by Mohammed Samji
Definitive Audio in Seattle, WA.
I love when audiophiles place their prized audio gear in a shared space, somewhere that music can be experienced by everyone in the family.
The challenge with shared spaces is…space. The crux of the Linn room was to demonstrate you can have great sound, even when your family needs to have you push those speakers out of the way, back against the wall, far from their ideal position to produce great sound.
Linn, based in Glasgow, Scotland has been around since 1973. Everything from Linn is designed, developed and manufactured in Glasgow. Although best known for the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable launched over 40 years ago, and still in production, Linn has made large investments in Computer and Software Engineering since the early 2000’s. In fact, they were one of the first high end audio manufactures to stop producing a CD player in 2009.
Linn CTO Keith Robertson demonstrated the Linn Series 5 – 530 speakers connected to the Linn Akurate Exakt DSM source. Keith explained that the goal of this system was to marry great audio + form factor + handle non-optimal speaker placements.
The demo showcased the Linn Series 5 – 530 speakers in their ideal position in the room (in that spot that would be in the line of fire of my son’s soccer ball). Next, the speakers were moved to a sub-optimal position, up against the back wall. But using some processing in the Exakt DSM Source, Keith was able to reproduce the performance from the optimal position. I was impressed how close to the same sound there was between the two positions.
Way back in the 80s (1980s, not 1880s), a gentleman named Neil Levinson was the audiophile reviewer at Fanfare classical music review quarterly (looked like a fine print Bible). Niel much preferred Linn’s LP12 TT over the then-popular Sota TT, which Neil said had audible wow & flutter. Around that time I owned several Sota TTs. Based on Neil’s reviews and conversation with him at CES, I purchased an LP12 and enjoyed it very much.
IIRC, Linn loudly recommended to never play the LP12 on anything approaching a high mass shelf or platform. I further recall Linn preferring Target’s wall-mounted shelf (mine collects dust in the office).
It’s interesting to see how much things have changed, with Linn demonstrating their LP12 on a platform of such high mass in the image above.