Linn LP12 Karousel

Linn Karousel – the verdict

18 August 2020

We have been installing Linn’s new Karousel bearing kit for four months now and fitted nearly twenty LP12s with this upgrade. Time then for a full review, including plenty input from new Karousel owners.

Karousel – what is it?
Linn’s new bearing assembly for the iconic Sondek LP12 turntable, launched in March this year. The first upgrade of the LP12 bearing since 1994’s Cirkus kit; that’s 26 years in the making!

What’s included?
Precision-engineered single-point bearing, new inner platter, 3 x springs, 3 x large grommets, 3 x small grommets, 3 x washers, 3 locknuts, earthing wire.

What’s different to Cirkus?
Refined motion – design innovations and new material selection in critical parts deliver smoother rotation for better sound.

The spindle is better supported thanks to improved tolerances of the bearing liners and the Diamond-Like Carbon coating on the thrust pad provides reduced friction, together improving the ‘noise floor’ of the turntable and in turn, musical reproduction.

Stronger coupling between the platter, spindle, bearing housing and sub-chassis, thanks both to new Stainless Steel material chosen and new design.

New lock-nut fastening – increases rigidity at what was Cirkus’s weakest point. A stronger housing for the thrust pad, combined with a smaller, stiffer form and the new coating improves the critical area that supports the platter rotation and mass. Less noise, more accurate sound reproduction.

Durability – Karousel’s reduction in friction means that it will perform and last longer.

Our verdict?

“The noise floor drops significantly which allows you to hear more of the music and less of the background noise. The way notes stop and start, the harmonics within notes are much easier to hear, in fact on some recordings they weren’t there before.

The turntable sounds more powerful, music has more drive and the bass is so much better defined, controlled yet still solid and driven. Vocals are more emotive because you can here intonations which in turn makes the vocalist more in the room.”

“I find it now very easy to discern which LP12s have a Karousel and which don’t, regardless of the rest of the deck spec.

For me, voices are the stand out improvement, with far more realism and natural tone that’s unforced and so easy to listen to. It does require some ‘run in’ time though, four or five days should do it.. Very noticeable improvement after 24hrs continuous use!”


Our customers’ verdict?
“Hi Rob, Thanks for getting in touch to see how I’m getting on with the Karousel upgrade. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect given that I didn’t think the deck was lacking in any area beforehand, but this new bearing really has moved things on to an even higher level. The silence between tracks is astounding and the sound has grown in scale too. It really drives the music along. The only down side for me is that I’ll need a second one for my other deck now! All the best, N”


“Hi Rob, my thoughts on the Karousel. I upgraded from a Cirkus to Karousel and the improvement is remarkable. The amount of detail resolved by the deck has increased dramatically, instruments are much easier to pick out and the soundstage is superb. To put it simply, the deck is more “musical”. I have been digging through my LP collection and virtually rediscovering old albums, to the point of since getting my deck home I have not used my CD player (which is excellent) once. In sum, I am totally convinced and delighted with the improvements made by the Karousel and would recommend it wholeheartedly. Thanks for recommending it to me, regards P”


“Dear Rob, Getting a new Radikal power supply to replace the Lingo 4 and have the Karousel bearing thrown in was a deal not to be turned down! And the benefits? Well, it’s all there – the ability to ‘listen into’ the music, the timing(!) all up several notches. But the most amazing revelation was a box set of Madame Butterfly from Barbirolli, 1967. I bought this second hand and thought the record worn because of hearing some ‘distortion’ at passages that peaked. Guess what? All gone. How’s that? Amazing. The combination, to use a well-worn expression, has just renewed my entire record collection. Thanks!”


“Just wanted to say thanks. Spent much of the weekend playing vinyl. Am not sure how much is down to the Karousel but I suspect a lot of the obvious improvement is the Dynavector cartridge. Great recommendation.”