Music tells a story.
This is ours.
This is the story of how one man’s desire for better sound became a forty-year quest to solve one of engineering’s most complex challenges: the precise reproduction of music.
In 1973, Ivor Tiefenbrun had plenty of reasons to be happy. He’d just married the love of his life, and he’d bought something he’d long dreamed about: the ultimate hi-fi system.
But something was wrong. The state-of-the-art hi-fi didn’t sound as good as the one he’d listened to in his parents’ house. Being an engineer, he tried to work out why.
Making things better.
The Sondek LP12 was a success, but Ivor’s next challenge was to deliver the product in quantity. Not for the first time, Ivor discovered that conventional wisdom was wrong. He realised that if Linn could provide a skilled individual with everything they needed, when they needed it, that person could build an entire turntable more quickly and to a higher standard than a production line ever could.
That person could take full ownership of the outcome, sign their name to the finished product, and have personal pride as the defining quality criterion. Ivor called it Single Stage Build, and it’s been at the heart of our business ever since. He even designed our purpose-built factory around it.
Ivor had fulfilled his vision of Linn becoming a full system manufacturer. But his vision went further. He wanted Linn to become a global leader. And that got Ivor thinking: was there a way to make the recordings better too? And that’s why Linn got into the recording business.
Precision engineering starts in the studio.
With Linn Records, Ivor didn’t just create an award-winning record label. He enabled Linn to benefit from a better understanding of how music is created and recorded, the relationships between musicians and conductors and engineers and producers and equipment.
Linn Records’ first releases were The Blue Nile’s ‘A Walk Across the Rooftops’ and Carol Kidd’s award-winning, eponymous debut.
By 1999 we were using digital technology to make recordings at far higher quality than CD – and in 2007 we became the first record label to offer these Studio Master quality recordings for download.
Once again, Linn was going against the tide. Linn Records used digital to offer sound quality far beyond anything CD could deliver. For the very first time, we could deliver what Ivor had long envisaged: a sound source identical to what was recorded in the studio. That wasn’t all.
Pushing the boundaries.
We recognised that internet connections would soon be fast enough and reliable enough to deliver Studio Master recordings to every home. So we designed a product to play them, the Klimax DS. Where a CD player was limited to play the CD format, the Klimax DS, music broke free of the constraints of physical media.
Three years after Linn introduced Studio Master downloads, we received the prestigious Gramophone Awards’ ‘Record Label of the Year’ – a huge achievement for any record label, but it’s particularly significant for a small independent.
Meanwhile Linn shocked the entire hi-fi industry by doing something unthinkable. We killed the CD player.
We saw that digital music could make music sound better, not worse. It could truly bring the music from the microphone to your ear.
Linn already had the perfect sound source in the form of Studio Masters, and now our Klimax DS music streamer was the first product to play those recordings in their full 24-bit, 192KHz glory.
During this time, we came to the obvious, yet financially risky conclusion: Linn had to stop making CD players, and give its customers the clear message that the future of digital is streaming.
The message resonated with our customers who were quick to embrace the new technology. Linn DS didn’t just bring Studio Master quality into people’s homes. It made them fall in love with music all over again.
The pursuit of perfect sound.
Even though Ivor has celebrated his 70th birthday, Linn will always be a huge part of his life – he proudly remains the Chairman of the Board.
We’re not like other companies. We’re an independent family business. We believe in quality and longevity, not planned obsolescence. We’re driven by pride, not profit. We concentrate on delighting our customers, and on what’s driven Linn from the very beginning: the music.
Every Linn product bears the name of the person who made it by hand, right here in Scotland. We’re proud of every product we make. We wouldn’t put our names on them otherwise. We’ve been making music better for more than forty years. Imagine what we’ll do in the next forty.