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Linn Sizmik Subwoofer

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Simon Cooper, Apr 5, 2001.

  1. Simon Cooper

    Simon Cooper
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    I had been planning to upgrade my sub to a REL Storm III in the near future until I heard Linn's new Sizmik sub mentioned in a post in this forum by Nic Rhodes. He didn't go into any detail at all but recommended the Linn over the REL Storm of which he is already an owner.

    The Linn website covers the technical facts and it sounds fantastic on paper - a bargain compared to the Storm - but I was wondering if anyone might have had any experience of, or have heard anything about this sub that they would like to share.

    Simon

    [ 05-04-2001: Message edited by: Simon Cooper ]
     
  2. Simon Cooper

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    I guess not
     
  3. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    wrong!

    email in your box. I've been away, got distract by star wars DVD, Ooops can't say that.....

    All of the products discussed below are quality products that will appeal to someone and they are all recommended. It is a matter of finding the right combination for your situation.

    I have never been a Linn devotee, even during the darkest ages of 80s hi-fi when Linn / Naim were ruling the roost. Frankly I didn't buy into what they argued and still don't. It is interesting to see general opinion moving away from the Linn philosophy. I therefore have a built in reluctance to Linn products.

    However, the only local dealer to me, does allot of Linn gear, I get to hear a reasonable amount of it. Two years ago they player me the CD12 (£12K) CD player. I immediately knew this was something special. In fact what they were capable of achieving with CD, I knew my preconceptions about CD were wrong. It was not the CD format that was in error, but people understanding and implementation of digital that was wrong. I then went out and listened to loads of CD player and bought a new super CD player. This all happened because I listened and could recognise quality and perhaps admit my preconceptions we wrong and needed changing. (Tag Mclaren also suffered from this and as most of you know I now use a full Tag AV kit!). Three other Linn pieces of kit also impressed me from the large range in recent years.

    AV controller / pre sounds stunning, but performance / facilities limited nowadays
    Classik tuner / CD / amp integrated. It looks funny but sounds good.
    AV5110 baby speakers, great for AV uses and available in many colours.
    Linn sub

    I have been a devotee of Rel for several years, not because they were great performers, but because they were widely available and good honest equipment. I originally listened to the Q range and these were acceptable for AV use. I didn't like them for music much. I thought the ST range was far better. Personally I liked the far better built Storm over the Strata 2. It was more controlled and far better (though not brilliant) with music. The Stadium wasn’t an option then but was the best by far.

    Then the 200 / 201 hit the market. I though this was a brilliant idea. Small compact, ideal for small UK rooms. I investigated using two for my situation. From demonstrations I am convinced that two subs is the way to go. Not to get MORE bass but to get the bass properly integrated around all the room. This is VERY difficult to do in the normal living room. Most people just stick subs behind sofas etc.

    The worst thing you can tell your other half is bass energy is non directional and therefore it doesn't matter where you put the sub.

    Bass energy is non-directional but it DOES matter where you position your sub. (Nodes, peaks/ troughs etc).
    However the idea of the small cute 200 / 201 is better than the implementation but size does matter and will be a great sub for many. I bought one for my best friend. He is very happy with it.

    The ST range are an altogether more successful product. The Strata 3 / Storm 3 are small improvements over their older counterparts. Things are just that better controlled, tighter. But their price is now up to £800. This is allot of money for only a small increment in performance. Therefore one option for me is to find a second hand Storm which I believe from demonstrations will give a better performance than a single slightly better sub.

    Then the 400 came to the market. More demos. Again I like the concept more than the reality. I prefer the performance of the Storm 3. There is a price to pay for these small cute subs.

    I dabbled with Pardigm servo 15 (good subs but Richer Sounds so no quality back up, hey I tried to order some of these, but again the only thing stopping me was Richer Sounds inability to process an order!). The M and K (750 and 1250) were good but all were just a little compromised. I have had a reasonable performance out of a Tannoy at the £1k bracket. I can't remember details however.

    Then I got to listen to the Linn when I was deom'ing a projector. I was left to my devices to play, so I tried with and without the sub. It made the picture better. I knew this wasn't the case but it make me think that I was enjoying it more with the sub. This sub definitely had something. It is very modern looking in it ash / black (?). I don't know if it available in just black but I felt it was a substantial jump in performance. We wheeled a 400 and Storm 3 into to try. It trounced them. Here was a substantial jump in performance for AV and music. It might not go down quite as deep as some of the other but it had control. It is very powerful and very controlled. I can't remember any specs or anything but I will say that it is a major player than most people won't look at all. This is a pity as it is perhaps the best balanced of all the reasonable priced subs. It is not flabby as so many subs are. Basically what I am trying to say is that the Linn subs are more musical (also a benefit for AV) just like the Stadium is better than a Storm which is better than a Strata.


    Av5150 is another Linn sub and it also has a similar and excellent performance. The Linn subs are currently under appreciated.

    There might be a new kid on the block.

    I suggest that you do some a demo and decide for yourself. I hope this helps
     
  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    OK let me say up front that we supply Linn, Snell, JMLab, Rel and now B+W subs.

    Try The Sound Gallery in High Wycombe or Uxbrdige Audio in Uxbridge as possible suppliers of the two subs you wish to hear.

    I am a devotee of what Linn used to say. Unlike Nic I agreed with their outlook in the eighties and nineties up to a point. It's funny how we both have sort of overlapping ideas about the company though.

    The 5103 system controller is still one of the best DD surround amps I've heard. It's new DTS capabilities are good too. I happen to think it's out of its depth as a hi-fi product in comparison with Linn's Kairn pre-amp though. The little 5101 surround speakers are great for £200. Stuck in a conservatory or as rear speakers they can be amazing and as for the BIG sub. It's still the best sub-woofer I've ever heard. CD12=WOW

    We are using a Seizmik and a Snell PS10 sub in our large dem room just now. The use of two subs does give a more consistent preformance level across the room but if you are perveted like me you still long for the BIG Linn and the best seat in the house....I've yet to convince the man who writes the cheques we need two Linn super subs on dem!

    When we got our first Seizmik I actually thought it quite poor. It suffers from the same problem as q200'S and other models with tiny long through units. It's very hard to integrate them with other equipment. Setting levels can be a long and tedious job. I think we've got it going OK now though and it does seem pretty good. It also looks very nice.

    If size matters then you should also try and get a listen to the B+W model around £850 ish. I've forgotten the model number but I think it's up there with the Linn.


    Cheers,

    Gordon
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Funny that, in the on going KEF saga I have borrowed two pairs today to try for rear and side duties. I know they will not be as good as the KEF THX but if KEF can't supply two pairs in over six months, then they will loose the order whilst I save for those gorgeous big Snells Gordon has.

    I hadn't realised that the Linn sub was in Gordons demo room, my experiences were based on another dealer (sorry Gordon)! Tell your boss that I want a dual sub demo. See if that helps.

     
  6. Simon Cooper

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    Can I be your best friend too?

    Thanks for your response (haven't read your email yet - it's at work). I've found a dealer who'll loan me a Sizmik & Storm III (and hopefully the B&W) for an audition. Unfortunately my budget doesn't quite run to two subs. Maybe when I run out of other toys to spend my hard-earned cash on...
     
  7. StuartBooth

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    *Very* interesting, Nic, many thanks for that. A lot of what you say ties in with my own preferences, although my sub. purchase is on hold for the moment.

    Anybody know of any dealers that stock the REL Storm III *and* this Linn model in the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire area?

    However, if I arrange a demo, I know I'll be sucked into accelerating a purchase which I'm trying to avoid! ;)
     
  8. Nic Rhodes

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    Simon,

    Email says much the same as the above. If you want any more info I am on holiday at home until May. Hooray! Everyone has the address.

    Something to think about.

    If you prefer two subs to one, would you be better of buying one smaller / cheaper sub now and adding another sub in 6 months when it is affordable subject to the usual WAF etc?

    Looking back on my purchases now I wish I had gone for the slightly less good but tiny M and K 750 (?) 3 years ago, rather than a Rel Storm, and then add another M and K this year for dual small subs.

    Unless someone knows where a second hand Storm is being sold?

    Ah hindsight is a useful thing.
     
  9. Simon Cooper

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    After some brief research, I've had to rule out the B&W and M&K subs. Call me a philistine, but the constraints of having my home cinema room double as a living room mean I have to select a sub with some aesthetic appeal. Only the Linn and RELs are available in a nice wood veneer to match the rest of our furniture.
     
  10. Gary Palmer

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    Spooky coincidence thread.

    I am trying to find a sub to replace my Strata2 because it's just not up to the job anymore.

    Just finised playing with the B&W sub Gordon suggested. Not at all bad when in 'music' mode (mode B). It did hum loudly though... Gordon's right about setting it correctly. It took me hours.

    I'm planning to try the new Boston sub, the M&KV whats-it, the Q400 and the Linn.

    Based on Gordon and Nick's posts maybe I should be looking at a Stadium or 2 Strata2's ??????? Confused now.
     
  11. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    A yes, the dreaded WAF (sorry Caroline et al).

    The same point was made by my bank manager/wife during the B+W demo..
     
  12. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Very important issues, often underrated. My front room also doubles up AV room. New house planned but I think I am pushing things with the CRT Projector in the current room!. Perhaps this isn't a good time for that second sub.

    Got to keep her in doors happy.
     
  13. Simon Cooper

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    Are you planning to do this any time soon? I'd be interested to hear your impressions.

    Is the Boston to which you refer the PV1000? I've had a look at it on the Boston website and it certainly meets my aesthetic requirements. Have you heard good things about it?

    That's the second time 'WAF' has been mentioned in this thread. I was willing to overlook the first occurence but now I'd like to know what it means please.
     
  14. Simon Cooper

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    WIFE ACCEPTANCE FACTOR!!!
     
  15. Gary Palmer

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    Simon,

    The matrimonial penny dropped !

    WAF has a big impact. There's some major CRT bargains about but I'd never get it past her in doors in my living room. Got to be a dedicated room.

    Someones advertising the B&W mega-sub (the one with the Nautilus driver) in the classified section for a steal price. If I was single I'd buy without hesitation. WAY too big for my room = 0 WAF.

    Yes the 1300 quid PV1000. Very small and I am told very tight and extended.

    The dealer was supposed to drop it off at my house on Friday night (he lives near me) and forgot ! I'm trying again next weekend. Forgive the pun - I'll keep you posted.

    :D
     
  16. Simon Cooper

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    PV1000s are £1099.99 with free delivery at HiFiBitz
     
  17. Gary Palmer

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    Thanks Simon,

    I'll bear that in mind. I'm getting it tonight !

    (the sub that is)
     
  18. dealmaker

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    On ths subject of 2 subwoofers being twice as nice - how does one wire in two subs when there is only one output (low level) on ones Denon AVR 3801 amp?????
     
  19. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    IXOS do a y adaptor phono to 2 phones designed for subs..

    I use it for biamping on Rotel power amps
     
  20. Simon Cooper

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    What's the verdict?
     
  21. Gary Palmer

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    It arrived at 6pm.

    At 6:30pm some friends arrived and did not leave till 10:30pm.

    So I didn't get to play. Will tonight and will post tomorrow.

    Gary
     
  22. Gary Palmer

    Gary Palmer
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    Hi Simon,

    Just finished playing with the Boston sub.

    I tested it with music and movies using the following ;

    Lexicon DC1
    Monitor Audio speakers (9i,12i,FXi)
    Musical Fidelity and Rotel amps.
    All speakers set to Large in a room 5x3m
    Sub set to 40Hz and below using the Lexicon crossover.

    You need to take my findings with a healthy dose of salt if your setup is different (especially the room size and speaker setup).

    The bass is tight, deep and fairly musical. Not bad for a box less than half the size of my REL Strata2.

    My favourite bass movie is the opening to Lost in Space. Some really good low bass and the Boston comfortably managed to dig up those low bass explosions.

    Music-wise I tried the Madonna Music CD in stereo (very tight) and Fleetwood Mac (DD5.1)- excellent extension to the kick-drum bass.

    Basically it was very impressive although it is pricey (list is £1300).

    In my opinion the Boston is better than the B&W 2500. Build quality is better than the B&W although it is VERY light. This worried me to begin with (the B&W is unbelievavly heavy) but it did not seem to matter too much sound wise.

    It does look a bit naff though. Sort of cheap Microwave dehumidifier...

    Next on the list is the much talked about Linn Sizmik.... I'll let you know..

    :)

    Gary
     
  23. Simon Cooper

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    Thanks for that Gary.

    Coincidentally, my speaker setup is not all that different to yours (Monitor Audio 8i, 10i, 3i) and the room is around 5m square so I shouldn't have to take too much salt with your findings.

    Surprised to hear it looks naff in the flesh. I thought it looked very nice in the pictures.

    I'm very keen to hear how the Sizmik compares. I'm going to audition it and the Storm III tomorrow but I doubt I'll have a chance to compare it directly with a PV1000.

    Incidentally, one sub that has been completely overlooked in this thread is the Sonus Faber Gravis. I'd never heard of it until the dealer who's doing my audition tomorrow recommended it and the Sizmik as the best subs at the £1k mark. I had to rule it out on aesthetic ground (black leather finish - nice) but anyone who is less concerned with aesthetics or has black leather furniture ought to give it some consideration.
     
  24. Gary Palmer

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    Hi Simon,

    No salt needed !

    I still haven't got hold of the Linn - someone else has it on home demo (2 weeks now..very accomodating dealer).

    What did you think of it compared to the REL ?

    Cheers
    Gary
     
  25. Simon Cooper

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    I auditioned the Sizmik last Saturday. Unfortunately they didn't have a Storm in stock so I had to make do with a comparison with a Ruark Log-Rythm. To say the Linn was a disappointment would be an understatement. It sounded abysmal. We were watching the motorcycle/lorry chase scene from T2 and initially compared the difference between having no sub and speakers set to large with sub on and speakers set to small. The difference was so hard to discern that I kept having to check the receiver settings to make sure the sub was switched on. Turning up the gain did little to improve it. After listening to the Ruark which sounded amazing by comparison, I came to the conclusion that the Linn was either faulty or had been set up very badly (though I suspect the settings were factory defaults). The dealers admitted that the Linn was relatively new to them and that they'd not really had a chance to play with it.

    I'm waiting for the dealer to work out how to set up the Linn correctly for another audition. In the meantime, I've received a PDF copy of the operating manual from Linn (a copy of which you are welcome to if interested). It has the worst setup interface of any A/V component I've ever seen. In their wisdom, Linn have disposed of the traditional knobs for gain and crossover frequency in favour of a single-digit LED display and three tiny buttons all placed conveniently at the base of the back of the unit. It has 8 parameters which can be adjusted using these buttons. These parameters can only be adjusted in (up to 9) steps and cannot be changed while the sub isn't receiving an audio signal. When changing individual parameters the display shows a numeric from 1 to 9 which corresponds to a setting value. The operating manual is therefore necessary in order to know what value you have changed the setting to. All things considered, I can understand why the dealer had failed to set it up correctly.

    So - I hear you ask - why am I still considering a Sizmik? Because it's beautiful, contains a 500W (RMS) amp and because I'm hoping I can get the settings correct and then just leave them.
     
  26. Gary Palmer

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    Thanks Simon,

    Sounds like an aborted demo...

    Gordon, what's the best sub you sell ? music/AV equal importance.

    Cheers
    Gary
     
  27. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I have no doubt you heard a badly set up Seizmik. As you point out the appaling user interface for set up doesn't help matters!

    Gordon
     
  28. Simon Cooper

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    Gary,

    I have since spoken to the dealer who did the original demo. They confirmed that their Sizmik was definitely faulty and are waiting for another one to arrive.

    Since then, my reservations over spending a grand on a subwoofer overcame my desire for perfection. As a result I explored the less expensive sub options on the basis that - since two good subs are generally considered to be better than one great one - I could spend around £500 and get one now and another later if need be. During my Sizmik audition I discussed cheaper options with the dealer and was recommended the Yamaha YST-SW320 at £350. I dismissed it at the time because, according to the Yamaha literature, it was only available in black (you'll remember I'm looking for a cherry veneer sub to match my other speakers and furniture). Further investigation revealed that 1) there is a cherry option which is available on the continent but not in the UK, and 2) What HiFi did a mid-priced subwoofer group test (Feb '01 issue) in which the YST-SW320 trounced the competition. Since £350 was a little less than I had wanted to spend I looked at the rest of the Yamaha sub range and found that the SW320 had a big brother: the SW800. This is very similar in design but has over 3x the power at 800W RMS (!!) and a retail price of £500 - just right for my new and sensible budget. A search of the internet revealed a German website which could supply the SW800 in cherry for DM1059 (about £340) delivered! Being power-crazed AND a sucker for a bargain, I was entirely unable to resist. So I've ordered one without either autioning or reading a review of it. I figure that, in the unlikely event of my hating it when it arrives, I'll be able to sell it on without making a loss. On the other hand, if it's as good or better than its little brother, I'll be able to buy a second one for a grand total of less than £700. Have I done a bad thing?

    As if not auditioning it is bad enough, the company selling it (electronica34.de) do not accept credit cards so I will have to make an electronic transfer of funds once it arrives in stock. I'm told (not by them) that this is very common in Germany and they do seem quite reputable so I have decided it's a risk worth taking.

    If anyone else has any experience or has seen reviews of the Yamaha YST-SW800 sub I would be very keen to hear about it before I part with my cash.

    Simon
     
  29. Gary Palmer

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    Hi Simon,

    just spent my first few hours with the Linn Size thingy..

    Initial impressions are very very good.

    I've bipassed the sub's crossover and use my processor to tweak level/crossover.

    Since the Linn user interface is THE worst I have ever come across (so is the manual) this helped me a lot.

    Very powerful, musical and tight.

    Gonna be a hard one to beat for me. Next on the list is an M&K sub and maybe a Stadium3

    Did you get your follow on demo ?

    Gary
     
  30. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Best sub I've ever heard is without doubt Linn's 5150 isobarik loaded behemoth. Music or cinema doesn't matter which. It's simply the most effortless unit I've used.

    Great value at around £3000.

    Gordon
     

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