Linn Klimax Exakt 350 Speaker System

Making a Digital Konnection

There was no mistaking the origin of the Klimax Exakt 350 system. Scotland-based Linn has had an affinity for the letter “k” since introducing its first high-performance audio product 40 years ago—the Linn Sondek LP12 turntable, the latest version of which can be found on Stereophile’s current Recommended Components list. (The k’s no doubt stem from the decidedly non-Scottish heritage of Linn founder Ivor Tiefenbrun.) Unlike your typical speaker “system,” the Exakt 350 includes a network music player that passes uncompressed digital signals directly to the six-channel crossover built into each 3.6-foot-tall tower speaker.

214linn.speak.jpgIn addition to eliminating noise and distortion that is inherent in analog audio, Linn says converting the signal to analog at the last possible stage ensures data accuracy, “extremely low” latency and jitter, and precise synchronization between the six drivers that reside in each cabinet: a 0.5-inch super tweeter, 1-inch tweeter, and 3-inch midrange arranged in an inverted triangle Linn calls a 3K Driver Array plus a 6.5-inch woofer and two 8-inch servo-controlled woofers. Each driver is fed phase-corrected signals from the digital crossover and has a dedicated digital volume control, D/A converter, and power amplifier.

At the heart of the system is the Exakt DSM music player (made of solid aluminum and available in silver or black), offering more than a dozen connections, including XLR and RCA stereo inputs for analog components and eight digital inputs, including three HDMI and an Ethernet jack for streaming music from the Internet and your home network. The player supports eight file formats—FLAC, WAV, ALAC, and AIFF among them—at up to 24 bits with a sampling rate of 192 kilohertz.

The curved and gently sculpted speaker cabinets are made of pressure-formed laminate finished in high-gloss wood veneer or one of more than 200 custom colors and seated on steel bases to ensure rock-solid stability during the “live concert at home” moments this kind of setup encourages. Each Klimax Exakt 350 system is built to order, and an Exakt 350 upgrade is available to owners of Klimax 350 and Artikulat speakers. The price for all of this audio precision: $80,000, including setup and calibration.

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