Ivor Tiefenbrun on his sonorous Sondek LP12
“Companies don’t make audio systems the way they used to. In the past, if you wanted a hi-fi system, you’d go into a shop and specify the cabinet, turntable and anything else you wanted. The shops would build their own amplifiers. Now, companies that claim to make high-end audio still mass-produce their products."
“I thought Linn would be bigger than Sony when I first started on my project. And we probably are right now, even though I took a much longer time."
“We don’t make products for personalities. Our audio systems are designed to be as good as they can be for anyone who buys them. They’re not something for you to personalise. That’s bullshit. I don’t like it when people look at my products as collectors’ items. They’re still sought-after because people who buy them actually want to use them."
“Every shop should teach the customer how to listen and judge. Let the customer hear the full range of possibilities, especially the minimum standard, because you’re only as good as your minimum standard. You can show the best you can do, but what’s the worst? That’s the real bottom line."
“The longer our customers have our equipment, the more they appreciate it, and the more their taste in music expands, simply because the quality of sounds coming from our systems has the ability to seduce them into listening and enjoying sounds they didn’t think they could. I’m not proud of much, but this is one thing I am proud of."
“I tend to listen to classical music on my LP12, but I don’t really have a favourite. I also don’t really listen to music on the go. I’ve no music on my iPhone. I may listen to music in the car occasionally, but not often. When I’m in my car, I sometimes take a telephone call or just enjoy the drive."
“The record industry is probably the only industry that degrades the quality of its product. Mass brands have shown how marketing perceptions can be so misleading. It’s basically screwing the customer. From an LP record, they’ve convinced the customer that the MP3 format is good enough. No, it isn’t. Not by a million miles. We’re the first to allow 24-bit streaming. They say, ‘You’re giving away the crown jewels’, and yes, it’s true, but people are paying to buy it, and will pay for it for the quality."
“I find it amazing that the younger generation is buying record players, even if the players are cheap with rubbish quality. And they’re not buying for the artwork on the sleeve. It’s because the minute they listen to the record, they know that it sounds much better. That just goes to show that even without understanding much about the engineering of music, you will still respond positively to a better sound."
The Linn Sondek LP12
Would you call an object that has had all its components changed over the course of decades, an original? Therein lies the LP12’s beautiful paradox. The turntable, designed in 1972, was crafted in such a way that all of its parts, from the baseboard, tone arm and cartridge right to the deck, could be upgraded and used with the old. You may argue that you’re essentially purchasing an entirely new product in separate pieces, but Tiefenbrun argues: “You could have bought the first LP12 40 years ago and bring it up to the latest standard. But even if you didn’t do any upgrades, the original LP12 would still work till this day."
Ivor Tiefenbrun is the founder and Chairman of Linn Products Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland-based manufacturers of hi-fi audio equipment and home theatre equipment.