Linn Series 3 Review

Linn Series 3 Review

Anyone already coming onto the market with networked active loudspeakers must know how to differentiate them. We expected nothing less from a legendary brand like Linn. Before its launch, a lot of time was invested in obtaining a result that can be called truly original, both in form and in the materials used. Linn has created a product for music lovers who want to simplify their installation.

Linn has been involved in connected music for many years. Many of the brand’s products know how to connect to the network and the Internet to play your music library or access online music services. Various network drives with DSM stamps have these capabilities. They are controlled via a mobile application that allows you to manage multiple zones if you wish.

Communication between the zones takes place via the proprietary Songcast protocol. In addition, other exclusive features are available on some devices, such as B. Audio calibration for room optimization to adjust the sound to the room.

Linn equipment has never been particularly cheap. This is not the policy of this Scottish company which takes special care in making their products locally. It was, therefore, to be expected that Linn would offer a high-end connected speaker. So high quality that it is currently the most expensive, even more, expensive than the Devialet Phantom or the Cabasse The Pearl.

This Linn Series 3 doesn’t position itself as a direct competitor. However, the Devialet and the Cabasse have a demonstrative characters. The bass that shakes the walls is part of their DNA. This is one of their selling points, as they compete with very large speakers while keeping the footprint to a minimum.

PROS:

  • Original style High-end processing
  • Quality of voice reproduction
  • Immersion in atmosphere
  • HDMI-ARC input

CONS:

  • No AUX audio input
  • Incomplete mobile application

Properties

  • Amplification: 2×100 watts class D
  • Speakers: 1x tweeter 19 mm, 1x woofer 16 cm
  • Connections: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, 1x HDMI ARC input, Exakt Link (RJ45)
  • Formats: PCM up to 24/192 kHz
  • Streaming: Linn Multiroom, Roon, AirPlay, web radios, native Qobuz
  • Weight: 6.9 kg
  • Size (W x H x D): 250 x 296 x 206 mm

Presentation of the Linn Series 3

The Series 3 speaker looks like a giant ostrich egg with two cutouts, one front, and one top. The white soft-touch surface reinforces this effect. The case is made of synthetic ceramics, giving it a high density that helps reduce vibrations. The Series 3 weighs 6.9 kg. The quality is impeccable, and the name of the person who hands assembled this speaker can be read on the bottom of the speaker. Such signs are also attached to the engines of English luxury cars.

The metal grille is sturdy. It is also egg-shaped and protects the two classically positioned speakers, the tweeter above the 16 cm long-throw woofer. The class D amplifiers deliver 100 watts each. They are attached to a piece of metal at the back that acts as a radiator.

On the top of the Series 3, a glass panel hides nine touch-sensitive buttons and a display that validates actions and continuously updates volume levels. In addition, there is a power button, two volume buttons, and six shortcut keys. These can be set up via the mobile application. The volume is displayed as bars arranged in a circle, and the Linn logo is always lit in the middle.

There are only three ports on the back. A pair of RJ45 jacks are on one side for the wired network and another on the other side for the exact link. So, establishing a stereo connection with a second, slightly cheaper, Series 3 secondary device is necessary. On the underside is the only physical input in an HDMI ARC socket. There is neither an optical nor an analog input.

The Series 3 is one of the few speakers available today with an HDMI input. This enables uncompressed digital audio playback. But, unfortunately, it’s here in stereo only, with no support for Dolby and DTS multichannel formats.

The connection to our Sony TV worked right away, and the volume of the Linn speaker can be adjusted using the TV remote control. The Series 3 automatically goes into standby mode when the TV is switched off. It is best to center the speaker under the TV for efficient playback. The sound will not match the picture if it’s too far away. We recommend using the HDMI ARC connector only with a Linn Series 3 stereo pair.

Features of the Series 3

The mobile application for controlling the Series 3 speaker is called Linn. It controls all connected devices of the brand so that you can enjoy the sound in several rooms. The speaker was immediately found on our wired network and appeared on the list of available players. A slide switch is used to put the Series 3 into standby mode.

The main page is customizable because you can display shortcuts however you want: HDMI input, Bluetooth, playlist, internet radio stations, etc. They can be rearranged at any time from the settings screen. Physical and cloud sources such as Qobuz can also be added or removed here.

Logically, when you activate the Qobuz service, you will first be asked to log in. Then, a simplified navigation screen compared to other competing applications gives access to music divided into three categories: Discover, Purchases, and My Qobuz with your favorite tracks and personal playlists.

The classic playback screen has a menu accessed by the icon with three small dots, e.g., B. add the current title to the favorites. It always specifies the file format, quality, and sampling rate. The volume can be adjusted by opening an additional screen. Unfortunately, the phone’s physical buttons aren’t linked to the Linn speaker’s volume control on the iPhone, which is a shame.

The Linn mobile app only deals with what matters most. It’s designed to be less complicated than most of the competing apps we know of. However, since Series 3 is AirPlay and Roon compatible, you have other ways to control it if you already have your habit.

Listening impression

The Series 3 speaker undoubtedly has a cavity in the top end. Its sound is impressive. The speaker is quite large, indicating the expected result, and the music comes out of the speaker without any obstacles. She has to bow to him without ever giving the impression of a dull sound scene. Marcus Miller’s bass is made with all the resonance and atmosphere around it that perfectly characterizes the live recording accompanied by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Series 3 has performance across the spectrum. Bass is dry and punchy, with a delicacy and definition identical to traditional quality passive speakers, no artifacts, but realism and respect for tonal colors to satisfy those who value fidelity over performance. There is a lack in the lower frequencies, which is logical with the integrated speakers. The Series 3 makes no mistake; it does well what it is good at. The mixed funk and R&B tracks from Toni Braxton’s latest album Spell My Name are rendered with authority for our greatest pleasure.

The area where the Linn Series 3 outperforms all connected speakers is invoiced. A topic in which the Linn completely convinced us. He manages to extract the voices from the rest of the sound mass and reproduce them separately with a rare sharpness and transparency. There may be a bit of vanity in the upper mid-tones, but it’s not too bad. We can’t blame him because Stacey Kent took the speaker’s place, surrounded by the various instruments of the Orchestral Sessions, in perfect unison. This amazing result from a mono speaker has gotten us through hours of uninterrupted listening.

Conclusion

We waited many months before our ears could enjoy this famous connected speaker, developed by one of the reference companies in British Hi-Fi. Our expectations were not disappointed by the result. Linn has produced an active mono loudspeaker that comes close to conventional hi-fi loudspeakers with separate electronics. Such reproduction quality has rarely been achieved; there is an obvious connection between the Series 3 and the brand’s spirit.

To take full advantage of this speaker, we advise you to let it speak for itself and enjoy it from a reasonable distance. He will have no trouble filling a 30 square meter room without ever disappointing its audiophile claims. In addition, a pair of Series 3 stereo speakers should easily compete with and even outperform traditional multi-element audio systems in similar price brackets.

Linn Series 3 Review
Linn Series 3 Review

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