Magazine article Gramophone

Rethinking the Way a System Sounds: Linn's SPACE Optimisation Leads the Latest Audio Launches This Month

Magazine article Gramophone

Rethinking the Way a System Sounds: Linn's SPACE Optimisation Leads the Latest Audio Launches This Month

Article excerpt

JUNE TEST DISCS

With a live presence and vitality typical of LSO Live, this recording of Harold en Italie finds the orchestra at its best and provides a thrilling test for a system.

Another disc with a fine live feel, this Sibelius coupling with the BBC NOW under Thomas Sondergard will bring out the best in any well-matched set-up.

Last month it was Naim rolling out its latest technology; this month its traditional rival, Linn, has been creating a stir with a range of new products and a major rethink of how audio systems operate.

On the surface, Linn has revamped its network player range with new versions of the Exakt DS, Akurate DS and Majik DS/ DSM models (1), complete with redesigned digital architecture to reduce jitter, and shorter, simpler signal paths for overall gains in performance. All the new models also have Exakt Link outputs to allow them to be upgraded for use in one of the company's Exakt Aktiv systems.

However, what's more striking is that these new models also bring SPACE Optimisation. The acronym stands for Speaker, Placement And Custom Environment, and means the system can be adjusted via a computer interface to compensate for the design, construction and furnishing of the listening room, and the position of speakers and listener within it. This has previously been available in full Exakt systems; but not only is the new version capable of a wider range of adjustment, it can also be used with a wider range of speakers beyond Linn's own past and present line-up, and with passive speaker designs as well as active ones. So far SPACE optimisation is compatible with speakers from companies including Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, Kudos, Monitor Audio, ProAc, Quad and Spendor, and Linn says it's working to add more models and manufacturers to the list as quickly as possible. The new firmware can also be added to existing DS and DSM players via a network update.

New from UK-based Q Acoustics is a complete new 3000 Series speaker range (2), sitting above the current 2000i Series models. As well as changes to drive units and crossovers, the new speakers feature cabinet improvements derived from the company's Concept Series models, including dual-layer front and top panels and 'pivotal' internal bracing designed to enhance strength and minimise resonance, thus reducing distortion. …

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