Which Linn pre-amp

How are you doing. This is my first post to this forum and I'm going to be upgrading my system here shortly, and I was looking for some opinions. I'm contemplating between the Linn Wakonda and the LK1. I have Linn Kaber II's, and will be adding three Linn LK85 amps to go active. I haven't been able to find much on the LK1 preamp in the way of the sound quality. I am only concerned about 2 channel audio so all the bells and whistles of some of the other pre's dont matter to me. And dont bother responding with other brand preamp suggestions because I'm making my system totally Linn.

thank you, Greg
Iv'e had a Wakonda for a few months now and am impressed overall. I'm strictly a two-channel type as well. I recently spent some time in my dealer comparing the Wakonda to the Kolektor. (I'll fill you in on this comparison even though you asked about the LK-1, with which I have no experience.) The dealer had the following system on hand: Rega P3/RB-300/Rega Exact/Linn Kolektor/Linn LK-140/Linn Ninka passive. My system is similar: Rega Planar 3 with the Rega power supply upgrade/RB-300/Grado Sonata/Linn Wakonda/Linn LK-85/Linn Keilidh passive. While the height, airiness, and expansiveness of the soundstage of the Ninkas (in addition to better-defined mid bass)was a major improvement over that of the Keilidhs, I was struck by a slightly warmer, less well resolved, slighly more 'veiled' sound coming from the dealer set up. I noticed considerably less detail, resolution, and articulation. The Wakonda, therefore, still seems to be a much more revealing and more musical unit than the Kolektor. In my opinion, it is aging well. The caveat to this line of reasoning is the simple fact that the phono pickups were different. But I just can't imagine that many of these detail and resolution problems resulted from the pick-up (I am not too familiar with the Rega Exact's properties versus the Sonata). Because the LK-140 in the dealer system would result in greater punch and resolution compared to my LK-85, and since the turntables and arms were essentially identical, one has to form the tentative conclusion that the Wakonda is still a considerably better unit (versus the Kolektor) when it comes to revealing detail in music. So, I remain pretty impressed with this pre-amp after my listen.

When I installed the Wakonda in my system, however, it did reveal weaknesses in other areas: The Planar 3s lack of rhythm and pace is all too apparent now. Moral? Get a Wakonda. It's a good, revealing pre-amp, especially if you can find a recent model on the used market. But be prepared to address front-end issues later, which may become more obvious as a result. And make sure you get a recent-spec model with the 'Brilliant Slimline' power supply!
I appreciate your response, I am leaning towards the Wakonda from the get go for a couple of reasons. First I have auditioned the Wakonda and was very impressed at the performance fo the price, and second I like the fact that it used RCA inputs instead of the XLR to RCA cables used on the LK1. I was considering the LK1 because the price on those units is very cheap right now, and just because something is older doesn't mean it isn't great. If I buy an LK1 I may be able to upgrade my amps to LK140's.

My first Linn experience (which is all it took to make me a Linnite) ocurred in Las Vegas. I auditioned a Conrad Johnson Art amp and preamp with a CJ CD player through Wilson Watt/Puppies, head to head with a complete Linn system, Linn Mimik, Linn Klout amps (3), Linn Kairn pre, driving a pair of aktiv Kabers. Where the CJ/Wilson system had more low end punch and definition the midrange and treble of the Linns blew the other system away, and did it at a considerably less price point. I left there with the Kabers and have been working on building myself a complete Linn aktiv system. Just remember one thing, "if it's not Scottish, it's crap!"
I haven't heard the Wakonda, but I've had an LK1 for about 13 years, and I am still happy with it. I upgraded it in '91 with the outboard power supply (the Dirak), and it hasn't missed a beat. Same for my LK2, upgraded to 280. It's also been on for most of that time, and now plays about 20 hours a week in my multiroom rig. My point is just that these things are sooooo cheap that they are off the scale in value. This is not an easy choice. Upgraded amps are nice, but are they worth it in a tri-amped active system? I'm sure you would be happy with a Wakonda, which is a likely successor to the LK1 in my own system, when the time comes. But I'm not replacing my LK1 until it expires! In your place, I would likely go with the 140's and the best quality LK1/Dirak I could find. I might even go with the 85's and spend the savings on software. BTW, John Atkinson reviewed the LK1/LK280 in Stereophile in '89.
Buy a Kairn with the Brilliant power supply. It is still their best sounding stand alone preamp. Kairns can be had in the $1K range. Linn Kicks Butt! Best system I ever heard was a fully active Kairn/Quad Klout/Keltik system...it was breathtaking. I get in about 1 Kairn a month and they never last long!

The Sound Broker
Oxnard CA
My opinion is that the latest incarnation of the Kolektor is ahead of the Wakonda. If you strictly use the tune-dem method for comparison, you will come to the same conclusion.

But I can recommend Wakonda if you are using a record player, since it has a better phono-stage than the Kolektor.

Kevin, have you heard the Komri yet? I heard it this weekend. Ikemi/av5103/2xKlimax/Komri
and THAT was the best system I have ever heard. I was completely blown away. Btw, you are right about the Kairn is a good pre-amp. It is a lot better than the Wakonda/Kolektor but it is also in a different price range.

This was my 5 cent worth.
I wouldn't put an LK1 into a decent Linn system. I had one for a few years and wasn't terribly impressed with it compared to many other preamps I reviewed later on. The LK85s are much better amps than the LK1 is a preamp.

I ended up getting a used Kairn and was quite pleased with it, although I eventually went to a BAT VK-5i which was an incredible step up! The LK's are great little amps but they really need a good preamp before they shine.