Linn Components

Ok guys a little honesty will go a long way. I’m just wondering why Linn Gear in general is not well regarded, known or liked by many. I myself love the Linn sound, which in my opinion is more true to the music than most of my friends systems. I am not going to mention names of components as all of us have different tastes. I’m tired of having to explain why I have chosen Linn.

Can't say, as I disagree with your premise; namely, since when is Linn not well regarded?
I have listened to a fair amount of gear, and am always seeking to hear more. So far, as a whole, Linn is generally the best I have found for the money, and often much better than stuff that is MUCH more expensive.

Well, speakers may be the exception (caveat: I've never tried their stuff active). I will also say, although wonderfully accurate, well paced and neutral, Linn is not as dynamic as some gear - that is a legitimate complaint based on taste.

A lot of the complaints are far less legitimate. I've seen a fair amount criticism because as a company they aren't particularly interested in making heavy, macho equipment (think Krell). They use great sounding switch mode power supplies instead of heavy torriodal monsters, something that seems to baffle a lot of audiophiles who should know better. Linn also doesn't have a particular fetish for heavy, brushed aluminum - spending their time and money on what more directly effects sound. I have particularly heard this line of argument from dealers trying to sell 200+ lb amps against them, never mind nothing they sell sounds remotely as good. Some of these people will have the audacity to complain that Linn’s "build quality" is low, but Linn's quality record (established over 35 years) easily beats that of their brands.

Basically, I have decided a lot of people deriding Linn don’t know what they are talking about; some have agendas, and some have legitimate differences in taste.
When was the last time you saw a thread on any of the audiogon forums praising Linn Audio Gear.I am new to this forum, but have read a lot of the postings and Linn is hardly ever mentioned.I think it's about time for all Linn users to praise their gear.I have stated that in my opinion Linn makes very musical gear.
As a long time owner of Linn gear I agree that they make fine stuff that is very long lived. Linn's detractors have used some very dubious claims to undermine their sales BUT Linn has been it's own worst enemy in they way the trained retailers to be mysterious and hoity toity. It seems to have changed somewhat with the dealers I've dealt with in recent years being upfront, honest and taking the mystery out of owning this stuff. It's is simply the best buy on the planet in the used market. The LP12 regularly gets trashed in these forums with the same repititous claims that don't hold water. Newmanoc, if you want to hear dynamic just insert a good tube preamp. It's really amazing what those Linn amps can do once set free. Especially for the money.
Hi Newmanoc:
You have voiced the way I feel in a very precise manner.
We should get in touch with Linn and ask them to put some lead inside their Amps and bring the weight up to 200 lb.
And yes the dealers are in some way to blame for the way people percive Linn. I was told that could do much better
however at a much higher cost to me.After a brief A and B
comparison it was a no brainer,even the saleperson had a smile on his face.Thank you for your words of encuragement
Low build quality? Bought my LP12, LK1 preamp, LK2 power amp and index speakers in 1986 I think. Still running strong and sounding great. This includes some hard duty during my 'party' years. The LK1 phono stage sounds great with the LP12 and is 'dirt' cheap used.
Of course a correct point - Linn is one of the best audio companies in the world and recognized that way quite universally in the industry. It is just that here on Audiogon they don't have the same buzz as some other companies. As far as I can tell it is really a small, Audiogon phenomenon more than anything else.

Wonderful to have your posts on this subject. From what I have been able to hear so far, I think you hit it right on the head pointing to Linn preamps as the source of limited dynamics, and not their power amps or sources. If you know anyone willing to sell a Supratek, let me know. I am very anxious to hear one (if any Supratek owner in Michigan reads this, PLEASE EMAIL ME - I'll happily buy a great lunch or dinner some weekend in Ann Arbor in exchange for an audition).

Mind you, Linn preamps have tremendous strengths of detail and refinement of their own. I had the chance to borrow a Klimax Kontrol for an evening - it is the sonic equivalent of a pane of glass - the music just passed through it purely, like magic. (This is quite out of my price range, unfortunately). On the used market, the Kairn is an incredible value, especially considering the phono stage.

I think you are also right about Linn marketing. I think they have annoyed some people with their approach over the years. Some of the cult-like stories about Ivor and the "only sound" thing do get a bit thick. Thankfully, as a whole, the equipment stands up remarkably well to the hype.

P.S. The etymology of “Lugnut” you posted yesterday is about the funniest and cleverest thing I’ve ever seen posted on this site. Thanks for the smiles!

For what it is worth, the people whom I have been most impressed with in the audio business tend to deeply respect Linn, whether or not they sell it. Keep trusting your ears. I suspect like me, as you do you'll keep buying a lot of Linn stuff. It may not be the "only sound," but it is a mighty good one.
I also have been somewhat curious. I do own the Linn Klimaxx mono blocks. One thing though is that I do find Linn very open, transparent, fast but a bit lacking in image solidity and the perspective somewhat recessed? I do prefer them to Spectral, ML, Krells however. Have been wondering if whether to investigate other amps such the DarTZeel to see if I end up preferring somethig else, both of best worlds so to speak.
Most "audiophiles" listen to the equipment instead of listening to the music, they tend to have a handful of "special cds" and "test" the equipment with them.

They listen for more "air" more "space" etc, and they seem to change equipment weekly.

Me I get off on the equipment that makes me want to listen to music, be it cd or lp. I think Linn does that very well, I own an Ikemi, wakonda,lk100 it sounds very good.

Of all the companies out there, Linn has touted the most important thing in playback is to follow the tune, the easier the gear does this, the more musical itis, I feel they are 100 percent correct on this. I have played in various bands and have done a cd. The most important thing in playing music is playing the tune properly, hence the most important thing in listening, is the ability to follow the tune.

True in audio, equipment must have a good tonal balance, meaning it can't be too bright etc, to me Linn has a very good tonal balance and very good rythmic qualities and yes it makes me want to listen to more music.

I have tried quite a few things in my house, some very expensive that quite frankly just sound..well no too good.

When I bring something home I just simply listen and see how it sounds, with regular cds and lps and see if it makes me want to listen to more music, if the answer is yes, we have got something here, if the answer is no, we stop right there.
At one time I had an entire Linn system. Seeking improvement, I gradually sold off many of the components. The end result was a system with a different set of strengths which I felt at the time was important to me. As time passed I began to miss that Linn sound. I recognized that for me Linn's sound (can we still regard this as PRAT) was what I truly regarded as important in recreating the musical experience. Lesson learned. I now have again, an all Linn system, not unlike the original.
Well, you asked for here goes. I have been visiting a Linn dealer in Ann Arbor for about 17-18 years and they pretty much carry all of Linn's offerings. That is, from the $1,500.00 "all in one" box to the $20,000.00 amps and CD player. I've bought things from this dealer (who is, by the way, a great group of people and a really fun store) but never anything Linn. The store carries Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustics, AVI, Paradigm, Arcam's high end stuff, and NAD in addition to Linn. However, the don't and have never carried anything tube based. Being a tube person this pretty much leaves out purchases of amps and pre-amps.

I've listened to many Linn systems there and most recently heard a pair of $20,000.00 Sonus Fabers, the Klimax pre-amp, the stereo Klimax amp ($10,000.00?), and the top end Linn CDP. Sound was stunning. However, this is $50,000.00 worth of stuff without cables. I usually hear, with Linn, a rather dry, somewhat colorless, dynamically limited presentation. Not grossly so but enough to not draw me in. I am really interested in that $1,500.00 all-in-one box for a bedroom system.

People hear and (unconciously) listen for different things in hi-fi systems. I think the limited dynamics give Linn that sense of pacing or PRAT. That's not my thing although I like it along with the musically real dynamics that good tube designs seem to excell at.

I have to say in all the years I've visited that store (Overture Audio, by the way. Really great bunch of guys.) I've never heard of a Linn product breaking. Never was there when one had been brought in for repairs or a customer was complaining of such. Also have to say that the top-of-line CDR has awful ergonomics.

By the way, check out the new Sonus Faber Domus line and also the new Vienna Acoustics. The Viennas are gorgeous...I'd buy a pair just for appearance sake. The Domus Concertinos seem to be very musical and a bit enthralling, and this from a pair that was not broken in. I intend to go back and borrow a pair of Concertinos and Hadyns for a weekend. I do want a second pair of speakers for fun and those two are beautiful.
I love my Linn Ikemi!*>)
Overture Audio!! Tomryan we are in the same neck of the woods. This is my favorite audio shop by far - truly they are exceptional people. I hope to bump into you there some afternoon. I usually stop by at least once a week to get some records cleaned, or if not for that reason, then really any other excuse I can come up with.
Newmanoc - Just wish they carried at least one tube line. But, man, do those new Viennas look good. Same with SF Domus. Great bunch of people there including some true music lovers. By the way, did you ever visit the old Accutronics over on State Street? The owner closed it in 1999 and created Audiogon.

Last night I listened to remastered CD of Santana's "Welcome" with John McLaughlin on 2nd to last song. Just incredible. Nobody in pop/rock/rap/whatever is making music that even approaches this league. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for a half hour after.


Joule Electra LA150 II pre-amp
Plinius SA-50 MkII amp
Marantz transport
Perp Tech ModWright DAC
Harbeth C7ES2s on Skylan stands
Tonian Labs R-1 super tweeters
REL Strata III subwoofer
All Cardas Golden Reference wiring

When the record ended I just wanted to go over and shake those guys hands. Seemed like they were all right there in the room with me.
Very nice system from the looks of it. I'd love to get together some time and talk about tube preamps. That is the one area I really would like to explore and know next to nothing about. The only thing I've heard in my system is a Rogue Magnum 99, and it was way too slow and mushy. But people I trust swear by tube preamps, and I know there are many better options.

I love my Joule Electra but didn't have same experience with higher end C-J stuff. Send me an e-mail with your phone number and I can share some of my vast experience with you (hee, hee).
Lugnut: I agree with your comment about Linn dealers (well, the one that I know) being 'hoity, toity' - there was one dealer who essentially refused to answer a simple question I had - what was the price of the LP12? His response: there is no such thing as an LP12 ! He then went on to say that Linn had changed every screw, etc on the device (in the upgrade path), and so there was no such thing as an LP12. I left the store in disgust as I could not even get a price quote (and I was seriously considering an LP12 based upon an audition at a friend's place).
Newmanoc, you say "Of course a correct point - Linn is one of the best audio companies in the world and recognized that way quite universally in the industry. It is just that here on Audiogon they don't have the same buzz as some other companies."

I don't know what this means any more that the original post by our now phantom poster. There are HUNDREDS of companies making high quality audio gear. The fact that Linn has not completely cornered the market should not be taken as a negative. I own Plinius, Cabasse, as well as Linn products. There is enough "buzz" to go around without worrying about who gets more than another. Just be thankful that there is a host of great equipment out there to choose from.
Cpdunn99,the phantom will try and make you understand.
My original post asked why Linn components are not well regarded by audiophiles .I have owned many different Amps and Pre Amps ,all but one were better than what I now have
and that is a Kairn Pro two LK140 and an Ikemi player.Much of what I had before cost a lot more.So my point is I dont
see anyone praising how good Linn gear is when you factor in the cost point compared to a lot of other gear.If there is praise in the Audiogone forums and i have missed it please accept my sincere (SORRY).ROSSQ
Linn is discussed as much as any other fine audio maker. Just so happens, however, that people tend to gravitate toward the weird, the sensational, the freakish, the rare and unusual gear to chat about. So when you see a discussion featuring the new Frachiamole model Z1 amplifier with 300b mesh plates and fur lined pull out ash trays, just smile and be happy with your 'plain' ole Linn stuff.
"Plain ole Linn stuff"? Have you seen their high end amps and CD players? The $20,000.00 CD player is barely usable. The guy at the store who demo'd it for me a few years ago could barely get it to open. And the $1,500.00 all-in-one player flumoxed the saleman who had to get "a more Linn knowledgable person" to get it working. And we could hardly get it to change volume from the front panel. I've even checked out speakers that the salesman couldn't explain how they worked.

And my Air Tight tube amp does have mesh plates 300Bs but is self-biasing, kind of like the light bulb you change above your head. I also have a Plinius SS amp which made more realistic music than anything in it's class or for even $2,000.00 more. I've done nothing to this amp but turn it on and off. I did have to tinker with the REL sub but then Linn also makes subs.
Tomryan,the attitude that people like you have,is the reason for my original post.In not so many words you want us to belive that your Air Tight Amp sounds better along with the Pilinius Amp.I tend to have different opinions about your hidden statement.I Have owned Pilinius amps
and one of my present amps the Klouth,will have 2 Pilinius
for lunch.Just because you had ,a salespearson that should
be selling everthing else but audio give you a demo it's not a valid reason to dislike and put down a brand,and be sarcastic.In the end what ever you like is all that counts.
"I’m tired of having to explain why I have chosen Linn."

Then why start this meaningless thread? Don't answer that, it was a retorical question.
I am amused that a criticism of Linn gear is that the salesman can't figure out how to make it work.
My Goodness we have a Philosopher in Lush.
Lighteen up and don't use such big words.
I have a very low tolerance for messing around with audio gear. In that sense at least, I am far from an audiophile. I just want reliable, easy to use equipment that makes the most involving music possible in my price range. This is one reason I love my Linn gear. At least based on my experience I really have no idea what our friend tomryan is talking about when he suggests the gear is somehow mysterious to use. It is about as simple as it gets. Of course, I really don't have first hand experience with the 20K CD 12, so I can’t speak to that.
Sorry, but I think (my own opinion) that the Plinius SA50-MKIII and Air Tight ATM300 sounds better than the two Linn amps I borrowed 4.5 years ago for a home test. Neither of the Linns had the color and tone richness of the amps I ended up buying. Again, in my opinion.

Linn is not as much of a cult thing as, say, 15-20 years ago as most of the other high end stuff is just as reliable. And I do understand (and from experience with the Linn store in my area) that Linn is extremely reliable.

It's also a bit dry and undynamic sounding (both macro and mirco) but does do that PRAT thing very well. I think this has something to do with type of dynamic presentation. Nothing really pops at you so it's easy to relax and just tap your feet. This opinion does not apply to the high end items which sounded superb with $20,000.00 Sonus Faber speakers at the store. However, you have to admit the CD12 is a bit of an odd bird. I mean, no drawer open/close button? It took two salemen 2-3 tries just to get the drawer open.

I also borrowed two Classe amps for home audition and found them similar to Linn. Not my cup of tea but I can understand fully that it will be for others. I also don't care for Audio Research's house sound and, even though having owned six Conrad Johnson products, find their house sound no longer appealing.

We all should remember that each and every one of us hears and unconsciously listens for different things. This is what causes us to like different products. I have a friend who loves an OTL amp which to my ears sounds lean and edgey. All he hears is "stunning resolution and transparency". He truly loves it, I can't listen for more than 2-3 minutes.
"I have owned many different Amps and Pre Amps ,all but one were better than what I now have
and that is a Kairn Pro two LK140 and an Ikemi player.Much of what I had before cost a lot more."

Rossq: I'm not sure exactly what you are saying here, though your general positive sentiments about Linn are clear. You may have said exactly what you wanted or there may be a small error in language (such as I am prone to).

Are you saying: 1) that your Linn stuff sounds better than all but one amp/preamp combination you have owned and costs less, OR 2) (as it reads) that everything you have owned except one previous thing sounded better than the Linn, but that you are impressed with the value of Linn gear nonetheless?
Newmanoc:Sorry if I was not to clear.It was late and I should have been in bed.Of all the different combos of Amps and Pre Amps owned by me in the last 15 years,only one combination sounded better than the Linn, but the cost was 3 times higher.To be a little more precise,almost all my other gear cost more,proving to me that spending more
will not always mean better sound.I now belive that when you find what sound good to you ,regardless of cost that's
all that matters.And Linn is it for me.
Regards Rossq
A guy I bought a small piece of gear from last year, (a Linn remote, actually) has a story similar to but even more dramatic than those of Rossq and Clmorton. He started out with a Linn system in his youth, and then went all out into the different systems. He spent 70K on one, which he ended up selling in dissatisfaction, and then spent something like 60K on an all YBA system. He recently sold the YBA and bought a Linn system consisting of an Ikemi, a Kairn, and an LK 140 to go with some Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors. Total cost, including the Cremonas, was less than 15 K new. (He also has a maxed out LP 12 worth 10K, but had this with the other systems as well). He is ecstatic with his current system. As he puts it, he has tears in his eyes again when he listens to music - something entirely missing with the other systems.

Now, I do not believe that everyone is going to have this same response to Linn, nor is there anything wrong with your ears if you don't. For instance, if you like tubes, like tomryan, it seems to me you are pretty likely to find the gear unsatisfying. (The "blooming," "liquid" "organic" sound - what ever precisely these last two mean - is just not the Linn scene.) I actually am not sure I will ultimately be satisfied with the limited dynamics of their preamps. But the entry and midrange stuff in their line is really nothing less than remarkable for the money, especially on the used market.
You guys that are members of an audio club really need to borrow a couple of tube preamps to try with an otherwise all Linn system. The increase in speed, clarity, dynamics and resolution is stunning with even a mediocre line stage tube preamp. The preamp I got for a final solution is a Supratek Syrah. They don't come cheap unless one considers the value of the incredible phono stage and has a quality analog front end. Otherwise, some other choice may be equally satisfying and considerably cheaper. I suppose that the tube bloom, etc. is there in the midrange as with any such preamp but the improvements that mean the most to me are highs that seem to go on forever and bass articulation that rivals some of the best I've ever heard. The proper decay of notes is simply amazing. The improvements far exceed the cost of admission here.

I had tried several less expensive preamps and most worked pretty well. The only caution I can express is matching the preamp output voltage to that required by the amps. I did purchase a new preamp, asked the right questions about matching to only find out the output voltage was too low. This particular product had a 30 day money back promise I took advantage of with no heartburn on either side of the transaction.

My eventual purchase of the Syrah had more to do with being done with the search than in poor preformance of other preamps. I really dislike swapping components into my system for evaluation. I'd previously borrowed the Syrah and knew how great a match it was so when it became available I jumped on it. Certainly, if one had the time and only had use for a line stage a much less expensive piece could be found with equal preformance.

To my ears all of the Linn characteristics we love were retained by this change. The improvements were in the areas we all could agree upon. It's a no-brainer for me. It makes your mid level Linn gear sound like the top flight components Linn offers.
Okay,Pat,you win. I am slow on the uptake, but I am finally getting the message. I'll try more tube preamp auditions and then get back to you.
I heartily agree with Lugnut. I tried my first tube pre-amp in 1984 and haven't gone back. Now have a Joule Electra LA150 mkII and it's superb. Makes wonderful music.

I think the Harbeth C7s need a good amount of power, though, and am just today gettin' the itchin' to check out a 100wt tube amp.
I really like Linn gear, too, and have had the Majik, the Karik and the Sekrits, which are fabulous little speakers. What I don't like is that Linn USA won't deal directly with customers on service issues; you have to go through a dealer. Kind of a pain for a used-equipment buyer. Linn's reliability ameliorates that issue, but my Karik did have a problem, and I had to go through my Linn dealer and get a little lecture on buying used equipment.
I love my Axis
I just read this thread and I feel that I have to mention what happened to my Linn Movie Classik.

One night while the system was on standby mode, the screen went dark. The only sign of life was a blinking light on the back inditcating that it was "trasnsmitting"! otherwise nothing.

I took it to a Linn dealer and they sent it off for repair. Two and a half month later I got it back working and had to pay $237 for the reapir. I had it for 3 years and it was not under warrantee.

Linn in Florida was not able to fix it and they sent to Scoltand, they were not able to fix it either and had to replace the main board.

Just a data point in this discussion.
I love Linn gear. I should never have sold my system last year. I will be back again.

My experience is that Linn doesn't have that audiophile sound where you hear every naunce of air and irrelevant detail. Instead the music develops. There is all the detail present without focusing on the exteranious information. The music comes forth. If you are into showing of your chrome high performance engine, fine...but if you want a sleeper street racer that blows away the competition get Linn.

"My experience is that Linn doesn't have that audiophile sound where you hear every naunce of air and irrelevant detail. Instead the music develops. There is all the detail present without focusing on the exteranious information. The music comes forth."

This is a nice comment and I think there is a lot of truth in it. My Ikemi, for instance, does not provide all the detail I heard in an Esoteric DV-50 I brought home to try. But the extra detail in the Esoteric did not add up to a better, more coherent musical message. Perhaps it was just because I was accustomed to the Ikemi, but I found it more involving and more musical.
My owner ship of Linn Karin, Linn Karik and Linn Numeric was under a year. This was in 92-93. These units were broken in over 2 months and the sound was not impressive at all. My dealer had me upgrade to Linn SmartPower Supplies, still disappointing. I compared these to my older Cambrige Audio front end and these at less than half of the price were light years ahead of my Linns. Compared to Sonic Frontier also, no match. From experiances I do not feel that these Linn pcs were anything special. Linn surely fooled me. Perhaps, current products from Linn is much more superior, but there no way I will ever give them a listen. These Linn flagship pcs were dry, flat and lifeless.
I have had the Klimaxx mono blocks for years and was happy. Recently juts having upgraditis so to speak I have auditioned some others including Gryphon Encore, NHB 108, ASR Emitter Exlusive2 and was stunned by what I was missing. A very large improvement in quality. Bass, warmth, macor & micro dynamics, inner detail, transients...still experimenting, but the Linns WILL be gone after this journey.
Henry, of the three amps you auditioned, Gryphon, ASR, Dart,
which did you like best and why?

I ended up ordering the Darts. To be frank I liked them all. Unfortunately no dealer where I live loans equip to audition at home so all of my impressions are by deduction. I have chronicled this on my system thread. In any case, Gryphon had a very fullsome bass. Best of the lot. I didn't know my speakers (the dealer happened to have the same set) could do that! Driving and perhaps a bit of a mid bass bump but very pleasing indeed. Everything else was very good too but top air a tiny bit lacking and a sense of delicacy when required was a not as good as the other two IMO. The ASR had that air thing going to the nth degree and there was a sense of you being transported to there as opposed to muscians being transported to your room. Bass may have been a tad light. Transparent and extremely quiet.

Dart: what can one say: you may have heard many say its the the perfect match btwn tubes and solid state. yes and no. It had a sweetness of tone, remarkable sound stage (ASR too), but when needed bass slammed. very fast and you could hang on to the decays (can't wait to try it with my EMM gear and play some SACDs) in the end, it just made me listen to the music. It may not be the most neutral of all (and indeed the term neutral is used so much that I think its starting to lose its meaning) but I fell in love with it.

But all three were exceptional. I think it comes down to personal tastes. Dart did it for me but you may differ.
I have a pair of Espeks and the Linn 2240 amp playing into them. While this is awesome, I owned the Ninkas with an Anthem entry level amp playing into them. My preamp is an AVM 20 from Anthem. I used a Toshiba DVD player as a digital transport. Once we upgraded the Ninka stands, that system sounded better than anything else for my ears. It wasn't my idea to upgrade, but the wife. Yeah, I'm whipped, that's why the wife gets what she wants.
I listened to a Linn system in a demo room. One thing I look for is a large sound stage and a precise image. With this system, everything sounded like it was coming from just one or two spots, and it sounded compressed. Maybe the speakers were not broken in. Maybe they were not well set up. But I did not bother going back. That store catered to people with more money than passion for music. In fact when I described what I was looking for, the dealer told me to go to Audiogon. How about that!
Classik-Kelidhs I've had and heard better and worse, at different prices. If your idea of musical enjoyment is sitting back in your comfortable spot, with a remote in your hand, this is pretty hard to beat.