linn speaker ninka- active vs passive

i recently heard (equals blown away) a friend's linn system with the ninka speakers in passive mode. now i must have a linn system. the bass seemed a little thin for me. what do people recommend- ninka with active to extend the bass or a different speaker entirely?

i am a semi-professional classical musician and not an official audiophile so please keep it simple! :) thanks!


I'd go Aktiv, as Linn spells it. If you would like an all Linn Aktiv system there is one currently for sale here for $2500. It's a Keilidh/three LK100 Aktiv setup. I have this same system with a good tube preamp and it's killer for the money. Flat to 40 cycles. Many people prefer the Keilidh's to the Ninka's. I have no compelling reason to upgrade. I have no affiliation with the seller. I just thought I'd point out a pretty good buy assuming all the cables and interconnects are included. The same amps/Aktiv crossovers are used with the Ninka's if you'd like to upgrade the speakers later.
I must agree, at least partially with Lugnut. Linn is onto something with the active systems, they are cumbersome, and difficult to rewire and move…should you need to, but the sound quality is there.

I run the 5140B’s for fronts and surrounds, and a 5120B for center, as well as a 5150 sub. FWIW I have always found them (5140’s) to have much better bass than the Ninka’s, which seemed to me to be a step down in the line. I am not sure if you need 2 or 3 amps to go active with the Ninkas, but would be inclined to go with the extra amp and buy the 5140b’s, or even the older 5140’s (difference is newer tweeter and better reinforcement of the case). As far as the Kelidhs, they are OK, but I would get the 5140’s as they seem to show up for ~$1100 and are far superior. I even prefer the 5140’s passive to the Kelidhs active…. But go active with the 5140’s and you are in a whole new arena!

Now if you want to go to Keltics……. Up the ante a bunch!
I'd definitely recommend going aktiv - I have a Linn system with Katans and recently went aktiv with a 5125 amp. The difference was surprising all round - better bass, mids and treble, with more detailed and precise imaging. I'd never have believed the tiny Katans could produce the sound the way they now do, and disappear so completely.
Aktiv is the way to go with Linn. Your comments about the Linn sounding thin on the bass the first time you heard them is the same experience I had. However, once I played material with strong bass lines, specifically listening for it, I found that Linn had lots of tight and tuneful bass. I would suggest that what you perceive as being thin bass might in fact be more accurate bass, and balanced with the rest of the spectrum. One of Linn's guiding principles is pitch accurate reproduction. And nothing screws up the magical midrange like tubby, thumpy bass that isn't accurately reproduced, especially by uncontrolled woofers. This is why active can make a big improvement. As part of the elimination of the speaker's crossover, you get better driver control. I can't wait to go active with my Ninkas.
update: installed my aktiv cards yesterday for my LK140/ninka combo and immediately heard the difference. now the bass is effortless, but more interestingly, the whole sound is a little different. almost like they are different speakers. this isnt bad, just different.

Markphd, i realized your reasoning about the 'thumpy' vs accurate' bass is correct- and it really depends on the source material. classical and jazz the bass sounds great but modern pop sound seems to be mixed for boom-box sound.

thanks everyone for the advice!


Wait for ~200 hours until the cards burn in (they seem to take a long time) They will sound much closer to the original sound with far more defined bass and clearer highs.