As we all know, the Linn Sondek LP-12 is one of the best turntables on the market, although until recently it had an Achilles' heel: the sub-chassis and arm board. It is a stamped steel plate screwed to a piece of masonite as an arm board, and frankly isn't worthy of a turntable in this class. Linn tried to remedy the problem with the Cirkus, which helped but wasn't the ultimate solution. After more than 25 years Linn finally rectified the problem by introducing a one-piece machined aluminum sub-chassis and arm board called Keel. The Keel is a substantial improvement over the stamped steel sub-chassis currently in your LP-12. The sonic improvementsare well documented and reviewed so I won't get into them here, but the mechanics behind the Keel's design are very simple. I have over 35 years of experience in engineering, and was able to analyze the design of the Keel. Although Linn would have you believe otherwise, there is nothing magical here, nor are there any breakthroughs in turntable design.

The Keel is a direct replacement for the stamped steel sub-chassis; it is the same size, shape, weight, and has the same center of gravity. All of the benefits come from its structural rigidity. The pocket-and-rib design is very straightforward. The pockets vary in depth and the ribs vary in width preventing resonances from building while providing tremendous stiffness. Combining the sub-chassis and the arm board is a significant improvement over the three small wood screws that hold the two pieces together on the original setup.

Using these simple design parameters we were able to design and machine a sub-chassis and arm board that has all of the sonic improvements of Linn's Keel. The differences are two: the Linn Logo and the tone arm collar. Structural analysis showed that bolting the original Linn collar to the aluminum sub-chassis provided virtually the same rigidity as machining both from one piece. Because we are setup to do custom machining, we can cut the bearing pocket to mount either the original Linn bearing or the Cirkus bearing, so it can be installed in any LP-12.

How does it sound? I could go on and on about how it sounds in those lovely terms we audiophiles like to use when describing the sound of our systems. Instead we will make a simple promise. If you are not delighted in any way after 30 days of auditioning, just send it back and we will return every dime.

David Genther