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Linn Sondek CD12 CD Player Print E-mail
Monday, 01 October 2001
Article Index
Linn Sondek CD12 CD Player
Page 2

The Downside
Linn designed the CD12 with the intention of providing the definitive solution to CD playback. They did so in the early stages of the impending digital war that plagues music enthusiasts today. Linn’s position is to provide a lifetime solution for our 44.1 MHz 16-bit compact discs without compromise. The problem is that very soon we will have a new dominant higher-resolution surround-capable music format. Although many have chosen to ignore these new candidates based on the stalling schedules and the lack of software releases for both of today’s front-runners, DVD-Audio and SACD, one new format will prevail and it will be spectacular. DVD-Audio represents the most promising future format and is the clear leader in the race based on player sales and surround software availability, yet the true victor is debatable. Never count Sony and Philips out. Once the superior format emerges, with infinite available software to support it, your older compact discs will stand as prominently as your eight-track tapes of the past – or will they? I don’t necessarily agree with that statement. It is true that the new, much higher resolution recordings will be superior in every way, yet it will be years before this format will see its true potential. Most of us own hundreds if not thousands of CDs, and will likely only replace our very favorites with the new format. We also found with the invention of the CD that many of our favorites never became available in this format. Linn offers you a solution to maintain playback at the highest level for the life of your existing software.

The Linn Sondek CD12 is in a price class that is inconceivable to nearly every person on the planet. Let’s face it, you can buy a new car for this price and, for all practical purposes, a pretty nice new car. At first glance, it doesn’t make any sense at any level. Yet there is no denying the sonic charm that the Linn Sondek CD12 provides. We all know that there is a point of diminishing returns, and I am not one to argue that this product isn’t far past the neutral point. Yet the difference between a good bottle of wine and a great one is only discerned by the true connoisseur, the person who not only truly appreciates the finest, but the person with a seemingly bottomless pocketbook to support it. The CD12’s ability to reproduce the finest in musical subtleties is unmatched by any other player that I have heard. It is void of the synthetic reproduced sound that CD playback has been plagued with since its inception. It personifies the essence of vinyl without the many negative characteristics associated with the old format.

Today, the predominant music playback media is the standard compact disc. Sure, DVD-A and SACD are capable of superior sound, but they currently have only a combined total of about 500 available software releases to choose from. Once a new format emerges victoriously, many if not most of your software favorites will never be available in this new format.

From my perspective, $20,000 is a tremendous sum of money, especially considering that the CD12 is a machine that will not support the upcoming format nor is it upgradeable. It makes little sense as a purchase on one hand, yet on the other I find myself wishing that I owned the component. I enjoyed my music more with the CD12 than I ever have before. The best way to sum it up is, if $20,000 doesn’t sound like an insurmountable amount of money to you, it could be time to own this player. The Linn Sondek CD12 is most definitely capable of musically taking your breath away.

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