SERENE Top Plates for LP12


The Top Plate is the single most multi-connected component in an LP12. It is attached to the plinth and motor directly, and to the sub-chassis, arm board and tonearm indirectly. As such it is an essential part of any LP12 upgrade project.

As a belt drive turntable, the LP12 is inherently less prone to motor induced vibration than a direct drive turntable. However, there are still ways in which motor stability and vibration can affect the sound. The top plate has two vulnerabilities: vibration transmission and alignment of the sub-chassis via the suspension. The top plate can act like a ‘kite’ being sensitive to airborne vibration - a classic demonstration in the 1970s and 80s was to show the difference made by taking the turntable outside of the listening room.

The LP12 suspension springs remove much of the vibration, but they cannot remove it all. To be effective, the springs should be precisely aligned and tuned. The platter, subchassis and arm board should ‘bounce’ perpendicularly and evenly, at just the right rate (not too soft, not too hard). Ensuring the three suspension springs are perfectly aligned starts with the attachments on the top plate.

The standard LP12 top plate is simple and superficially effective. It is made from 1.5mm stainless steel. However, it is thin, inherently ‘lively’ and prone to warping over time. This can throw the sub-chassis suspension out of alignment.

Stack Audio Approach

We had 2 aims with the SERENE LP12 Top Plates. Firstly, we wanted the plate to dissipate vibration (mechanical and airborne) to reveal levels of musical detail not normally heard from the standard Sondek. Secondly, we wanted to create a stiff plate that was resistant to warping over time.

By using two metal plates bonded together with a layer of our super adhesive Advanced Vibration Dissipation Composite (AVDC) we can achieve both goals. The immediate dissipation of vibration is important - it allows the pure, undistorted, signal from the stylus to be heard. Both the Stack Audio SERENE and ULTIMATE Top Plates employ this construction method.

The ‘ringing’ test in the video demonstrates how much more inert the SERENE Top Plate is than a standard single layer LP12 plate.

The test is an extreme case (the top plate is of course fixed to the plinth in normal use) but it clearly illustrates how much inherent vibration dissipation even an unsupported SERENE Top Plate has.

SERENE Top Plate

The SERENE Top Plate consists of two machined 1.5mm hardened stainless steel sheets securely bonded by AVDC. This assembly is twice as thick, much stiffer and will warp less than the original. It sits flush with the top of the plinth using existing screw fixings.

To support all LP12 variations, the SERENE Top Plate is available in 4 configurations: 11 o’clock and 7 o’clock motor positions; with and without power switch cut-out

Key Features of the Stack Audio SERENE Top Plate

  1. Two layer construction precision machined in UK from 1.5mm hardened steel
  2. Fits all LP12 plinths using standard fixings
  3. AVDC bonding layer for vibration dissipation
  4. Choices available: 7 o’clock and 11’clock motor positions; with and without power switch cut-out
  5. Brushed stainless steel finish to top surface

ULTIMATE Top Plate

After many customer requests for an aluminum top plate that fixes to the plinth in multiple locations, we created the ULTIMATE Top Plate. Other machined aluminium top plates are available for the LP12, but by using our two-piece principle and AVDC, Stack Audio offers the performance and robustness of these at SERENE prices.

The ULTIMATE LP12 Top Plate features a lower ‘frame’, precision milled from a billet of aluminum here in the UK and machined on both sides to ensure it is perfectly flat.

The upper layer of the top plate is also cut from aluminum or (for those that prefer the classic LP12 look) brushed stainless steel.

When both parts are bonded together using AVDC, the ULTIMATE Top Plate is perfectly flat with a lifelong connection and immune to warping. This ensures that the bolts and springs connecting the LP12 suspended subchassis hang perfectly vertically.

The ULTIMATE Top Plate is distinguished by a milled hexagon pattern on the lower frame added during the tuning process.

Achieving a perfect finish was paramount. Working with a specialist UK anodiser that supplies hi-end brands the result looks stunning in either silver or black

Key Features of the Stack Audio ULTIMATE Top Plate

  1. Two layer construction precision machined from 1.5mm aluminium for rigidity and secure spring alignment
  2. Hexagon pattern on frame
  3. AVDC bonding layer for advanced vibration dissipation
  4. Fits all LP12 plinths with 4 extra fixings
  5. Choices available: 7 o’clock and 11’clock motor positions; with and without power switch cut-out
  6. Silver or Black anodised finish as standard; brushed stainless steel upper layer available as an option
 StackAudio Ultimate LP12 Top Plate silver anodised aluminium close-upStackAudio Ultimate LP12 Top Plate black anodised aluminium close-upStackAudio Serene LP12 Top Plate Brushed Stainless Steel finish for classic Linn look close-up
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