I bought a Linn LP-12 way back in 1978, and used Linn turntables until five years ago, when I bought a VPI Classic. Turntables last practically forever, which is one of my favorite things about high-end audio gear: the best products have incredibly long lives. As I recall, the LP-12's initial claim to fame was conceptual; Linn promoted the idea that the "front-end," aka the source -- a turntable, CD player, or cassette deck -- would make or break the overall sound of a music system. If the source's sound quality was poor to start with, … Read more
Spunk, that's what Music Hall's Marimba speaker has lots of. No measurements are needed to confirm this is an exceptional speaker. Its low-key looks are deceiving; it's just a nicely finished "wood" grain black medium-density fiberboard box, measuring 6.6 inches by 8.7 inches by 11 inches, with rounded corners. There's a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer lurking behind a removable black cloth grille. The internally braced cabinet feels solid; there's nothing exotic about the design, but the box feels more expensive than you usually get in a $… Read more
Nothing gets older faster than high-tech, but the Harbeth P3ESR sounds so good you may never want to replace it with another speaker. That's no hype; I know audiophiles still using similar speakers originally manufactured in the 1970s.
That's when American audiophiles first fell in love with small British monitor speakers engineered and designed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and manufactured by a number of companies, including KEF, Goodmans, Rogers, Spendor, and Harbeth. Though the speakers were all built around the same design, known as the LS3/5A, not all LS3/5As sounded exactly the same. Back … Read more
While most of today's consumer electronics goods are designed with limited life expectancies, high-end audio gear has always been built to last for decades. Sure, it's more expensive to buy the good stuff, but when you stop and consider how many years of enjoyment you'll get out of a pair of really great speakers (or electronics) the investment makes a lot of sense. So instead of buying and replacing gear over and over again, just buy something really nice, once.
My Samsung Blu-ray player conked out just before its second birthday, and the one before that was … Read more
Panasonic Technics' direct-drive (no belt) turntables have been DJ favorites since the 1970s. The blogs are abuzz with the news that Panasonic will cease Technics production this year. If it's true that Panasonic is completely out of the turntable business, that would be a shame.
That said, direct-drive turntables never really caught on with the audiophile crowd; we prefer belt-drive models. You see, the direct-drive motor's high torque instantly gets the platter up to speed from a dead stop, which is why Technics 'tables were prized by DJs.
But the powerful motors transmit whatever noise and vibration they … Read more
Before we get to the high-end audio question, I wonder who needs a Porsche 911 Turbo to drive to work? Wouldn't a Prius make so much more sense? Why would you buy a $10,000 Rolex watch when a $20 Casio keeps better time? Who needs an Yves Saint Laurent sweater; I'm sure one from Wal-Mart will keep you just as warm.
No one "needs" luxury products, but that doesn't stop a lot of us from coveting them--or at least reading about them. Have you ever noticed that almost every car magazine in the world … Read more
It's more than a little ironic; Linn Products, based in Glasgow, Scotland, burst onto the audiophile scene in the early 1970s with its LP-12 turntable. The LP-12 has never gone out of production and earlier this year it received a bunch of performance-enhancing upgrades.
When the CD was introduced in the early 1980s, Linn was a massive digital basher. The company spearheaded an anti-CD movement in the audiophile community. It wasn't just Linn; a sizable percentage of audiophiles worldwide didn't buy CD players through most of the 1980s.
Linn introduced CD players at the close of that … Read more
Vinyl is back, big time, but the fact is most folks, probably close to 99 percent of the under 40-set, haven't heard records.
For them, music is about portability and vinyl is a stay-at-home deal. Vinyl has more of a hands-on work ethic: you've got to cue the tonearm, lower the "needle," and when the side's over, turn it over or play another LP. Digital requires almost nothing from you; no wonder it's dominated the music scene for the last couple of decades.
Me, I'm having something of a vinyl fling right now. I've always owned a turntable, but there were times I played only CDs for months on end. I guess I didn't want to deal with the extra work of playing vinyl. Sad, but true.
As for LP vs. CD comparisons, I didn't do any. Trust me, you don't have to be a golden-eared audiophile to notice the two formats sound very different. Records are "warmer" and sound more like the sound of real instruments and voices; CDs almost always make them more detailed and brighter-sounding than they are in real life. … Read more
Does anybody buying an iPod in 2008 expect to get more than a few years of use out of the thing? My five year old iPod still plays, but I can't get it to work in newer iPod docks or iPod speakers. My iPod is too old.
A good friend of mine plays his 30-year-old Linn LP-12 turntable almost every day. It was an expensive turntable in 1978 when it sold for around $1,200. But he's gotten 30 years of use out of the thing, and even now listens to a lot more vinyl than CD. So … Read more