Building Products to Last a Lifetime

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The Linn Sondek LP12 turntable was first unveiled to the world over four decades ago and is still the pinnacle of turntable design. To date, it is the longest serving piece of hifi equipment in the world. Hifi Choice magazine named it “the most important piece of hifi ever sold in the UK."

Product Design Engineer, David Williamson, has been one of the people behind the music for over 16 years. The team that he's part of have worked on and overseen some of the most exciting breakthroughs in recent memory including Exakt, the Linn DS network music player and Series 5. However, he’s still drawn to the Sondek LP12 turntable, and its components, in a way that no other product can match.

“The LP12 is a challenging product to work on. At Linn we believe in building products that will last a lifetime, and the LP12 personifies this - anything we design and build still has to enhance a product that could be up to 42 years old.

“However, it’s also one of the most rewarding products to work on. Any upgrade we develop - whether it is a new baseboard, tonearm or cartridge - will improve the sound considerably. The end result is that any upgrade will lead to a substantial improvement in overall performance. In all honesty, the LP12 never ceases to amaze me.

“And you can still be blown away with how the sound improves from even the most minute alterations. The best part is that our customers understand this and are so grateful when we can make their LP12 sound better. It’s a fantastic piece to work on.”

Krystal, the latest in the range of LP12 cartridges, was launched earlier this week. Replacing the company’s longest-ever serving component, Klyde, Linn’s latest offering has used the design principles of their reference cartridge, Kandid, to capture even the tiniest changes in the record groove.

“We trialled different mounts, adhesives and processes to make a truly great cartridge. We also focused on reducing weight, so although it has a three point mount, Krystal is actually lighter than Klyde which again adds to the responsiveness of the cartridge. It also uses an aircraft-grade 7075 aluminium chassis which provides a lightweight, stable platform for the generator.

"The end result is outstanding performance offered at this price-point. Krystal really is a phenomenal upgrade; we’re incredibly pleased with it.”

The various goals the team set out to achieve with Krystal weren’t just limited to performance though, and David is keen to point out that Krystal had to look great too.

“We really wanted to create a product that didn’t just sound great, but that also looked fantastic. The chassis contains the subtle Linn 'scoop' that is found on many of our products and we added a powerful blue "Krystal" print on the side. It was important to us that Krystal was aesthetically pleasing."

One last question that David is often asked in his role is what song he uses to test-drive a new product or system.

“That’s a tough one; it changes to be honest,” he says laughing. “I don’t really have just one track, and it will change for each project. Generally we use well-recorded and balanced tracks to really pick out detail, so artists like Crowded House, Paul Simon, and Claire Martin make it easier to hear the differences in performance. For Krystal we used a few tracks but ‘Totally’ by Joe Stilgoe (one of Linn Record's latest and most exciting artists) is the one that really sticks out in my mind with all its energy and liveliness.”

To celebrate the launch of Krystal, Linn are offering two fantastic ways for you to upgrade before the end of February. If you own a Linn cartridge, you can simply trade it in to your local Linn Specialist and receive Krystal at a preferential price. Alternatively, purchase Krystal before the end of February and qualify for a 15% discount on a second upgrade for your LP12. Learn more below and book a personal listening session with your local Linn Specialist to hear it for yourself.


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