Review: Linn Tukan Monitor
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.
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.
Swans M1, Thiel CS2.3