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Bookshelf Speakers - Linn

Bookshelf speakers are an attractive alternative to floorstanding speakers in smaller rooms or simply if you want something more compact. Despite being called "bookshelf" speakers, we always recommend using a good pair of speaker stands for the best sound (you can also adjust the level of bass response by adjusting the level of "filler" within a pair of fillable stands). All "bookshelf" speakers here are passive, so must be used with a suitable hi-fi amplifier. While hi-fi is our speciality and you'll always enjoy the best sound with a full hi-fi separates system, we also sell active and wireless speakers. We can also offer demonstrations on any of these speakers in our showroom by prior arrangement.


Linn is an iconic hi-fi manufacturer. Their current range spans from mid-level Sneaky and Majik systems, through to high-end Akurate and Klimax systems along with the iconic LP12 turntable and a variety of upgrades for enhanced music.

Founded in 1973, Linn all began with one very special product - Linn's debut - that turns heads and ears to this very day: the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable. A product so perfect, very little has changed about it in over 40 years. Linn have carried the same principles and methods of design and manufacture with them throughout, and their products are produced to the same high standards as the turntable that still outsells its competitors.

It is the classic tale of the origins of a hi-fi super brand. One man by the name of Ivor Tiefenbrun was unsatisfied with the performance of a hi-fi system that he had purchased in Glasgow in the very early 70s. Upon experimenting, he came to the conclusion that the sound produced by the turntable was being affected by sound pressure variations within the loudspeakers. He worked as an engineer for his father at the time, and with the help of him and a few of their colleagues, they crafted a precision engineered LP record playing turntable that was immune to acoustic feedback from loudspeakers. This was the Linn Sondek LP12, and with it was born the now widely accepted 'source-first' notion. The 'source-first' notion was a challenge to the conventional wisdom of the day, which held that the loudspeaker was the most important part of the hi-fi system, rather than the individual components making up the system.

Fast forward to the present day and Linn are still masters of source-first, to the extent that they now produce and manufacture their own music under the record company aptly named 'Linn Records'! They understand that good music is the key to good hi-fi and carry this to the core, with hi-fi designed to deliver the best quality music the very best possible way. Linn is a brand for those, who love pure music, not just sound.

Traditionally for hi-fi, floor standing loudspeakers were seen as the ultimate option, with most enthusiasts believing that bookshelf speakers were too lightweight or compact to compete with their larger counterparts. However, over the past 20 years, with manufacturing and miniaturisation techniques vastly improving, bookshelf speakers have hugely improved, to the point where they can compete with floorstanders, with their own advantages as well.

Bookshelf speakers are regarded as having more attack and rhythm than floor standing models, making them more suited to complex arrangements and rhythmic music. This is often seen as a compromise between the weight and dynamics of a floorstanding speaker, and the rhythm and musicality possible with a bookshelf speaker.

Driver design and material is an important factor in choosing a bookshelf speaker. Many different materials of driver exist, ranging from Kevlar to paper – the key distinction however is between metallic and non-metallic drivers. A metal driver, typically aluminium, is often favoured for its accuracy and precision. However, for some listeners, this can be described as “bright” or “analytical”, and seen as at the expense of musicality and warmth. Non-metallic drivers are typically more musically engaging, though not offering the absolute precision of a metal driver.

Tweeter design can also massively effect the overall sound signature of a bookshelf speaker. Most speakers, particularly entry-level and mid-range models, use a dome tweeter, which is as the name suggests dome-shaped. However some models, particularly higher-end ones, utilise a ribbon tweeter, which is a diaphragm of stretched metallic ribbon. A ribbon tweeter will deliver much sweeter higher frequencies, dispersed in a much wider fashion, giving greater imaging and soundstage.

Typical driver and tweeter configuration in bookshelf speakers, and indeed other models of speaker, is to have a main bass/mid frequency driver or woofer, and a separate tweeter handling high frequencies. However, some manufacturers choose a design where the tweeter is housed within the centre of the main driver, which improves dispersion and imaging and makes positioning an easier and more forgiving proposition.

Bookshelf speakers should really be called “standmount” speakers, as they are rarely used on a bookshelf and will virtually always sound better on a dedicated speaker stand. These stands are ideal as they enable you to position the speakers at the ideal listening height – which is having the tweeters at ear level from the usual seating position. This ensures that optimum imaging is achieved, and that there is coherency and integration between the woofer and tweeter. Dedicated stands can also enhance bass extension, adding weight and authority. Many stands are fillable, allowing you to add weight and mass and further improve the bass performance of your speakers. Spikes on the base of the stands ensures isolation from the floor, and eliminates unwanted resonance affecting the sound of your speakers.

Don't forget to buy a suitable pair of speaker stands and good speaker cable as well! Call or e-mail us if you need any further help in choosing your new pair of speakers.

Bookshelf Speakers - Linn

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