Linn Komri loudspeaker
The Komri's most obvious feature is Linn's "4k Acoustic Array Mid-Treble Section." The supertweeter, tweeter, and midrange unit, with protective screens covering their domes, are mounted in a narrow, sealed, bridge-like assembly of polymer, in front of the polymer-cone upper-bass driver. This "pod" is designed, tooled, and molded by Linn in what looks just like aluminum, and is shaped to minimize diffraction problems. It also enables the drive-units to be mounted very close together. The acoustic centers of the four passive drivers are nearly coincident. In practical terms, this means that, from 100Hz to 40kHz, the Komri's acoustic center appears to be a single point source with, according to the manual, almost identical horizontal and vertical dispersion patterns.
The four upper-frequency drive-units are integrated with a fourth-order passive crossover using Solen polypropylene capacitors and Litz-wound inductors. The passive Komri, as reviewed here, can be upgraded to full active operation.
The Komri's specs indicate a frequency range of 20Hz-40kHz. Why even bother going out that high, where even the most beautiful of women cannot hear? (It's a well-documented fact that women hear better than men.)
"Well," says Brian Morris, Linn's Man in America (if based in Manchester, England), "it makes a big difference in what you actually do hear. Cover the supertweeter with your hand while playing and you'll be shocked to hear the difference." I tried this myself was surprised at a certain lack of openness in the highs that was easily heard.
Active Bass Servo
Set lower in the cabinet, beneath the polymer bridge and drivers, are "two active servo 10" "ultra-long-throw bass drivers" with "ultra-powerful motors," each powered by an internal 1500W switch-mode power amplifier and handling the range from 120Hz down. The ABS system uses an accelerometer mounted in the driver's voice-coil to precisely measure its motion, which it then compares with the original audio signal. ABS can, if necessary, modify the output to the power amp to compensate for any nonlinearity in the bass driver. The result, Linn claims, is a frequency response down to 20Hz that's ruler-flat, even at high volume levels.
The audio input is derived from the passive crossover, and this, Linn claims, ensures a perfect match of phase and level with the rest of the loudspeaker. An alternative line-level input is provided, selected via a "soft switch" on the speaker's rear. As described by Linn, "soft switching" is an electronic multifunction switch and display. After the Komris are turned on, you can adjust three parameters with the soft switch, pressing the buttons in prescribed ways to show and change operating parameters. For example, Gain can be run from -7 to +6. You can also choose between internal and external bass crossovers, as well as among single-ended, inverted, or balanced running. The amplifiers can be set to shut off after a period of no signal, or be left always on. There's a nicely designed low-profile heatsink on the speaker's back, but it got only slightly warm to the touch.
Setup, or Who's Got the Keys to the Forklift?
Well-thought-out though the Komri might be, setting up a pair of 'em is no one-person operation. Enlist the assistance of your dealer: You have to turn the cartons upside down, remove the endcaps, take out the stands, attach them, and then—oufff!—get the Komris back upright and hooked up. Nothing complicated, but all of it heavy.
We used K-10's Old Towels trick: "Walk" each speaker onto an old towel. Then they can be easily pulled around, especially with someone else pushing from the other side. Zippadee doo-dah, it really worked—the Komris slid around as if on skates.
The stand is secured to the speaker by screws and washers. Back upright, the four corners use lock nuts that literally scream "Bugatti"—or, per the more contemporaneous K-10, "Alesi." With an adjusting spanner locking tool (that screamed Phillipe Starck, the high-tech design guru), you set in stone whatever leveling shaft height you want. We screwed the substantial spiked shafts into all four corners until they tucked up into the stands, nothing showing, to position them easily.
Spade connectors and ferrules are included with which to transform your bare-wire Linn cable and turn the ends into spade lugs. I was asked to use (and did) the quadwired cable bundle that Brian Morris set up for me. Two flat biwire K400 speaker cables of perhaps 3' length were plastic-tied together, with the appropriate speaker termination. Or that was the idea.
While it was relatively easy to prep the bananas, it was something else again to twist all the wires at the other end together and load 'em into the positive and negative binding posts of the Linn Klimax Solo 500 amplifiers, which I've been using with the JMlab Utopias and a variety of gear with great success. Well, you can't have everything.
You can plug the Komris in using Linn's generic Belden-like power cord, or find yourself a double length of that AC audiophile cable you've been enjoying so much lately. We used the brand-new Unlimited Power Cord from XLO, the Klimax being quite fussy about the size of connector used. The sound was not much affected by changes in power cords, but from my experiences with the Klimax, I expect that's the case with switch-mode power supplies.