Like

Linn Axis - a good choice?

 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 991
Registered: Dec-06
I can trade in my MMF-2.2 for an old Linn Axis table for very little additional cost. The Axis looks to be in excellent shape. Reading about this table online suggests it is competitive with a P3 and even more, especially when upgrading the arm and cart to the next higher up options within the line. Plus, it's a Linn! I'd love to own one of their tables.

On the downside, I read that this table has it's power supply board soldered directly to the motor, making it a tough table to repair. The boards are known to go, and considering this particular table is probably 15 to 20 years old, I'm not sure that getting the Axis is really a wise choice. I suppose I would have to speak to a Linn dealer and try to find someone who can check the table to ensure it's working properly. And find out whether there is some assurance that it can be repaired if it gives me trouble down the line. I suspect this is just asking for trouble

If a used Axis isn't the best affordable option, what Linn table is a better option? I guess I'm mostly worried about ensuring it can be serviced adequately so that it can be expected to perform without any major hiccups.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Stamford, Connecticut USA

Post Number: 4364
Registered: May-05
The Linn Axis was a good deck. Not nearly as good as the LP12, but what is?

I'd stay away from used Linn turntables, especially older ones if I didn't have a Linn guy locally. Linn tables are notoriously very touchy. The Axis wasn't nearly as high maintanence as the LP12, but it has its own set of concerns, as most of which you've addressed.

If you have a local Linn dealer or someone who knows them very well, pick their brain a bit and ask them what to look for in a used table. My Linn guy is great about that stuff. If/when the day comes that I'm ready to invest in an LP12, he's the guy I'm going to. He gets enough used ones so that I wouldn't have to wait a long time for the right one. I wouldn't buy one second hand from anyone else, no matter how tempting the offer may be.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14135
Registered: Feb-05
"I'd stay away from used Linn turntables, especially older ones if I didn't have a Linn guy locally."

Wise advice. If a suspended table is what you're after and want to avoid some of the foibles involved in owning a Linn (such as dependence on a Linn dealer), Sota is a very good choice. If you are going to go down the road with Linn then hold out for an LP12.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 993
Registered: Dec-06
I spoke with a local Linn dealer that repairs Linn tables, and they told me that parts availability for the Axis is dwindling. So they advised not to go with it, as if it breaks down it will probably be totally useless. Then I'd have no table, and that isn't going in the right direction. I'll probably hold out for an LP12 somewhere down the line, as you guys suggest. Enough of them come up - as long as getting parts aren't a problem then I'm pretty comfortable. There are two Linn dealers in my area that can help me with setup and repairs.

Thanks for the Sota suggestion, Art. I notice that old H/K tables also utilized a suspended design, and seemed to be well regarded back in the day. Something like the T60 might be another option. But I think I'd rather have a Linn. I've got the two dealers that I can lean on, and even a couple of more a little further away if need be, plus the Linn forums are probably a decent source of information too. Not sure how much support I could find for an H/K table, even if it ultimately has less quirks. Sota too, seems to have one Canadian reseller that you can order from online, but no actual dealers to visit. Still, probably worth looking into a little bit more.

Oh well. The Axis just popped up for what seemed like a great price so I thought I'd make the move. But I'm not looking for problems, or itching to get rid of the 2.2.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15975
Registered: May-04
.

I'd say this is like the guy who wants to know if buying a used '89 Taurus SHO is a good idea. It got good reviews in its day but mostly for what it could have been. It's a bargain, but bargains come along everyday if that's what you're looking for. It remains a "cult" item for the nostalgia it represents but most 2011 cars have far better designs in every way. Driving an original SHO today really only serves to remind most people of what the US car market was in 1989. If you're driving, say, an early 20** Honda Civic Si, then what you'll find is you've traded a very good budget pocket rocket for a used coulda been with a vastly different character. IMO unless you've always had your heart set on a SHO, you'll spend most of your time wondering why the h*ll did Ford make that! decision.




"Different" is never enough of a reason to buy audio IMO. To begin with, I'll go back to my ol' stand by; priorities. Buying something - even something "better" - is not enough IMO if it doesn't suit your priorities. Only you can answer the questions which require an answer here, Dan, but in my experience any Linn deck has a distinct personality that either you accept and build a system around or you move on to another product which fits into a system rather than dominates a system. While the LP12 is the king of dominating a system with its character, I never felt the Axis was far behind in the same set of prioritiers based accounting.

Looking at the table more objectively, the Axis is a 24 year old design. While bearings were always the standout reason to own a Linn, 24 years have made current bearing technology and machining a far more sophisticated affair. Same with electronic speed control, a P3-24 is better at what the motor controller can accomplish than is anything I know of from two decades prior. In this regard prices have come down dramatically compared to what you get for your money. A metal platter with a felt mat? I honestly never could warm to that idea even when it was in vogue. Pick up the platter - making certain you've marked its location on the subplatter to ensure it goes back in the correct location or you've boogered the whole affair - and rap it with your knuckle. Put it back in place and do the same through the felt mat. That's the sound of a Linn in many ways. If you like it, buy it. If it seems somewhat "odd" to you, then pass. My guess is, if you buy the tabe, it will take about a week before you're asking about replacing the mat. A RingMat would be a good choice.

The suspension isn't all that great on the Axis and today there are very few suspended subchassis tables out there. Even fewer that use a rubber suspension. Designers have shifted to the view minimizing random motion makes for a superior music reproducer. The Linn arms at the low end were never my favorites, they were built around the sound of the LP12 and were best on a Linn table. They are arms which prefer to remain undamped into the plinth where almost every other arm on the market is designed to use the plinth for damping. This means you're fairly restriced to using Linn arms on Linn tables but the Axis table doesn't justify the best Linn arms. IMO the original Rega RB300 was the more musical arm all'round despite its minor subtractive flaws. The new RB301 is better yet at what an arm should do. Rega arms never sounded very good on a Linn. Same for Linn cartridges, they do best on a Linn.

If you do buy the Axis, immediately scrap the motor and controlller and buy a DC motor from Origin Live; http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/originlivedc_e.html MW put one on his LP12 and the sound improved by a considerable degree IMO - and his too. You'll have removed the number one source of frustration and disappointement with the Axis (or the LP12). You can choose from the controllers available to further upgrade the sound quality. Of course, by this time you'll have spent enough on the Axis that you could have purchased a new, 2011 design in a table and not had to jerry rig what was an idiosyncratic design from 24 years ago.

I certainly would not buy any Linn table without hearing it in my system. Those flat earthers who believed in Linn all the way will tell you anything in a review. It was considered unpatriotic at one time for any British journalist not to recommend a Linn first and always. So take reviews of the Axis (and the LP12) for what they are. The Axis has a less distinct personality than does the LP12 but it is still a Linn. IMO even a current LP12 is a table that suffers in compariosn to the best of today's tables that are selling for about 1/3 what you will pay for a Linn that is truly competitive. Get your priorites straight and decide which of those priorities it fulfills and which it does not. Then ask to borrow a VPI Scout for a weekend. Do the comparison with identical cartridges if posssible though the Scout with any arm should be able to accommodate a wider variety of choices than can the Linn. Decide whether the Linn is actually better or just nostalgically "different", are you looking forward or backward.




.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 994
Registered: Dec-06
The old vintage tables seem to be in vogue with audiophiles...Linn, Denon, etc. It's easy to get caught up in the hype! I won't buy the Axis though Jan, for the amount of vinyl I listen to it's just not a huge priority for me. If I could move to a table I like more than the 2.2, for little extra cost, that is easy enough to maintain, I'd do it. I was hoping the Axis was such a table, but evidently it isn't.

The 2.2 is very nice sounding, but lacking in excitement to my ears. A P3-24, maybe eventually with the Dyna 10x5 cart as others here have recommended, is probably one of the better options. Whether I'd be willing to spend $1300+ I don't know. Again, I enjoy vinyl but it's not going to overtake CD for me, not even close. So with that in mind, I'd have to determine if I even want to spend the money to upgrade a 2.2. A more affordable upgrade is the MMF-5.1, which in turn may make more sense to upgrade the arm and cart than it would on the 2.2, but still the P3-24 might be the better way for a little bit more money.

I am likely then just going to focus on the rest of my system, which I'm pretty satisfied with at the moment (certainly more than I was a couple of months ago). I have some things to trade in, and thus am considering an amp or CD player upgrade, but frankly I think what I've got punches pretty high, and any change will have to be carefully considered with an in-home trial. Nevertheless, it's worth hearing the differences that a different amp and CD player will bring.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15978
Registered: May-04
.

"The old vintage tables seem to be in vogue with audiophiles ... "



"Vintage" is in all over the place. People are responding to the idea being put in their head that they should want what they can't have. They aren't making any new "vintage" items and the re-isssues are never as desireable as the real thing. Drive up desire for any product that is in limited supply and you drive up prices faster than a Saudi Prince can hike the cost of oil.

I use vintage gear in certain places and I can attest to the idea that a top notch product from fifty years ago, whether it's a McIntosh tube amp or a Les Paul Standard, makes for great music today. But the emphasis on "vintage" alone has grown to the point where people are paying stupid money for stupid products. Everyone has a right to their own opinion but not all opinions are equal. If the Denon table is desireable for what it is visually, then, if you accept it for that reason alone, OK, go buy it. If the Denon - or a 1955 Kay guitar - is being purchased for sound quality reasons, then caveat emptor. Buying it because you're being told you can have something "exclusive" and that you will be "in vogue" is not a good enough reason on its own to own anything IMO but, then, I've never had the cash to own a pair of '68 XKE's just to look at. Would I buy a "vintage" Dodge Dart? Not on a bet.







.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 995
Registered: Dec-06
There's a thread on CAM where someone, with limited electronics know how, purchased an old Sansui amp that has since developed problems (I believe first it was a noise from part of the amp, and now a leaking capacitor). Not necessarily something that cannot be overcome, but there is definitely a lesson there for those of us with limited experience in fixing these things, and is what I had in mind when I decided to look into what's involved with a Linn Axis rather than just jumping at the chance to own a Linn table for a couple hundred bucks. The Axis looks nicer than my 2.2 for sure, and may sound better, but if it quickly becomes a doorstop then I'd rather have the 2.2. Or, if it looks better but doesn't sound as good, I'd again rather have the 2.2.

I guess if one is prepared to spend the money on a used Linn table, including what is needed to fix it up (because 99% of them are not in perfect shape), you may as well just get a new P3-24, or equivalent Pro-Ject, Music Hall, Clearaudio, Sota, etc. table. That is, unless you are really intent on owning the Linn. But most people could probably be just as happy with a new table.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15979
Registered: May-04
.

What I'm seeing now is, to me, very strange. Back in the late '70's and through the '80's "vintage" was consuming the Japanese market. Their economy was rolling along and the high rollers were eating up any and all vintage audio equipment they could get their hands on. I remember seeing the ads in the magazines of racks and racks and racks of vintage Mac and Marantz products shrink wrapped and stacked in a street market for sale like herrings. A lot of the amps got sold just as ornamentation for their physical appearance alone, they loved to take the covers off and look at the internal construction. I had several pieces that I needed to part with at the time (grad school) and I hated to do it because I knew exactly where they were going to wind up and how much mark up the exporter was going to make. The true Japanese high end audiophile was using two watt direct heated, single ended triode amps and horn loaded speakers long before they made even the tiniest of marks in the US market. Then their economy crashed. We seem to be getting the "vintage" bug after the dollar has fallen. But those with the cash would appear to be those with big cash. I go to the guitar shows and read the mags and see $100k Gibsons and Fenders for sale - one again oftentimes just to look at and say you own. And, from what I gather, credit still works. I think it's a very strange market right now. One guitar magazine recently had a letter from a 14 year old who had been playing for less than a year (the kid could have barely been doing scales at this point) and he wanted to know what to buy as he was convinced he needed a "more vintage tone".

.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kbear

Canada

Post Number: 996
Registered: Dec-06
The only vintage piece I bought (and I know it's not held up there with something like a Marantz receiver, say) was a Yamaha CDV-1000 laserdisc player, just a few years back. Cost me maybe $60 on ebay. I guess I'm lucky that it arrived in great cosmetic condition and functions properly. But if you want a laserdisc player you pretty much have to buy something like that. I wasn't buying it for it's cachet, though I opted for the Yamaha assuming it might be slightly higher quality than something like a Sony or JVC.

My family owns an old Sansui receiver, which was bought new probably 30 years ago now. I don't think I'd dare hook it up to my speakers, even though I'd be curious how it sounds. It still seems to work as it should. I get why people are drawn to these things, but you are right, I don't think sound quality is the main draw. After wards they do seem to rationalize the purchase that way though.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 15980
Registered: May-04
.

IMO Marantz receivers aren't very good. They certainly weren't considered to be very good when I was selling them new. But they were sold everywhere for big discounts so everyone thought they were getting a "deal". I took one Marantz receiver in trade that had been purchased at a tire and lawn care center. Marantz was big into long term floor planned demo equipment back then, the dealer never paid for any demo gear until they sold it and then they got another for free until they sold that one. Neither were the Pioneers that peole want to buy nowdays considered to be much more than declining in quality junk with each new model series. They were the beginnings of mass market crap. I picked up a Marantz receiver awhile back for $10 at a garage sale just to see if I was wrong about them. Nope, junk.

The Sansui's were better than the Marantz, Sony, Pioneer, Technics, etc. but still were button and knob machines competing on a watts per dollar basis. If I couldn't move someone to a HK, I tried for the Kenwood. The first generation of Yamaha was quite good, even their base line receiver at 20 watts. I've given several of those to friends. From there, things went downhill.

My memories of a few high end pieces from the '70-80's are that they were a revelation in what hifi could do. A CJ PV5 had a midrange that I still remember, even better than the Marantz 7 IMO. For the most part though, looking back, there were some very dark days in audio in those years.

I still have my Yamaha classical guitar from the late '60's and their first year into the States. It has rough edegs on the frets and some obvious marks of being a more "handmade" instrument. Compared to the FS700 I bought a few years back it's an interesting comparison. The newer guitar has nicely finished frets and some improvements overall in design. But I can also see all the places where Yamaha is now cutting corners on their products. The 700 has a few splices in the neck and headstock that aren't there on the original. The finish on the '60's model is a cellulose and the new model has polyurethane. Much tighter grain on the old guitar and no one even had thought of using a plywood back on a real instrument in the '60's.


It's a trade and, if you'd never seen the old guitar, you'd be quite pleased with the new. And the new sounded good enough for me to buy as a knock around when I'm not willing to take the Martin along. But even Martin has traded budget units for sales numbers.






.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Add Your Message Here

Bold text Italics Create a hyperlink Insert a clipart image Add a YouTube Video
Need to Register?
Forgot Password?
Enable HTML code in message
   

Facebook

Shop Related Deals

Directory

Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us