Linn Ekos SE tonearm, Keel LP12 subchassis, & Trampolin turntable base Letters in Response
Editor: I always enjoy Art Dudley's work regarding evaluation of various Linn LP12 turntable bits. I'm aware from past reviews that Art prefers the pre-Cirkus bearing, and was wondering what bearing was used during his evaluation of the Keel subchassis in October (p.169)? Were both bearings tried on the Keel during his evaluation process?—John Gilleran
Yes please, Art
Editor: I was totally disappointed to find that Art Dudley's review in October did not even attempt to make a comparison (even from memory) between Linn's Keel update and the Funk Firm's Stage 1 update to the Linn, which he reviewed last January. Given that the latter costs 50% less and does not have to be used with a Linn tonearm, I feel this omission constitutes a disservice to a good proportion of your readership, and certainly of Linn turntable owners such as myself. I hope this omission can be corrected, as Art's review was otherwise excellent.—Pierre-A. Cartier
Boucherville, QC, Canada
At 4000-plus words, I was afraid that my review of Linn's new Keel, Trampolin, and Ekos SE tonearm might have been too much on the subject; I'm pleased to be wrong.
As they relate to my own purchase decisions, comparisons between the Linn and Funk Factory mods are complicated by my choice of tonearm—an investment I made years ago, and not something I would lightly change. But the Naim Aro arm, while being perfectly compatible with all of the Funk mods, is incompatible with the Linn Keel subchassis ($3250). Consequently, my value recommendations are more abstract than usual: If I were already a Linn Ekos tonearm user, I believe that I would prefer adding only the Keel to my record-playing system to adding even the full Funk Factory kit (Funk Link plus Vector Link, $3159). If I had an LP12 with a non-Linn arm, if I had not already made a significant investment in some other modification or upgrade path, and if I were ready to spend some money on improving my record player, I believe I would opt for just the stage-one Funk Link kit ($1599). Others may very reasonably prefer the more open and detailed sound of the LP12 with the full brace of Funk mods, but I admire the first-stage mods for preserving more of the full, warm, chunky sound that I associate with the LP12 at its most endearing.
Beyond that, the different approaches will simply appeal to different hobbyists. The Keel seems to offer less technology—fewer ideas, if you will—than the Funk Kits; then again, the Keel is inarguably the product of a much more sophisticated manufacturing process. So it goes. In any event, I haven't purchased or retained any mods for my LP12 in recent years, being both content with the sound as it is and more interested in domestic audio investments of other sorts.
I own both Cirkus and pre-Cirkus bearing-subplatter-subchassis kits, and I continue to prefer the sound of the latter, all other things being equal (which, as we can see from all of this, they never are). But the very detailed notes I made during my recent Linn-modification experiences are not so detailed that they indicate which was in use at the time. I mean no offense in saying that, as with so many such things—readers may be disappointed that I did not, for instance, report on the difference between a Keel-equipped LP12 with a stock AC motor and one with Funk's DC-drive kit, or any of several dozen other possible combinations—that may be a matter of some importance to the most devoted enthusiasts, but not to me.—Art Dudley