Zappa

Ebay lesson - Linn Kan MK1 - Risk/reward £708.96

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I was tempted by an early Mk1 version of the Linn Kan from 1982, serial numbers 19717 and 19718, understanding that Linn Kan owners believe the earlier the version the better. I already own a later Mk1, but hey whats wrong with having two pair and selling one on, keeping ones favourite. 

Here is how they were described on ebay " Hi and welcome to my auction for a superb pair of Linn Kan MK1 loudspeakers, the original and best sounding model. This pair are in fantastic condition, perfect working order and sound just as a classic Linn Kan should. Lightly used, they have consecutive serial numbers and still have the original build stickers on the base (very rare).There are a few very light marks as you would expect, there are also several tiny indents on the base where they have been placed on spiked stands. The original grill cloth is in perfect condition."

Paid £320 plus delivery of £22 and plugged em in. Well I say plugged em in, part of the binding post had at some time sheered off, which meant I could not connect my banana plugs, so I had to remove my banana plugs and wire them directly. Initial sound tests were kinda ok, the speakers sounding as you might expect, similar to the pair I already own, but not really better. I resolved the binding post issue by contacting the seller, who sent me £20, which I was satisfied with. However a few days later listening to the speakers, I noticed a disturbing resonance whilst listening to classical guitar, it appeared to be occurring in the range 100-300 Hz. By this time I'm thinking, Houston we have a problem and with no way to remove the grill I could not inspect the drivers.

After some research on the internet I came across https://www.anapeachloudspeakerrestoration.co.uk/. I had a look customer feedback and gave the owner Andrew a ring. Explained the problem to him and some weeks later sent the speakers off to him for testing. He does not charge for testing, but will give you a quote to fix problems he encounters. After analysis he provided a very detailed report together with photographs and a quote for parts and restoration. In my case the rubber roll surrounds of the  B110 drivers were failing, which was the cause of the resonances I was detecting and many of the components of the crossover were far from not meeting specification.

This is what he did

Test tweeters and midrange drivers, supply and fit outer roll suspension to midrange drivers
Supply and fit exactly matched Solen capacitors and Expotus resistors 
Supply and fit ALR4 (4-core) woven cable with soldered connections 
Supply and fit gold binding posts (4mm banana/spade/bare wire) 
Supply and fit Butyl driver seals
Deep Clean
Performed airtight test
Final testing and impedance check
Refitted grills enabling removal by velcro pads

The total cost of the restoration was £361.58 and let me tell you it has totally transformed the speakers. I suppose I'm now hearing what the original buyer must have heard 38 years ago. They are simply incredible for their size and according to Andrew, bass will improve after around 60 hours burn-in. Are they perfect, well no, but all the superlatives you might expect me to talk about e.g.  dynamic, separation, imagery, holographic are all there, but with a dose of excitement too. In my application, a smallish room pinned on Linn Stands tight to the wall, they are ideal.

The sting in the tale here and lesson here is this. The speakers I bought off ebay were not as the seller said " in perfect working order ", in fact far from it and in reality how could they be, that is the lesson. Over a period of 38 years, capacitors dry out, materials degrade and components suffer wear and tear with use. The Kans I bought  could never be expected to measure the same as they did in the factory, its just unrealistic to thing they could. However not everything was bad news. Andrew reported the drivers to be in good condition and performing within specification, save the rubber suspension surrounds issue. The speakers now have a new lease of life, with new gold plated binding posts, replacement crossovers and better wiring. The grills can come off enabling future servicing to be easier. I don't expect I'll ever need to service them again, they'll go to my son. Thanks to people like Andrew from Anapeach Loudspeaker Restoration, classic British Hi-fi will go on delivering their beautiful music for another 38 years.

Here is a breakdown of my total outlay for the Linn Kans

29th July bought on ebay                  £341.90
Less £20 refund for spades               -£20.00
21st Sept  postage to Anapeach          £8.69
6th Oct  Restoration Anapeach        £361.58
10th Oct  return postage                     £16.79

                                                               £708.96

In conclusion, I've shelled out £708.96 for something I paid £320 on ebay, which is 38 years old. I don't expect any pair of Kans aged 38 years will fair any better than the ones I bought, unless you are extremely lucky. So be careful what you buy on Ebay and don't be surprised if you have to pay out some more money to bring them up to spec. Would it be easier just to shell out £649 on a brand new pair of say Kef LS50, sure it would, but I have a pair of those too and can tell you that I prefer the sheer musicality of the Kans. I'm not saying the Kans are better bye the way, only that I prefer them. Taste after all is personal.

I have absolutely no regrets about the experience, only to say that I am wiser and poorer because of it , but I've ended up with some real gems. I have absolutely no stake in Anapeach Loudspeaker Restoration, but I would not hesitate to use their services again, to the extent that I am now considering having my other pair of later Mk1 Linn Kans tested by them. 

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22 minutes ago, Zappa said:

In conclusion, I've shelled out £708.96 for something I paid £320 on ebay, which is 38 years old. I don't expect any pair of Kans aged 38 years will fair any better than the ones I bought, unless you are extremely lucky. So be careful what you buy on Ebay and don't be surprised if you have to pay out some more money to bring them up to spec. Would it be easier just to shell out £649 on a brand new pair of say Kef LS50, sure it would, but I have a pair of those too and can tell you that I prefer the sheer musicality of the Kans. I'm not saying the Kans are better bye the way, only that I prefer them. Taste after all is personal.

I have absolutely no regrets about the experience, only to say that I am wiser and poorer because of it , but I've ended up with some real gems. I have absolutely no stake in Anapeach Loudspeaker Restoration, but I would not hesitate to use their services again, to the extent that I am now considering having my other pair of later Mk1 Linn Kans tested by them. 

That's great you were able to do that. It's my big concern with buying second hand - the hassle factor. 

The converse worry with buying new is: will there be anyone around to maintain them in 38 years' time?  E.g. will your Kef's last that long? I get the impression that the skills needed to maintain hifi are becoming rarer.

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Nothing 38 years old is 'as new', you should expect that surely?

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https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/145773-speaker-life/

Do speakers wear out with time?, know the crossovers contain capacitors which do deteriate over time

Just wondering 

@daveyu You might want to read this thread ...

 

Edited by Rayymondo
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Super Wammer

That’s quite a result given you love the result.  I’d been wondering, as I read, that it might have ended badly!  

I’d love to hear them. Back in the day I did hear Kans a couple of times but I thought they were dreadful. I’ve no idea what version they were, and I can’t recall what amplifier was being used, so it’s not a very dependable recollection.  But then I never really got LS3/5as either, so maybe I was prejudiced at the start, and they were certainly nothing like Rogers or Hartwell!

Edited by Nopiano

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I picked up a pair for £10 in the local classifieds some years back, the seller had no idea what they had, “given them by a friend but never used them”. I thought they were great but subsequently sold them on here for sub £200, didn’t know what I had....

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Worn driver surrounds seem to be a not uncommon cause of this type of resonance problem.   I have had similar problems with a couple of pairs of Rogers. 

A good practice is to use a system tuning  / test disc with some low frequency material.  I use a cd that was given free with HFC many years ago.  I think it was produced by isotek and  includes a low frequency torture track. 

Any surround problems will be quickly revealed as the cone movement will not be  properly controlled setting up unpleasant resonances.

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At least you have, probably, the best sounding Kan's in the world. lol

I loved my mk1's. Had 'em for 12 years - from new.

As for changing caps - I re-capped my younger Proacs 3 years ago. A couple were out of the 20% spec and it made a massive difference.

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8 hours ago, jamster said:

That's great you were able to do that. It's my big concern with buying second hand - the hassle factor. 

The converse worry with buying new is: will there be anyone around to maintain them in 38 years' time?  E.g. will your Kef's last that long? I get the impression that the skills needed to maintain hifi are becoming rarer.

I doubt there will be any/many hi-fi repairers or knowledgeable dealers around in even 19 years time let alone 38.  In my limited experience they're in their mid 50's + already, like the vast majority of their customers, and so will have hung up their boots by then.  Not much evidence of this hobby transcending the generations downwards.  Most of us started in our 20's, don't suppose many in their 20s now are even familiar with the expression hi-fi (or those now in their 30's or 40's) - they just use their phone and a smart speaker.

Edited by Paul_N
2 small typos
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