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admin's picture
Last seen: 1 week 4 hours ago
Joined: 04/09/2013 - 14:19
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Linn cartridge replacement

About 15 years ago when I was young and single I bought a fairly decent (for the time) hifi setup.

It has been packed away now for some time but I have recently got it out from storage and need to replace the cartridge (bent stylus due to fiddling fingers!).

The system is LP12 Sondek valhalla cirkus, tonearm is one of the very first Origin Live (which I think is a modified Rega 250 arm) and the cartridge is a Linn K18. Amp is Arcam Alpha 8 / 9P, Alpha 8CD, Castle Kendal speakers, all mounted on a Sound Organisation rack. It was all pretty good in it's day but probably a bit old now.

Nowadays with other commitments I can't afford to be spending £250 on a new cartridge. I have no idea what cartridges are out there or what is good or not. I have listened to a friends Rega planer 3 with green Rega cartridge through older Arcam amp/mission speakers and it was all muddled and bass was loose, no detail compared to what my system used to sound like.

Can anyone recommend a cartridge which would be reasonably suited to my system for around £50, or do I really need to spend more? (When I bought the LP12 I seem to remember the turntable was the most important part, the the arm, then the cart came last so here's hoping!)



fatboyslimfast's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 10/01/2008 - 10:24
Posts: 2299
Re: Linn cartridge replacement

Hi, and welcome to the forum!

Whilst you can get reasonable carts for around that price, the first point I'd be stopping at for your setup is the Ortofon 2M Red or Audio Technica AT-120E - around £70. The former has quite a "modern" sound - fast and forward, whereas the latter is more neutral. Both are excellent carts.

Above that, the next step up is the £120-140 range, where you will find the Denon DL-110 high-output MC, AT-440ML and Ortofon 2M Blue. I prefer a warmer sound, so have gone for the Denon, but have had the 2M Blue in the past and it was a really detailed cart. I've also heard lots of good things about the AT.

I'm not a fan of the Rega Bias - even on a Planar 2. It just didn't do it for me and lead me to sell my P2.

Anonymous's picture
Re: Linn cartridge replacement

As a benchmark, what was the Linn K18 cart sound classed as? nuetral / fast? It's so long since I last used the setup I can't remember what it sounded like but I seem to remember it wasn't quite as warm sounding as my Arcam 8 CD player

fatboyslimfast's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 10/01/2008 - 10:24
Posts: 2299
Re: Linn cartridge replacement

From memory it was quite fast - if you want a similar sound, I would probably go for the AT-440ML (£130 from mantra audio) if you can stretch to it, the 2M red if not (£75 from needles and spins)...

shirleyincorfu's picture
Last seen: 3 years 5 months ago
Joined: 29/07/2014 - 19:38
Posts: 1
linn lp12 replacement stylus

Hi all from Corfu

I have a Linn LP12 that I bought back in the late 80's - but still enjoy! I have no idea of the actual spec, as bought second hand at the time from a friend who had an obsession with throwing away any instructions/spec that was supplied!!

I too need to replace the cartridge - again due to bent stylus (unfortunate missuse by friends!!) - and would welcome any suggestions for reasonably priced options. Please bear in mind, living in Corfu restricts Linn service/fitting options. Also - I have no knowledge of spec etc (trawling through various sites just now for information just totally confussed me, as most seem to have reasonable technical knowledge - but not me!!)

Any help would be hugely appreciated

Many thanks




Jim-W's picture
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Joined: 29/07/2013 - 10:05
Posts: 757
I think the op said £50 so I

I think the op said £50 so I'll stick to that. 

Firstly, it's the least important part of the upgrade path of an LP12 which is, as any fule kno, chassis, power supply, arm then cart. 

Secondly, don't put an Ortofon 2M Red in it: it will sound brash and shrill and forward. Ortofon 2M Blue sounds much better but is way above budget. 

Finally, for £50 and under it has to be an AT 95e which I've used on an LP12 and which sounds fine: this cart performs way above its price and, whilst not sophisticated, is lively, detailed and delivers a fair bit of bass, if not taut bass. Sure, you'll eventually want to upgrade, but this will tide you over. You can even get a better stylus for the AT 95e-just google it. 

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