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Amplifier Linn Majik-I review

Unveiled to the accompaniment of a great fanfare at Live ‘93, Linn’s ?593 Majik-I has been designed for long term versatility with future applications as diverse as multi-room, multi-media and surround sound in mind.

In its most basic form, the Majik-I is like any other ultra-modern integrated amplifier, using solid-state input selection for its three line, two tape and MM (or MC) disc sources.

These, along with digital volume and balance control, are toggled-up on the front panel or via its accompanying remote control.

Linn’s upgrade theme begins with separate preamp out and power amp inputs but continues with an additional hidden input that accommodates any one of Linn’s special modules. These adaptive cards locate into an expansion slot behind the amplifier and currently include the Kudos tuner stage, Aktiv electronic crossover for Keilidh, Kaber and Keltik loudspeakers and Knekt line driver/receiver modules for multi-room sound distribution.

The internal construction of the Majik-I is extremely advanced and relies heavily on miniature surface-mount components, including the integrated circuits found in its disc, line, input switching and main microprocessor stages. But does high-tech engineering necessarily promise the highest fidelity?

Sound quality

The listening panel remained largely indifferent to the best efforts of the Majik-I, which managed to reproduce Mahler’s Fifth Symphony in a more depressing vein than is ordinarily the case. The Majik-I is just not particularly passionate. Instead, the music it produced sounded like a collection of disparate threads, a tangle of information that made it difficult to appreciate the virtuosity of star performers.
Almost inevitably, those amplifiers that sound rather hard or gritty via CD will sound that bit smoother and more approachable via their MM disc inputs, and Linn’s Majik-I is no exception. Strings still sounded rather parched and its imagery remained vague but there was less edginess to wear down the ears of patient listeners. But this could well be a completely different story in an all Linn system. The family approach is, after all, what Linn is rightly famous for.

Conclusion

Sadly, the brittle and grating colour of this complex machine has too much in common with amplifiers of a decade ago. This is a great pity because the concept of the Majik-I is far from unattractive, allowing the heart of an entertainment system to grow along with the desires and pocket of its owner.

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