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Linn Akurate 242’s - my first impressions in 2020


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I’ve tried Keilidhs, Ninkas, Centrik 1’s, Kann II’s and Kabers in multiple configurations and created a rather long thread on the Ninkas as I so thought they would out do my Kabers. I ended up selling

Many moons ago, I was very fortunate to have Murray Smith (from Linn Products, LTD) march an old friend (who I believe was actually the second ever Linn dealer) and I through all the technical changes

I appreciate you didn’t direct the question at me, David, but I’ll offer a comment or two if I may. My Linn power amp history has been, over twenty-seven years, the following:- 3 x LK100s +

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Edited by Eldarboy
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2 minutes ago, Eldarboy said:

It seems that Linn speakers preform much better with amplifiers one step up from their class. The AV5140s I had did not sound really good until I had the new Akurate amps on them. They were clearly wanting with LK140s. I know that they were also designed to pair with AV5105: a substantial beast that for some reason gets little respect and seems to have few fans. When listening to the 242s, you can tell that a more powerful amp would make them really sing.

My guess is that this is likely the case for every speaker made by every manufacturer.

I believe the legacy issue with the 5105 was a capacitor fault issue that Linn recalled. This stained the rep of the AV5105. So as a used product, unless the seller has documentation, you never know what you are getting. 

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45 minutes ago, arm said:

I believe the legacy issue with the 5105 was a capacitor fault issue that Linn recalled. This stained the rep of the AV5105. So as a used product, unless the seller has documentation, you never know what you are getting. 

I think something similar happened with the Melodik sub, or its precursor. If it's been updated there should be a sticker underneath as I recall - an email to the helpline with the serial should say for sure.

Mick

Edited by MickC
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3 hours ago, HH2010 said:

Plus the Solos are not just the bigger amp but do add a Solo specific special quality. If you like that quality it's hard to live without again.

Would you care (I know it's difficult) to describe that "special quality" in more detail? That would be helpful to those of us who have not had but would like the opportunity to hear the Solo.

3 hours ago, HH2010 said:

If I were forced to go back from Klimax Source and Amp to Akurate level I would not hesitate to change from 242s back to 140s to get into tune again.

That's an interesting statement of the value of balance in a system (about which I agree in principle with you), and very understandable given the specification of your system. I'd offer a couple of points.

Firstly, as previously discussed, "Klimax amplification" is not one thing. The Solo and the Twin are chalk and cheese. I'd guess that you comment would apply nearly as much to the Twin as to the Akurate amps.

Secondly, you don't mention either Exakt or Katalyst. I'm the last person to think that newer is always better, but I believe that Exakt and Katalyst have had a disruptive effect within the Linn range, in that, in their different ways, they have had the effect of narrowing the performance gap between the Akurate and the Klimax ranges, and so to call even more into question the eye-watering price differential between them. In the specific case of amplifiers in an Exakt system, the combination of "per driver" amplification and the removal of the power-sapping and distortion inducing passive crossover greatly reduces the amplifier workload, which is of particular benefit for the Chakra topology, because it means that more of the amplification is done by the more accurate monolithic IC "cores". I have heard my Akubariks driven passively by a Twin and now have them Exakt with Akurate amplification, and have no doubt which of the two is more easy, pleasant and natural to listen to. What would my system sound like with ten Solos in place pf the Akurate amps? Dream on, David!

David

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38 minutes ago, DavidHB said:

Would you care (I know it's difficult) to describe that "special quality" in more detail? That would be helpful to those of us who have not had but would like the opportunity to hear the Solo.

That's an interesting statement of the value of balance in a system (about which I agree in principle with you), and very understandable given the specification of your system. I'd offer a couple of points.

Firstly, as previously discussed, "Klimax amplification" is not one thing. The Solo and the Twin are chalk and cheese. I'd guess that you comment would apply nearly as much to the Twin as to the Akurate amps.

Secondly, you don't mention either Exakt or Katalyst. I'm the last person to think that newer is always better, but I believe that Exakt and Katalyst have had a disruptive effect within the Linn range, in that, in their different ways, they have had the effect of narrowing the performance gap between the Akurate and the Klimax ranges, and so to call even more into question the eye-watering price differential between them. In the specific case of amplifiers in an Exakt system, the combination of "per driver" amplification and the removal of the power-sapping and distortion inducing passive crossover greatly reduces the amplifier workload, which is of particular benefit for the Chakra topology, because it means that more of the amplification is done by the more accurate monolithic IC "cores". I have heard my Akubariks driven passively by a Twin and now have them Exakt with Akurate amplification, and have no doubt which of the two is more easy, pleasant and natural to listen to. What would my system sound like with ten Solos in place pf the Akurate amps? Dream on, David!

David

I have visited a home in the UK twice, that had Komris driven by a full complement of Solos. It was a beautiful home with a very large listening room.

What should have been one of the best Linn systems I had heard was very disappointing.

It had a difficult room arrangement, with no full height wall behind the right speaker, having stairs to an elevated dining room, and the left speaker was on the other side of a big fireplace. There was also a large glass patio door that made up much of the left wall.

There was only SOv1 available at the time, but I could not get it to sound its best, with the limited time we had on each visit

I would love to revisit the home again with SOv2 and see if we could make some progress.

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6 hours ago, DavidHB said:

Would you care (I know it's difficult) to describe that "special quality" in more detail? That would be helpful to those of us who have not had but would like the opportunity to hear the Solo.

David

I appreciate you didn’t direct the question at me, David, but I’ll offer a comment or two if I may.

My Linn power amp history has been, over twenty-seven years, the following:-

3 x LK100s + aktiv Kabers

2 x 5125s + aktiv Kabers

3 x 2250s + aktiv Kabers then Espeks

Twin + passive Espeks

Solo + passive Espeks then Akubariks

Each step has been an improvement to my dusty old ears, but the last is the best and, I think, the most important. Solos bring a natural quality, a rightness, to the music. It’s hard to describe the effect, but I’d say it’s a little like the difference between a track heard on a good streaming system and the same music played on an LP12. It’s not magic, and it’s entirely possible that there are other manufacturers’ amps out there that would have a similar effect but these hit the spot for me. There’s also a sense of great control and ease when playing music.
They’re easily the best amps I’ve heard, and they’re no slouches in the looks department either. I never thought I’d move back to passive from aktiv but I did so with the Twin, which had some plusses over aktiv but some drawbacks too - however, Solos have removed any lingering concerns about going ‘backwards’, so far as technology is concerned.

Maybe exakt would bring an improvement - it’s quite possible it would - but I’m happy enough here that I don’t feel the slightest interest in investigating that path, and I’m more than happy to keep things as they are and just enjoy the music.

My two pence/cents.

Mick

Edited by MickC
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38 minutes ago, MickC said:

I appreciate you didn’t direct the question at me, David, but I’ll offer a comment or two if I may.

I'm grateful for your considered thoughts.

39 minutes ago, MickC said:

Maybe exakt would bring an improvement - it’s quite possible it would - but I’m happy enough here that I don’t feel the slightest interest in investigating that path, and I’m more than happy to keep things as they are and just enjoy the music.

There's no reason for you to be unhappy with what you have, and it would be foolish and discourteous of me to try to persuade you otherwise. But, for the reasons I gave in my previous post, you might be interested to listen to a pair of (formerly) passive Akubariks driven by Akurate Exakt electronics. In fact, if Never Never Land ever finds itself transported to the Isle of Wight, I'd be very happy for you to listen to my system, both streaming and using the LP12 as a source. It is plain stupid to discuss which system is "best", but I think I could persuade you that I am getting the same kind of benefit from my system as you are getting from yours. Which should not surprise us, given that we probably paid similar sums of money overall for what we have.

David

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A gentleman from the Facebook page is running 242’s with the following

KSH

2 x KEB

6 solos on the 3k array

4200 - on the woofers.

His description is as follows:

“242 are is not mediocre but excellent speakers.

In passive mode needs excellent amps to sing, at least one 2200 or one twin. With two solos they sounds sublime. Obviously exakt is a game changer but with any speakers tough... better are the speakers in passive mode, better they are in analogue aktiv or even better in exakt.

I’ve tried 242 in all configurations.

Passive with 2200: good

Passive with two solos: excellent

Aktiv (analog xover cards) with two 4200 and one 2200: slightly better than passive with solos

Exakt with aeb 10 and akurate amps: better of all above

Exakt with two keb and akurate amps: astonishing

With my actual configuration two keb six solo on pods and one 4200 on the woofers. This is best system I owned and listened in 40 years of my hifi life... period

Now looking for two other pairs of solo...

Sorry for the bad english but hope this helps everyone...”

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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It just occurred to me he maybe @N.L.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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11 hours ago, DavidHB said:

In fact, if Never Never Land ever finds itself transported to the Isle of Wight, I'd be very happy for you to listen to my system, both streaming and using the LP12 as a source. It is plain stupid to discuss which system is "best", but I think I could persuade you that I am getting the same kind of benefit from my system as you are getting from yours. Which should not surprise us, given that we probably paid similar sums of money overall for what we have.

David

That's a very kind offer David - thank you. Never Never Land is, in fact, Surrey (in this instance, anyway - maybe not as intended by Barrie though!). I've not visited your island since I was a child, and have often considered a return. If we do so I may well take you up on your offer.

Mick

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On 22/08/2020 at 15:51, DavidHB said:

Would you care (I know it's difficult) to describe that "special quality" in more detail? That would be helpful to those of us who have not had but would like the opportunity to hear the Solo.

MickC did an excellent job to find some words.

But in the end no words can replace listening. Any time I had an upgrade in mind I went to my trusted dealer and he arranged for a significant listening session. Example: I had a Klimax Kontrol without dynamic and double mono upgrade and was interested in an upgraded KK/1. He lent that one to me and advised me to take a factory full blown KK/2 home too to have a proper listening.

What I'm trying to say: If you have the need to listen to solos you should arrage somehow to do so. After all even 2nd hand and non dynamic: 4k is a lot of money that you should not invest without proper listening.

Quote

Firstly, as previously discussed, "Klimax amplification" is not one thing. The Solo and the Twin are chalk and cheese. I'd guess that you comment would apply nearly as much to the Twin as to the Akurate amps.

Yes you are right. I just wanted to keep the statement short. Kontrol/0 and e.g. non-dynamic Twin are an excellent couple to drive a 140. Had it for some years. Changing to 242s with that setup is not a good idea.

Quote

Secondly, you don't mention either Exakt or Katalyst.

As soon as somebody will have presented an Exakt system to me that is able to deliver the majic and souldfullness of a well tuned analogue Linn system I will.

We had that discussion somewhere else and it's off topic here: I listened to the last spec full blown Exakt/Katalyst/Solo/Klimax(350) at Linn's and at my elite dealer's. Very different rooms. Same performance and sound characteristics, which prooves the ability to correct for room issues strkingly. But sorry to say: No magic. No connection to the soul of the artists. Just some expensive hifi. I'm not spending this amount of money to have some impressive noises and sounds in my room but to have an emotional exchange with the artists about things nobody can speak of. This motivation seemed to bee the core of Linn philosophy for decades. But somehow they lost it and the Solos are maybe the pinnacle technology of that philosophy. With that we finally might have kind of an answer to the first question. ;-)
I know that mine is a maybe extreme position and that most people are happy with the new stuff. I'm not. That's the reason for having added a "tune exile" to my profile.

Back to the 242s. It's a bitch. It shows every fault and misconception of the system. Best would be to live with the planned system for about two weeks at home and watch yourself and your degree of happyness carefully.

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On 21/08/2020 at 14:48, zee9 said:

Someone mentioned that two solos outdo an all aktiv akurate Setup. Is that true? I find that very very hard to believe.

For what it's worth, I've heard this many times, but I don't believe it. Until I hear both setups in a blind ABX test, I'm putting it down to confirmation bias.

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Believe it, Solo makes all other Linn amps sound broken.  Like comparing digital to analogue,  effortless and natural. 

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2 minutes ago, 9designs said:

Believe it, Solo makes all other Linn amps sound broken.  Like comparing digital to analogue,  effortless and natural. 

I believe solos would make my bank account look broke too. That said, I would go this route if I had solo money.  Would 8 solos on a pair of M140s exaktd be overkill ;) 

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