Linn -- one generation ago

I've been thinking about setting up another system, and I'm considering trying a complete Linn set-up. While the new Majik stuff interests me, financial (and other) realities would sadly preclude that at present. Can anyone recommend a Linn system -- CDP, preamp, amplifier(s), and speakers -- from a generation earlier that might give a boy a pretty good taste of good, but not top-of-the-line, Linn sound. Should I start with a Genki or Ikemi? And a Kairn or some other pre? Or none of those? And I'm completely flummoxed by Linn speaker choices. I'd be looking for all of this stuff used on Audiogon, hoping to have some fun setting up a completely different system without completely breaking the bank. (I heard a Linn system a while ago that got me thinking about this, in case anyone is wondering about the genesis of this.) Currently running Krell pre and McCormack mono amps and B&
W loudspeakers with Rega sources and Cardas wires. I like what I've got and don't intend to get rid of it, but I'm thinking I could also enjoy a system that might tend to be somewhat more musical -- for lack of a better term. Thanks for any help with this. -- Howard
I can reccomend the Mimik CDP always sounded musical. Any generation
I bought a Genki for my second system running straight into an Audio Research VT-100 Mk III and Rega Naos speakers. I was pleasantly surprised by the sound of the Genki. The build quality is pretty average in my estimation, but everything works. The player was certainly well cared for by the previous owner. I was looking for a Pekin tuner and Wakonda preamp. I also gave some consideration to an all Rega system (Cursa 3, Exon and Radio). Since it is for a second system I am willing to wait until the right opportunity presents itself, but can tell you that the two Linn models I am interested in are not found that often at what I consider good prices. This alone should be an indication that people like these products. Judging on the performance of the Genki alone, I think I know why.

Good luck.
I have always loved the Linn 5140 slim floorstanding speakers--predecessors of the Espek I think. They sound great even without the active cards you can get for them. I often see them used on this site. Also the Ikemi is a phenomenal CD player but even used it's not cheap.
Here's heresy: if I were thinking of setting up a Linn system with older gear today I wouldn't use a Linn player unless it were an Ikemi. I would build an active biamped system using amps made by someone else, preferably tubed, with a pair of Keilidh speakers. Drawback: with the Keilidhs I would need a low listening chair or I would be looking down on the musicians.
Since you are experimenting with a new brand, and you already have a primary system, I would recommend something economical (by Linn standards)to start with in case you aren't overly happy with it. Linn holds its value pretty well on the used market so you can get rid of it at little or no loss if you wish.

I would recommend a Mimik CD player (about $450-$500 on Audiogon). Get a Majik integrated amp (the older Majik, not the new Majik series, about $500-$600 used). For speakers, I will suggest a couple of alternatives. One alternative is monitors. I would suggest either Tukans or Katans (about $500-$600). The other alternative is floorstanders. Fot this alternative, either Keilidhs ($700-$800), or Ninkas ($900-$1200).

Regarding speakers, Linn's philosophy seems to be if you can't do deep bass properly, it's better not to do it all lest it screw up the very important midrange. For this reason, their monitors often strike people as being bass shy. So if you go Tukans/Katans, you may find the sound a bit thin. However, as you play them more, you realize that the bass is there, it's just not artifically boomy, but is more tuneful and balanced with the rest of the musical spectrum. This is characteristic of the Linn sound. Rather than concentrate on a lack of deep bass response, listen to how well the midrange is done for such a relatively inexpensive speaker. You can always add a sub of course. My opinion is that if you find the bass less than what you like, rather than buy a sub, it's better to get the floorstander. I find better integration than with a monitor/sub set-up and there will definitely be deeper bass. Again, however, it will not be overly pronounced. Proper tuneful bass, not boomy bass, is their goal.

After living with this system for a bit, the next step is to go active. Buy the active cards for the speakers you have ($300-$500) and buy either an LK 85 or an LK 140 power amp ($450-$600). Put the active cards in the Majik and the LK amp and you will have a very economical way to hear the difference between a passive and an active system. The ability to upgrade relatively inexpensively to an active system is a tremendous benefit of Linn systems, and from their corporate point of view, it keeps you in their product line.

If you don't like what you're hearing, you can dump it all, as I mentioned, for almost no loss. I don't recommend you get anything "better" (i.e. more expensive) in the Linn line until you're satisfied that you would like to explore Linn further, unless of course you get an exceptional deal.

I think that Tobias' suggestion is a fascinating one. I would be intrigued to hear it myself having owned Linn equipment for close to twenty years now. However, for a newbie to the brand, I think it is a bit too adventurous and wouldn't really sound like a Linn system.

Have fun, and remember one of Linn's sayings: "If it sounds better, it is".
I tried out the Linn Espeks in a home demo, and liked them very much. They can produce huge quantities of bass, and are great fun to listen to - very musical. The key is room placement - they have rear firing woofers, and respond more dramatically to room placement than other speakers I have tried. I ultimately didnt get them because I need to put one close to a corner, and I just got too much of a good thing (bass). But if you're free to move them around the room within reason, check them out!!
The tube amp idea above has merit. A number of years ago, I was considering buying a CD player, and I heard a Linn Mimik CD player, a Linn Majik integrated, and a pair of Linn Sekrit speakers. (At the time, I had an all Linn system, so this was the closest match at the dealer to what I had.) After the demo, I saw a tube amp, and asked about it, and the dealer was kind enough to drop in place of the Majik. Truth be told, the sound with the all Linn system was OK, but the tube amp made a large improvement.

One comment I'll make about buying old Linn equipment is that one should consider issues of long term service. Linn has discontinued support on many older products. The Mimik, for example, was at least partly unsupported the last I heard. In some cases, this may not matter, but if one makes a big investment....

There are also other companies that might be worth looking at. Naim, for example, has a lot of philosophies in common with Linn. Indeed, at one time, there was an informal partnership (Linn LP12 turntable, Linn speakers, and Naim electronics.) Rega also appears to have similiar philosophies.
Having owned Linn for 15 years, and having a classic di in the bedroom and Linn surround in my living room even now, here's what I would do..
Linn Karik/Numeric..i have seen them used as a pair for under 2k, very good pace, very musical, I still have a magic from the old days, and it wasn't close in my opinion.

Linn Kairn... great preamp
LK140s with aktiv modules
Linn Keiledhs... I have actually owned this system, and really really really like it, easy to listen to, transparent, and enough power unless play Tupac for your neighbors.
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Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions. I think I'm going to have some fun with this. -- Howard
I'm aware that my suggestion above is far from a 'pure' Linn system. However I hope it takes advantage of what I see as Linn's two great strengths, as well as keeping to the Linn source-first approach. The two great strengths I mean are their standout source units (sorry, not their lower range) and the way they make it easy to do active bi- and tri-amping.

I'm told that Linn have recently abandoned their support for active configurations. This is too bad IMHO. It makes a system project like the one I describe into a collector's effort, gving it added vintage appeal but also the challenge of maintaining the gear.
Ikemi source
5103 processor/pre (used as a 2-channel pre)
Klout amp
5140 speakers (but upgrade the tweeters to Espek tweeters - TRUST ME ON THIS!!)

Have fun!
I used to own a huge setup, but then had to downsize when I moved to Africa a few years ago. Now I'm back, but I don't want to get rid of my Linn Classik, even to go back to tubes (which I loved). Anyway, I used them with an older pair of Sequerra MET 7.7 mk II monitors. You would not believe what this system can do for being a three piece system. It beats anything I've had before including a vintage Mcintosh 225 tube or my Perreaux 200 per watt amp, certainly my Counterpoint 220SA or my old Mondial stuff. Dick Sequerra still makes the MET 7.7 Mk V for $850 a pair. I hear these are even better than the pair that I own. I cannot recommend this speaker highly enough for use with Linn (cept if you really wnat a full range speaker instead of a monitor/sub combo). Also to fill bass use an ACI force XL sub.