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Thread: Sole V11

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    Default Sole V11

    Like to give my thoughts on my journey through LP12 upgrades and some downgrades over the past 3 years or so. I've finally settled on the right LP12 for me, i'll try to explain my findings.

    I listen to a lot of rock music 60s to 90's ; grunge, heavy metal, through to more modern Indy. Faves are Nirvana, Hendrix and REM but i do have some pretty obscure late 80' early 90's heavy rock from getting paid in vinyl when I did Saturdays in a local record shop.

    I like to put my ear to Classical (love anything with a cello) , also have quite a few 50'60's jazz records i love and my old Dad listens to his country albums from decades ago �� . Will listen to most anything.

    I started off here ; having a job uploading pics but a MK1 Xerxes, which I still have, with a moth Rega 251 which j7 spruced up and had chromed, Ortofon Red. Lovely against the piano black tt finish. Love it, still do. It's a great sound, good insight, with huge bass but a bit relentless as if when you don't want to party the Xerxes still does.

    Curious I bought an LP12 ; Cirkus bearing, LVX tonearm, ATf5 cartridge, Norton PS. Got it home and thought NO immediately knowing I could sell it on I thought that's what I'll do. Fat bass, little insight and coloured which made everything sound different from the Xerxes. I did like how it was laid back and thought it may need serviced and maybe a better tonearm. I bought a Nima which j7 kindly fitted when he serviced/set up the tt. Got it home and the fat bass I couldn't live with which seemed to cloud the midrange was still present.

    I was now realising how in the 80's the Xerxes had made such an impact.

    J7 mentioned JohnR's Sole and I bought a Sole v11 at that time, j7 again fitted the sub chassis still with the Nima hence only change was the Sole.
    Really never heard such a transformation from the old Linn early 80's sub to the Sole. The bass was now behaving and going lower without gate crashing the lower mids. The presentation on the whole was less cloudy/coloured and more like real music. More info was coming through than with the Xerxes and with a more honest/realistic pace, infact just spot on natural. The sound now had a charmingly light fleet of foot character. Compared to before the tt felt like it had gone from mucky off roading to a very good detailing valeter. For 600 this was money well spent, even more so now I realise. Swapped the Norton for Mose Herc, thunderous bass but less speed stability than the Norton, i could clearly hear this. I later fitted a Rsdkkal, excellent but again lacked pass v Mose Herc.

    I swapped the Nima for J7's PU7 - wow, happy man the pu7 shines a light on every aspect of replay from top to bottom, more transparency, even lower solid lows which were tuneful, real attack but still subtle. Like a surgeons scalpel. Did equally for the Sole as the Sole did for the PU7 obviously, great synergy.

    Im even more able to make these reflections now having gone 'further' up the ladder as some would have you believe. Certainly more expense putting together an SE lp12 but curiosity always gets the best of me and this is the direction I took.
    I should say right now LP12/Sole/PU7/BenzEbony is where I should have stopped with hindsight or a better approach to auditioning.

    To cut what is getting a long story a bit shorter, in a very round about way of buying selling i ended up with another LP12 ;

    SE spec , Keel, Radikal, Ekos SE/PU7 I have with a choice of the Benz or an XV1's.

    Hence i'm doing a straight shoot out between Sole v11 and Linn Keel with the PU7.

    The Keel goes ever so slightly deeper than Sole, i'd put this down to the one piece aluminium construction which obviously fixes the sub and armboard.

    BUT where has the transparency gone with the Keel deck in the midrange and treble particularly noticeable, as if the mist descended top to bottom. I'm pulling out my better 'hifi' recordings the ones I know to have little quiet pieces of info, well layered recordings and ones with wide and tall soundstages. The Keel is noticeably laboured compared to the fleet of foot insightful Sole with both pu7 and ekos se on top, i thought the Radikal/TT was running slower. I took the tt into Loud n Clear and J7 set it up again taking the Keel/Radikal into a brand new lp12. (another 1600) Got home, ran the new bearing in overnight and still the same findings. Keel felt laboured, less transparent and the PRAT qualities were well off the Sole. Keel still went ever so slightly lower. Sole was still giving out more transparency with a deeper sounstage, better air and more layering front to back.
    The Who .. we won't be fooled again, very appropriate, the drum solo snapped, each strike starting and stopping at lightening pace on the Sole. On the Keel less attack, softer edges. On the Sole tt the drums were startling, on the Keel tt less so.

    Interestingly Tranquility from TigerPaw has come aline, an ingenious device which reducing bearing noise. The Linnies on their forum are going wild for this stating the noise floor is reduced and so much more info is coming through. Linn thought previously that the connection between sub chassis and armboard had to be loose ie not fixed as with the Keel one piece in order to cut vibrasion passed from the bearing.

    Well don't you know, exactly as I found, the one piece construction of Keel is its biggest flaw and needs a 500 TigerPaw part to cut bearing feedback. Those Linnies must be feeling mighty silly. Will they eat humble pie? Not likely, not the types.

    SO WOULD I BUY A SOLE OR WOULD I BUY A 3500 KEEL WITH THE REQUIRED TRANQUILITY? I'll keep the Sole, probably have a Mose Herc put in and keep the pu7, Benz. Sell the Radikal/Keel TT, Ekos SE and Urika already gone. And sell the spare Radikal when the basdy Mose Herc goes in.

    Don't get me wrong I don't dislike Linn parts for the sake of them being Linn but I do listen to non Linn parts and i'm glad i've done so. Radikal power supply is brilliant, if only it went lower for me, it maybe fine for others. The Ekos SE is very good but not better than the PU7 at half the price too. PU7 does everything the Ekos SE does, in fact kost Linn dealers fear dtocking it as it'll cut their high margins ehen not selling as many Ekos SE's. Swapping arms, cartridges is my limit with a Feickert tool and Fozgometer.

    Thanks to those who have given advice and carried out the fettling, mostly j7 who's a gent. Also ins and out included Kore sub chassis, Naim Aro, Linn Troika, Linn Urika and a few others come and go.

    Conclusion for me more cash doesn't always equal more enjoyable. Lesson experienced probably not learnt. I've finally found the perfect matvh for my Yammies, a serviced pair of MA 50's with a Yaqin re valved pre amp. Been up this ladder too but that's another story hehe.
    Last edited by WillRae; 8th February 2017 at 19:33.

  2. #2
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    Great review WillRae, pity most on the Linn Forum (including the well known dealers) would still argue you are getting better value with the 3000? Keel against the 700 sole.

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    Glad you like what Sole VII does for the old fruit box Willie!

    One day many more Linn devotees will remove their Linn blinkers and finally realise what the fruit box is really capable of, without constantly purchasing obscenely costly Linn side grades.

  4. #4

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    Thanks jy3. Yes you're spot on, no need at all to spend 3k.

    John you're right but it's them and their wallet missing out for their blind loyalty and in some cases snobbery, i'm just happy I never bought a new Keel.

    I thought i'd be kind and spare the Kore from my review. Will say though the new Linn plinths are gorgeous.

    Cheers,

    W
    Last edited by WillRae; 9th February 2017 at 14:33.

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    Ahh but the linnies will just trot out the usual mantra "but it doesn`t play the tune"....Baaa (sheep noise)
    Steve1ooo
    LINN LP12/CIRCUS/Sole MK VI /LINGO/ A/O PU7/Audio Ortofon Cadaenza Bronze
    Trichord Diablo+NCPS, Icon Audio stereo 40 MK 111 , Acoustic Energy radiance two.

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    I recently moved from a steel cirkus subchassis to a Sole VII with its partnering machined arm board. I was expecting a change but not that big of a change. All I can say is that I started talking about this with John about a year ago and I should've done it then instead of waiting for so long.

    Since I also changed speakers at the same time, I needed to reconnect my old speakers to make sure where in the system the change I was hearing was coming from. I was shocked by the higher resolution of music reproduction with the new chassis.

    Also, this was not in any way "different but I'm still not sure if better." The TT now does everything it did before but it just does it much better and then some. I hear an improvement even in areas I didn't expect (cartridge seems tracking better, why would the chassis affect it?!?).

    In short, a very happy customer.

  7. #7

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    That's the one Steve, the fall back defence used in instances when their argument has been lost.

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    Gents.

    Linn always bang on about "playing the tune"

    Jeez the GPO (BT) used to play the tune with their Dial a disc service in the 1970's

    Even a cheap MP3 player plays a bleedin' tune!

  9. #9

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    I think maybe the connection between armboard and steel subchassis is very loose compared to Sole and the steel sub could also be warped. Put those two together and consider the sub chassis maybe moving against the spring movements and tracking suffers. Even though these inconsistencies are tiny they are detrimental to tracking. A whole lot of vibrations going in different directions.

    On a bigger scale, think if on a trampoline (not the LP12 one hehe) you feel stable bouncing straight up and down. If the trampoline moved from side to side whilst bouncing then keeping yourself steady is far move difficult.

    This is where better tonearms with better bearings will lessen the impacts (on a tt, not a trampoline) however none can eradicate vibrations totally.

    Just my hunch, I did notice the same improved tracking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahabec View Post
    I recently moved from a steel cirkus subchassis to a Sole VII with its partnering machined arm board. I was expecting a change but not that big of a change. All I can say is that I started talking about this with John about a year ago and I should've done it then instead of waiting for so long.

    Since I also changed speakers at the same time, I needed to reconnect my old speakers to make sure where in the system the change I was hearing was coming from. I was shocked by the higher resolution of music reproduction with the new chassis.

    Also, this was not in any way "different but I'm still not sure if better." The TT now does everything it did before but it just does it much better and then some. I hear an improvement even in areas I didn't expect (cartridge seems tracking better, why would the chassis affect it?!?).

    In short, a very happy customer.

    He Heh ! Told ya.

    Glad you are happy m8

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    I find the development of the TT interesting, it was originally sold on the bearing being revolutionary but it wasn't until they tightened up the rest of it that it showed that the bearing wasn't as good as it could have been. In comes the Cirkus which helped reduce the rumble from the bearing and allowed it to be tightened up further. I think the Keel is a killer design, it's only problem is the price. I can't see that it being a single piece could add to bearing noise, I think the TA solution to reducing the pressure on the bearing whilst retaining mass is really clever. There's always going to be some noise in the bearing and decoupling that from the platter is always going to be difficult, no wonder the hyper expensive decks use all kinds of weird air cushions and whatnot to eliminate that problem. I listen to quite a bit of minimal / ambient music so that noise floor can be an issue.
    I remember hearing a demo of the Lingo Mk1 when they were new and being amazed how it fixed a lot of the flutter issues with the Valhalla and how that directly affected the 90-200hz band but the bearing noise is around 30hz again it's often just the surface noise of the LP that's present rather than a problem with the deck, much harder to do anything with as you can have the finest deck in the world but it's only going to be as good as the quality of the vinyl that's being played and the machine that was used to cut it.

    I'm glad that because of the nature of the LP12 it allows for this evolution and also allows for 3rd party companies to make compatible parts for them.

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    You buy a new car. After a few years you can buy parts from the main dealer and get it serviced at the main dealer or go elsewhere for both. You can buy expensive head lamps or halfords own brand, etc etc. There's room in this world for both. There will always be folk who shop at Waitrose and M&S and wouldn't set foot in an Aldi or Lidl.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TIU View Post
    You buy a new car. After a few years you can buy parts from the main dealer and get it serviced at the main dealer or go elsewhere for both. You can buy expensive head lamps or halfords own brand, etc etc. There's room in this world for both. There will always be folk who shop at Waitrose and M&S and wouldn't set foot in an Aldi or Lidl.
    But both parties wouldn't call each other names. I think Linn and Apple vs PC the only exceptions

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    Quote Originally Posted by TIU View Post
    You buy a new car. After a few years you can buy parts from the main dealer and get it serviced at the main dealer or go elsewhere for both. You can buy expensive head lamps or halfords own brand, etc etc. There's room in this world for both. There will always be folk who shop at Waitrose and M&S and wouldn't set foot in an Aldi or Lidl.
    Yeah but what you are talking about is different, the difference is the halford branded bulbs etc will perform exactly the same, or at least to a measurable spec. The different subchassis is like changing say your cars suspension to a better conceived fully adjustable racing design, this will change the performance, with a car it's still measurable, with the TT all is subjective.

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    Yeah yeah.


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