equipment reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
Latest AV News
Preamplifier Forum Topics:
Classic Preamplifier Reviews
Past Preamplifier News
Linn Klimax Kontrol Stereo Preamplifier Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 June 2003
Article Index
Linn Klimax Kontrol Stereo Preamplifier
Page 2

The Downside
While perhaps not a downside if you are deep in the pocket, the Kontrol is largely expensive. It is a product that will find itself beyond the reach of most working mortals. However, it still sells at nearly half the price of the Mark Levinson No.32, a preamplifier that Bryan Southard picked for his reference system.

Another personal nitpick would be the size of the equipment. Although some may firmly prefer the Kontrol’s diminutive size, it would be easier to work with if it were a little bigger. Due to the inherent space limitations, the connectors are tightly spaced, making connections slightly more difficult than usual. Also, due to the small size, the display is hard to read from further back than 10 feet or so. In practice, I really only used the display for the volume level reading and that was visible up to around 18 feet.

Another area to consider is the gain in the Kontrol. With my passive output stage on the Muse Model II DAC, I found myself running out of gain. Many other preamplifiers that I have worked with have had more gain than the Kontrol. In most cases, this will not be an issue, due to the fact that most CD players and DACs have an output level closer to two volts rather than one volt with the Muse.

The Linn Klimax Kontrol is quite simply one of the very best pieces of audio equipment that I have ever had the opportunity to audition. The Kontrol is the first solid-state preamplifier that I have auditioned in my system that clearly exceeded the performance of the best tube preamplifiers that I have heard. The Kontrol made my other reference preamplifiers sound veiled in comparison. In this price range, there are only a few players. The Audio Research’s REF II, Conrad Johnson ART and the Mark Levinson No.32 are some that come to mind.

I have extensively heard the No.32 in Southard’s system and it has never failed to blow me away. However, the Linn Kontrol performed at such a high level in my system that I have no doubt that they would compete head-to-head at all levels.

Linn refers to the products in its Klimax series as uncompromised designs, and I must concur. With its elegant looks, flexibility in set-up, build quality that is amongst the best I have ever seen from any product and ultimate sonic performance, the $10,000 price tag seems altogether reasonable. I only wish that I could figure out a way to keep it. Perhaps I could sell my car and walk to work?

Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!


  home theater news  |  equipment reviews 
  blu-ray reviews  |  dvd  |  theatrical reviews  
  music download reviews  |  music disc reviews
  contact  |  about-us  |  careers   |  brands 
  RSS   |  AVRev Forums
  front page  |  virtual tours  |  dealer locator
  how to features  |   lifestyle & design articles
  Want Your Home Theater Featured on MHT?
   CE Partners: HDD  |  HDF  |  VGT  |  SD  |  DVD
  Advertise with Us | Specs | Disclaimer | Sponsors
  privacy policy | cookie policy | terms of use
  909 N. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245
  Ads: 310.280.4476 | Contact Us
  Content: 310.280.4575 | Mike Flacy