Linn speakers are available in South Africa thanks to Christiaan Beukes of Sphere Custom Design.
I was privileged enough to attend the launch of the new Linn Klimax Exakt speakers on Tuesday evening. With a complete introduction to Linn with technical presentation on Wednesday.
To start with, Linn was founded in 1973 by Ivor Tiefenbrun. Ivor found that the reproduction of vinyls on record players at the time was flawed as the needle was not reading the music from the record at the correct speed. This lead to the design of the Sondek LP12.
The LP12 record player is still in production today, over 41 years later.
With the LP 12 being included in as many as 8% of all Linn audio sales internationally.
Our presentation on Wednesday was given by Gilad Tiefenbrun, Ivor’s son. Gilad has given us some insight into the different parts of Linn’s history. These included highlighting some important points for the Hifi Industry.
- 1973 Launch of the Sondek LP12 Turn Table
- 1979 CD’s were designed
- 1993 Linn introduces its first CD Player
- 2007 Linn Launch Digital Streamers
- 2009 Linn discontinues making CD Players.
In discussions the point came up:
“Consider how bright the future of Vinyl is considering it is one of the last forms of non-digital media that you would really want to buy”.
This is certainly true and while we see the international decline of CD sales in favour of digital downloads. Records are maintaining their sales.
Our main point of discussion on Wednesday was around the implementation and use of Linn DS (digital Streamers) and the amazing resource owned by Linn: Linn Records.
I reference here the Linn Klimax Digtal Streamer.
Fundamentally all music that is reproduced by CD players suffers from many problems. The process involved from the artists voice or instrument to your ear faces many challenges.
This is a typical summary:Musician in Recording Studio -> Microphone -> Mixing Console -> Finalisation of the Music -> Compressed to put onto CD -> CD Player Decoding (Realtime) -> Pre-Amplifier -> Amplifier -> Crossover -> Speaker -> Your Ear.
All process in this chain are analogue.
With Linn DS approach looks more like this:Musician in Recording Studio -> Microphone -> Mixing Console -> Finalisation of the Music -> Digital Stream -> Speaker.
This video describes the process:
With this type of digital stream the audio quality can be far greater as there are no factors negatively influencing the music that you are listening to. The only limit is the speed of the internet connection that is receiving the music from Linn Records. These are available in 24bit Studio Master. The track that is available before it is compressed to fit onto a CD.
The approach is quite simply to input the best possible music source into any Linn speakers.
Some information about Linn DS:
- Over $100 million worth of Digital Streamers sold worldwide to date.
- Within the first 2 years over 1000 units had been sold.
- Originally FLAC and WAV files were supported too. MP3 has never been a priority due to its low audio quality.
- DS caters for analogue inputs too. Not only designed for Digital Stream
These points have dispelled the myth that digital audio files are only for youth and not suitable for HiFi quality sound.
Next we moved onto discussing Linn Multiroom.
All Linn Digital Streamers are network enabled. This means that once the are connected to your home network the sound which you are receiving from Linn Records can be streamed to any room of the house. Linn have however made sure that all of your favourite music can still be enjoyed in multiple rooms, even your records from the Linn Sondek LP12 and any analogue music sources can be encoded to digital and streamed to any room of the house. We even streamed an audio signal from an HDMI input to another zone setup in the experience centre to test the Linn multiroom capabilities.
Linn Multiroom audio has no set limitation, there are installations which feature as many as 20 listening zones. The most important pre-requisite for a Multiroom audio system is the setup of a suitably managed network.
Lastly we spoke about the flagship speakers from Linn: Linn Klimax Exakt.
The Linn Klimax Exakt speakers are completely hand built by one person. From the cabinet manufacturing process through to the crossover assembly. Speaker driver installation, connection to the amplifiers testing and commissioning. One Linn employee is responsible for putting together the matching speakers that make each pair of Linn Klimax Exakt speakers.
It is important to note that Linn Klimax Exakt are available in any colour of your choice. They carry a factory manufacture lead time of four to six weeks. They are airfreighted once they are ready for collection.
Klimax Exakt are fully digital speakers which are linked to their Klimax DSM via a CAT6 cable as they receive data, not analogue audio signal.
The specifications of all driver units are exactly measured during the manufacturing process. Once they are installed into the speaker cabinet this information is programmed into the speakers. In the extremely unlikely event of damage to any of the drive units, the replacement drive units can be installed and the speaker can have the relevant driver information programmed into it. With this in mind if there are any changes to the technology behind the audio reproduction process in the future and Linn deem it suitable to change the amplification process carried out by the Linn Klimax Exakt, these speakers can be reprogrammed according to Linn’s new program. This is carried out by a trained Linn professional.
All Klimax Exakt speakers are programmed to the room in which they are going to be listened to. This process is fairly quick with the correct tools took us about 10 minutes to carry out with the assistance of Rob and Gilad.
The audio correction process could be recognised as being similar to those that are available with many ‘self-calibrating speakers’ but the setup of these speakers takes the mid audio ranges into account too. If required in special circumstances the high range audio reproduction of the speakers can be altered too, if the room has too many hard reflective surfaces that would be detrimental to the audio reproduction of the speakers.
It would be difficult for me to express the quality of sound that I experienced while listening to the Linn Klimax Exakt speakers. I have not heard audio quality like them before. I would encourage everyone to get in contact with me and arrange a listening time for them.
If you have any questions that you would like to ask me about Linn South Africa, please submit it on my Contact Us page or leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer them for you.