Linn Unidisc 1.1 vs Current Denon 5910 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 64 Old 01-21-2007, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a chance to upgrade my 5910 Denon to a Linn Unidisc 1.1. I have a Mark Levinson 320S Preamp, Meridian G68 surround processor, Classe Cam 350 Amps, and B&W800Ds in fron and B&W 802s in the rear... Any idea if this would be a noticable upgrade on 2Ch and Multi Channel Audio? For Video, I will use my BlueRay drive that upscales if the Linn doesn't do as well as the Denon for DVDs.

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post #2 of 64 Old 01-21-2007, 09:47 AM
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i have never heard the linn before, but i had the 5910 for a while and really found nothing "really that good" about it for music reproduction. if you are not using it for dvd video, i assume you want a universal player that does dvd-a, sacd, and redbook. if that is the case, i think there are many other options out that that will yield you much better performance and cost about the same price as either the denon or a linn. i believe ob has a linn he uses for dvd-v, i don't think he uses it more multichannel since he has the emm stuff for that, but i may be mistaken. in any case, just an opinion but i think you would get much better performance from an esoteric unit than both the denon and linn combined. there are many other choices, im sure those on this forum can help.

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post #3 of 64 Old 01-21-2007, 12:54 PM
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The Unidisk 1.1 is a phenomenal unit.
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post #4 of 64 Old 01-21-2007, 02:02 PM
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How do you find the G68 as a 2-channel DAC ?

- Andy
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post #5 of 64 Old 01-21-2007, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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The Merididian does a nice job... For 2 Ch however, I usually use my Levinson 320s Preamp vs the Meridian.

Viper
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post #6 of 64 Old 01-21-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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For 11 lbs the Linn 1.1 is phenomenal. Friends of mine even go so far to say that the audio (sic SACD) is as good or better than the Meitner.

I use my Linn solely for video however.
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post #7 of 64 Old 01-23-2007, 09:26 PM
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Disclaimer: I own a 5910ci, so I'm biased.

With that out of the way: I find the 5910 to be the least expensive universal player that doesn't leave me wanting on SACD, coming from a Sony C555ES (the first multi-ch player from Sony). A Marantz DV7600 decidedly did _not_ do it for me. In addition, the Denon has superb video. What ever you think about the future of SACD/DVD-A and HD-DVD/BluRay, I'm quite confident that I'll be happy to have a great DVD-V player for the next 5 years.

I use a MSB Platinum DAC for 2ch CD/DVD-V/non-copy protected DVD-A. The MSB, along with the 2ch Denon output (for stereo SACD), drive an Accuphase C2800 pre-amp. The results are superb.

I'm not quite as happy with the Denon for Dolby/DTS, so I use my Bryston SP1.7 -- it just sounds better -- not entirely sure why. I need to experiment more. I also use the Bryston for multi-ch SACD via its multi-ch analog input.

I was given a demo of the Linn once. It had, um, issues reading discs that everything else seemed to read just fine. Could have been that particular unit, but for $11K, let's just say I was under-whelmed.

My take is that I own ~120 SACDs. I own as much vinyl -- and there's plenty of vinyl out there, with more being made. I don't know how many more SACDs I'll buy -- limited catalog, uncertain future. I don't see spending a ton of $$$ on SACD right now. If you're happy with the Denon, I'd scratch the upgrade itch somewhere else in your system -- unless everything else is absolutely perfect. :-)

Good luck!
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post #8 of 64 Old 01-24-2007, 11:03 AM
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Linn gear, IMO, is overpriced at any price. It's like buying a $500 piece of gear in a $2000 cabinet and $17,500 in attitude!

If you're going to spend money, get a Meridian and run pure digital to the G68

John
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post #9 of 64 Old 01-24-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Linn gear, IMO, is overpriced at any price. It's like buying a $500 piece of gear in a $2000 cabinet and $17,500 in attitude!

If you're going to spend money, get a Meridian and run pure digital to the G68

you never cease to crack me up. I think a similar analogy is buying $500 of NAD gear and getting $17,500 of your attitiude.
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post #10 of 64 Old 01-24-2007, 07:22 PM
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Hey, but the attitude, at least, is free! As one of my [ex] Linn owners said "I kinda thought they'd treat you nice once you paid the money, but they don't!" He got screwed on a warranty claim because they "couldn't find" one of his warranty extension cards for the one piece that broke *one month* out of the first year, but well within the three year total warranty. They got the other 4 or 5, however. Who makes a $3000+ preamp that breaks in 13 months, dishonors the warranty and charges the customer $200+ to fix it? Linn!

Seriously? I think Linn is like a pass/fail intelligence test. It's kind of like "just *how* gullible* are people?" I opened up a $3000 2150 amp and it didn't have as much parts quality as a $400 NHT monoblock. Sound or no, it cost practically *nothing* in parts to build. Maybe this is how they paid for their robotic warehouse? I mean, c'mon, they make a $7500 DVD player without HDMI. Their Classic 5.1 system is 75W/ch in theory, but measured at 45W in stereo which translates into roughly 18W/ch all channels driven. For $3K. The stuff makes Krell look like a stone cold bargain. I'd buy Lamm's new $126,290 amp before I bought my first piece of Linn gear. And I'd *certainly* get the NAD M5 or M55 over a $20K Linn even if it were the same price. At least Meridian, while expensive, has unique capabilities and technologies and even long term upgradeability.

IMO, of course

John
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post #11 of 64 Old 01-24-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Hey, but the attitude, at least, is free! As one of my [ex] Linn owners said "I kinda thought they'd treat you nice once you paid the money, but they don't!" He got screwed on a warranty claim because they "couldn't find" one of his warranty extension cards for the one piece that broke *one month* out of the first year, but well within the three year total warranty. They got the other 4 or 5, however. Who makes a $3000+ preamp that breaks in 13 months, dishonors the warranty and charges the customer $200+ to fix it? Linn!

Seriously? I think Linn is like a pass/fail intelligence test. It's kind of like "just *how* gullible* are people?" I opened up a $3000 2150 amp and it didn't have as much parts quality as a $400 NHT monoblock. Sound or no, it cost practically *nothing* in parts to build. Maybe this is how they paid for their robotic warehouse? I mean, c'mon, they make a $7500 DVD player without HDMI. Their Classic 5.1 system is 75W/ch in theory, but measured at 45W in stereo which translates into roughly 18W/ch all channels driven. For $3K. The stuff makes Krell look like a stone cold bargain. I'd buy Lamm's new $126,290 amp before I bought my first piece of Linn gear. And I'd *certainly* get the NAD M5 or M55 over a $20K Linn even if it were the same price. At least Meridian, while expensive, has unique capabilities and technologies and even long term upgradeability.

IMO, of course

This is getting funnier---keep going John

IMO, of course
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post #12 of 64 Old 01-25-2007, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Alimentall View Post

Hey, but the attitude, at least, is free! As one of my [ex] Linn owners said "I kinda thought they'd treat you nice once you paid the money, but they don't!" He got screwed on a warranty claim because they "couldn't find" one of his warranty extension cards for the one piece that broke *one month* out of the first year, but well within the three year total warranty. They got the other 4 or 5, however. Who makes a $3000+ preamp that breaks in 13 months, dishonors the warranty and charges the customer $200+ to fix it? Linn!

Seriously? I think Linn is like a pass/fail intelligence test. It's kind of like "just *how* gullible* are people?" I opened up a $3000 2150 amp and it didn't have as much parts quality as a $400 NHT monoblock. Sound or no, it cost practically *nothing* in parts to build. Maybe this is how they paid for their robotic warehouse? I mean, c'mon, they make a $7500 DVD player without HDMI. Their Classic 5.1 system is 75W/ch in theory, but measured at 45W in stereo which translates into roughly 18W/ch all channels driven. For $3K. The stuff makes Krell look like a stone cold bargain. I'd buy Lamm's new $126,290 amp before I bought my first piece of Linn gear. And I'd *certainly* get the NAD M5 or M55 over a $20K Linn even if it were the same price. At least Meridian, while expensive, has unique capabilities and technologies and even long term upgradeability.

IMO, of course

John,

you have in the past offered constructive advice and suggestions in the few posts that I have made, and for that I am grateful. However, when I read this post I feel compelled to post something that attempts to redress the balance.

I have had a Linn Ikemi CD player for years. It has been served me both in the UK, where I originally bought it, and then after shipping it to Atlanta where I relocated - here in the US without fault. The unit is solidly constructed and has stood the test of time. I have always been satisfied with the performance.

Likewise, I have heard the old CD12 many many times and to this day never cease to be amazed by its 'liquid' performance or its construction.

On the other hand, I have heard the most expensive all active Linn setups and been very disappointed. I have for one have never been sold on Linn Speakers. However, people I trust and still take advice from in the UK (a Linn dealer no less) tells me that the Artikulat and Komri are something special (they know I have no intent to buy such a system). They also tell me the Komponent lifestyle system is a waste of money and there are much better alternatives.

I have experienced Linn dealers in the UK that are both wonderfully down to earth people and dealers that I have walked straight in and then back out again because their superior attitude was so prevalent you could cut a knife with it.
I have experienced exactly the same in the US - both good and bad. I have had just as many good and bad experiences with the dealers of other brands. I see that as a reflection of the dealer, not of the equipment they sell.

While your opinions are your own and you have every right to express them, you might want to at least consider that your experiences do not imply some universal truth. Furthermore - to imply that somehow I have failed some intelligence test for choosing a Linn product shows a lack of tolerance for the opinions of others in an area in which the most important assessment of performance is subjective.

As for the original subject matter at hand, my friendly UK dealer (whom I trust implicitly because his immediate observations are things I find to be true long term ) tells me that the Unidisk audio performance with CD is very good - but not quite as good as the CD12. Of course, this is a context that is appropriate for me because he knows how much I love the CD12.

Kind regards,

Ash

Note: Edited for a typo in my opening paragraph
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post #13 of 64 Old 01-25-2007, 07:59 AM
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Sorry Ash, I know I'm being a dick. My point is, you can build great sound for a lot of money and you can build great sound for surprisingly little money. Linn puts very cheap parts in cheap boxes at the low end and a little less cheap parts in the higher end stuff and then put it in an expensive box. Whether you like the sound of Linn or not is immaterial to the fact that they charge *way* more than is necessary for their gear compared to other companies. IMO, there are plenty of really great sounding products that are *just as good* that cost 1/4-1/3rd the price. Linn is, to me, one of the biggest of examples where "high-end" has completely run off the tracks. I don't think there's a Linn product that couldn't be sold for 1/3rd the price and still be plenty profitable. It's not like a Krell where at least the case was heavy and expensive. don't think Linn stuff is crap, just way overpriced on a parts vs retail level. Maybe you're somehow paying for genius, but on the other hand, as you say, much of their lower level stuff isn't very good at all, so it makes you wonder just how much do you have to spend to get decent and then finally, excellent? I guarantee an NAD M55 has more expensive parts quality inside it and retails for $1800 and these guys are certified geniuses at squeezing great sound out of an affordable parts count. Maybe not enough snob appeal or cost to give it a listen but.....

BAT, C-J, YBA, Meridian, NAD Masters, comes to mind when you want to at least feel there's a reason it cost so much. My main point? If Linn can build an excellent sounding product with such inexpensive parts, then others can too *and* at least some of them will be more like 25% of the price. Spend the other 75% on music. I sometimes think we need a "$20K music collection" forum.

Sorry for being a dick, but Linn gear really does just piss me off because there's nothing to it. Wilson and Lamm seem really sensible by comparison.

John
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post #14 of 64 Old 01-26-2007, 04:31 PM
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BTW, I just re-hooked up a 2.1 for a customer and switched it to DVI out for him. One thing for sure, you want to run "auto" on the unit and let whatever is attached do the de-interlacing because it apparently has the worst de-interlacer ever. Or none. Or something. Very strange, if you set it to progressive output, it outputs what looks to be *very bad* interlaced signal, but since it's progressive, the TV can't fix it. Put it in "interlaced" or "auto" and the picture is fine. Not sure what's going on there. Looks like it does have DVI at least, but you have to set it up via analog first, then switch on the HDCP setting. Works fine this way, sounds okay. But $7500? YIKES. For that, I'd have expected a world class video processor.

John
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post #15 of 64 Old 01-28-2007, 08:29 PM
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I have a Linn Unidisk 1.1 and it is the best universal disk player in the world. For cd's it sounds almost as good as the Sondek cd12, which is regarded as the best cd player in the world. Since there are so few dvd-audio's/sacd it's great to be able to play both. To get a better dvd-audio player you have to spend 20k on the meridian. The only problem is that sometimes the tray doesn't open, but i think it's fixed with the latest firm upgrade i got. If you want the best this is it.
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post #16 of 64 Old 01-29-2007, 07:02 PM
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I won't comment on other Linn gear, but the 1.1 is an absolute superb universal player. i have a 3910 which is supposed to use higher quality audio parts, and the comparison really isn't funny.

And John- i bought the Linn after it smoked an 80lb Wadia player with all your heavy parts, transports, etc. Linn truly has talent in developing DACs and has one of the most analog and pleasing sounds---while not sacrificing resolution---that i've heard. 11k cost was for R&D related to the silver disc engine that didn't sacrfice two channel performance---several years ago.

and as for it not having HDMI---it was designed several years ago when nothing had HDMI. it did have DVI which was new at the time as i recall.

KR

ps. and btw, i had a warranty issue and it was repaired within 4 weeks. Not too shabby for UK-based company.
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post #17 of 64 Old 01-29-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KeithR View Post

I won't comment on other Linn gear, but the 1.1 is an absolute superb universal player. i have a 3910 which is supposed to use higher quality audio parts, and the comparison really isn't funny.

And John- i bought the Linn after it smoked an 80lb Wadia player with all your heavy parts, transports, etc. Linn truly has talent in developing DACs and has one of the most analog and pleasing sounds---while not sacrificing resolution---that i've heard. 11k cost was for R&D related to the silver disc engine that didn't sacrfice two channel performance---several years ago.

and as for it not having HDMI---it was designed several years ago when nothing had HDMI. it did have DVI which was new at the time as i recall.

KR

ps. and btw, i had a warranty issue and it was repaired within 4 weeks. Not too shabby for UK-based company.

Keith

all of our comments only reinforce to me once again that John has absolutely no clue in discussing high end audio

I agree about the HDMI

I still have my 1.1 and would never part with it. If I remember correctly it was you Keith who felt that the analog CD out from the 1.1 was as good as the Meitner gear
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post #18 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithR View Post

And John- i bought the Linn after it smoked an 80lb Wadia player with all your heavy parts, transports, etc. Linn truly has talent in developing DACs and has one of the most analog and pleasing sounds---while not sacrificing resolution---that i've heard. 11k cost was for R&D related to the silver disc engine that didn't sacrfice two channel performance---several years ago..

"smoked"? Here's the thing. I've never heard *any* well engineered CD player "smoke" another well-engineered CD player. I heard a Denon CD player that outperformed a $5000 Proceed CD/DAC combo though, mainly because it had *much* lower noise. My point about the Linn is that it's way more expensive than the sum of the parts. If *you* like it better *subjectively*, that's fine, but that doesn't mean it's a "better" machine unless you can really show that it actually measures better or something. It certainly wouldn't be more expensive to build except for the case which is just a waste of money.

What I find amusing is how people throw around the term "better" because they like a product more. I'd bet money I could line up a Denon, a Linn, an NAD in a double blind test and you wouldn't be able to pick the Linn out as the better machine. The real reason the Linn is the darling? A) it's expensive and B) it comes from a company known for turntables and since audiophiles love vinyl, a CD player from a vinyl company must be "better". :rolleyes.

In the end, sure, if you like it and want to spend the money, but that doesn't mean someone else should do the same, unless they're convinced themselves it will sound better in advance.

John
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post #19 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:24 PM
 
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My point about the Linn is that it's way more expensive than the sum of the parts.

You continue to exhibit ongoing naivete when it comes to business. As I see it if the Linn (or any component for that matter) has a sales price equal to the sum of its parts then I guess the manufacturer is giving it away. I didn't realize that they are not allowed to make any money on their products.

John IMO you continue to inflict this high end forum with bogus opinions and beliefs. I continue to have the opinion that you represent nothing more than mid-fi. The high end and what others know as "hi-fi" has truly eluded you.
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post #20 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:25 PM
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all of our comments only reinforce to me once again that John has absolutely no clue in discussing high end audio

You mean high-end as an expensive placebo or a prestige purchase? You're right, I don't understand "high-end". I understand performance, not BS or smoke and mirrors or snake oil.

John
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post #21 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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You mean high-end as an expensive placebo or a prestige purchase? You're right, I don't understand "high-end". I understand performance, not BS or smoke and mirrors or snake oil.

That is because you have never heard a truly high end system---certainly not the Linn 1.1. You seem (as always) to be the minority here when it comes to the 1.1
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post #22 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by oneobgyn View Post

John IMO you continue to inflict this high end forum with bogus opinions and beliefs. I continue to have the opinion that you represent nothing more than mid-fi. The high end and what others know as "hi-fi" has truly eluded you.

I hate to bring out DBT, but I'd bet you $1000 you can't reliably pick out a good $500 player from a $5000 or darn near any other combination in a DBT. But you think there's a huge difference that disappears under more controlled conditions. There's one thing to buy a product because you want it, it's another to fool yourself into believing that it's actually better.

John
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post #23 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:35 PM
 
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As I said John, the high end has really eluded you.
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post #24 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by oneobgyn View Post

That is because you have never heard a truly high end system---certainly not the Linn 1.1. You seem (as always) to be the minority here when it comes to the 1.1

Well, the 2.1 didn't do much for me. Sorry to inject a dose of reality into an arm of self-delusion.

Call me when you want to put up $1000 on a DBT!!!

John
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post #25 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 01:05 PM
 
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actually the 2.1 is a dumbed down version of the 1.1

As I said "mid-fi" John

BTW, call me if you want to hear a high end system
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post #26 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 01:26 PM
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I've heard a ton of "high-end" systems, all with their amazing flaws and omissions. Let me know if you ever get a high-performance one

John
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post #27 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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I continue to chuckle at all of your posts John.

I am off today, so I have nothing but time on my hands. It never ceases to amaze me that you have all this time to post here. Must be a very lucrative mid-fi business that you are running. Those customers of yours I guess are like that "vaporware" that you always talk about. Delusions of grandeur John
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post #28 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 02:16 PM
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I continue to chuckle at all of your posts John.

I am off today, so I have nothing but time on my hands. It never ceases to amaze me that you have all this time to post here. Must be a very lucrative mid-fi business that you are running. Those customers of yours I guess are like that "vaporware" that you always talk about. Delusions of grandeur John

I sell several $thousand per day, most of which is in a few minutes. And I type fast, so replying to you takes seconds. I amuse myself here between sales. You can call what I do "mid-fi", but it's far more oriented towards transparency and performance than what is euphemistically called "high-end". What I dislike about "high-end" is that it gets people caught up in color-swapping rather than getting people closer to music. I honestly don't know how you hear your music over the sound of your system.

John
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post #29 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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So I am confused... Should I go with the Linn? lol

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post #30 of 64 Old 01-30-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRT-10 Viper View Post

So I am confused... Should I go with the Linn? lol

no need to be confused

The Linn 1.1 is a terrific machine and worthy of its MSRP contrary to what John says. It never ceases to amaze me how John has so much to say about the "high end" when he has never heard it, never owned it and certainly doesn't sell it
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Reply Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+)

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