully placing it so stylus is out of harm’s way

6. Remove drive belt, inner platter and wipe oily spindle with dust-free paper tissue (unprinted kitchen type, not dusty bog paper) – don’t let oil mess up inner platter or drive belt

7. Place bearing housing cap firmly in position

8. Invert LP12

9. With 8mm nut runner, remove nuts from spring bolts and remove washers, grommets and springs and set carefully aside

10. Undo crown nuts holding the wiring strap that holds the top plate to plinth, starting with the earth link i.e. nut that retains the mains earth

11. Using a fine, thin flathead screwdriver, disconnect leads from motor to PCB  on cross-member: 2 grey, 1 red, 1 blue….having first noted their original positions

12. Remove black cross-brace;  there may be 4 crosshead screws holding onto  plinth – if so, remove

13. Lift out sub-chassis with armboard on it, in its entirety

14. Revert LP12

15. Slacken off (usually) black motor adjustment screws (flathead or crosshead)

16. Invert LP12

17. With 5.5mm nut runner, undo stainless nuts holding motor to plate, NB holding motor with left hand from underneath whilst undoing second nut.  -Note and retain dome washers.

18. Examine dome washers and remove any flashing on the flat sides – critical

19. Revert LP12

20. Check Philips posidrive screws holding top plate to plinth are actually tight.  If spinning – remove and replace with longer screws!

21. Check if brazed bolt into triangular plinth corner bracing – this takes a special torque setting known as “finger tight”! –  (40 – 60cNm)

22. Tap top left corner of top plate to check for telltale noise indicating plate is not fully flat – if so (not flat), remove top plate, remove central (cross member) bolts from top plate, bend the plate minimally by gently flexing against a smooth table edge, refit central bolts and then refit top plate

23. Re-seat top plate into top left corner

24. Position all suspension bolts hard right-centre in the top plate holes

25. Ensure bolts are dead straight when viewed from front and 90 degrees right, using the bolt straightener

26. Consider replacing motor domes if aluminium (wear/deform easily)

27. Refit motor, which is fiddly – may have to invert deck: poke black bolts through top plate, slip the first domes over bolts and into motor mounting holes, ensuring motor wires are in correct direction.  Slip over the other inverted domes and nuts.  The holes through which these adjustment screws go are slightly elongated – so rather than attempt to position each screw in the middle of each elongation, rotate the motor so the screws hit the (opposite) end stops of the elongations, i.e. rotate the motor anti-clockwise such that the rear mounting bolt is fully left while the front mounting bolt is fully right. Use “Locktite” and tighten but not crazily.

28. Check 3 grub screws between armboard and chassis – if spin too much, new armboard is indicated, especially if rattling. Option: use Superglue to fill screw indents in board, unless already too mashed.  Check for and remove any metal flashing where screws exit from chassis into arm board.  If there’s a slight countersink in board to allow for or caused by flashing, use Superglue

29. Refit sub-chassis

30. Check large spring grommets and remove any rubber flashing

31. Use Pledge generously to clean grommets and relocate over suspension bolts

32. Line up springs and check for obscene kinks and that they are of equal height, ensure they seat properly onto large grommets

33. Check small grommets for flashing, Pledge them and firmly seat into springs;  refit washers and nuts

34. Revert LP12 and refit armboard if necessary, using arm/spindle Kinky coercer roughly at this stage

35. Roughly adjust suspension height with inner & outer platters, belt and arm all in place (not arm lead)

36. Remove outer platter and using Kinky coercer, push the armboard so its 3 screws hit hard(-ish) against the grub screw holes in the sub-chassis;  tighten screws and remove Kinky coercer

37. Slacken cartridge bolts in arm, to be able to square and align cartridge in headshell (coming below), set cartridge downforce and ZERO antiskate, refit arm

38. Roughly adjust motor height: tighten rear motor adjustment screw till it just touches motor, then another small pinch, then take up slack with front screw till it just touches the motor.  Check for smooth and rough side of drive belt;  put smooth inside, and belt should bounce more smoothly when held vertically;  amazingly, clean belt with Pledge

39. Check motor pulley for any belt crap; if any, remove using Duraglit on the spinning pulley then remove Duraglit with isopropyl alcohol

40. Check for garbage in bearing shaft, replenish oil level by slightly overfilling, surrounding bearing shaft outlet with tissue paper and then refitting inner – if spindle is ventilated type: DO NOT DROP inner plate, but spin instead and allow gentle touchdown onto bearing thrust pad.  Remove inner, tissue paper and clean up the over-spill, refit in same careful manner as before

41. Replace belt and outer platter

42. Set tonearm height and cartridge alignment with cartridge in LP groove.

43. Remove arm and tighten cartridge bolts with 2.5mm nut runner, tightly

44. Refit arm and recheck alignment; recheck VTA, or more correctly, SRA (Stylus Rake Angle).

45. Lock pillar bolt, tight but not crazy;  do not refit arm lead yet

46. Adjust position and alignment of suspension and spring bounce;  a smart armboard-plinth gap is a bonus

47. a) If no strobe disc & light available, correct speed can be approximated by inverting outer platter and positioning drive belt so that it runs on the crown of the motor pulley or b) Utilising strobe disc and strobe light, adjust motor angle to achieve correct speed by raising or lowering the REAR screw (with the front screw out of contact with the motor at this stage) until desired angle is achieved, then simply take up the slack with minimum contact of the front screw. Then go back to 46 and iterate to here until no further adjustment necessary

48. Plug arm lead into arm pillar base

49. Pre-twist the arm lead by twisting it lengthwise through 90 degrees over about 7 inches, to better accommodate the P-clip; pretwist avoids torquing the arm when suspension bounces

50. Clamp the arm in the P-clip and tighten this by leverage through the P-clip holes using a flathead screwdriver – the aim of which is believed to be to clamp the arm lead firmly without losing the pre-twist

51. Tighten the lock-nut holding the arm lead into pillar base

52. Attach the short grounding lead on the armlead to the tag on the earth strap which is attached to the sub-chassis adjacent to the arm pillar base – by soldering it.

53. Refit base firmly, including front centre and rear centre, with washers

54. Re-balance the tonearm, set tracking force & antiskate

55. ITTOK/EKOS: if arm counterweight moves too easily, invert the rubber liner between counterweight and arm (arm may then need tiny wetting if fit seems too tight)

56. Test and audition on level and stable surface

© Chris Brooks Audio Ltd – March 2014

N.B. Chris Brooks Audio does not recommend DIY setup of LP12 Turntables and accepts no responsibility whatsoever if such an attempt should result in damage to the LP12

Back to Linn Sondek LP12