Linn Akurate Launch Event

August 14, 2003, Seattle, WA

Constantine Soo

25 September 2003

On August 14, 2003, Brian Morris of Linn organized a product launch event in Seattle, WA, hosted by Definitive Audio. It was the world premiere of Linn's "Akurate" line of loudspeakers that employed a patented "3K Driver Array", which is a smaller version of the "4K Driver Array" from the company's top loudspeaker, the $40,000 Komri. According to Linn, the Akurate line represented four acoustically matched, pitch-identical loudspeakers that could be applied in either 2-channel or multi-channel systems with considerable ease.

Journalists present at this event included myself representing Stereo Times, Gary Reber of Widescreen™, Dave Robinson of Positive Feedback, Steven Rocklin of Enjoy The Music™, and Barry Willis of Stereophile.

The Akurate line consists of 4 models: the $9,495 floor standing Akurate 242, the $5,750 compact Akurate 212, the $3,750 Akurate 225 center channel, and finally the $3,750 Akurate 221 "bass extension" speaker (subwoofer). The 221 accomplishes its bass extension via servo-controlled amplification. As the Akurate line is the 2nd series featuring Linn's patent pending "Driver Array" system, all models in this range carry designations beginning with the number "2". Therefore, 242 refers to the model with a 42-liter cabinet volume, the 212 is the model with a 12-liter volume, and so forth. With the exception of the active subwoofer 221, all speakers in this series carry a 4 Ohm impedance with an 87 dB sensitivity. More specifications can be found at Linn's website.

According to Philip Hobbs, Linn's engineer who was present at this event and who was also present with Brian Morris at their June 12th Press Event at Berkeley, California, the new "3K Driver Array" was similar to Komri's "4K Driver Array" in the facilitation of a single-point source midrange to top-end dispersion, made possible by an unprecedented arrangement of 3 drivers: from top to bottom, they were the midrange, tweeter and super tweeter.

Linn's new "3K Driver Array" was designed to produce a virtual point-source radiation pattern of unprecedented definition and strength. According to Philip, the close proximity of such arrangement was enabled by development of the neodymium magnet utilized in each driver of the "3K Driver Array", in which arrangement the neodymium magnets were significantly smaller than other conventionally used magnets but were equivalent in strength.

The very courteous Definitive Audio staff treated us to the first of two demonstrations of the Akurate system in a 2-channel room. Measuring approximately 25 feet wide and 30 feet deep and at least 9 feet high, the Akurate 242s were bi-amplified by the $18,000 Klimax Solo for the "3K Driver Array", with one Klimax Twin driving the two woofers. The Sondek CD 12 and Kontrol Preamplifier completed the system. Cabling was strictly of Linn.

Per Definitive Audio, the Solo's present that day were the only pair available, therefore they were assigned to drive the 242's critical "3K Driver Array" of midrange to top-end for the monoblocks' overall superior finesse in pitch definition over the stereo Klimax Twin. A review of the Linn Klimax Solo monoblocks is being arranged.

Three chairs were meticulously arranged in each of the first two rows, with a third row having only 2 chairs in the back. With the "3K Driver Array" at ear level as according to the seating height, the presentation was complimented by a delicate midrange and extended top-end, whether the system was playing classical, jazz or pop music. I could hear surprisingly resolved differentiations of soundstaging in different CDs.

There was excellent vertical dispersion in the depiction of the boom of trumpets that transpired a very open, boxless sound. The bottom-end definition as supported by the Klimax Twin was rich and highly regulated, punctual and yet not excessive. Re-opening my eyes from the deeply submerged listening experience, I was impressed by the elegant, slim and yet technologically advanced Scotish components that manifested themselves in such a powerful presentation.

In the multi-channel demonstration, we were treated to a generously sized home theater room measuring 20 feet wide and 35 feet deep, with 3-tiered rows of luxurious seats and three seats in each row. They were big with integrated metallic cup holders in each armrest. A full compliment of the Akurate line was present, with the 242 flanking the front 2 channels, a 225 hidden underneath the big screen, a pair of the 212 bookshelf at the back of the room, and a 500-watt servo-assisted 221 stashed inside a wall panel to the lower left of the movie screen. Linn's Unidisk 1.1 universal player served as the source component, with the Kisto System Controller handling the multi-channel delegation. Amplification was via several 2250's.

Linn began the first ten minutes or so of its home entertainment system demonstration with the movie "The Matrix". Sitting at the front row in the center, the floor standing 242s complimented actions on the highly hung screen with applauding dynamics and pitch, and the rear speakers as situated in the highest third tier at the back were providing strong surround support. Watching the science fiction movie in that room was comparable to the actual cinematic experience.

Then, Brian Morris played a few minutes of the Pink Floyd SACD, "Dark Side of The Moon", the same disc he used in mid-June in the Fantasy Studio demonstration of the professional monitor, the 328A, which was the most dramatic and memorable musical experience I've had in a long time. The Akurate system was no less dramatic and effective in the recreation of the surround effects.

But the experience for which I was the most elated that day was a multi-channel playback of Linn Records' Mozart's Requiem SACD, in which the rear channels as flanked by the two 212's provided outstanding ambience support to the performance from the front 242's, recreating a surrounding that transcended the locale I was in. As I customarily closed my eyes during listening, I was magically transported to a foreign land in an unfamiliar acoustic environment that was very convincing and quite emotionally provocative.

It was only at the conclusion of this satisfying demonstration that I found out 55 feet of speaker cables were running between the amplifiers and the 242's. Imagine how much better the system would have sounded were it using only 8 feet of the same cables and driven by the Klimax series of amplifiers.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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