Linn AV 51 System (SGHT Review) Page 5

A second opinion
I could go on raving about the sonic performance of the Linn AV 51 system. It does everything better than any other home-theater system I've reviewed. Given how much it costs, it damn well better.

My friend Gregg is a home-theater enthusiast. He's also a skeptic, but one who appreciates the finer things in life. After the Linn system had been installed, Gregg called.

"So, is it worth $27,000?"

"No comment," I said. "Come on over."

He did. He admired the AV 51's looks, but he was dead set against the possibility of its actually being worth the money. "Let me play you the first 10 minutes of T2," I said, "but don't say anything until it's over."

Gregg agreed, but a few minutes in, he couldn't help himself. Like me, he had heard T2 a few hundred times, but never like this. In a few minutes, he was able to describe the magic created by the Linn system. If you get a chance to hear it, you won't need any longer.

To adequately cover every feature and option of the Linn AV 51 system—programming features of the Personal Handset, speaker configuration, etc.—would require an additional few thousand words. This is a complex, multi-option, upgradeable A/V system that must be experienced by prospective purchasers. A review can only hint at the possibilities.

Play it at impossibly loud or low levels and the Linn system consistently delivers superb, coherent sound on two-channel music and six-channel discrete movie soundtracks. The sound is ultrapure, liquid, and luxurious (with allowance for the usual Dolby Digital gripes), and backgrounds are dead silent. The front three speakers and subwoofer are striking in appearance, but you never really hear them. Like any high-quality sound system, they get out of the way, leaving a big, three-dimensional sonic picture in their wake.

If you can live without DTS for now and live with only two S-video inputs and the other small quirks I've pointed out, and if you can afford it, you really owe it to yourself to visit a Linn dealer to see and hear this bold product. If you come away from the experience as I did, you can write a check knowing that your dealer will soon deliver and set up one of the finest-looking and best-sounding home-theater and music systems in the world today. All you'll have to do is push a few buttons and enjoy. Lucky you.

Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to provide you with the measurements of the speakers that would normally accompany a review of this type. We hope to have the measurements in our next issue.

4540 Southside Blvd., Suite 402
Jacksonville, FL 32216
(888) 671-LINN (5466)