1986 Linn LK1/LK2

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1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Who was around when this amp was introduced? Did you have the opportunity to directly compare it with Naim at the time?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Charlie1 »

I had a dem in ‘89 and preferred Exposure but that’s all I remember. They didn’t sell Naim.

My dealer had a Naim 6-pack with Isobariks and the original Naim LP12 kit comprising chrome bumper PSU (later became Armageddon), adjustable Ittok collar (never released) and MC boards for mounting inside the LP12 (later became the Prefix). He was close to Naim at the time and knew Guy Lamote quite well, but switched to the Linn amps when they came out. His view of the Linn amps was that they were not all round better, especially the Hi-Fi stuff, but to his ears they made more sense of the music.
Last edited by Charlie1 on 2024-05-20 23:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Spannko »

I’m quite familiar with the LK1 & 2. What would you like to know?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Spannko wrote: 2024-05-20 22:30 I’m quite familiar with the LK1 & 2. What would you like to know?
Did you have the opportunity to directly compare it with Naim at the time? What were your impressions?
What were you running for a system at the time?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Spannko »

Yes, I was able to compare and my thoughts on the differences were exactly as charlie1’s dealer described, ie “ His view of the Linn amps was that they were not all round better, especially the Hi-Fi stuff, but to his ears they made more sense of the music.” To be more specific, the Naim amps were more transparent, tighter, more real sounding from a hifi perspective, but the Linn was slightly better in the rhythms and tunes department. My system at the time would have been LP12/Ittok/Kans.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by macrotech2 »

I did a similar dem and also went for the Linn amps. Exactly the same thoughts as the previous posters. I was upgrading from the original Naim Nait. LP12/Ittok/Asaka front end and Heybrook HB2 speakers if I recall correctly.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Charlie1 wrote: 2024-05-20 19:43 I had a dem in ‘89 and preferred Exposure but that’s all I remember. They didn’t sell Naim.

My dealer had a Naim 6-pack with Isobariks and the original Naim LP12 kit comprising chrome bumper PSU (later became Armageddon), adjustable Ittok collar (never released) and MC boards for mounting inside the LP12 (later became the Prefix). He was close to Naim at the time and knew Guy Lamote quite well, but switched to the Linn amps when they came out. His view of the Linn amps was that they were not all round better, especially the Hi-Fi stuff, but to his ears they made more sense of the music.
So was the dem you heard carried out by the same dealer mentioned in the second paragraph?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Spannko wrote: 2024-05-21 04:44 Yes, I was able to compare and my thoughts on the differences were exactly as charlie1’s dealer described, ie “ His view of the Linn amps was that they were not all round better, especially the Hi-Fi stuff, but to his ears they made more sense of the music.” To be more specific, the Naim amps were more transparent, tighter, more real sounding from a hifi perspective, but the Linn was slightly better in the rhythms and tunes department. My system at the time would have been LP12/Ittok/Kans.
Do you recall what Naim gear was used in the comparison? What amp were you using at the time? Did you purchase a LK1&2?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

macrotech2 wrote: 2024-05-21 07:07 I did a similar dem and also went for the Linn amps. Exactly the same thoughts as the previous posters. I was upgrading from the original Naim Nait. LP12/Ittok/Asaka front end and Heybrook HB2 speakers if I recall correctly.
What Naim amps were used in the comparison?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by springwood64 »

Are you planning a vintage system John?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

springwood64 wrote: 2024-05-21 12:47 Are you planning a vintage system John?
No, I’m just interested in that time period around 1986 when the Linn electronics were introduced. I suppose I should not assume all Linn dealers before that carried Naim as well.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by macrotech2 »

John wrote: 2024-05-21 12:47
macrotech2 wrote: 2024-05-21 07:07 I did a similar dem and also went for the Linn amps. Exactly the same thoughts as the previous posters. I was upgrading from the original Naim Nait. LP12/Ittok/Asaka front end and Heybrook HB2 speakers if I recall correctly.
What Naim amps were used in the comparison?
I think it was 32/250.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

macrotech2 wrote: 2024-05-21 13:52
John wrote: 2024-05-21 12:47
macrotech2 wrote: 2024-05-21 07:07 I did a similar dem and also went for the Linn amps. Exactly the same thoughts as the previous posters. I was upgrading from the original Naim Nait. LP12/Ittok/Asaka front end and Heybrook HB2 speakers if I recall correctly.
What Naim amps were used in the comparison?
I think it was 32/250.
If it was 1986, it was likely a 32.5/Hicap/250. How long did you hold on using the Heybrooks?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by macrotech2 »

My next speaker was Linn Nexus when they were introduced in 1988. Not the best move, but, shortly after, Pete from the wonderful Cam Audio sold me his Isobariks, initially passive, then later I picked up his other pair of LK280s and the Aktiv crossover.
I was then lucky enough to try out a prototype of the Bingo board for the crossover before its release.

I could go on but don’t want to bore people!
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Charlie1 »

John wrote: 2024-05-21 12:41 So was the dem you heard carried out by the same dealer mentioned in the second paragraph?
My dealer today ran another dealership at that time, although he did later move to the one I visited in ‘89, but that was a couple of years later. They were good days and a very different landscape to today, or perhaps I was just young :)

What was your system like in ‘86 John, assuming you’re old enough?
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Charlie1 wrote: 2024-05-21 20:17
John wrote: 2024-05-21 12:41 So was the dem you heard carried out by the same dealer mentioned in the second paragraph?
My dealer today ran another dealership at that time, although he did later move to the one I visited in ‘89, but that was a couple of years later. They were good days and a very different landscape to today, or perhaps I was just young :)

What was your system like in ‘86 John, assuming you’re old enough?
I think had a LP12/Ittok/K9 + Naim Nait + Linn Kans with 2 Sound Organisation stands.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

macrotech2 wrote: 2024-05-21 19:53 My next speaker was Linn Nexus when they were introduced in 1988. Not the best move, but, shortly after, Pete from the wonderful Cam Audio sold me his Isobariks, initially passive, then later I picked up his other pair of LK280s and the Aktiv crossover.
I was then lucky enough to try out a prototype of the Bingo board for the crossover before its release.

I could go on but don’t want to bore people!
You had a nice system! I remember when the Nexus came out and thought they were an interesting design with the custom stand and all.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Charlie1 »

John wrote: 2024-05-21 20:25 I think had a LP12/Ittok/K9 + Naim Nait + Linn Kans with 2 Sound Organisation stands.
Very nice!
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Charlie1 wrote: 2024-05-21 20:17
John wrote: 2024-05-21 12:41 So was the dem you heard carried out by the same dealer mentioned in the second paragraph?
My dealer today ran another dealership at that time, although he did later move to the one I visited in ‘89, but that was a couple of years later. They were good days and a very different landscape to today, or perhaps I was just young :)

What was your system like in ‘86 John, assuming you’re old enough?
You know I think it was around 1989 that I was introduced to Exposure amplification. Was very impressed with how it was put together as well as the performance! It was before the newer look script and it was before the 15 and 20 integrated amps.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by John »

Let me say I was working in a Linn/Naim dealership in 1986-1987. We loved the LK1 &2 when it came out and we made the decision to end our relationship with Naim as we thought the Linn electronics were more tuneful and it made no sense to carry both. We were a newer dealership and had little Naim customer base at the time so it was an easy decision. We were mostly selling LP12’s at the time as it made the most sense for most of our customers. We did have a few who switched to the LK1 & 2 from top Naim systems including ones that were active.

I found these old pictures taken in 1989 after I had left the business. I could happily live with that system today
and no there isn’t a speaker in that tv set..

Image

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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Charlie1 »

John wrote: 2024-05-22 00:56 I found these old pictures taken in 1989 after I had left the business. I could happily live with that system today
and no there isn’t a speaker in that tv set..
Note much wrong with that, even by today's standards.

Nicely vacuumed carpet too :D
John wrote: 2024-05-22 00:19 You know I think it was around 1989 that I was introduced to Exposure amplification. Was very impressed with how it was put together as well as the performance! It was before the newer look script and it was before the 15 and 20 integrated amps.
I actually ended up buying an Exposure XV instead. Having finally chosen a pre/power (after a couple of vists) I asked to hear an LP12 out of curiosity. Well, that immediately spelled the end of CD and beginning of my vinyl journey, but had to cut down on the amp costs.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by ThomasOK »

I had my own store at the time, shortly after having left my National Sales Manager post at the Linn/Naim distributor for the US, Audiophile Systems, Ltd. I had a pretty limited selection that mostly could have been out the pages of The Flat Response. Three LP12s on demo (Ittok/Karma, Ittok/Basik cartridge, Basik LV-X/Basik cartridge), Kans, SARAs and Isobariks, Naim NAIT, 42/110 and 32.5/HiCap/135s, Heybrook TT2 and HB1 speakers, Rega Planar 3 and 2 (both with Basik LV-X arms), Creek 4040 integrated amp and 3040 tuner, Wharfedale Diamonds and Rotel's entry level turntable, integrated amp, tuner, cassette deck and receiver. Though not a registered dealer, I had access to and sold Tandberg's top tuner and cassette deck for higher end customers.

I purchased an LK1 and LK2 combo when they were introduced and immediately musically preferred them to my Naim setup which was NAC32.5/HiCap and a pair of NAP135s. I had a pair of the current Isobarik DMS and what was then a fully loaded LP12 (Valhalla, Ittok LVII and Karma) along with a Harmon Kardon Citation 14 FM Tuner. I sold the 135s to a dealer friend who had a customer for them and sold the 32.5/HiCap to a friend as an upgrade to his NAC42.

I didn't do a lot of comparisons, I just found the LK1/LK2 more musically rewarding than the Naim setup. Audiophile Systems felt the same way and resigned the Naim distributorship saying they felt they couldn't properly represent them any more. A dealer friend in the UK told me he had the same experience and sold his Naim electronics for an LK1/LK2 when they came out. I never looked back and over time upgraded to LK280 and eventually to Linto, Kairn, Isobarik crossover with Bingo board and Dirak power supply and four LK280/SPARKs. The LP12 was upgraded to a 1990s model with Lingo, Cirkus, Ekos and the Troika I bought shortly after it came out and my stepdaughter killed my Karma. Her bad Karma turned into a welcome upgrade for me. I stayed with Linn electronics until the Lejonklou preamps and amps came out with even more musical performance than the KK and Solos. I did run a NAIT in a bedroom system for a while (also a Harmon Kardon Citation 11, 12 and 14 for a time) but I never really used that system and ended up selling it all off. Oh yeah, I used to rip the speakers out of the TVs as well.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Charlie1 »

What about when the Kairn/Klout came out? Did everyone prefer that to LK1/LK280? To my ears, with LK280 to Klout you hear Linn stepping towards tunedem from foot tapping focus.
Last edited by Charlie1 on 2024-05-23 07:35, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by tpetsch »

Yea, but the whole problem is when you live with a LK1/LK280 or Kairn/Klout for long a long period of time like I did/do, in fact we still have a Keltik system with 4 Klouts -my brothers now-, and I'm listening to a Kairn/Klout for my TV speakers right now as I write this. And while it can be argued that maybe the Linn gear is a bit more "precise" it's definitely not less in tune. I have come to the conclusion over my lifetime listening/selling & personally owning both Linn & Naim gear that the Linn gear is a bit of a bore in a way, a little too sterile by comparison, lacking the excitement & listener enthusiasm for the next track of my Naim gear for analog. After a an hour or so I want to get away from the Linn stuff these days as a main system for analog playback, but I can still rock out or settle back with Jazz or Classical with the Naim gear all day long and get more deeply involved with the music emotionally. ...And believe me, I'm not the only one that thinks this way.
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Re: 1986 Linn LK1/LK2

Post by Charlie1 »

I think this is where I hear both sides of the coin and end up trying to find a balance between the two, which I’m not sure exists.
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