As a LP12 owner for almost 10 years, I never stop trying to improve the performance of the deck. LINN has lots of upgrade kit introduced to the market in the past decades, like cirkus, keel, radikal PS...etc. There are also third party upgrades, like cetech subchassis, OL PSU, just to name a few. I am not a 100% die hard LINN fan, so I am open to all options, especially if the option is relatively cheaper. That's why I choose OL DC Ultra PSU to power my LP12, and Cetech subchassis to replace the original cirkus subchass. And I even changed the original black ash plinth to a bubinga plinth a few years ago.
I am quite satisfy with the present set-up, the sound is open and dynamic, but not the most delicate LP12 I heard, I admit. Well, that's my preference.
The Cetech subchassis is the most controversial third party parts in my set-up. When it was introduced to the market by an aussie (or NZ?)LP12 fan, some UK users found it a mile better than the original subchassis (both old and cirkus) in terms of bass control and overall sound clarity. The weaknesses of the original subchassis are 1) the riniging problem, 2) the weak link between the subchassis and the armboard. Cetech took care of that once and for all : 1) using carbon fibre + alu honey comb structure to strengthen the overall rigidity (and totally elminate the ringing problem due to material used) and using larger bolts or screws tro fix the armboard to the subchassis in a much more secure manner. The result is very good, I like the more accurate presentation of the LP12 after installing the Cetech.
On the other hand, die hard fans considered the Cetech kills the LINN signature sound. To be frank, it changes the original sound quite a lot. But if the old "Linn subchassis" is the only "correct" way, then Keell wouldn't be introduced by LINN in 2009 as an upgrade. So, LINN fans, take it easy.
A couple of years ago I was told LINN has made a new standard subchassis named "Majik"(3xx UKP), on top of this new standard subchassis, they also provide a higher price option "Kore"(7xx UKP) which is a Majik with a fixed/factory bonded aluminum armboard (same design/structure as the armboard part of the Keel). The characteristics of Majik are 1)using thick aluminum sheet to create a box structure subchassis, with rigidity enchanced and no ringing problem of the steel made old ones; 2) the shape of the subchassis changed, now the suibchassis extended to the base of the armboard, providing an unmatched solid foundation for the armboard, the problem of weak linkage of the old design no longer exists. Once I learnt the existence of this new chassis, I know I must try it. Instead of going directly to KORE, I just use Majik. Just because I believe keeping the wooden armboard will keep the warmth that I suspect alu armboard could not provide.
Here we go.
Remove the arm
Loose the arm mount
Remove cross brace
remove the srpings
The Cetech uses 3 large screws with washers to fix the armboard
Cetech with original Linn armboard, this combo serves me well
The carbon fibre sandwich with aluminum honey structure in between
The Majik's box structure
Fixing the new armboard onto the Majik , the whole armboard is seating on the subchassis with a piece of aluminum supporting
Fixing the cirkus bearing onto the Majik
Cetech and Majik
The arm mount helps to securely fix the armboard onto the subchassis
Good bounce could be easily achieved, maybe due to more even weight distribution?
It is a three hours job, not difficult to perform even for me. The armboard seats securely on the subchassis. The bouncing is great.
The new sound is a very lively sound compares to Cetech, which obviously a lot more laid back and subtle. The Majik with wooden armboard combo provides a very dynamic and forward sound which is impressive. The details are much improved and the sound stage is wider and deeper. Bass is more punchy and attack is more exciting. But seems not as deep as the Cetech. Overall speaking, the change is obvious and a bit too forward for my taste. It may not be a huge step up from the Cetech, but I am quite sure it is better than the old cirkus subchassis in terms of control and details.
To conclude, an economical upgrade if you are still using the old subchassis and wish a more lively and modern sound. Contact your dealer if you are interested, I don't think there is any shop could provide parts alone for DIYers.