Are Linn Speakers worth tne money?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Allan*C, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. Allan*C

    Allan*C Agent

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    Checked out some Linn Espek speakers today as well as some B&W N803 and N804s

    I'm looking to upgrade the 5 B&W CDM SE1's that I currently use for home theater and music. Ideally I'd like to keep two CDM's as back channels. I'll be driving them with a Rotel 5x110w amp and will buy a new pre/pro possibly a B&K ref 50 a Rotel 1098 or 1066 or an Anthem AVM 20 if I stretch.

    Are Linn speakers worth the money? Are there better values out there with the same characteristics? I'd like to keep it around $5K for the mains and center.

    Anyone recommend other speakers I should audition?

    Thanks
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Allan, I have an AVM-20 and I have heard the Espek's with the AVM-20 as the processor...for what it's worth, I am a BIG Linn fan.

    Are they worth the money? Yes, because they can be actively driven with an active crossover. However, to get optimal performance from these babies, you need a separate channel of amplification for each driver, meaning you need 6 channels of amplification just to drive two speakers. It gets prohibitively expensive. Are there better values out there? Yes...do they have the same characteristics? Not really, because most speakers have a passive crossover design.

    Linn also gets knocked for being a little bit too laid back for some tastes. If I got a pair of Linn's they would be for music only as they don't provide the impact I would like for DVD. Again, YMMV.

    B&W and Linn IMO have vastly different characteristics, with B&W having a much more forward presentation than Linn.

    If you want the best of both worlds with great cabinetry and good value, check out offerings from ACI. I cannot be more happy with my setup... www.audioc.com
     
  3. Allan*C

    Allan*C Agent

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    Evan,

    I was not planning to drive the Espek's with active crossovers, way outside of my budget! BTW the dealer had the Akurates hooked as well. All I can say is they better be that good for over $9K a pair! Which ACI's do you have? I checked the website and the Veritas would be closest to my budget.

    Do you have them in a HT setup with your AVM 20? Also have you or anyone else demo'd the Onix Ref2s. There are alot of positive write ups on the Onix product.

    Thanks
     
  4. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Allan,

    I have a 4.1 ACI setup right now (no center) and will be going to 7.1 on November 1st when I move into my new house. My present setup has 25th Anniversary Sapphires up front with Emeralds in the back and a Titan II for the sub. When I get set up in my house, I will have either the Essence or soon to be released Baby Essence as my center channel, Sapphires up front, Emerald on-walls on the sides and Emeralds in the rears. It's a great setup and highly recommended. I am much more satisfied now than I was with the Paradigm Reference setup I had that preceded it.

    I have not Demoed any Onix product although the Ref1's were serious competitors to the Sapphires before I purchased, but I decided to go with an American manufacturer for purely patriotic reasons.

    I may still get a pair of Onix Ref's for a bedroom system down the line however.

    You can e-mail Mike Dzerko at ACI with any questions you may have (he's the owner) and he's amazing with really non-biased advice for which speaker would fit your needs the best.

    Good Luck!
     
  5. Allan*C

    Allan*C Agent

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    Evan,

    Thanks, An owner of Onix Ref 2s generously offered a demo of his speakers that I'll take him up on. I'll keep trying to call Mike at ACI. The Panoramas look very interesting.
     
  6. Robert_Dufresne

    Robert_Dufresne Stunt Coordinator

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    Allan

    The answer is no. Linn is one those companies who makes very good quality equipment but they charge an unreasonable amount of money to put their name on it. You pay as much for design and finish than for actual sound quality . I auditionned a pair of Linn Kormi speakers and must admit that they are great speakers but way overpriced.

    In the end it is up to you . Do you want to pay for exotic woods and hand rubbed finishes or do you want to pay for and only for sound quality.

    IMO B&W is a better value.

    Robert
     
  7. Doug Brewster

    Doug Brewster Second Unit

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    It is a different thing to say that "Linn speakers are too expensive" than to say "Linn speakers are overpriced".

    Their speakers are more costly than some, but Linn owners tend to keep them and the products tend to hold up. If you like the sound of them it's hard to settle for anything else. If you aren't impressed with the sound, you think the price is ridiculous.

    The "battlelines" are quite distinctly drawn and Linn is kind of a "love or hate" company. It's been that way for many years and applies to more than just their speaker line.

    Personally, I like them but can't afford to upgrade from a pair of (Linn) Index+ that I bought new many years ago. I just can't justify replacing them. Nothing out there is as capable for my needs (at a reasonable cost).

    If you're having a tough time choosing Linn or B&W maybe you'd be better off spending less money on something else. The "Linn Sound" might not appeal to you. That doesn't say anything about you other than they don't suit your taste. On the other hand if you are really impressed with the Espek, and can afford it, the quality is definitely there. That's where the high price comes from.

    It's your money. What do your ears tell you?
     
  8. Henry_W

    Henry_W Stunt Coordinator

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    I am with Doug - let your ears be your guide.

    This is a very personal thing - I am not a great fan of either Linn or B&W, so I would say they are overpriced, That just may not match what your ears say...
     
  9. Allan*C

    Allan*C Agent

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    Thanks guys for the input. One thing I've found out is the comparing speaker demos is very difficult. The Linn dealer had the speakers on all Linn gear. He also played the Akurates first, which were great. The room, the gear and just trying to remember what they all sounded like is challenging.

    I did conclude that the regular B&W N805, N804 were not a big enough jump to justify the upgrade. If I was buying for a new set-up and not replacing existing it would be a different story since the incremental would be worth it.

    I listened to some Onix Reference 1 and 2s today at a kind owners house who e-mailed me to offer a demo. They were very nice for the money. Still prefer the Linns, but they are almost double. I'm going to have a very seriuos look at ACIs. Called Mike the owner today and he was very helpful. I may start with a pair of Sapphires that I can always use in the bedroom first and then order Panoramas if I like them.

    All suggestiosn are welcome.

    Thanks,
    Allan
     
  10. Doug Brewster

    Doug Brewster Second Unit

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    ACI's have a great reputation and so does the company (meaning: customer service). An excellent choice.

    Just a thought:
    For about the same price as the Sapphires you could get 4 Emeralds or 2 Emeralds and 2 Emerald On-Walls.
     
  11. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I will second the quality of the Emeralds...I find them to be amazing speakers for the money. The sound quality is pretty close to that of the Sapphires...the only difference is that the Sapphires have a smoother tweeter, can handle more power, and hit lower in hertz. If you are going to be crossing over with a quality sub, the price increase for the Sapphires may not be necessary for your applications, depending on your room of course.

    My room is quite large, so I went with Sapphires up front, but YMMV.
     
  12. Doug Brewster

    Doug Brewster Second Unit

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    Allan*C

    Think I should also mention another favorite:

    Vandersteens. Tough to beat for music.
    http://www.vandersteen.com
    The 1C is a real bargain and worth considering. For a bit more than the Sapphires, you could by a set of 2Ce Signatures. I don't think your Rotel would have any trouble driving these and I find them Amazing! They also make an incredible center channel. You would be far below your $5k budget and have a really nice system. Try 'em.
     
  13. Eric.Stef

    Eric.Stef Auditioning

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    Allan*C

    I did a lot of auditioning of speakers prior to making the leap. To me the best sounding speakers for the price are Meadowlark speakers or PSB speakers (Stratus lineup). I got the Meadowlark Kestrels and could not be happier. Give them a listen to I don't think you will be disappointed.
     
  14. Keir H

    Keir H Second Unit

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    FOr the record I have Linn front stage (Kelidhs and 5120, forgive the spelling) and I think they sound great match to my equiptment of course and room. I have heard the upper newer models in the showroom here in Houston and I tell you, they are expensive but i think they give you a long term added value since they can be modified from crossovers, wiring upgrades, driver upgrades and of course made to run 'aktiv'. But yes, it does get expensive with buying new amps and cards but, it similar to getting new speakers each time as I understand. THey are solidly made and attractive as well. You can find alot of nice deals on Audiogon for Linn speakers. The 5140's, Katans, and Ninka sound incredible.
     
  15. Allan*C

    Allan*C Agent

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    Thanks very much to everyone for their suggestions. They are very helpful. I would have never even tried some speakers without them. I listened to a set of Onix Reference speakers last week which were very nice.

    This week I tried some ACI Sapphires and really liked them. I bought a pair that was two months old in the color my wife wanted for $850. I couldn't pass on that. They sound great on my system. I still prefer the Linn Espeks, but they were five times as much!! My wife and I didn't really like the Ninkas though.

    My dilemma now is whether or not to use the Sapphires as fronts or surrounds. I'm thinking of buying a pair of Panoramas and an Essence to complete the set. Or I could buy an Essence and use my B&Ws and surrounds or buy some Emeralds as surrounds. There is about $2000 difference between the options and I wonder if the improvement would be worth it.

    Does anybody have any experience with the Essence or Veritas Center?

    Thanks
     
  16. Jason.Soko

    Jason.Soko Stunt Coordinator

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    Totem [​IMG]
     
  17. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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  18. Doug Brewster

    Doug Brewster Second Unit

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    Allan*C


    With B&W's reputation, you shouldn't have any trouble selling them.

    I'd go with ACI all around, but don't know if the Rotel can do the Panoramas and Essence justice (regardless of ratings, I've heard ACI's can be pretty demanding). That's not a slam on the Rotel. It's good power and great quality. Some speakers just ask for more in order to sound right. I'd call Mike at ACI and ask what he thinks.
     
  19. Allan*C

    Allan*C Agent

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    Evan,

    Please post your views on the Essence. BTW did you ever consider the Panoramas? What amp are you using?

    Doug, I was thinking exactly along the same lines. I'm considering upgrading with a two channel or a new five channel. I'm calling Mike this weekend.
     
  20. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Allan,

    I never considered the Panoramas, just slightly out of my price range. To go to a 7.1 setup with 4 Emeralds (one regular set, one on-walls) with Sapphires up front, a Titan for the Sub and an Essence for the center was expensive enough for me.

    I have an Anthem AVM-20 as the processor, my main stereo amp is an Odyssey Stratos Dual Mono and my 5 channel amp for center and surrounds is a Sherbourn 5/1500A.
     

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