|Linn Klimax Twin Stereo Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Stereo Amplifiers|
|Written by Bryan Southard|
|Sunday, 01 September 2002|
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Linn has been designing and manufacturing ultra-high performance electronic components for over 30 years. Historically, it was the venerable Linn Sondek LP12, a turntable that revolutionized the high-end vinyl market forever. In 1998, Linn introduced the Sondek CD12, a lofty $20,000 CD player that I reviewed in October 2001. I concluded at the time that it was the best-sounding player that I had heard. To date, even with SACD and DVD-Audio fighting for high-resolution audio prominence, the Linn CD12 is still king of the hill. In 1998, Linn introduced their Klimax Solo amplifiers, a touted component that paved the way for a more affordable reference amplifier, the Linn Klimax Twin.
The Linn Klimax Twin is a stereo power amplifier that produces 125 watts of power into eight ohms, and 230 Watts into four ohms. Its ultra-compact size measures 13-3/4 inches in width, 14 inches in depth and a slim two-and-one-quarter-inches in height, weighing a very slender 20 lbs. The Twin has a retail price of $9,000.
As with the Klimax Solo, the Twin is dressed in a super-sleek modern package. It would be hard to find a more graceful-looking and artistically designed amplifier on the market. The outer case is machined from two solid aluminum billets. There are many machined features around the outer casing that further accentuate its sculptured look. With all of its detail, this component looks somewhat like an extraterrestrial craft. (Of course, having never been abducted, I make this assumption based on accounts and descriptions presented by others.)
Fashioned after the Klimax Solo, the Twin shares its size and shape. The unit’s diminutive size is made possible by its use of ultra-small switch-mode power supplies. Switch mode supplies have been used for many years, dating back to the 1960s. Although implementing them into refined power amplifiers is a sizable challenge, as they impose many engineering-related obstacles including the possible introduction of high-frequency electrical noise. On the flip side, they are very efficient, extremely quick and their compact size negates the need for enormous inefficient transformers that dictate the mammoth size of most of today’s high-end power amplifiers. At the center of the Twin’s enclosure is its cylindrical heat exchanger. This exchanger operates primarily with natural convection, but employs an internal fan that only runs under heavier, more vigorous listening sessions. This unique method of cooling, along with the switch-mode power supplies, opened the possibility for a power amplifier of such modest physical stature.
For connections, the Twin offers both single-ended and balanced inputs, depending on your preamplifier's capability and your system’s design. The speaker connections at the rear of the Twin are placed very close to one another. Linn provides a spanner wrench to allow you the much-needed leverage to adequately tighten the speaker-wire posts. When operating, the Twin has a blue light on the front panel, indicating that the amplifier is on and that there is a load present. In the event of an overload, the Twin’s automatic circuit protection will shut the unit down until it is safe to restart it.