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Linn Akurate 242’s - my first impressions in 2020


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I guess the expression “your mileage may vary” does hold true in this game. Just yesterday I was reading a US based audio forum thread from a guy who just dumped his Linn Klimax Solo system and was looking for new suggestions as he did not like the sound with his Focal speakers...

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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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19 hours ago, arm said:

Would 8 solos on a pair of M140s exaktd be overkill ;) 

Not sure it would be very good. I have a friend, who tried passive quad-amping of the 140's with 8 Solos as a stop-gap solution, while his Komris were fixed. He preferred them with one pair of Solos.

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On 22/08/2020 at 21:33, MickC said:

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

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 Linn had made between the KDS and KDS/1 (which were very cool to contemplate, and after which, I soon upgraded my own KDS to KDS/1). We had a great fun day as we were also one of the first folks to hear the prototype Majik Isobarik speakers (fed actively; Klimax front end and actively driven by 4200s, from memory) and Phil apologised for not playing them any louder as at that time, they were the only set of Misobariks in existence and thus he was [understandably] mildly reluctant to risk 'torching' the drive units. :-) They did sound pretty darned good, but I later returned to the room with the Solo and 350 system and to me, by comparison that system sounded utterly awesme (tap your foot city). When I got home, I played a few tunes on my own KDS, KK & 350A system and though it sounded okay, the system was a long, long way musically shyof that Solo + 350P system which I'd heard in LP LTD's stealth-works  demo room. So, not long after that I'd updated my KDS and KK (inc a pair Dynamiks) and though it was indeed a tad better, to me it was blindingly obvious that still fell a long way short of that Solo+350A system I'd heard at LP LTD,  but, having heard what was possible to achieve with a 'Klimax and 350 based' system (and thus now have a musical 'benchmark' in my mind), I then spent a [very] long time tweaking my own 350As (mostly in terms of their positions) and finally, I did achieve most of the musicality that I'd enjoyed hearing that Solo based system exhibiting when visiting LP LTD (result)!

I do recall debates on all this  stuff back in the Linn forum days and even Phil Budd chipping in that on a great active system, analogue synths were astonishing, and yes, I totally get that and fully agree with his comments; on some albums, the analogue synths on 350As produce sounds that are so cool that I'd describe them as being almost 'tangible' (you can almost reach out and touch them, if you know what I mean) and indeed I am very happy (and jolly darned lucky) to own a system that can do just that, but that all said, hearing some cool jazz on a Solo + 350P system was a musically wonderful experience that I'll never quite forget (er, hang on, what was I just talking about just a moment or so ago? :P ) so it is an interesting debate on what is the 'better' of the two system concepts. Given what I've heard over the years, I suspect that if I were starting from zero, I'd maybe consider going for a pair of Solos and passive 350s, but that said, given the sort of music I tend to listen to, I also suspect that I've made the correct choice in going for active 350s (and doing some nifty 345 sub and DSP trickery) but it's probably a close call; swings and roundabouts, perhaps?

Anyhow, the point of this is that yes, I reckon the Solo is a pretty darned special sounding device and indeed, it is orders of magnitude musically better than the so-called 'Akurate' range (and I'd include the Twin in that category) so it does occasionally make me wonder whether I should 'revert' to passive 350s and a pair of nice Solo amps (then I crack open a bottle of Grand Cru, whack on something like Portishead in pretty loudish type proportions and entirely forget what I was pondering changing with my system)!

B :D

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3 hours ago, Briain said:

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 Linn had made between the KDS and KDS/1 (which were very cool to contemplate, and after which, I soon upgraded my own KDS to KDS/1). We had a great fun day as we were also one of the first folks to hear the prototype Majik Isobarik speakers (fed actively; Klimax front end and actively driven by 4200s, from memory) and Phil apologised for not playing them any louder as at that time, they were the only set of Misobariks in existence and thus he was [understandably] mildly reluctant to risk 'torching' the drive units. :-) They did sound pretty darned good, but I later returned to the room with the Solo and 350 system and to me, by comparison that system sounded utterly awesme (tap your foot city). When I got home, I played a few tunes on my own KDS, KK & 350A system and though it sounded okay, the system was a long, long way musically shyof that Solo + 350P system which I'd heard in LP LTD's stealth-works  demo room. So, not long after that I'd updated my KDS and KK (inc a pair Dynamiks) and though it was indeed a tad better, to me it was blindingly obvious that still fell a long way short of that Solo+350A system I'd heard at LP LTD,  but, having heard what was possible to achieve with a 'Klimax and 350 based' system (and thus now have a musical 'benchmark' in my mind), I then spent a [very] long time tweaking my own 350As (mostly in terms of their positions) and finally, I did achieve most of the musicality that I'd enjoyed hearing that Solo based system exhibiting when visiting LP LTD (result)!

I do recall debates on all this  stuff back in the Linn forum days and even Phil Budd chipping in that on a great active system, analogue synths were astonishing, and yes, I totally get that and fully agree with his comments; on some albums, the analogue synths on 350As produce sounds that are so cool that I'd describe them as being almost 'tangible' (you can almost reach out and touch them, if you know what I mean) and indeed I am very happy (and jolly darned lucky) to own a system that can do just that, but that all said, hearing some cool jazz on a Solo + 350P system was a musically wonderful experience that I'll never quite forget (er, hang on, what was I just talking about just a moment or so ago? :P ) so it is an interesting debate on what is the 'better' of the two system concepts. Given what I've heard over the years, I suspect that if I were starting from zero, I'd maybe consider going for a pair of Solos and passive 350s, but that said, given the sort of music I tend to listen to, I also suspect that I've made the correct choice in going for active 350s (and doing some nifty 345 sub and DSP trickery) but it's probably a close call; swings and roundabouts, perhaps?

Anyhow, the point of this is that yes, I reckon the Solo is a pretty darned special sounding device and indeed, it is orders of magnitude musically better than the so-called 'Akurate' range (and I'd include the Twin in that category) so it does occasionally make me wonder whether I should 'revert' to passive 350s and a pair of nice Solo amps (then I crack open a bottle of Grand Cru, whack on something like Portishead in pretty loudish type proportions and entirely forget what I was pondering changing with my system)!

B :D

Bri, if you're looking for someone to share the Grand Cru with.........I would even accept Portishead in that situation!

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10 hours ago, Briain said:

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 Linn had made between the KDS and KDS/1 (which were very cool to contemplate, and after which, I soon upgraded my own KDS to KDS/1). We had a great fun day as we were also one of the first folks to hear the prototype Majik Isobarik speakers (fed actively; Klimax front end and actively driven by 4200s, from memory) and Phil apologised for not playing them any louder as at that time, they were the only set of Misobariks in existence and thus he was [understandably] mildly reluctant to risk 'torching' the drive units. :-) They did sound pretty darned good, but I later returned to the room with the Solo and 350 system and to me, by comparison that system sounded utterly awesme (tap your foot city). When I got home, I played a few tunes on my own KDS, KK & 350A system and though it sounded okay, the system was a long, long way musically shyof that Solo + 350P system which I'd heard in LP LTD's stealth-works  demo room. So, not long after that I'd updated my KDS and KK (inc a pair Dynamiks) and though it was indeed a tad better, to me it was blindingly obvious that still fell a long way short of that Solo+350A system I'd heard at LP LTD,  but, having heard what was possible to achieve with a 'Klimax and 350 based' system (and thus now have a musical 'benchmark' in my mind), I then spent a [very] long time tweaking my own 350As (mostly in terms of their positions) and finally, I did achieve most of the musicality that I'd enjoyed hearing that Solo based system exhibiting when visiting LP LTD (result)!

I do recall debates on all this  stuff back in the Linn forum days and even Phil Budd chipping in that on a great active system, analogue synths were astonishing, and yes, I totally get that and fully agree with his comments; on some albums, the analogue synths on 350As produce sounds that are so cool that I'd describe them as being almost 'tangible' (you can almost reach out and touch them, if you know what I mean) and indeed I am very happy (and jolly darned lucky) to own a system that can do just that, but that all said, hearing some cool jazz on a Solo + 350P system was a musically wonderful experience that I'll never quite forget (er, hang on, what was I just talking about just a moment or so ago? :P ) so it is an interesting debate on what is the 'better' of the two system concepts. Given what I've heard over the years, I suspect that if I were starting from zero, I'd maybe consider going for a pair of Solos and passive 350s, but that said, given the sort of music I tend to listen to, I also suspect that I've made the correct choice in going for active 350s (and doing some nifty 345 sub and DSP trickery) but it's probably a close call; swings and roundabouts, perhaps?

Anyhow, the point of this is that yes, I reckon the Solo is a pretty darned special sounding device and indeed, it is orders of magnitude musically better than the so-called 'Akurate' range (and I'd include the Twin in that category) so it does occasionally make me wonder whether I should 'revert' to passive 350s and a pair of nice Solo amps (then I crack open a bottle of Grand Cru, whack on something like Portishead in pretty loudish type proportions and entirely forget what I was pondering changing with my system)!

B :D

I have heard your humble 350A’s and they sounded pretty dammed fine.

I remember your world famous green carpet and your excellent view of Embro, overlooking the castle , downtown, with the queen’s yacht Britannia in the far distance.

When I requested you play the Who’s Magic Bus and Happy Jack at a volume that exceeded something north of 120dB it was mighty awesome. My pant legs were flapping in the wind like I was out in a category 4 hurricane.

Although I was not plyed with Borducks, from your extensive collection of French wines,  I swear Keith Moon was alive and well in the room. I had never heard such an impressive soundstage and live presentation that made me feel that the Who were playing live in your listening room. The band members were singing harmony and each band member was distinctively separate on the sound stage.

The thing that impressed me the most was Keith Moon’s drumming, which sounded like a machine gun firing at close range. Absolutely stunning, and my ears are still ringing.

You have a mighty fine Linn system indeed.

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On 28/08/2020 at 00:10, PhotoMax said:

I guess the expression “your mileage may vary” does hold true in this game. Just yesterday I was reading a US based audio forum thread from a guy who just dumped his Linn Klimax Solo system and was looking for new suggestions as he did not like the sound with his Focal speakers...

Interestingly enough, I heard a pair or Linn Klimax amps driving a pair of Focal stand mounters at the Bristol hifi show a few years ago. I don't know what model they were but they were the expensive ones with the angular baffle and beryllium tweeters. It was one of the worst sounding combinations I have ever heard: shrill and scratchy sounding is the best description I can give.

On 28/08/2020 at 16:47, Tendaberry said:

Not sure it would be very good. I have a friend, who tried passive quad-amping of the 140's with 8 Solos as a stop-gap solution, while his Komris were fixed. He preferred them with one pair of Solos.

That doesn't really surprise me, since passive multi-amping doesn't achieve much over a single stereo amp, so really this is just comparing the 140 to a pair of Solos. The fact that there were four of the 140s is immaterial.

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3 hours ago, Wilseus said:

shrill and scratchy sounding is the best description I can give.

...and, though I’ve heard big Focals several times in various settings, I’ve always found exactly the same. Sadly.  

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