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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read a review on another forum that rated these much higher than the Revel F30 and some others. The person did not like the F30 so it is not clear what their preference was, but they reported the Linn to be much more neutral and accurate. Since these are characteristics usually attributed to the Revels I am interested in whether anyone on this forum has heard them, and what they thought of them. They appear to be about the same price as the F30.
 

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Never heard the F30, so I can't compare the two, but if I had the money, the Linn Espek's would be mine. Magnificent, fabulous speaker, and I only heard them passive. I can only imagine what the sound would be like if run "aktiv". However, with the cost of the Linn amps and active crossovers, if you want to run these speakers "aktiv" then you really are looking at a premium price increase over the base speaker price.
 

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Revel f30 compared to passive Linn Espek's are pretty close. Espek's bass is more articulate and tighter. F30 with active Espek's is no comparison. Acitve Espeks are in a different zip code.
 

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The Espek is basically the follow on speaker for the 5140. I originally purchase a pair of 5140's for the front speakers in our home theater (5120 center and Tukans for rear). I found that we started spending all of our time in the home theater listening to music. So we bought a second pair for the family room. They are some of the most musical speakers I have ever heard (without going totally nutso on price). Our system is currently passive, but hopefully they will be changed to aktiv once I scrape together the bucks.
 

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Evan,


Going aktiv is not cheap, but with the 5125 (5 channel) amplifier from Linn, it isn't as expensive as it once was. In the old days (i.e., when I did mine), you had to get a bunch of stereo or mono amps. The crossovers aren't free, but they're not extortionate either.


I think that, at relatively lower price points, aktiv Katans with a good subwoofer (REL is my personal choice, though Linn's would mate well too) are hard to beat for value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is not clear from what I can find written about the aktiv mode whether I need to use Linn amps or if the crossovers can be used with other amps?
 

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Michael, it is my belief that if you use non Linn amps, you have to buy the active crossover from Linn (which I heard is in the neighborhood of $600 or so per speaker?...somebody correct me on that if I'm wrong and I very well may be). If you buy the Linn amps for the purpose of activating the Espek's or any other model for that point, Linn will supply the crossover for free. Again, I could be wrong on this...anyone?


One thing I do know for sure is that you can do this with NON-Linn amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Does the Linn crossover support balanced inputs, single-ended, or both?
 

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Michael:

IMHO, you can't go wrong with either choice here. My personal preference is the Espeks. The F30's have a lot going for them but to my ear the Linn's are more musical and music, done right, will also yield good HT sound. It doesn't seem to work the other way around.

I started with the straight 5140's for FL & FR. Center was a 5120. Rears were 5110's and the crowning touch; 5150 sub (AWESOME!).

Power was supplied by Aragon 8008bb & 8008x3. These are now available as closeouts for bargain prices.

Next move was to replace the rear 5110's with 5120's; nice improvement to have the same mid and treble drivers all around.

Then I went Aktiv - needed 2 Tuneboxes (Actik x-overs) for the front. 1 Tunebox took care of the front 5140's and another did the 5120 (with room for another unused in the 2nd Tunebox). Improvement was significant. I also bought another Aragon amp, the 8008x5, to provide the additional 5 channels of power I needed. (Yes, if you go with Linn amps you don't need the out board Tuneboxes but I loved the Aragon power and sound. The speakers seem to like the high current delivery too).

Finally I did the Espek and Ekwal driver upgrades for the 5140's and 5120 center. (In the interest of full disclosure I bought a balanced power unit - Furman IT-Reference, and am adding a full array of custom power cables from Perfect Cable - Alan Maher; all this yields incremental improvements and provides a nice upgrade path).

The results are just fantastic. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise unless they have owned them and tried it. The Linn's now deliver such amazingly open detailed and imaged sound that I am constantly smiling while immersed in their sound. Dialog and sound on movies get high grades too.

So, as you can tell, I am a very satisfied Linn customer. As I said up top, the F30's are fine speakers too. You have to be the final judge as to which characteristics are a better match for your ears.

Good luck!

Bob P


PS - In response to the questions about balanced vs. single ended the Tuneboxes are single ended; this was the only negative as the Aragons provide a balanced option. However, the results going Aktiv help compensate.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RJinAZ
The Espek is basically the follow on speaker for the 5140. I originally purchase a pair of 5140's for the front speakers in our home theater (5120 center and Tukans for rear). I found that we started spending all of our time in the home theater listening to music. So we bought a second pair for the family room. They are some of the most musical speakers I have ever heard (without going totally nutso on price). Our system is currently passive, but hopefully they will be changed to aktiv once I scrape together the bucks.
Interesting we have the exact same speaker setup except for all of my speakers are all active
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MichaelLatta
It is not clear from what I can find written about the aktiv mode whether I need to use Linn amps or if the crossovers can be used with other amps?
It is cheaper if you use Linn amps because they can accommodate the electronic crossovers without additional hardware. But if you don’t want to use Linn amps like BP did then you have to use a device that Linn calls Tunebox (600$ + cost of the crossovers 250$ea). It is nothing more than a box with a power supply to host the Linn crossovers. Linn sell many crossovers for different speakers and amps so you need to specify for what speaker and what amp. i.e. if you are using stereo amps you need stereo active cards for (x) speaker, if they are mono then you need mono cards.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Evan S
Michael, it is my belief that if you use non Linn amps, you have to buy the active crossover from Linn (which I heard is in the neighborhood of $600 or so per speaker?...somebody correct me on that if I'm wrong and I very well may be).
The crossovers are 250$ ea. stereo or mono. If you order mono active cards they come in a pair, one for each channel. The stereo card is actually one that handles both channels. If you use non linn amps you have to buy another device called Tunebox. It is just a box with a power supply that host linn active crossovers.

Quote:
If you buy the Linn amps for the purpose of activating the Espek's or any other model for that point, Linn will supply the crossover for free. Again, I could be wrong on this...anyone?
Linn does not give anything for free.


Hope this helps.


One thing for sure, going with or without Linn amps, going aktiv is a revelation in its self.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It sounds like the Linn aktiv is much like the digital speakers from Meridian, except that having the speakers and amps in separate enclosures makes upgrades cheaper (you do not need to buy it all at once). On the other hand I understand that Linn does not always issue cards for all combinations of amps and speakers, which sometimes means having to get new amps anyway.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by MichaelLatta
except that having the speakers and amps in separate enclosures makes upgrades cheaper (you do not need to buy it all at once).
Exactly right, the upgrade path is much cheaper and it does not have to happen all at once. You can buy one amp use them as passive, then buy a second amp then you can passive bi-amp for awhile, then buy the active cards then you are fully active. Your jaws will drop every single step of the way. You will hear sonic improvement everytime.


FYI: In case of the Espek you will need to buy three amps.

Quote:
On the other hand I understand that Linn does not always issue cards for all combinations of amps and speakers, which sometimes means having to get new amps anyway.
They do. There are a few occasions (old product) where they only released the active card for mono application only restricting the end user to only buy mono type of amps. All of the new stuff (since 96) you can buy both version mono or stereo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, It sounds like they are pretty commited to upgrades and keeping customers happy and loyal, much like Theta which I like working with as well. Using the external box might give a bit more future proof aspect, but at higher cost, and more interconnects to setup and deal with noise on.


Speaking of interconnects I would still like to know if the crossovers support balanced inputs. My Casablanca only does balanced at the top level of DACs and it would be nice to have that options with the aktiv crossovers.
 

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Quote:
In case of the Espek you will need to buy three amps
Jerry, don't you mean three CHANNELS of amplification for each speaker...one for each driver? If you had a 5 channel amp, technically I was under the impression you could get a single monoblock to fill the missing 6th channel to activate a pair of Espek's, no?


Also, I didn't mean to imply that Linn is giving away audio components, but simply that if you went with Linn amps, you didn't need to buy the tunebox...in a way that's like them adding it for nothing, but I realize it's reflected in the price of the amps.


Michael, I think BP mentioned at the end of his post above that the tunebox is single ended only...not a balanced option.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Evan S



Jerry, don't you mean three CHANNELS of amplification for each speaker...one for each driver?
exactly, when i refered to 3 amps I failed to mention (3) 'stereo' amps
Quote:
If you had a 5 channel amp, technically I was under the impression you could get a single monoblock to fill the missing 6th channel to activate a pair of Espek's, no?
very bad idea. all channel amps have to match or else you will end up with very bad results.

Quote:
Also, I didn't mean to imply that Linn is giving away audio components, but simply that if you went with Linn amps, you didn't need to buy the tunebox...
exactly


cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It is unfortunate that the crossovers do not support differential mode. This lowers the noise floor, and is required for the higher end DACs in the Theta line. Using short enough interconnects it may be OK, but I would not be able to go to the top level DACs. This hobby is full of trade-offs.
 

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I used Linn 5140s passive for awhile and was very impressed with their large scale dynamics and tight, powerful bass. I sold them, however, when I moved into a smaller place.


So my question is, how do the Espeks compare? Significant improvement? If so, maybe Linn will be back in my life in the future. (By the way, I still have a Majik integrated amp which I love.)


Thanks


Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have yet to hear the Linns. I expect to hear them when next in Irvine (where our company offices are). Hopefully someone that has heard both can fill you and the rest of us in on that. It is good to know that they do not need to be driven aktiv to get the value out of them.
 
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