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Amplifier Linn Intek review

Magnanimous to a fault, not only has Linn implemented a variety of improvements to its Intek amplifier but it has also slashed the price by an amazing ?150. A new robot-testing system and in-house PCB facility may have improved production efficiency but it was left to our last amplifiers survey to highlight a basic design fault in the original Intek.

As a consequence all Inteks purchased after June 1991 benefit from significant internal revisions even if there’s no obvious evidence of change. When it suits Linn, it would seem that specifications are more relevant to hi-fi than bananas . . .

It’s hard to fault the Intek’s construction with its reinforced alloy fascia, over-sized power supply and beautifully designed cir-cuit-board. From the outside you only get to see various plastic controls catering for independent rec-out and input selection, volume, mute and speaker/headphone options. But inside you’ll find quality components like Rubycon BGF signal-path electrolytics (made popular by Rotel) plus precision polypropylene and polystyrene caps dotted throughout the part-active, part-passive disc equalisation network.

Sound quality

Our first review of the Intek was superceded by changes to its design and so never appeared. At the time it was applauded for its fine sense of control, bringing deeper and more resonant strings like the cello to the fore. Yet others complained of a lack of liveliness or oomph, for though the extra bass was welcome it seemed to ‘drag its feet’.

Now, six months on, the same panel of listeners thought the amp sounded intrusively loud ‘from the word go’. It was not busy and ripe with detail like the Rotel RA-930AX (another loud-sounding amp) but rather abrasive and lacking in weight or purpose. Soundstaging was pretty good, the panel ventured, and its sense of life was also admirable, but there was not the beefy confidence or authority to support its forward character.

The Rachmaninov Symphony sounded slightly brash or ‘hi-fi’ but the amp could just as easily sound grey and uninteresting. Via Compact Disc its sound hardened still further, exacerbating any natural sibilance and causing several members of the listening panel to visibly wince.

Conclusion

Significantly improved or not, Linn’s latest Intek is still a rather mixed-up product betraying a mix of excellence and oversight in its technical design. Drawing aside some bugs has simply exposed others, lying undisturbed beneath.

Informed of the price our listeners concluded it was ‘not in the game’.

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