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Offline chk

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Linkwitz speakers
« on: March 03, 2016, 01:49:41 PM »
Linkwitz LXMini info:

I have been following Siegfried Linkwitz's speaker designs for probably 10 years at this point.  First came across them from a review of one of his speakers (the Orions probably) in Peter Aczel's "Audio Critic".  By way of background, Siegfried is an audio engineer first and foremost, takes a  scientific, research-intensive approach to his designs, but with practical real-world testing.  You probably recognize the name from the "Linkwitz-Riley" crossover design he co-invented.  Anyways, his speakers tend to be open-baffled designs, he was always impressed with electrostatics, but trying to improve on some of their limitations.

Long story short, I built a pair of his speakers, the LXMini's, which are pretty inexpensive, simple to construct and use digital signal processing (for crossover, phase, EQ, etc) and individual power amplifier channels to drive each driver.  I really like the way they sound.  They have an openness to them that I don't think you can get from traditional box speakers (at least none that I have ever heard).

There are a couple folks who offer kits (Madisound, MagicLX521 out of Germany, etc), and i bought the German kit.  You can buy them pre-built (for a lot more coin, $2,500-$6000 depending on builder), but building them is a snap. 

The speakers have a pretty low WAF, which I could see (they are made from PVC tubes), but they aren't horrible looking (modern?).  I finished them completely black.  I will eventually post some pics.  All-in, the speaker kit will cost you around $500-700, then you need to assemble them (could easily be done in an afternoon or better part of a day).  Additionally, you need 4 channels of amplification (preferably matched, minimum of 40 or 50WPC), and the miniDSP 2x4 processing module ($120 for the basic version, which fits the bill, takes a stereo input and outputs 4 channels to your amp via RCAs).  There are other miniDSP models that will work with this setup, some of them have built-in DACs, and volume controls so that you could do away with your preamp completely (I plan to do this when I add the subs)

It was a really simple process and the results, to my ears, are incredible.  The speakers provide a big, open soundstage, with great imaging (Linkwitz refers to it as "3D", i agree).  I would say they combine the openness of electrostats with the impact of traditional box speakers.  The sweetspot is far larger than you would get with electrostats, or box speakers for that matter.  They are flat down to around 45Hz, which is incredible when you hold the tiny drivers in your hand (bass driver is a 6" Seas model, both the Seas fullrange and woofer were custom designed by Linkwitz for this design).  Woofer is in a sealed PVC tube, the fullrange driver is pretty much free-air. 

So far in only having used them now for about a week (yes, still honeymoon phase), finding I can be much more critical the stereo imaging (both good and bad) from my recordings using these as monitors relative to using my old speakers (Meadowlark Kestrels) or headphones. 

I am not an upgrade-itch type of person (or at least try not to be).  My last pair of speakers, Meadowlark Audio Kestrels, I owned for 15 years (still have them, these blow them out of the water, and i LOVED the Meadowlarks)...but these Linkwitz's will likely be my last speakers...unless I upgrade to his LX521s!  Will probably end up building the subs, just to get that full bottom octave, but wanted to pass this note along to folks who are interested in owning killer speakers/monitors that won't break the bank. 
Running them from Mac Mini>USB>Benchmark DAC1 HDR>miniDSP 2x4>Outlaw Audio 7075.

I have no affiliation with Linkwitz. 

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Linkwitz speakers
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2016, 02:47:07 PM »
Thanks for the post.  The Linkwitz Lab website is a great resource.  He writes clearly, describes things thoroughly, and uses a logical, non nonsense measurement based empirical approach.  Check out his sections on recording and analysis of microphone technique which have direct relevance here.  I've followed his speaker development for the past 15 years or so but have never had the opportunity to hear any of his speaker designs.  I love to be able to actually hear these somewhere. Ever since Linkwitz developed the LXmini as a successor to his Pluto a few years ago I've been interested in building these since they are within reach budget-wise.  Only problem for me is that ideally I need 5 or 6 of them for my surround recordings, and that becomes a commitment and raises some other issues.

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Offline chk

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Re: Linkwitz speakers
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 03:19:36 PM »
will do

i was in the same boat, wanting to do a build, but not really sure.  with the LX Mini, the ease of construction, cost, the ease of using the miniDSP unit (instead of building circuit boards and processors which some of his other plans required), and fact that these speakers look somewhat less-weird than the Plutos sold me. Plus many Pluto owners said these were a meaningful step up. 

i have read his recording page, good stuff.  i believe Mr Linkwitz has done some stealth taping of classical performance with binaural-type setups, though i haven't heard his recordings.

to anyone in the SF Bay area, he provides free demos of his speakers.  i believe the 1st hour is free, next hour you need to buy the plans to one of his speaker kits (LXMini plans are $105).  Might be worth checking out.


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