Linn Majik Isobariks

Hi Joe,

I did hear the Majik 140's myself at the dealership where I bought the Miso's, though not in my own home, they are indeed a very good speaker and incredible value for money in my opinion especially when you compare them with the alternatives available at the same price, at least here in the UK. Thinking back and also reading about  your experiences so far , it is certainly possible that the 140's will suit your situation better. Good luck.

Christopher_M posted:

Do the MISOs sound wrong with both CD and records?

I'd never characterize anything as being wrong with the misos, just that they have a lot of bass for my room. CDs and vinyl sound equally good. In fact I'd say the misos have made a lot more of my music sound better in either format. Recordings with marginal SQ play nicer on the misos than the Sttafs.

Bob Edwards posted:

If possible, you might try reinforcing your floor with either pieces of lumber or floor jacks.  The Majiks are powerful enough to make your floor move like the skin of a drum; reinforcement of the floor can lessen or eliminate the effect. 

Bob,

While I think you have a valid point and I'm willing to consider basic room treatment, I'm not one to go so far as to modify my house to accommodate my hifi.

What did Linn do with their new Isobarik? Too much bass from that tiny little thing? :0

Old Briks usually do not have a *lot of* bass. If anything they produce dry and tuneful bass.

It's been mentioned already but SN2 might not be controlling the bottom end properly. It would be interesting to try them with a Linn amp Just to see if the problem goes away.

Are you having the same problem with both vinyl and CD?

On Linn's new offerings, there are not much *synergy* left these days with Naim. Linn's amplifier puts out sounds more powerful than mid priced Naim amps and I am certain Linn optimised their speakers for their own amp.

joerand,

As alluded to by IB and Kuma, how do you know the bass is too much?  Of course, it is not good if they are fatiguing.  Have you tried moving them even further from the rear wall?  (Even if this will not be practical, you can learn something).

A lesson I learned recently on listening to bass:  Simply follow the musicians - can you identify every note played on the bass?  Does the base harmonize with the piano and other instruments/voices?  Are they all in rhythm?   So the musical performance should make sense, without you having to "listen" to "bass"  "midrange" or "treble."

What doe your dealer say about pairing with amp's or your bass issues?  Are they familiar with SN2?

If measurements can help, I may be able to help you - but do not discount the value of just listening to music.

Charlie

I don't know the Linn speakers, but I do know the SN2 controls my Dynaudio X38s superbly. It actually sounds very powerful, and definitely not lacking in control.

On paper it would seem that the Dyns would be almost as difficult a speaker to control, having two 18 CM bass drivers and one dedicated 14 CM midrange driver. Maybe not, it's possible the Linns are a very difficult speaker to control. Nothing is a cut and dry when it comes to synergy.

So, based on what I know about the SN2, I personally would put the blame on the room first and then look at the speaker placement next.

joerand posted:

Bob,

While I think you have a valid point and I'm willing to consider basic room treatment, I'm not one to go so far as to modify my house to accommodate my hifi.

Joe - Ha!  I was thinking of my own house, where we simply have a crawl space instead of a full-on basement, where it was easy to get underneath the floor and reinforce it with sections of 4x4 (US measurement).  Made quite a difference for the better - like going from Kans to SBLs

On the other hand, I can't tell you how many funny looks I got from my wife - and still get from friends and colleagues if the subject comes up. 

Hi Joe, I've just had a thought and I'm not trying to be funny but have you got the speakers connected correctly? As you will have seen there are four sets of terminals, the positive cable connection should be plugged into the very top positive socket and the negative cable connection should be plugged into the very bottom negative socket, which is what Linn themselves recommend in the instructions. What the difference would be by deviating from this I don't really know but it was just a thought that came to mind this morning, especially if you have both speaker cable connections plugged into both of the very bottom sockets. 

Derek,

Yes I have them connected as per the Linn instructions. Thanks for the thought. The sound from the misos is superb in the short-term.

I should note that my reason for seeking a speaker change is that the Sttafs have become fatiguing the past year or so. I've mentioned my chronic tinnitus and am aware of changes in my hearing lately (I'm 53). I'd like to get another set of "audiophile" ears in the room to evaluate the sound - my wife's hearing is worse than mine (she'll admit it). My son has a keen ear but he's away at college. I suspect he'd love the misos. Hopefully CharlieP or the dealer can make it to my home for a second opinion. I also think a visit to a physician/audiologist is in order for me. 

It's interesting because after Linn had their last golden era of speakers in the 90s with the whole Tukan, Keilidh, Kaber, Keltiks, but before the current range, they definately had some wilderness years where they made some truly awful speakers where the design queue started with their AV 5140 speakers. I remember getting hold of a pair of these for dem and I could barely beleive they were made by Linn. Clearly they had to get something out of their system to arrive at the range they are at today.

I would expect that the Majik Isobariks, like most isobarik designs, need a lot of current to keep them under control and help them live up their potential. Cost-wise a 250 or 300 may seem OTT for them but in terms of control that is probably about the correct level.

joerand posted:

CDs and vinyl sound equally good. In fact I'd say the misos have made a lot more of my music sound better in either format. Recordings with marginal SQ play nicer on the misos than the Sttafs.

Thanks Randy. I'd say my use of the word wrong was misjudged.

I'm another that can't help feel that a pair of SBLs would be right for you. I've found my own room to problematic and have tried a number of speakers over the years. Many caused the room to boom. But not the glorious SBLs. However shipping from the UK or Europe (see what I did there?!) would be prohibitive due to their weight, and I'm guessing few pairs made it to the Pacific NW.

Hoping you can work something out because I can tell you are very engaged by the MISOs.

Chris

Thanks again for the input. I've stayed away from replying here the past few days as I feel a need to make my choice my own. I've had some great listening with the misos and their musicality cannot be denied on anything I've played. The misos bass can get big in my room; however at low volume they work well, contrary to the Sttafs which like some watts to get energized in the room. At this point in my life I think that lower volume listening is the best for my ears in the long term.

I've arranged with the dealer to return the misos and demo Majik 140s with the upgraded aluminum plinth. Hopefully the 140s will capture the same musicality of their big brother and have bass that will work better in my room.

I should add that I removed the LP rack from between the speakers. No worthy difference in the sound, maybe a bit more depth to the soundstage, though I'm inclined to say that the bass might be slightly tighter with the rack in place.

Actually, considering the discussions on other recent threads about hearing aids, it needs more than a loudness button. it seems that an unfortanate number of people start to suffer hearing loss (possibly age related), in some cases just as their finances or upgrade paths allow them to reach the upper levels of system quality. 

Maybe it's time a hifi manufacturer introduced DSP processing to tailor frequency response, to include, for example, a 'loudness' option for low level listening, and some presets to match different generic models of hearing loss, but tweakable to personal preference. Although Naim eschewed tone controls 40 years ago, given the apparent deliberate shaping of response to emphasise Prat, and their provision of a 'loudness' button not long ago in the Bentley system and, iirc in one of their hifi units, perhaps they may be the one to do so... 

Misos went back to the dealer and I brought home Majik 140s. A slightly smaller and (to me) equally handsome speaker that shares the same mid woofer and 2K array with the misos. The 140s have a rear ported woofer spec'd down to 55 Hz whereas the misos isobaric bass unit goes to 27 Hz. Equal sensitivity.

The other notable physical difference is that the black dish behind the 2K array is shallow on the 140s while the misos have a deeper, downward shaped horn behind the 2K. This dish provides a notable difference in the overall tonal balance of the two speakers; the 140s having more forward vocals and cymbals, a more prominent shine to strings, better timbre, and a bit better imaging and wider soundstage. The downside being that the 140s are more revealing of the shortcomings of the 2K; those being some occasional distortion, more sibilance, and less overall refinement. Cymbals have more of a sizzle sound on the 140s versus the polished but recessed presentation of the misos. Taking those compromises into account I prefer the 2K on the 140s.

Both speakers share a similar and welcomed distinction to kick drum which I find adds to the musicality of my rock music listening. Interesting to compare bass response. Misos solid, tight, deep, accurate and powerful at any volume. You might think the 140s can't compete but they are surprisingly respectable. Their bass (albeit not as deep) is balanced at any volume. Controlled, but perhaps somewhat woody, wooly. I listened for a day to the 140s with their standard plinth then installed the upgraded heavy weight aluminum plinths ($600). Tighter, more focused and tuneful bass, possibly less sibilance, and I wouldn't want to go back to the standard plinths.

I like what the 140s are doing in my room and they seem a better fit versus the misos. Low volume listening is very satisfying and the fatigue factor is much reduced. I have them just nine inches from the front wall, the minimum recommended, whereas the misos had to be placed farther into the room to manage their bass. The musicality is very good with the 140s though I'd give them 9/10 versus a 10/10 for the misos. I think the control and depth of the isobarik bass explains that difference.

More listening to come.

Thanks Chris. Not currently but there is a possibility to demo Credos and/or SBLs (can't provide any provenance) and I'm giving at least one of those consideration, though admittedly worries about age, silicone, pips, and x-overs are deterrents from my perspective. I'm an RP6 user, not LP12. I'd rather have my hi-fi work for me, not have to work for my hi-fi.

I've been a bit tardy on my own topic, but doesn't mean I haven't been at work. The 140s were returned. The 140s were musical, play well at low volume, and I could listen to them all day. Still, in the end, they lacked some of the transient attack I enjoy, especially on percussion. Maybe a little too relaxed. With the somewhat obligate upgraded plinths the 140s total $3,600 and I have to think there are better speakers out there for the money.

Different dealer now, I described my wants/needs to him without a mention of budget. For lack of him having his recommendation of Rega RX5s on hand I went home with Rega RX3s. Great little speaker. Tight and tuneful bass. Faster than the Linns. The mids and highs are very clear without stridency, but lack a wholesome timbre on strings and play somewhat diminutive in my room. Perhaps on the dry side. Tried them in various positions with bass driver both in and out, but I'm still looking for the presence and command the Sttafs hold in my room while driving well at a lower volume.

On the upside I found the RX3s engaging and non-fatiguing. I'll take them back tomorrow without a need for extended demo, but definitely want to hear how the RX5s will play in my room. The RX5s have the same mid and tweeter as the RX3s, but in a lager cabinet with a bigger bass driver. The front ported Regas seemed to work well in my room in terms of bass.

Hi Joe,

you will not be happy now that you had the miso in your room before. It is a monster when it comes to pure musicality. I have DBLs in one room and miso in another, I can tell you for sure other than the DBLs is able to reach insane levels with very low distortion, I do not find the miso losing out as far as playing music, it really gets your  feet tapping, true PRAT.

my miso is in a room of about 3.5 x 3.5 m. It does take some patience to position the miso, but the effort will be paid off when you hear the wall of sound and feel the chest thumbing kick drum.

go for it.

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