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flak monkey

Linn Keilidh Speaker musings

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Super Wammer

I bought a pair of these to use temporarily while I re-foam my AE's and my initial impressions weren't all that good... mainly lacking in bass (not something I am used to) although they are almost as capable as my AE2's in every other respect. Imaging is spot on, extreme high frequencies are slightly rolled off in comparison. 

However I having just cranked the volume up a bit I've found that missing low end. Jeez these things take some power to really make them work, with their 4 ohm nominal impedance - in room dB levels of about 85 according to my app - and it's not because my amp is lacking in grunt (XTZ A100-D3) either 180wpc into 4 ohms.

So while I still prefer my AE2's these old Linn's are damn good - as long as you have enough power to drive them!

I'm still considering buying another set of Linn Ninka's to use as my main speakers, but I'm still not sure that I want to part with my AE2's....

 

ETA: 'scuse the mess - as you can see I am in the middle of an amp build and seem to have taken over the floor of our living room!

IMAG2812_zps3obch0ss.jpg

Edited by flak monkey

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I found the Keilidhs worked well & had good, but not particularly extended bass, driven by MF MA50 50Watt monoblock amps - in a smallish 5x3m room with low ceilings.
The Keilidhs are good speakers & are miles better than the earlier Nexus.

Edited by Von Krolock

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Super Wammer
3 hours ago, flak monkey said:

ETA: 'scuse the mess - as you can see I am in the middle of an amp build and seem to have taken over the floor of our living room!

IMAG2812_zps3obch0ss.jpg

Looks pretty normal to me 

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I had some Keilidhs years ago, never found them lacking bass (to me they went down quite a long way, but lacked a bit of oomph and weight in the upper bass), but i did find them too bright (think there's an option on the crossover to attenuate the treble output by something like 1db from memory, but i was very sensitive to that when i was younger).   Overall nice speakers :)

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Super Wammer

Oh, I must say, they aren't bad at all. Just very different to my AE's.

They are growing on me the more I listen to them. :)

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I’m presently using a pair of keilidhs that I picked up in mint condition. They are quite susceptible to placement I feel. I run them passive of a C3200 (200w at 4 ohms) and it took me a while to find a good balance between the bass response and the sound stage.

Here’s what I found:

Heavy bass(too much for my room): 5.5” from the wall with 1.5” toe in

Great soundstage: 12.5” from the wall. Same toe in.

I’m now somewhere in between those two measurements and just angled them up recently by 1-2mm which I like better. I tried about 5mm lower for the rear half of the speakers but that was again too much bass. I just bought a C5100 to take them aktiv and if I still feel the need for more then i’ll upgrade them to a pair of ninkas.

Also make sure the spikes are high enough so that it’s not flat on your carpet. It may help.

056c09f587d7979cae04ff3ae607c5f4.jpg

Linn Unidisk SC, Linn C3200, K400 cables, Linn keilidhs

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I came to keildh's late in 1998, by which time the fronts were fully veneered and all the drivers had been updated at least once (I think the bass units were mk4 by then!). I even bought a pair of mint black ash ones with Kustone bases and tried to get them to work. I'd say these bases were essential to best bass 'quality' although they did nothing for the 'amount' of bass the passive ones could produce.

My experiences from home and our dem room were that in passive form, they were all bass, little to no mids and a restrained top - early ones which came in had a slightly spitty-splashy top (that mesh tweeter was awful in these and Kabers, but I digress). Going active with them and they totally transformed, the mids came up in proper balance, the bass now in far better balance and not swamping everything in the rooms I tried them in and the ribbed tweeter showed what a fine unit it could be (as well as being a then useful update on older versions and Kabers too - especially Kabers, where the tweeter could sound spiteful at the slightest opportunity...) The whole speaker in especially three-LK140 active form was clear, open, natural in balance and very, very, enjoyable to listen through. At home and away from a natural Linn system and they were just too heavy-toned, despite the basic quality of the music coming out. As an opposite, a pair of Rega Alyas on the same system in the same spot sounded small and with zero bass projection, yet in my Dad's house with vaulted ceiling, these Alyas were just fine...

If anyone out there wants to try Keildh's, I'd try to go active with them if at all possible, even a mid 90's Majik and LK85, both with active cards fitted, gave them 'lyrical' qualities hidden in the passive option most often. Just my vibe of course and nearly twenty years have passed since those days when I had fun with these. get 'em right and you can listen to music through them all day as we did in the shop a lot of the time. As with much Linn 'stuff' of the time, everything is tightly controlled and tightly presented, but I rather like that ;)

P.S. Please note the tweeter is set very low in these and if you sit too close, it fires into one's knees - fixed in the Ninka... I'd suggest sitting a couple of metres away at least, so you're not too far above the tweeter 'window' which I'd very crudely estimate as plus or minus ten degrees from axis vertically - the further away you sit, the more 'into' this narrow window you'd be I reckon.

Edited by DSJR
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I used Keilidhs between 1992 and 2002. Around 1996 I had the tweeters replaced with the newer version (with the bars rather than the mesh covering), and this made a huge difference to the sound of the whole speaker, not just to treble clarity - whole thing seemed better balanced. Probably the most likeable of that generation of Linn speakers, preferable to SBLs when I tried them.

Edited by chris metcalfe
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The advice from my dealer at the time that I purchased the pair of Keilidh's that I'm stll using ('96), was that they really needed the polymer bases and 'Akiv' amplification. I therefore followed his advice buying both the bases and a pair of LK100 amps to drive them. I would have preferred Klouts, but I couldn't afford them. Later ('03), I traded-in the LK100's for a new pair of Klout's, and finally in 2010 I purchased an additional 2nd hand Klout to 'tri' amp them. I'm not too sure that the 3rd amp really added anything in the way of sound improvement, given that there was not only an appreciable gap between listening to the 'bi-amped' pair and re-setting them up with the 3rd amp, but I also moved into another house.  Along with other Linn kit, there seems to be a fair amount of prejudice expressed about Keilidh's , but as with other 'HiFi' items, most opinions are very subjective and really dependant on 'set-up' and the personal preferences of the listener.

Futher, Thank you DSJR for the advice regarding to the 'angle' required to 'help' with the tweeter location and related listener seating position. However, although I would love to experiment with this, I suspect that S.W.M.B.O. would not be too happy with having to re-site the plant that currently sits on the top - Ha! Ha!

Regards

Mike Kelshaw

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Super Wammer

Some top Keilidh tips:

Adjust the base spikes so that the back edge of the base is as low as it will go without touching the carpet, then wind out the front spikes so that their tops are halfway down the thread inside the base.  Then level side to side.

Remove the rubber rings around the mid-bass drivers and tighten up the mounting bolts - every couple of years.  Don't over do it, but they should be pretty tight.  You might need some of those tacky transparent "glue" blobs to make the rubber ring stick back on, but blu-tack does the job for a couple of years too.

Check the mounting bolts for the tweeter - they should just be nipped up.  On some pairs you'll find they're loose, on others someone will have over done it.  Occassionally you might find a pair where the bolts are correctly just nipped up.

If you're running passive, replace the metal strips on the connectors with some K400/600 jumpers - spade one end, 4mm banana at the other.  The spade will need to be of a very thin material.

If running single wire, connect to the treble inputs.

Active is a MASSIVE improvement. Bi-active gives the biggest benefit, tri-active another, much smaller, improvement.

Don't bother with anything less than an LK140 passive and LK100s active.  AV5125 is the best sound per pound for going active.  In the days when it was still possible to find the Tunebox active crossover, I ran mine with 3x Rotel RB850s which was a great combination.

Now very very difficult to get hold of as a spare part, the Katan/Ninka's 038/2 tweeter is a physical drop-in but a major improvement in refinement.  It used to be a very low cost upgrade, but now Linn no longer supply them as spares, its getting more difficult.

If you can find it, use Linn K400 / K600 speaker cables.  If not, vanDamme 2.5mm blue is a good substitute.

BTW, it might be just my lack of attention, but I don't recall Flak Monkey posting much lately.  If that is the case, welcome back, always good to keep up with your projects!

Edited by sunbeamgls

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On 05/12/2018 at 09:30, sunbeamgls said:

Remove the rubber rings around the mid-bass drivers and tighten up the mounting bolts - every couple of years.  Don't over do it, but they should be pretty tight.  You might need some of those tacky transparent "glue" blobs to make the rubber ring stick back on, but blu-tack does the job for a couple of years too.

Check the mounting bolts for the tweeter - they should just be nipped up.  On some pairs you'll find they're loose, on others someone will have over done it.  Occassionally you might find a pair where the bolts are correctly just nipped up.

Thanks sunbeamgls, I've tightened up my mid-bass units. Even after 25 years of ownership they weren't exactly loose. Do you know what device I need for tightening the tweeter? It's something I don't have. 

On 05/12/2018 at 09:30, sunbeamgls said:

Adjust the base spikes so that the back edge of the base is as low as it will go without touching the carpet, then wind out the front spikes so that their tops are halfway down the thread inside the base.  Then level side to side.

So this means they're pointing slightly upwards. What benefit do you feel this gives?

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Super Wammer

You need a Torx driver for the tweeter. Only nipped up though.

The slight tilt back opens up the treble a little, as the tweeter is pointing slightly more towards your ears. Worth a try as it doesn't cost anything :)

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Posted (edited)

The tweeter is set very low and if you sit closer than around three metres, the tweeter, which has by the bass drivers above and below it, has limited vertical dispersion as part of the D'Appolito layout. You don't want the high frequencies firing into one's knees, hence the suggestion to tilt them back if possible. Not such an issue if you sit further away.

Are you sure a set of K400 shit copper jumpers are going to be better than the solid low resistance links the speakers came with? I'm developing some new found respect for some of Linn's gear again (apart from silly-money prices), but the thick black shit they sold as speaker cables really was the pits I remember and to cap it all, the 42 strand (or whatever it was) copper cable was dirty and not nice, even when plenty was stripped back - the mega-strand stuff the Classik came with was rather better and you can buy this off the drum from a few suppliers (Linn want mad money to put their monika on the same stuff IMO). The k400 and 600 stuff had a rather nasty 'mechanical' kind of sound as well I remember, but maybe that suited Linn gear of the period as Naim A5 kind of helped the otherwise slightly grainy highs of Naim amps as a breed (I think that's better now though). Sorry, i don't mean to contradict and happy to share experiences of this generation of Linn, but I never had my 'Linn chip' so firmly up my arse that I didn't question some of their decisions or pricing policies ;)

I still think three amps active is best for them, although I admit that three amps active over two amps active is less of a difference than passive to active here. I feel so strongly about it that I feel the design was almost deliberately hobbled in passive form, although the crossovers did use decent coils and caps as I remember (a long time since I took a keilidh apart). The amps we used most were LK140s, which was a good price and power match for most people. Not saying three Klouts wouldn't add more authority though :D Not sure I ever liked the Lk100, which I found 'grainy,' although the Wakonda may have added something to this..

Edited by DSJR

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I've been a huge fan of Keilidhs since the mid 90's when I bought my first set. I never converted to active and sold them around 2011. Big mistake! I've been getting back into the audio hobby, and got a set of Majik 140s. Then I came across a set of Keidlidhs in decent shape. I had them sitting right next to the 140s and I was blown away by how much better the Keilidhs sounded. So I bought another set for my bedroom went active with a pair of LK140 amps and a Wakonda preamp. THEN I watched Django, the movie about Django Reinhardt. In the last scenes of the movie, a small choir and orchestra perform La Messe de Django and Lacrimosa Song. There is an AMAZING pipe organ section. I had never heard Keilidhs sing so beautifully. They can push bass, no doubt.

The thing that is most interesting to me about this thread is the discussion about the D'Appolito configuration. I mentioned the low tweeter issue in a forum 20 years ago, and I was roundly told that the D'Appolito configuration had great dispersion and I must be wrong. I used to enjoy sitting on the floor in front of my speakers. Never thought to angle them back though.

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