You may have watched Science Channel’s ‘Machines: How They Work‘ video featuring an impressive exploded product view of the classic Linn LP12 turntable. It’s not a coincidence that they used the Linn LP12, it’s an iconic turntable built in 1973 and there are over 100,000 LP-12 owners in the world.
From the creation of their very first product, Linn has proven to be a remarkable manufacturer with five decades of innovation in hi-fi. Recently, I was fortunate to experience the actual build process of the LP12 and other Linn products at their headquarters & factory just outside Glasgow, Scotland.
Archived image from Linn: LP12 Factory testing
Linn Factory Visit
by Hans Brackmann | Seattle Showroom Manager
Having worked with Linn products for many years, I already had an expectation of a clean, organized and efficient factory. However, what I experienced was quite extraordinary. Walking through Linn’s purpose-built factory really brought to light the broader scope of work happening at Linn. It was incredible to see every stage from engineering to tooling to paint in person.
Linn has invested $1.4 million on state of the art machinery that enables them to engineer their systems and components with even more microscopic levels of precision. When touring their metalworking section of the factory, chassis were being machined either as bent metal for their less expensive lines or milled out of solid blocks of aluminum for their Klimax range. The finish work on the Klimax chassis so refined that they cannot be touched by hand until after the paint is applied, or the finish will be ruined.
It was fun to see the circuit board assembly, a key part of modern hi-fi electronics. The boards themselves are pretty complex, and Linn deploys a variety of methods to populate them including using some fairly expensive machinery, a wave solder, and manual population.
At the Linn Factory, there is no traditional production line. One individual assembles the product at their workstation and robot’s role is to mechanically retrieve and deliver parts to them. Once the product is built, the technician signs each unit they build. This unique ‘Single Stage Build’ results in pride in craftsmanship and a very reliable final product.
The Linn Home
Once we finished the tour, we were able to experience a variety of Linn products in a unique demonstration space with six listening rooms that are set up like individual rooms in your home. This real-world demonstration area called the ‘Linn Home’ provides an experience of what their systems sound like in a real home vs. an idealized listening space.
Linn is on a mission to continually improve the sound quality and performance of their equipment with a steady stream of upgrade options. Their hardware is modular and when combined with software that is upgradable — you get the best sound possible throughout the lifetime of your product. I had the opportunity to hear demos using their three newest component updates, The Urika II, the Lingo4 and the Akurate DSM with the Katalyst upgrade. Each was a revelation compared to their predecessor.
An overview of these 3 components:
- Urika II Phono Stage: A breakthrough in phono stage design, the Urika II has lower distortion, lower noise, and more music.
- Lingo4 is the logical first improvement to make your Majik LP12. The new Lingo has a new motor speed management system and uses digital processing technology to make the platter spin more accurately and more consistently.
- Katalyst: Linn’s 4th Generation DAC, which performs the digital-to-analog conversion. This improvement from previous designs is thanks to five keys areas of improvement. Referenced level voltage, independent power supplies, data optimization, a single high precision master clock, and an ultra-low distortion analog output driver. Now features in their Klimax and Akurate level DS and DSM, and Exakt speakers.
At the end of the evening, we experienced a Linn Lounge event, a regular event with the purpose of listening to iconic artists on a Linn System. This evening featured the music of Fleetwood Mac on an Exakt Klimax 350A system. Not only was the sound great, but seeing the people’s reaction to what they were hearing was thrilling. A whole crowd of people singing the lyrics to themselves and nodding along to the music.
I had a great time and thank both Definitive for making my trip possible and Linn for their hospitality! I hope you enjoy a few pics from the factory tour – if you want to view them larger, just click to view a full slideshow.