Cobra Dave’s system

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Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-11-24 23:50

Hello,

My current system:

Vinyl: Linn Axis (turntable), Basik LVX (tonearm), AT95 (pickup)
Phono: Pro-Ject Phono box S
Digital: Thinker Board S (streamer) Volumio, Gigaport (DAC), Atlas Equator Integra (RCA-cable) (Chord Mojo)
Amp: Boazu 1.1 (#48) (Atoll IN200SE, Atoll IN100SE, Atoll IN80SE)
Speakers: JERN 12WS with Lejonklou custom made “K200” cables (Linn Majik 109, ELAC BS403, Dynaudio Audience 42)

I might be the most unmusical person that I know, and I don’t Iike to dance, but do really love good music. I am never impressed by music that is played too loud by sales reps on expensive Hifi-equipment, but get happy when something is musically satisfying on low volume level.

I have always been interested in the technical side of music, i.e. the equipment more than the music. I remember the Pioneer CD-player that my father brought home in the early 80s, the mini discs and MP3 players during the teenage and the Pro Logic receivers used for both music and movies during my early 20s.

I got my first “entry level” hifi-amplifier (Atoll IN80SE) ten years ago.
Later on upgraded to Atoll IN100SE, which is the exact same amplifier but with stronger/better power supply. I was so intrigued that the sound could be so different. I experienced the music more controlled by a strong secure hand, with more punch in the bass, and clearer vocals. Less fuss in the background. I got greedy and wanted more; upgraded to Atoll’s next model (even stronger power supply and a complete dual mono construction) but got disappointed.
With a bigger price tag you didn’t get more of everything good, instead it sounded square. If you turned up the volume the music didn’t expand and flare, instead the music just got (too) loud.
And the amplifier made a constant humming sound (from the much anticipated power transformator(s) (I guess), it was very annoying.

That’s when I heard about Lejonklou and especially Boazu from Nicklas at Ågrens in Göteborg (Sweden) and got in contact with Mr Lejonklou himself and Christer at Ljudkompaniet in Uppsala (Sweden), all three of them are really super nice and friendly people, in three different ways. I am very glad that I have made acquaintance with them.

I got a Lejonklou Boazu 1.1 and suddenly everything started to make sense. :)

During the last ten years I have had a Linn Basik turntable but I have always preferred the digital sound, even from Spotify. Then I replaced Linn Basik TT with Linn Axis, and suddenly vinyl listening has become fun/addicting in a way that it never has been before. I can for the first time honestly say that vinyl sounds better than digital, at least with my setup.

I would be happy for suggestions on upgrades to the vinyl rig (I am totally satisfied with amplifier, speakers, and the digital equipment)

With ‘source first’ in mind I guess that a upgrade to LP12 would be the most logic. But I really like the Axis and would like to keep it for a couple of years, so I am thinking of:
Gaio 2, Akito 2 tonearm (don’t like the look of Ittok), Addikt, Akito silver T-cable (the cable that came with the Axis is most likely original; old, stiff, the three cables are separated and the contacts looks a bit mistreated), Ekos Mark I/II, Slipsik 7.

What would be your first upgrade if you hade to select one?
Last edited by Cobra Dave on 2019-11-26 23:35, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Matteo » 2019-11-25 09:50

Never heard of Jern speakers.

I noticed that you came from M109 ...

As for the upgrade, I would go straight to a Majik Lp12 with a Slipsik 7.

Regards

M.
LP12/Kore/Akito 2b/ARadikal/Adikt/Slipsik 7-ND5 XS 2-AK/1-A2200-M109 [Silver-K200]

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by maffe » 2019-11-25 12:59

Source first!
Don’t spend money on upgrading your axis, get an LP and start there.
My first hifi gear was an Axis, had it for almost 20 years and then got a preowned LP12. It was a big step up.
With time I changed Valhalla to Lingo1 and a few years ago A-radikal. Tone arm was first the one from my axis (basik something) and after that an early akito 1 that I still use. Sub chassi changed to kore a few years ago. The biggest improvement was radikal and kore.
Slipsik7 was also a big improvement over the riaa in the adsm, but I still think that sub chassi and power supply goes first.
So ask your self what your end goal is and how much money you can spend on this, make a plan!
Tonläget have pre owned LP12 from time to time that can be a good start. Go visit there and Anders will give you a demo of the differences :)

Edit:

Only heard “Jern” once and it was at a demo night at Ågrens whit Fredrik.
They played good with the Boazo:)
Last edited by maffe on 2019-11-25 13:19, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-11-25 13:14

Welcome to the forum Cobra Dave!

I have heard good things about Jern but not heard a pair myself. Stylish looks though.

As others have suggested, I'd get the LP12 first, unless you already have funds for a new phono stage as well, in which case the Slipsik should be a very nice improvement over the Pro-Ject and good preparation for an LP12.

Don't rule out the new VM95 series either. The NE, E and C might suit you better than an Adikt. The new 'E' is a lot better than the one you have now. In fact, for what little it costs, why don't you just order the VM95E stylus today!! :)

I think I'd leave the arm because any second hand LP12 might come with a nice arm.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by tokenbrit » 2019-11-25 15:30

Obvious to me, given stated desire to keep your Axis for a couple of years yet, would be the phono stage, probably Slipsik in readiness, with a new VM95 stylus as a maintenance item. Otherwise keep enjoying the music, and saving for that LP12 when you're ready to upgrade from the Axis ;) Find the right LP12 and it should come with a good arm, t-cable, etc.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-11-26 19:58

Interesting system and good journey. I haven't heard (or even heard of) the Jern 12 WS but it certainly looks interesting. I agree with the tokenbrit that you could go Slipsik 7 so you have the best MM phono stage in readiness for other upgrades. But I also agree with everyone that the LP12 really should be where you are going. An LP12 with your current arm and cartridge will be much more musical than anything you can do to an Axis, and once you have an LP12 you can do as few or as many upgrades as you would like (and can afford). The improvement in vinyl enjoyment you experienced by going to the Axis over the Basik will be multiplied several times in the upgrade from the Axis to the LP12.

The other thing I should point out is that the Axis is no spring chicken. The electronics in that table do age and stop working over time. They are a royal pain to fix and I know some top electronics guys who think nothing of rebuilding Valhallas and Lingo 1s who won't touch an Axis. I would say about half the Axis turntables that come into the store nowadays end up being scrapped. You might have some service people near you who will work on it so this might not be the same concern as it is over here, but it is something to think about.
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-11-26 23:15

Thank you all for your suggestions. :)

The consensus of a fair upgrade seems to be a phono (Gaio2) Slipsik 7; an upgrade that also would be a preparation for a LP12 in the future. And keep enjoying the Axis as long as possible until then.

What is your take on the current entry level Majik LP12 with ‘Lenco’ tonearm, compared to a vintage LP12 that can be bought with Ittok, or even Ekos mark II for less money?
In general I prefer new before second hand, but I don’t like the power button on the Majik LP12, and Akito/Ittok/Ekos looks better than the Majik tone arm.
But looks aside, does the Majik LP12 sound better than vintage LP12?

Interesting also with the comments about VM series. When I got the AT95 I was suggested to go with the old model, instead of VM95. What is the difference, or what is better with the VM95E compared to AT95?

The reason for the JERN speakers (and Linn Majik 109 before that) is they work in a bookshelf. I can’t fit floor standing speakers in the apartment (VAF).
I won’t say anything negative about Majik 109, and I sincerely miss them; they sound good and are really beautiful but for me JERN has a smaller footprint in the shelf and sounds better in almost every aspect.
LP12/Valhalla/Akito 3B/AT-VM95E/Project photo box S/Boazu 1.1/JERN 12WS

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Cobra Dave’s Upgrade Path

Post by Ron The Mon » 2019-11-28 05:49

Cobra Dave wrote:
2019-11-26 23:15
What is your take on the current entry level Majik LP12 with ‘Lenco’ tonearm, compared to a vintage LP12 that can be bought with Ittok, or even Ekos mark II for less money?

In general I prefer new before second hand, but I don’t like the power button on the Majik LP12, and Akito/Ittok/Ekos looks better than the Majik tone arm.
But looks aside, does the Majik LP12 sound better than vintage LP12?

Interesting also with the comments about VM series. When I got the AT95 I was suggested to go with the old model, instead of VM95. What is the difference, or what is better with the VM95E compared to AT95?
Cobra Dave,
Taking esthetics, value, and sound quality into account, why not build your own LP12? Buy a cool looking plinth you like when one comes up used. Then pick up an older bearing and inner platter when someone gets a Cirkus bearing. When someone upgrades to the Trampolin 2, buy their used original Trampolin. Do you play 45s? Buy a Lingo traded in. Any good Linn LP12 specialist will have the remainder parts for three hundred bucks or so and charge you another hundred to put it together. I believe your Axis outer platter would fit and work as well as your belt, felt mat, dust cover, hinges, and tonearm.

There are many folks out there with dead Axis'. You could easily sell your power supply/motor for a hundred dollars or more. The bottom line is you could get lucky buying parts and end up with an LP12 for a thousand dollars or so; and one which looks good to you without that silly Majik switch.

Pay as you go is easier than fronting the money all at once.

Do the same with a phono stage. The good news with buying used is if you resell these items, you will lose little.

A new Majik LP12 will outperform an older model for several reasons. First is it will have a brand new Cirkus bearing and inner platter. This is the heart of an LP12. You may get lucky and find a used LP12 with a Cirkus. The Majik also has a better top plate, brand new motor, and braced plinth. A Majik will sound better.

Upgrade your phono cartridge when you need a new needle. An AT95E is now bettered by the AT-VM95E. There was an interim stylus out between them about 18 months ago which was worse and avoided. Don't just buy a new stylus (though you could), get an entire new cartridge. If your dealer does all your turntable assembly, simply snap in the new needle yourself and save the body for when you get the LP12.

I have had an LP12 since 1984 and still use a LV-X arm and AT-VM95E cartridge. I have upgraded to Radikal power supply, new top-plate, Trampolin2, and Cirkus bearing. Source-first works every time.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-12-02 13:45

Thank you Ron the mon for your input! Appreciated, and interesting solution to build my own LP12, indeed!

If I buy a new Majik LP12 and then buy a used Lingo, can I then change the swith on the LP12 to a "lingo-switch"?
LP12/Valhalla/Akito 3B/AT-VM95E/Project photo box S/Boazu 1.1/JERN 12WS

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-12-03 19:36

If you buy a Majik LP12 and want to go Lingo that can certainly be done. In addition to the switch, which can be changed (although it is a major pain to get the Majik one out without removing the plinth), you would need to change the motor. If you are buying a new Lingo 4 the dealer would replace the Majik power supply, switch and motor as part of the install and those parts are included in the Lingo 4 price. If you were looking at a used Lingo 2 or 3 you would want to make sure they are complete with the Lingo power switch, internal circuit board and umbilical cable that came with any Lingo new. Then you would need a 50Hz motor unless they were including one. New that motor currently runs $235 in the US.
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-12-03 20:44

Thank you TomasOK, sound good!

I think I will try to trade in my Axis for a simple, vintage LP12.

Or enjoy my Axis until I get get a Majik LP12.

Maybe a Gaio2 sometime soon.
LP12/Valhalla/Akito 3B/AT-VM95E/Project photo box S/Boazu 1.1/JERN 12WS

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-12-04 18:00

Sounds like a good plan. Just a little correction. You only need the 50Hz motor addition for Lingo 1, 2, 3 if you are in a 60Hz country like the US and Canada where the Majik LP12 comes with a 60Hz motor. In Europe it comes with a 50Hz motor so no motor change would be necessary to fit the Lingo.
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-12-04 20:35

ThomasOK,

Thank you for the correction, good to know about the motor differences. I am in Europe so that’s fine then.

I have some additional questions.

If I get a new Majik LP12 and modify it with a Valhalla, to get down the price and a decent switch, can I then keep the motor that a new Majik LP12 comes with? Because I guess that that motor is better than the ones originally supplied with Valhalla?

If I go for a new Majik LP12 with Valhalla, then the Majik internal power supply must be removed, right? Is that a drawback compared to the power supply in Valhalla?
I will however get to keep the other advantages of a Majik LP12 over a entry level or even mid level vintage LP12, right? I.e.:

a brand new Cirkus bearing and inner platter. This is the heart of an LP12. The Majik also has a better top plate, brand new motor, and braced plinth. (from Ron the Mon’s comment)
LP12/Valhalla/Akito 3B/AT-VM95E/Project photo box S/Boazu 1.1/JERN 12WS

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-12-04 23:36

Although I have never done a direct A/B comparison, it is my feeling that a properly serviced Valhalla should outperform the Majik power supply. The 50Hz motor is the same device that Linn has used for decades and the one that comes with the Majik LP12 will work with a 50Hz Valhalla (the most common although some 60Hz versions were made for this side of the pond). It will also work with a Lingo 1, 2, or 3 (but not the Lingo 4). While the motor itself is the same, newer versions have a small plastic cap glued to the bottom to reduce motor bearing vibration so they should perform a bit better than alder motors. This is the motor that comes in the Majik LP12.

It should be mentioned that a Majik LP12 will also come with the latest springs and grommets which are a bit more consistent than previous versions (or a fair bit more than really old, as in silver colored, ones). Note that proper top plate fitment and suspension adjustment is still required for proper performance and the hinge plates, armboard, tonearm, cartridge and arm cable do not come fitted to the turntable so a full setup is still required. Also I would make sure that I didn't get the thicker and rougher belt that was supplied for a while but the newer belt which appears to be the same as the older belts.
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-12-05 18:32

Hello,
Thank you all for your support.

I have been offered a quite interesting system:

A demo Majik LP12, the switch (and internal power supply) will be changed to Valhalla, Ittok LV II, Adikt. ‘
The price is fair, a bit under what a new Majik LP12 would cost.

The option is to trade in my Axis to have the Ittok and Adikt changed to a new Akito 3B and AT95.
Would you go for this option instead? How good is a new Akito compared to a Ittok LV II in good condition?
I know that the Ittok is considered as a pre Ekos, and that Akito is a level below. But I really like the looks of Akito, and I am confident that it also is a really good tonearm.

The Ittok comes with original, old/dry RCA cable, the Akito with original Linn Silver T-cable, which I value a lot!

Any comments very welcomed.
Last edited by Cobra Dave on 2019-12-05 19:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-12-05 19:08

No question you should go for the LP12/Ittok/Adikt. We have a saying in our store that an LP12 with a stick and a nail will outperform any other turntable with the best arm and cartridge you can fit on it. A bit of hyperbole but with some truth lurking within it. To wit, a Majik LP12 with Valhalla and a Basik LV-X/AT-95e combo will outperfrom an Axis with an Ekos SE/1 and Kandid - seriously.

Now as to the combos you are looking at, a good Ittok LVII and an Akito 3 are essentially equivalent arms musically. I haven't done a direct comparison but a dealer friend of mine, Colin at WYSAH, set up two identical LP12s with the only difference being one had an Akito 3 and the other an Ittok LVII in excellent condition and with little use. Both had Adikts mounted and the stylus and felt mat were switched between the turntables to minimize differences. He and a few others listened and all agreed that the Akito 3 was the more tuneful by a slight margin on 3 of 4 tracks played but on the other one the Ittok was found more tuneful. So they are quite close in perfromance. The two turntables, however, are not - with an LP12 being much more musical and more important than the arm and cartridge in the hierarchy.

Personally, although they are pretty close musically, I like the Ittok LVII better but that mostly has to do with function rather than sound. The dynamic balancing and larger headshell, which makes fitting an Adikt much easier, and the arm collar, among other things.

If I were you I would go with the LP12/Valhalla/Ittok/Adikt and see what it would run to have the Akito cable installed as well. It is available separately from Linn for around $400US and is the best sounding arm cable Linn makes IMHO. I would think you'd get a discount for the trade in of the old cable, although maybe not a lot. Then if you really like the looks of the Akito so much keep a lookout for a Black Ittok (rarer than the silver ones but they appear from time to time) or an Ekos to upgrade to when you've recovered from the LP12 upgrade cost. (There will be no recovery from the improved musicality of the LP12 - you will just have to accept the need to feed it with vinyl to keep you both happy!)
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-12-05 19:29

Hello again,

I think I was a bit unclear.

The two option are:

1) Majik LP12, Ittok, Addikt
Or
2) Same Majik LP 12, but with Akito, AT95, silver T-cable instead (but this option is more expensive, so I got offered to trade in my Linn Axis, Basik LV X, AT95) to be able to get the two options at the same price.
LP12/Valhalla/Akito 3B/AT-VM95E/Project photo box S/Boazu 1.1/JERN 12WS

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by lejonklou » 2019-12-05 20:49

Hello Cobra Dave!

I just wanted to say welcome here and good luck with that interesting system! It seems you're getting some good advice here, so I have nothing in particular to add, except maybe that I find the current Majik LP12 really good, better than many older LP12's that have supposedly higher spec components.

And using an LP12 with an Axis platter, which is aluminium and much lighter than the zamak used for the LP12, doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by maffe » 2019-12-05 23:05

My way of thinking:
Valhalla’s, getting old and might need some love to preform well or not break down.
Ittok, same thing here they are 30 and older?
Akito 3, new and with warranty, plays as good or close to an early Ekos and Ekos our perform the ittok.
So for me the answers easy, Akito3!

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by ThomasOK » 2019-12-05 23:22

Cobra Dave wrote:
2019-12-05 19:29
Hello again,

I think I was a bit unclear.

The two option are:

1) Majik LP12, Ittok, Addikt
Or
2) Same Majik LP 12, but with Akito, AT95, silver T-cable instead (but this option is more expensive, so I got offered to trade in my Linn Axis, Basik LV X, AT95) to be able to get the two options at the same price.
Aha, I didn't understand it that way. In that case I'd have to call it a tossup. Both are good arms and you can always upgrade the cartridge when the stylus on the AT95 wears out, or not if you're happy as it is. The Akito 3 is certainly a more expensive arm, it is new so should have warranty and does have a better arm cable. But 30 year old Ittoks are nothing I would worry about as they seem to just keep working beautifully. I would want to make sure the Valhalla had a proper rebuild.
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Cobra Dave Confusion

Post by Ron The Mon » 2019-12-06 01:37

Cobra Dave wrote:
2019-12-05 19:29
I think I was a bit unclear.

The two option are:

1) Majik LP12, Ittok, Addikt
Or
2) Same Majik LP 12, but with Akito, AT95, silver T-cable instead (but this option is more expensive, so I got offered to trade in my Linn Axis, Basik LV X, AT95) to be able to get the two options at the same price.
Cobra Dave,
Yes, I'm very confused. You seem, rightfully, quite excited.

Are both Majik LP12s from the same dealer? If so, you have many more options.

Does option 1 and 2 both include the same LP12 deck and the same Valhalla? Is the Adikt brand new? Does the Akito come with a full warranty; is it new or demo? I assume since the Majik LP12 is demo, that includes warranty as well?

Your Linn Axis is worth at least $400 parted out; $200 for Basik arm, $100 for lid and hinges, and $100 for working motor board. Any used moving magnet cartridge is worth zero! I would never, ever, buy any used moving magnet phono cartridge. If you buy a used moving coil cartridge, value it at one-third trade-in allowance.

If you buy a used Ittok, the arm-board will have a hole from the arm rest. This will need a plug when you upgrade and you may dislike the cosmetics.

What is the condition of the Majik LP12 dustcover lid? You could negotiate keeping your LV X and AT95 and dustcover/hinges. That would reduce the price substantially and leave you with a great sounding arm and cartridge (the same I use on my Radikal LP12). Look up the prices of used LP12 parts and you will see most are affordable and available (except for the outer platter).

If you end up with an an Audio Technica cartridge, be sure to install an AT-VM95C as this will improve upon your AT-95E and allow you to use your old stylus as a replacement if needed.

I also believe there are many forum members here who have voluminous quantities of LP12 parts. A simple "Wanted" ad on the Lejonklou Forum may net you several LP12 parts at a price you can't refuse. In recent years, I've sold many parts for pennies to help other vinyl-freaks get an LP12 on the cheap. It doesn't hurt to ask. I'd bet there are a dozen plinths, half a dozen pre-Cirkus bearings/inner platters, 20 motors, and scores more parts including top-plates and arm-boards among Swedish members here. The hard part to get at a decent price is the outer platter.

My main advice is do not ever buy a used cartridge.

My secondary advice is the facts are flying in your face. Keep the LV X from your Axis and buy an AT-VM95 cartridge. You will have a back up belt as well as a mat and dustcover and motor board you could sell or trade; does this dealer sell consignment?

Thirdly, do either of your choices include a Linn Trampolin? This is a must with any LP12.

Ron The Mon
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Cobra Dave Confusion

Post by Ron The Mon » 2019-12-06 01:41

lejonklou wrote:
2019-12-05 20:49
...using an LP12 with an Axis platter, which is aluminium and much lighter than the zamak used for the LP12, doesn't sound like a great idea to me.
Fredrik,
When the Linn Axis was brand new, I was setting up an LP12 and wondered if an Axis outer platter would even work on an LP12 (and if it could possibly sound better). It did work but didn't sound better. The three LP12 suspension adjusting nuts end up much lower than with a stock LP12 outer platter; specifically, the left nut is about 8mm from its' lower limit.

I suggested it to Cobra Dave as part of an upgrade strategy. Eventually, the Axis motor board will fail. It is a way to keep music playing in the household when his Axis fails or do it now while the motor board (and other parts) has value.

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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Cobra Dave » 2019-12-06 11:21

I am sorry if I have confused you.

I will try to make it easier to understand.

Yes, it is the same dealer, and same player, but with two options regarding tonearm and pickup.

I was interested in new Majik LP12, but I told them that I don’t like the Lenco arm and the switch.
They offered me to buy their demo Majik LP12 that they have up running in the shop.
And they offered to change the switch to a Valhalla.

In addition to that they gave me two options for the tonearm/pickup:

1) Used Ittok LVII (old original tonearm cable), with NEW Adikt pickup.
or
2) New Akito 3B, with silver T-Cable and warranty, but with NEW AT95 instead of new Adikt pickup to keep the cost down.

Option 2 is a bit more expensive, so I have been offered to trade in my Linn Axis/Basic LV-X/AT95 to cover the cost difference.

So my question has come down to: Majik LP12 with Ittok/Adikt or Akito/AT95?

And I have already got some interesting replies and I am leaning towards trade in Axis and get Akito/AT95.

Kind regards!
Last edited by Cobra Dave on 2019-12-06 12:23, edited 1 time in total.
LP12/Valhalla/Akito 3B/AT-VM95E/Project photo box S/Boazu 1.1/JERN 12WS

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lejonklou
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by lejonklou » 2019-12-06 11:52

Akito/AT95 gets my definite vote.

Charlie1
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Re: Cobra Dave’s system

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-12-06 12:03

I am enjoying the super-budget VM95C so much (on Ittok) that I can't entertain the idea of doing more comparisons with the other 4 (more expensive) AT carts that I've been testing. It's been like that for a few weeks now.

It ain't high fidelity but does get to the heart of the music. Don't be put off by another cheap cart Corba.

Fredrik, for the sake of a few Krona you should try one ;) ...once Entity is done of course.

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