The weekend I (almost) fell off the (HiFi) wagon

Previously, I have likened my Hifi hobby to an addiction. Apologies to anyone who feels that I am trivialising the problems caused by addiction – I am not, I am very aware. Whilst I may regard myself as exhibiting some similar behaviours, I also regard myself as very lucky that they do not have a seriously destructive impact on my life.

I have written previously of my periodic compulsions to acquire HiFi components without any real need for them. However, since starting this blog and acquiring my current audio systems, I have not really felt any such compulsions. However recent experiments with turntables have re-awakened my interest in turntables. When I was first starting out in HiFi, there were only really vinyl records. There were radio tuners but you had to listen to what they wanted to play and the choice was limited. Reel-to-reel tape was expensive and really only a professional or at least semi-professional format. Cassette tapes were cheap and cheerful, but not really HiFi, with the possible exception of Nakamichi machines

And if vinyl was the only format was vinyl, the only real turntable to own was the Linn LP12. The Linn Sondek LP12 turntable was launched in 1972 by Linn Products, a Glasgow company owned by the controversial figure of Ivor Tiefenbrun. The turntable has been in continuous production ever since. It uses a suspended sub-chassis design and a patented tightly toleranced single-point bearing. The LP12 has evolved since its introduction, but its basic suspended sub-chassis design has remained. The design was seen as identical to the Ariston RD11 and similar to the Thorens TD150, both in turn based on the Acoustic Research XA turntable that had been launched over a decade before in 1961.

There were claims of plagiarism and even legal action over patent infringement, but the LP12 acquired a cult following and has continued to sell well through a process of continuous evolution and improvement. It has benefitted from the vinyl revival and now sells new in three preconfigured variants at the price points of £3700, just over £11000 or the ultimate LP12 at over £25000., although other variants are available.

Its longevity, healthy sales and upgrade potential have created a very healthy market in second-hand LP12s. I was flicking through EBay when I came across temptation – an early model (serial number below 2000) listed by 2ndHandHifi for auction with a top bid of £560 when I found it. It had been significantly tidied up with a newer arm and brand new cartridge lid and plinth, which together were worth more than this bid price.

The thing is I have always wanted an LP12, and have always thought I could not afford one. And potentially I could afford this one. And it looked beautiful. And I had dealt with 2ndHandHiFi in the past and there were a good source. The question was, how much did I want it, and how much would I be prepared to bid for it? I looked around on EBay for comparative LP12s. I found one at £900 Buy it Now. Not as handsome, or as updated and no cartridge but 10 years newer with a newer power supply amongst other things. I decided that I could not justify paying more than this for the older model even though it had several things in its favour.

The auction is due to close in about 2 hours, but by this morning, the top bid had risen to £960 and is unlikely to stay below four figures. Worse, looking at the bidding history, there’s something of a two-way bidding war going on, but all the more experienced EBayers have stopped bidding, suggesting it’s in danger of being overbid. Sanity prevailed, I resisted temptation and decided against getting involved.

Which just left the late 1980s model at £900 BuyItNow…..

Leave a comment