Jack and myself were delighted to be invited for a visit to the Linn factory back in November, and boy did it live up to expectations.
The Chinese whispers that circulate within the industry are that ‘Linn are different’ and that ‘Linn are a real engineering company’. Anticipation and intrigue all set and ready to go. Now both of us have been on factory tours before, both in the UK and Europe, but nothing can prepare you for the visit to Eaglesham – Linn’s home and headquarters just 10 miles outside the beautiful city of Glasgow.
First impressions…they count!
Eaglesham is an attractive but unassuming Scottish village, and turning off the main road into the access to Linn’s headquarters seems relatively uneventful…..until that is you see the full location and setting open up before you. The headquarters are located on the site of an old stately home, with perhaps the most stunning grounds you would expect of any company. Add to this the fact that the building was designed by world renowned architect Richard Rodgers, architect of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and you get an insight into the scale and magnificence of this place.
Down to business
After a coffee and informal chat with George who would be showing us around, we proceeded to take a tour of the manufacturing facility.
It kept reminding me of a visit I made to Jordan Formula 1 headquarters some years ago now, the precision, dedication and enthusiasm of everyone involved. The staff at Linn love their work, and it is readily felt.
The pictured machine is populating various boards with their components. Each board is colour coded, to represent Majik, Akurate and Klimax level products. Several of these monster machines are in constant operation, each able to install a bewildering 60,000 components every hour. George pointed out to us that Linn prefer not to utilise the machines at full capacity, and as close to 100% as possible of the boards pass to the next stage without error.
The human side of technology
Linn have adopted a practice called ‘single build’ production. In essence, this means that 1 team member is responsible for every step in the production of a Linn component – be it a turntable arm or a Klimax DSM. This maintains ultra high standards of workmanship, but also fosters a far greater sense of purpose and ownership by the employee. Everyone we spoke to on the ‘shop-floor’ could talk with passion and conviction about whichever item they were producing.
Pictured is one of Linn’s loudspeaker driver testing rigs. Each driver, and in this case an Exakt Akudorik, is tested in a soundproof enclosure and sine sweeps are used to determine how the physical driver deviates from the precise specification. Why? Well when the new system is configured in the customers home, the data from this testing is downloaded and used as part of the installation process. Ensuring that every aspect, from design to installation, is as close to perfection as possible.
From a solid billet of aluminum, a new Klimax DSM is born – beautiful.
The Exakt Akubarik – Katalyst DACS and Chakra Power amplifiers.
And now relax….really relax
After lunch we head into Linn’s demonstration areas. I say areas, as it’s more than just a demo room attached to the factory as is the norm in the industry. Linn have eloquently furnished a range of rooms to represent a typical home and show how each of their systems can be tastefully and effectively integrated into your living space. The results are stunning. Of course you have to factor in the incredible views from the building, and the sense of inner calm that they instill just from being inside yet so close to nature. It’s an experience I can still palpably recall, and demonstrates how important setting and psychology can be to enjoying music – one reason why we ourselves chose The Audiobarn.
Klimax Exakt Loudspeakers fed directly with cat 5 cable from a Klimax Exakt DSM.
A home theater experience without compromise – the scale and depth of the Klimax Loudspeakers is beguiling.
Exakt, Space Optimisation…emotion
Quite often technology can become the centre of everything, the raison d’etre, without necessarily adding to overall musical enjoyment. A quick demonstration of the system using space optimisation and then having this switched off immediately convinces of its merits. Configuring the system is straightforward, a few measurements and assessment of the materials present in the room, wall coverings and floor construction etc, and the software works it’s magic. With the system running in Exakt mode, each driver is amplified separately with it’s own DAC, in an active setup, the sound is glorious. Relaxed and organic, detail without any hint of strain or digital artefact. It’s exhilarating in a way that doesn’t demand attention, it just envelopes you.
The Exakt Akudorik.
Back at The Audiobarn
We are happy to have on demonstration a range of Linn’s systems, and can easily set a system up for you at home for an extended home audition for you to experience what these technologies can do for your enjoyment of your favourite music.