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Good and bad older Linn amps and preamps?

Discussion in 'audio' started by greg788, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. Musicman19

    Musicman19 Active Member

    Kairn Lk280/Spark here prefered over a 52 supercap 2x135s couldn't live with the hum and in yer face presentation.
    The Links have given sterling service .
  2. John

    John Rack’em Up!

    Compared LK1/LK2 vs 32.5/HiCap/250 many times and preferred Linn.
  3. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    I ran a Kolektor and LK140 for many years. It was a really enjoyable combo. I replaced them with a NAC92/Flatcap/NAP90.3 which was even more enjoyable but don't discount early Linn amps.
  4. robs

    robs should know how this works by no

    I moved from Nait 3 to LK1/2 many years ago and found the combo much preferable - clearly better in every way.
    One other plus is that they have good service/troubleshooting manuals and schematics if something does go wrong (I ended up changing battery, LEDs and some transistors, but wouldn't have had a clue without the manuals).
    Then moved onto XS2 which I still have..probably time for a service now I come to think of it..
  5. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    The only amp that I've ever heard that was even worse sounding than the LK1, LK2 was the Intek.
  6. Timcat

    Timcat pfm Member

    The Intek really was dire, I had one for a couple of months in the day.
  7. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    At least it was a budget amp.... The LK1, 2 were priced to rival the Naim 32/250 but were not that much better than the Intek!

    At least they eventually got their amps sounding OK... pity about the extortionate prices and PITA to fix SMPS and microprocessors, EPROM's etc that say "hello land-fill"
    Timcat and Gervais Cote like this.
  8. chris geary

    chris geary pfm Member

    Fair point. I know my system description suggests that I am a linn fanboy. Maybe I am. For the money it sounds best to me. If I could afford Audio Research, Mark Levinson, Wilson, etc. I would. But buying the right Linn gear bit by bit over the last 25 years has got me to a place where I am very pleased with my hifi. I have heard Adcom, Hafler, Parasound and Bryston electronics extensively. I sold some of them and sold against them in the 80s. Adcom GFA 555s were everywhere in the 80s. Brystons will drive anything, and the warranty is amazing. They are indestructable, basically pro-audio reliability for home hifi, although I know recording studios that use Brystons. They are great amps, but they do not sound as good to me as Klouts. I also do not prefer Naim power amps, although the 135s are very nice. I bought an LK1 and LK2 in 1986 over Naim gear because i thought it sounded better. Ditched those for a Kairn and Klout in 2002 after listening to everything I could find in all the hifi stores in New York City.

    You can like what you like. Glad you are happy.

    (But Hafler amps were just garbage.)
    John likes this.
  9. Thorn

    Thorn pfm Member

    I enjoyed my LK1/LK100 with vinyl, but cd was dead.
    No reliability issues though.
  10. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Still running a Kairn/LK280/Spark set here myself - 20 years and counting :)
    Good gear.
    Musicman19 likes this.
  11. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    You say that, but almost all of them are still working, not in landfill. Linn amps are very reliable… some of the early SMPS can fail, but they’re no more prone to failure than a linear supply, the difference is they just stop rather than noticeably degrading, they’re really easy to fix though. Where they can be problematic is when they get blown up by user error, it’s a pita when a trace gets burned in a multi layer board, fixable but it’s crappy job.
    Charlie_1 likes this.
  12. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    I upgraded from 82-Hicap-250 to Kairn-AV5125. One man's meat is another man's poison. I had been using Naim amps since the mid eighties. Somebody said to me Naim amps get more powerful as you spend more, but they don't get more musical, and that's what I realised - that I simply enjoyed music more through the Linn amps and did not listen for measurable advantages. I went up to KK1D and 2250s before switching to a passive pre and cheap Behringers. I still really like the Linn amps though. The value invested in my amps is far less now but I'm just as happy. A passive pre and a Behringer power amp is a formidable and very cheap alternative. Just thinking out loud.
    JezmondTutu likes this.
  13. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    A well designed and built linear supply is far more reliable than any SMPS and is both easy to repair and easy to maintain way into the future as bridge rectifiers and smoothing caps ain't about to be obsoleted (yet!). If that SMPS controller IC... or opto isolator ... or specific power mosfet.... or PFC IC goes obsolete it's game over.

    I suggest that if Linn gear wasn't so expensive in the first place then people wouldn't be going to such lengths to keep such PITA to service kit going:) Bit Captain Obvious there:rolleyes:

    Their gear is nicely built in an "industrial/production design" way, and in that context well made, but unfortunately rather lacking in terms of thought/importance given to future servicing and repair-ability IMHO
    Gervais Cote likes this.
  14. RJohan

    RJohan pfm Member

    I owned LK1/LK2 in the eighties. At that time there was an album by Sting that had some kind of electronic enhanced/faked 3D stereo effects. Something LK1/LK2 managed to NOT reproduce! That's nearly impressive in some way. I heard an Intek at a dealer, and yes, it was even worse.
  15. chris geary

    chris geary pfm Member

    the only problem I had with my LK2/LK2 combo was the inputs on the power amp. They were mounted directly on the board, and they were a tight fit, so when I plugged in the locking balanced/cannon plugs they had to be pushed kind of hard to lock and the sockets flexed and eventually separated from the board and had to be re-soldered or re-wired. I fixed it twice in 10 years and got sick of it. And the remote for the preamp died. That was it. Power supplies, output stages, all were fine.
  16. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    Some of the LK boxes were ok imo.
    The little Majik-I with FM module was a pretty well playing receiver, even its rated 33W, it was pretty bomb proof and reliable soft sounding.

    As most others, I liked Kairn/Klout, still fetching good prices, unfortunately non Linn supported these days - they soon left their customer support with the remark: Buy new instead ! such behavior sucked, they refused to help with issues - my own experience, hence no longer buying anything from them and never will.
    A pity really as their latest K.uniti are really good.

    I believe Ivor created amplifiers, also to offer alternative to the CB sound back in the mid-80'ies when Naim and Linn parted.
    Never really came on with LK1/2 myself.
    LK140 are peanuts nowadays, oh and the Ikemi were delicious.
    linnfomaniac83 likes this.
  17. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    The Ikemi is an absolute class act, and it would cost a significant amount of money to better with a new machine… I hear a lot of people making statements to the effect of “any budget DAC will outperform any high end product from 20 years ago”, but it’s just not true at all, that’s why they still fetch £1k.

    LK140s normally fetch around half of what they sold for new, that isn’t an awful lot of money though, and they’re a great sounding amp, much better than an LK100, LK2 in my opinion… but not a Klout.
  18. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    I would never have sold my Ikemi if it was supported.
  19. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    A few years ago now, did not like the Pretek with biamped Powerteks at all. Bought them coz I got a good deal and regretted it. Replaced them with NAD preamp/power amp combo. Much better. You are talking 30 years ago now.

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