I can't answer for going to the Chakra, but I had a Linn AV 51 system back in the day, ad going active on the 5140's with three 5105's and active cards was a hue improvement, particularly in bass extension, the general characteristics of the speaker were still there, though they were a bit smoother and more open, but the bass that came out of them was hugely improved.
I liked the improvement so much I went to an active 5120 center and 5120 surrounds, then as my room grew, I went to active 5140's for surrounds too.
NOW, the headache of rewiring that system was HUGE.... Seven dual mono amps and three sets of speaker wire to EACH of five speakers was a major PITA, but the system sounded great!
Going active is a significant upgrade. My experience was with a somewhat more modest Linn system than yours or Kennyt's. However, I would second that bass improvement was notable.
If you're hesitant about the cost, you can always experiment with a couple of smaller Linn amps like the LKs, which are pretty cheap used nowadays. You could do it for under $1000. If you like the active setup, you can later upgrade to a bigger Chakra and sell the LKs at little if any loss. It will also give the newer Chakras time to appear on the used market at a lower cost.
He will spend a fortune on Active cards to do it that way as the new amps require different cards, and the cards rarely if ever show up used (though I was lucky enough to buy a 5105 with the bass cards when I stepped up from the 5120's for surrounds)
I have heard Naim active set-up and it is primo, no comparison to passive but big money.
Thanks a million for the responses. Do you think I would be able to fill a 26'x21' theater with good to great two channel sound? I would of course augment the system with a sub for video surround.
FWIW I used my AV 51 system in my condo, when I bought a home the theater room was bigger, ~18 feet deep and much wider with an open left rear corner.
The reason I sold the AV system was two fold.
I was so sick of dealing with all those cables, and it just didn't handle the larger room well to volume I want for HT, and often two channel, but YMMV depending on what level you like to listen to music...
All great advice on the 5140s. I had mine running active with 5105's, and the jump in quality is very large. I found the improvement to be across the board, and for me, the jump in quality of the voice was most noticable.
I believe 5140's, active or not, will fill your size room with great sound. In particular, with a subwoofer.
I suspect there are plenty of 5140 active cards available, a good Linn dealer should have them. Not sure if they would work on the Chakra's though. I have a complete set that would go into 5105's, and I have the 5105's. I believe you could go active with very low cost buying 2x5105 and the 6 active cards.
You would have to check with Linn as to whether there are newer version Aktiv cards for Chakra amps that work with 5140's. Since the 5140 and it successor, the Espek, are now discontinued, they may never have made new version Aktiv cards for those speakers for Chakra amps.
However, that issue aside, it ultimately doesn't matter. If you can find old Aktiv cards, either second hand, or remaining stock from a Linn dealer, you can buy an adaptor from Linn. The adaptor allows old style Aktiv cards to fit the newer Chakra amps.
Just today my dealer installed six Aktiv cards in my Chakra 6100 for my 5140s and two Aktiv cards in my Chakra 2100 for 5120. So they do exist! I got them during the Linn free Aktiv card promo this summer.
I still haven't listened enough yet to give a full report (just about to go do that).
Speaking of which, has anyone adjusted the gain on their amp for 5140s or 5120s? I left them all at the Linn default (3 = 0db).
FYI, just posted similar question at Linn forums:
Rsnodgrass... out of curiosity, can you tell me whether the Aktiv cards you had installed are new Chakra cards, or are they the old non-Chakra cards with an adaptor?
Also, what would be the reason to adjust the gain on the amps?... to play louder...to play relatively inefficient speakers...or something else?
They are the new Chakra cards. I believe the adapter that Linn sells now is actually to fit the new "Chakra" style cards into old amps so they don't have to manufacture two styles for each speaker type (just the adapter cards themselves).
My thinking on adjusting the gain on the amp is to balance the dB output level for each driver within a given speaker. For instance, boost the treble to match the same SPL level as the other drivers in the speaker. I suspect at worst I'd only adjust the gain for ONE of the drivers. Best case, Linn has it perfectly balanced and it I don't need to change anything (which I suspect they do). The only other reason would be to boost treble, for instance.
Hopefully someone can post their experience/insights into whether it is even worth fiddling with the gain for individual drivers.
I was told by Linn that the adaptor allows you to put old cards into new Chakra amps. I didn't ask whether the adpator also worked the other way around, i.e. to put new cards into the older amps. I had contacted the Linn Helpline about this since I have five active speakers as part of a HT using the older amps and cards. I wanted to know whether I could still use the cards if I upgraded to Chakra amps in the future. They said I could with the adaptor.
There are some Linn speakers where the tweeter can be adjusted. I was unaware of gain adjustments in the amps though. Are we talking about the same thing??? You can't have gain adjustments in aktiv operation, or you're not supposed to. Amps are supposed to have the same gain in multiamping. That's why Linn amps all have the same gain in the first place...so you can use any combination of their amps if you uprgade to passive or active multiamping.
The Chakra amp manual says that the per-channel gain controls are only for when Aktiv cards are installed. If you aren't running Aktiv the manual says you should leave them at setting 3 (which is 0 dB gain).
Perhaps for older amps different advice was given?
Okay, I think I got this figured out now.
The older Linn amps have a fixed gain, unlike the amps from the "C" series Chakra and forward. The fixed gain is essentially identical in all of the older amps. For example, it is 28.6 dB for the LK 85/140, 28.5 dB for the Klout, 28.6 dB for the AV 5125. I note that in the owner's manual for the "C" series Chakra amps, the gain is adjustable, with an asterisk at 28.6 dB, which is the gain for the older amps. The new Majik series Chakra amps also have this. So 28.6 dB must be the default gain setting. When you say that setting 3 is 0 db gain, I take that to mean that setting 3 is actually 28.6 dB. The "0" is actually the deviation from 28.6 dB
When you install an Aktiv card in the old amps, the treble card, and sometimes the bass card, has a little adjustable dial on it to adjust signal strength. Some of the adjustments will even mute the Aktiv board. When the dealer installs the Aktiv card, he will adjust the dial of the signal strength to tune the amp. There's a chart in the owner's manual for the setting to be recorded so that you know what it is.
I am not familiar with the new Aktiv cards. However, my speculation is that the new cards may not have the signal level adjustment. Rather, the signal level adjustment appears to have been moved into the amp.
So with the old set-up, the amp gain is fixed, the card is adjustable. And with the new set-up it is reversed. It is the amp that has the adjustable gain, and it is the card that is (I'm guessing) fixed. Is this correct? Are your new cards without an adjustable signal strength dial? That would explain things.
Anyway, the purpose of the adjustment is to tune the amp, so by all means play around with it if you wish. However, the Linn dealer who installed the cards should have already tuned it. You might want to check what the settings are so that you can restore them in case you mess things up and want to return to the original setting.
Sorry to Dfwlistener for hijacking his thread.
Correct, for the new Linn amps the signal strength/gain control is on the back of the amp for each channel. There are several settings (including mute). There is no setting on the card itself.
This makes more sense to me as the gain can be adjusted without opening the cover of the amp. The Linn dealer just sent a guy out, installed the cards, and did no testing or setup. In fact he admitted he couldn't hear well anyway so it would be better if I setup. I believe he was more of an electrical technician than an audio setup expert. A little disappointing given how much I've spent at the dealer.