Linn Series 5 in the Test

The digital revolution is forcing the rethink. And other concepts. However, in the case of Linn’s 520er system, at least one remains: the fun. The Linn series 5 with Akurate exactly DSM in the test.

It was a rough, but therefore not less real note: a consultant “It’s the economy, stupid” once sharpened the US President. Now we HiFi idealists though like to dissociate ourselves from the filthy primacy of Economics, and of course AUDIO would never appeal to these idealists as dull jaws. But we must with regard to the rapid development of the sound world, including the ladies, just as rigid notice: it’s the software, gentlemen.

Linn, the tradtion company from Scotland, has understood this early. Of course wise heads in Glasgow consider still, which arm bases material in the turntable legend LP 12 sounds even better. But now think – depending on the job definition – between 30 and 50 developer programs, algorithms and other disembodied implants around, which make even better in-house hardware. It’s the software, gentlemen.

Latest achievement of this thinking: the two systems of the series 5. At the time of the 530 and what goes to the speaker, is slightly smaller 520er. Outwardly considered this consists of a few Floorstanding speaker, are identifying with its cooling fins on the back as actively with own power amplifiers. This kind of preamp in the typical Linn design and the k-fixed Linn Akurate nomenclature comes exactly called DSM. “Some kind of” is it good. Because: It’s the software, gentlemen.

Family ties

There’s already the so similar, hardware-umbauten think-tankers Linn Klimax DS / 1 (AUDIO 7/2011, 15850 euro), climax DSM (5/15, 18850 euro) or speling DSM (2-12, 6450 euros). Linn for the Akurate have exactly DSM almost 3000 euros. Of this streamer, preamp and ADC, alone. But what makes little sense, because we test him in his Habitat, for which it was built: in the symbiosis with a “precise” enabled Linn speaker. In our case, it holds per couple 9200 euro expensive 520, the “chakra” amplifiers strong in themselves per page per two 100 watt and the DA-Converter. Linn’s own developments, are also the amplifiers whose special OFF circuit technology (for professionals: bipolar transistors for the performance tips grouped around a monolithic circuit) should bring the dreaded takeover distortion to zero. For cheap Chinese “digital” amplifier from the rod the Scots remain tight at the Scots.

The controller only via ordinary network cable (Ethernet, CAT 5 or CAT 6) takes the connection to the speakers. And used only one of the four with “exact link” marked Ethernet outputs on the back. The second network cable connects then left with right box. AHA, here computers are connected with each other. The tuning potential goes cable against null. Speaking of tuning: many know that each room different sounds, that even the best speakers to the booming so trumpet a worse room can downgrade. Inversely proportional, few would therefore acoustically optimize your living room. Like some other manufacturers, Linn now offers the possibility of himself the space to fit the speaker; more precisely: the signal that arrives at them.


Space optimisation – the following WAY – Glasgow calls the software that allows you to. For each existing plant. How and with what devices that work, informs the homepage. The data of the customer speaker should be to be able to use, SO in turn perfectly. As of writing this test were the readings of approximately 1000 common system designs in the Linn database. Because SO “only” the area below 100 Hertz, so the bass range sound-killing room modes-most ridden in the frequency response affects the character of each speaker remains.

Most precise it all works naturally with active speakers, that it itself has developed and built. And here comes “Precisely” respectively SO + in the game that drives his character in the system of 520. We treat it here almost as a stand-alone solution, but Linn makes run exactly even with external electronics and foreign speakers. But that’s another story.

The author himself opened up the island of the blessed of the sound. Very important: The normal Linn customer can be set up everything from his dealer, for him it is said: 12,200 euros can be paid, get the dealer, wait a bit, save some preferred results. And then: the own software – in this case is time of music who listen to speech – and enjoy.

The author but exactly joined the Akurate itself to the home network DSM, downloaded the configuration software “Config” himself and lined up the data of his listening area. After overcoming the usual stumbling blocks (room dimensions with point instead of floating-point type etc.) he had a new listening room. At least virtually, it’s… You already know.

A triumph

With growing enthusiasm he listened now “his” 520er (unfortunately back to back). Finally, he could listen easily even its Blu-ray audio and make listening comparisons using the same program on LP. Because firstly the Linn has also HDMI inputs for the high resolution sound and secondly a phono amp aboard, which loosely holds with the legendary Linn Linto. Probably that’s all a matter of software, but if for example, Carlos Kleiber were unsurpassed recordings of Beethoven’s fifth and Seventh Symphony, it doesn’t matter.

When switching, one had to get used only on the ‘soft’ and unhide. At some point the writer of these lines it caught, that he simply ran. As with impressive ease, completely detached from the speakers with sheer inexhaustible richness of detail and still-startling image precision the Linn system Beethoven took advice “from the darkness into the light”. It would be many more wonderful walks to enumerate, fade against the minimum points of criticism. Voices kept a tiny trend to the Verschattet held back instead of radiant brilliance the Linn’s prefer the elegant shimmer at the highest altitudes, the deepest bass areas remained rather in the background. The maximum level is not although absolutely for orchestral balance or rich rock sound in the hearing room, to the Disco sound of the whole House but rather.

But it puts into perspective to the micro roughness on a remarkable triumph. Speaking of relative: So also the – classification must have finally read review for the AUDIO leaderboard.

To attract still the initially mentioned consultants: economically, the Linn 520 is a kind of jackpot system, because fine speakers to get a systemic sound profit. Congratulations!


The AUDIO leaderboard is a venerable institution. And it has come a bit in the years. Introduced at a time when “digital” was at best CD player, the current digital revolution rocked their very foundations: that components are hardware – and that they must be comparable.

Speakers are similar if they are powered from the same sources same amplifier. The Linn system Akurate exactly but is unmatched – many relationship. Of course, it consists of preamplifier, converters, cables, amplifiers and speaker chassis. To the sound of outstanding, largely independent from the living room helps him – exactly: it’s the software, gentlemen.