Review: Linn Tukan Monitor

Category: Speakers

Let me being by stating my predilections. I like resolution of tonal texture and the accessibility of a tune much more than finding the particular location of the violinist with the sniffles. I listen to music constantly, and while moving around the house. Though I have an equilatral triangle set-up, with a listening chair at one corner, I am not often confined to that chair. That said, let me begin to unload my impressions.
The Tukans were my "first love" of high-end audio. I auditioned many B&W spkrs, Sonus Fabers, etc. and was unimpressed. However, on hearing the Tukans mated with a hi-capped Naim Nait 3 and CD3.5, I was sold on the magical presence these spkrs have. I bought a pair in cherry, and upgraded extensively around them.
I listened to these speakers for a couple of years with a variety of equipment, and came to know their particular sound well. They have been criticized for being bright. However, when mated with high-quality electronics, I found that this was not the case. In fact, the Tukans had a sophisticated and delicate treble quality which is only bested by such mighty tweeters as those in the B&W Nautilus 805, and other more expensive top-shelf speaks. They were no more forward than the supposedly "dark" Sound Dynamics RTS-3 with any amp/pre combo I used. The midrange, especially the lower and middle mid range was very very good. It was not utterly neutral, but very rich and sweet. In the upper mid-range, at the crossover point, the spkrs bothered me. They were "peaky" and harsh in these frequencies, even edgy. I think this may be the "brightness" some complain of. It bothered me enough to be the reason I sold them. This quality is probably eliminated by the active crossovers available for these speakers, but I didn't want to spend that money. In the mid-bass and bass, these speakers are world class. They are the epitome of punchy and rhythmic, qualities contributing to their reputation for musicality, I'm sure. The kick of a kick drum was heavy and fast enough to be life-like. The speakers were able to handle power fairly well, though the sound began to harden and become edgy at loud volume.
I listened to these speakers with everything from Radiohead to Rutter's Requiem to Miles' Kind of Blue. They took on all types of music with equal aplomb. Horns were brassy, and cymbals were shimmery. Plucked bass was tight, not rubbery or muffled. Especially when mated w/Naim control, the music was involving. Dynamics were decent, and the Naim gear did best with these speakers in that area. But the crossover problem amounted to dynamic distortion, and discouraged realistic listening levels.
In sum, these speakers are very good, but not the best. Speakers I have heard which in my opinion best them include: Thiel CS2.3s, Sound Dynamics RTS-3s. I haven't heard many fat-cat rigs, however. A speaker that surprisingly did not best them overall was the B&W Nautilus 802. I don't think that the voicing of B&Ws is "true" to my ear.

Associated gear
Linn Genki CD-player, CEC 2100 CD-player, Proceed AMP2, Adcom GFA-5300, Naim NAP 140, Music Reference RMA-9, Pass Labs Aleph 3, Bottlehead Foreplay Pre, Naim NAC 32.5 (72'd), Naim Nait 3, Musical Fidelity XA-1.

Similar products
Swans M1, Thiel CS2.3
the tukans are excellent for used equipment bought under 400 dollars, they can't be beat, used with linn majik or naim equip. or with a classik linn it's musical expecially with stands like sound organization...filled with sand..etc. look there's a lot out there,all very good in the high end zone, but for the money they rock, i used them with a classik and at one time linn k100amp,mimik cd, then upgraded to upper level linn speakers , the unit with cards bought in the used field, active they rock rock rock, but they are best with jazz , lower levels are best, i;ve been a rocker , now jazz, and have been around high end 30 years, for speaker of this size, the tukans and nexus by linn are superb
A couple of questions for Tukan users:

1) Are they well suited for wall mounting?

2) How would they fare with a mid-fi (Denon) low power SS amp (40 wpc)? That is, relative to other well made monitors?
Hi There,

The Tukans are actually very well suited for wall mounting and Linn makes hardware to do so called "Brakits". They are about $150 new. Tukans are also quite forgiving of placement.

As for the lower powered amp: may not be a good idea due to the relative inefficiency of the speaker (87db@1w I beleive). Good luck with it!
I used these speakers with two amps rated at less than 50 watts, and achieved good results. The Pass Aleph 3 is a 30 w single-ended solid-state amp. And the Nait 3 is a 30w intergrated. I did not miss the extra power. These spkrs are more efficient than they are rated, I believe.

Has anyone used these spkrs active? If so, could you shed some light on what change this makes in the sound?
Sorry to digress slightly, but I once fell in love with the original Kan, used with a Linn turntable and a Naim Nait. Not super high end obviously, but just very musical and fatigue free.

Ever since, I keep my eyes open for a reasonably priced used pair for the bedroom, office etc.

Is the original Kan a cult favourite?

Or should I just forget about it and find a pair of Tukans?
I think that the original Kan is a cult favorite. I seem to recall reading a favorable "in retrospect" review within the last few years. Certainly, the resale value is pretty good for an old speaker. I'd say that if you like it, go ahead and get a pair.
There is a review of the Kan II posted at My impression is that the Tukan is generally agreed to be better all around than the Kan, though I have never heard Kans for myself. Older Naim gear is reputed to be designed around the Kan spkrs.
I owned a pair of original Kans in the 80s until I upgraded to Linn Saras. The Kans were terrific with Naim amplification, although bass light, even against a wall.

I now have two pairs of Tukans - and [for the money] - I believe they give much better all round results, and would wholeheartedly recommend them [except if you have a room the size of a barn etc]. Currently, I'm using a pair as a second system with a Linn Classik - and I can't think of a better value for money combination.

Sure - you can spend lots more - but these speakers are just great!
I have a couple of pairs of Tukans, too. One pair is hooked to an NAD L40 in my basement bedroom where they sound impressive. The other pair I use with an NAD C740 receiver and an older Velodyne 10" powered subwoofer...but somehow this setup is not as satisfying as the NADL40/Tukan combo, and to top that off, I restored a pair of Advent Loudspeakers with new woofer suspensions and new tweeters from Layne Audio, and I think the Advents really whip the Tukans, which sound distant, dull and far away. The Advents have much more musical impact. So I may sell the Tukans. They're in lovely shape and I can't believe that I'd part with them in favor of old and less exotic Advents, but I have to trust my ears.
Tukan "active": I heard a pair at a friends, vs. passive Tukans (another pair, of course). The sound was by far more liquid and less harsh and dry at louder volumes (Stephen refers to these aspects in his review). I remember the upper mids remaining pronounced but more "forgiving" to the ear. This was with all Linn gear, using a Karik/numerik front end/ Kairn/ {Klout}.
I'm confused about the "active" I heard: was it a bi-amp of sorts or bog-standard active... I don't remember.