(Linn at Promusica)

About Linn

Linn Products Ltd produces high fidelity audio equipment for home use, as well as bespoke equipment for studio recording and mastering. Through its "Linn Records" subsidiary the company also publishes, produces and distributes a wide range of musical genres. Linn has been recognised for its contribution to manufacturing with a Queen's Award for Enterprise and an MBE for its founder, Ivor Tiefenbrun, for "service to the electronics industry."

In his spare time, Ivor Tiefenbrun began making record players at the family engineering business, Castle Precision Engineering (which supplies the aerospace, defence, and energy industries; customers including Rolls Royce and BAE Systems). In 1973, Ivor devoted himself to making hi fi full time, naming the enterprise after nearby "Linn Park." Castle Precision Engineering remained closely involved, and still produces certain parts for Linn.

Linn Akubariks, Exakt, piano black

Linn speakers, featuring patented "3K Array." Finish: special order, 'piano.'

With a series of game changing, sometimes patented products, and a 'no BS' "if it sounds better, it is better" attitude, Linn acquired a reputation for genuine high fidelity. The notion that folks should use their own ears to assess musical quality (rather than relying on technical specifications and 'expert' reviewers) resonated with music lovers, but it didn't please everyone within the hi fi industry, especially those accustomed to telling folks what to buy.

Ivor has commented extensively, and sometimes controversially, on the subjects of music; people's innate musicality; how to choose a hi fi system; and appearance vs. substance. The basis of the Linn ethos has always been a fervent rejection of snobbery, dogma and the superficial, while affirming music's unique ability to elevate, inspire and restore. In regards to the effect of music on the individual, much of what Ivor first talked about in the 1970s is now supported by independent research in the fields of neuroplasticity and cognitive psychology. Music does make you smarter, and healthier - it's a scientific fact.

Over the years, many things have changed at Linn: network music players have replaced CD players; power amplifiers are increasingly regarded as 'should be heard and not seen' and the technicians and artisans now apply their craft in an airy, Richard Rogers designed facility in the beautiful, sometimes wild countryside of Eaglesham, Scotland (near Glasgow).

Meanwhile, Ivor - the once reviled enfant terrible of the British hi fi industry - has been given some charm lessons (which I'm afraid didn't take), and his son, Gilad, has been given the day-to-day running of what is still regarded by many as the best place to work in Britain.

Linn hi fi system on custom made rack

Sondek LP12 record player.

However, some things have not changed. Linn still prefers to hire key staff from among the cream of manufacturing and tertiary education; at least one applicable degree AND a strong musical instinct are minimum requirements for certain jobs at Linn.

Product development is still steered by the 'blind comparison' - an uncompromising method borrowed from orchestra directors: the purpose being to eliminate the effects of both sub-conscious bias and conscious pre-conception. It's not enough that a candidate product measures well; no matter how passionate an engineer might be about a new design, it must pass the blind comparison stage if it is to eventually bear the Linn logo.

On more superficial matters, Linn continues to eschew ostentation and fashion, instead applying a more modest style intended to stand the test of time - just as the engineering is designed to.

Oh, and the product that kicked it all off - the Sondek LP12 record player - not only does Linn still make them, but they have continued research and development across five decades; providing retrofitable sound quality upgrades for any LP12, regardless of age.