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RMAF 2016: Linn Klimax LP12, Lejonklou amplification and JBL blow my doors off

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Bow down to the pitch machine: Linn LP12 Sondek Klimax.

Sometimes you hear something, or see something, and you’re instantly intrigued – like a good mystery novel. A switch is flipped in your mind, and once flipped, you can’t just turn it off. So it was in Denver as I walked past the Nokturne Audio room. The beautiful Chris Harban-plinthed Linn LP12 immediately caught my eye, and I did an about-face, darted into the room, and sat down as Nokturne’s Thomas O’Keefe was discussing his custom LP12 stand (Noktable $599 USD).

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That stylus needs to be cleaned…

That’s when I noticed the Ekos SE tonearm, and Kandid LOMC cartridge, Radikal DC power supply, and I realized this was probably a full Klimax-level LP12. I was informed it was indeed the $24,000 USD Sondek flagship… that’s when the plot thickened. My eyes started looking around the room at the racks overflowing with simple-looking black boxes, and the catchy blue, and white speakers that were shoved right back against the wall… interesting. In the middle of this I realized my whole body was moving to the music: always a dead giveaway that something genuinely musical was taking place, because I don’t move around much when listening to systems at shows. “Dun-dun DUN!”

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Boazu integrated amplifier by Lejonklou ($4,199 USD, available late October).

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Rocky Mountain Audio Fest coverage brought to you by Noble Audio.

 

The black boxes taking up all the rack space belonged to Fredrik Lejonklou, an audio engineer, and designer who hails from Uppsala, Sweden. He had a number of  pre-amplifiers (Sagatun Stereo $4,950 USD, and Mono $4,950 USD each),  power amplifiers (Tundra Stereo $4,490, and Mono $4,950 each), and two phono stages on display (Slipsik $1,495, and Gaio $895 USD). I didn’t get to hear the phono stages because the LP12, being a Klimax version was fitted with the Urika MC stage mounted internally to the suspended base. The sound being passed along from the Linn through the Lejonklou gear was amazingly powerful, deep, had spot-on tone, and timbre to strings, and horns, and the JBL two-ways were pressurizing the room with absolute authority.  No boominess, no flab, just gobs of tuneful, tight bass that wasn’t overwhelming the highs or mids at all, just a gorgeous, balanced, harmonic registration to the ears. As impressed as I was with Lejonklou’s amplification, and how it got right out of the way of what the LP12 was peeling out from the vinyl groove, it was the simple JBL 3677 horn-throated speakers on stands pushed against the wall that I found was piquing my interest the most once I had gotten over the initial visual impact of the Linn, and pretty symmetry of the hi-fi’s presentation on the simple, yet elegant Harmoni Racks.

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Thomas O’Keefe unveils the JBL 3677 two-way Screen Channel System speakers ($883 USD each).

I’m a big fan of simple, two-way speakers., especially ones that can be shoved in corners, or up against walls so they are not only out of the way, but using room-boundary reinforcement to add life-like scale, and timbre to instruments, and voices. The fact that these little JBLs sounded so damn good, and so damn big, was not the main thing about them which was zapping my brain. It was the price. $883 per speaker. $883 USD… just let that sink in for a moment. These little 99 dB efficient, eight Ohm beauties (little, but not light – they come in at 85 lbs each) are rated from 40Hz to 20 KHz.

award-sighting-smWith a 1.75 in pure titanium diaphragm compression driver handling high frequencies, and 15-inch mid/bass driver handling the bottom end, and fitted with custom Anders Erling stands (contact Nokturne to pre-order), these little cinema-based transducers absolutely floored me with their ability to communicate the raw emotional conviction of great music. Although they may be designed for use in movie theaters, their supreme high-efficiency opens them up to use with low-powered SET tube amplification, so I could see these working incredibly well in my home apartment… or perhaps yours?

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You know you want to try them…

 

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About Rafe Arnott (325 Articles)

Editor and Creative Director for Part-Time Audiophile & The Occasional Magazine.

4 Comments on RMAF 2016: Linn Klimax LP12, Lejonklou amplification and JBL blow my doors off

  1. Have you had an opportunity to hear the JBL 4722? https://www.jblpro.com/ProductAttachments/SS4722_0509.pdf
    Thread at AVSForum: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1925586-just-purchased-pair-jbl-4722n-speakers.html
    Keep up the good writings!
    Kind regards, Mitch

  2. I just heard that (with smaller speakers) in London Windsor show and I thought that Lejonklou offers fantastic sound.

  3. Stevenarrow // October 29, 2016 at 2:43 PM //

    Reminds me a a Cornwall.

  4. Now THAT is an extremely new and interesting implementation of one of the oldest speaker architectures (2-way horn-loaded compression driver + large high-sensitivity mid bass).

    It reminds me of a Klipsch corner horn moved to the more classic L/R positions, but kept flush w/the front wall, and of course tossing the triangle foot print because it no longer served its original purpose.

    The boundary (front wall) proximity increases bass output to significant degree. I wonder if he tried sealing the enclosure, which tends to mimic the inverse of boundary effects in this application.

    The thing that makes no sense at all is 85 lbs for $833/ea. I nominate this for all time record holder for lowest cost per pound, high end speaker category.

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