Linn Komri loudspeaker Page 3
Time for a little CD. How about upsampling The Timekeepers: Count Basie Meets Oscar Peterson (JVC JVCXR-0206-2)? When I play this disc, I automatically head for track 3, "Rent Party." I love to listen to it so much I can't stand it! Akira Taguchi and Alan Yoshida have been doing wonders with their XRCDs, but I've never heard this one so laid out, so explicated, so detailed from top to bottom and wrapped up with leading-edge energy, the music so separated from the rather noisy noise floor. Really thrilling.
That was through the dCS Purcell/Elgar Plus front-end via TARA Labs The One cable. The Accuphase DP-100/DC-101, in comparison, was sex on wheels. The way the Count and Peterson communicate without speaking when they duet, like lovers, fills me with joy to hear. Yes, the Komris were uncompromising in their retrieval of detail but the Accuphase duo did the best with them, filling out every nook and cranny, giving a softer and sexier presentation. Even the rough stuff was part of the music. Better to hear it than not.
After Brian Morris had left, I noticed that he'd left the bass gain at zero. Typical Linnie, I thought. And I did find the sound on some recordings the slightest bit acerbic. So I experimented a bit. Raising the bass gain to +1 on vinyl and +2 on CD seemed to do the trick. In both formats, it seemed to flesh out the mids and lower mids just enough to smoothly flare into the upper bass for a naturally "larger" sound.
You see the beauty of it? Just sit around, play something with heavy bass content, change the woofer gain by like increments, and find out which one floats your audiophile boat and works best in your listening room. I suspect the truly committed (and committable) might want to change the bass level for each recording.
Wondering about how female vocals would fare with these super-detailed speakers, I put on Patricia Barber's Companion (Premonition/Blue Note 5 22963 2). I've listened to Barber's recordings from the start, and have enjoyed them very much. The CD left me breathless with its openness and sparkle in the highs, with a midrange we all wish we could enjoy 24/7, plus terrific bass. Nope, no problems there, or with any of the many Lou Reed and Patti Smith recordings I own: sweet highs, no over-chestiness with the boys, and smashing bass.
Wondering if the Komris would break down under assault-level SPLs, I spun Bernstein and the New York Phil's SACD of Mahler's Symphony 1, the "Titan" (Sony SACD SRGR 718). It was huge, it was fabulous, nothing fell apart, everything held together, dynamics were superb, and I must say I never heard Lenny and the NYP sound so good, so dynamic and alive. Then I couldn't help spinning "Malletoba Spank" on Ellington Jazz Party (Columbia CK 40712). HUGE space, delineated to the nines, instrumentals, air—great draughts of it—wide and high soundstage, every fart and foot stomp laid bare. Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet roared, Johnny Hodges's Saxophone seduced, and Jimmy Woode's bass rocked—what a trip!
I had another wonderful evening playing the same CDs through the Linn CD12. Once again, I was bowled over by how absolutely fantastic it sounded. Of all the 16-bit/44.1kHz machines, the CD12 is the only one to stand comparison with the upsamplers.
I closed this note-taking session with Ultra Chilled (Ultra UL1110-2) and let the trip-hop vibes wash over me. The pounding bass, the wonderful midrange, and the enveloping presentation blew me out of the chair again. It was so detailed it almost sounded like the voice of God, but it never quite fell into any kind of hardness in the highs. Badly recorded albums sounded worse on the Komris than on the Utopias. But there's beauty in truth, and nothing tells the truth like the Linn Komris.
Well, should you wrap 'em up?
If accuracy is your bag—if you don't like euphony at all and want the unvarnished truth no matter what—and if you've got an Aston, a house in the country, hunting dogs, and keep an accounting firm busy all year...well, a pair of Linn Komris might be just what you're looking for. If not, mortgage the kids and buy 'em anyway.