My Majik 140’s in Maple
You may, by now, have read my somewhat glowing review of the new Akurate DS and what it has brought to my life as an avid music collector and fan. The other part of my system that is to me an integral part of getting the sound quality so right is the speakers: the Majik 140’s.
As you may have read in my previous blog, to me, after one’s source loudspeakers are the most important part of system building. With amps and pre-amps you will get a slightly different flavour of sound but with ‘speakers unless they are working well in your lounge or, if lucky enough to have one, your listening room then you are set up to fail each and very time.
Hi-fi magazines are full of photographs of ‘speakers placed in total free space in rooms of pristine white. Strangely they show no trailing cables from any associated amplifier but I guess this would ruin the marketing man’s vision of the perfect set up.
Hifi magazines also perpetuate this vision by with their advice on positioning – when they say speakers need to be two to three feet away from a wall to sound of their best how many audiophiles out their have lounges that can accommodate speakers in such a way without creating a hazard in the middle of their lounge. If the average lounge (especially in modern houses) was say 12 feet wide and the speakers were three feet into the lounge. With a 2 ½ to 3 ft deep sofa opposite would mean at least half the width of a room would be taken up with a pair of speakers and a sofa. This is not even remotely practical.
I have owned many pairs of speakers over the years and to give an example of what I have owned purely in the last five I have detailed these below:
· Living Voice OBX R2
· Living Voice OBX RW
· Harbeth Super HL5
· Harbeth Compact 7’s
· Sonus Faber Minima Vintage
· Sonus Faber Cremona
· Gamut L3
· Proac Response D2
As you can see, by audiophile standard I have owned some incredibly well reviewed and well respected loudspeakers of all shapes, sizes, styles and voicing. Associated amplification has always been appropriate to the speakers themselves – valve amplifiers always used with the Living Voice for example – and so I firmly believe that I have always got the electronics right.
Flush Mounted Drivers with Metal Grills
If you want a quick conclusion I will give it to you now and save you a read then it is my firm assertion that the Linn Majik 140’s are, in my room and with the type of music I like to listen to the best speakers I have owned. The may not sound the best – that title belongs to the Living Voice RW’s who had to me everything one could wish for a in a loudspeaker – imaging, vitality, tone, colour, rhythm etc. So why am I not writing about these and why was it necessary to o through a truckload of other speakers to get to where I am today.
A few reasons. Firstly as a design they are quite top heavy and a nudge near the top of the cabinet would have them rocking back and forth. I fixed this by fitting a set of superspikes to each with I then blu-tac’d to a granite chopping board. This gave them the stability they needed but did rob the sound of a great deal of warmth.
The other reason is that they sounded of their best with valve amplification. I have a four year old daughter who at the time was learning to get around the lounge. I was constantly petrified that she would touch exposed valves or valve cage and suffer some serious injury. When the hi-fi was on I could never relax if she was in the same room.
So, amazing as the Living Voices were, they were simply too impractical for my room and home life and so they had to go along with the valve amplifiers I had at the time.
After this I went through a stream of loudspeakers looking to replicate some of the Living Voice magic. The Sonus Faber Cremonas were too big, the Vintage too small; the wife never liked BBC Monitor look of the Harbeth’s but I have also covered their sonic shortcomings elsewhere; I never really liked the sound of the Pro-ac’s or the Gamut despite their exalted reputations.
And so to the Majik 140’s. When I first heard them at the House of Linn demonstration I was totally stunned that an entry level loudspeaker could sound so open and detailed without sounding sterile.
The 140’s specs are as follows:
- Type 4-way floorstanding loudspeaker
- Overall sizes incl. supplied stand: (H) 975 mm x 250 mm x (D) 335 mm
- Weight (with supplied stand) 21.3 kg
- Cabinet volume 40 litres
- Impedance (passive) 4 Ω
- Impedance (Aktiv bass) 8 Ω
- Impedance (Aktiv midrange) 8 Ω
- Impedance (Aktiv tweeter) 7 Ω
- Impedance (Aktiv super-tweeter) 7 Ω
- Efficiency 88 dB for 1 watt at 1 metre (1 kHz)
- Frequency response (Passive) 55 Hz – 20 kHz
- Frequency response (Aktiv) 55 Hz – 20 kHz
- Crossover options Passive or fully Aktiv
- Connection options Single, bi-, tri- or quad- wire / amp; four-way Aktiv
- Binding posts can accept 4mm banana plugs, bare wire and spades
When I got a pair at home these first impressions were reinforced and I have come, over the last few months to appreciate their incredible sense of purpose when producing the musical signal. Whilst they may not image as well as the Living Voices, produce vocals as well as the Harbeth’s or sound as sumptuous with classical music as the Sonus Fabers they get 90% there with all the categories to me.
They handle all types of music with equal aplomb from folk music, classical, rock, heavy metal. Nothing fazes them. Stick some ACDC on and they can be played ear splittingly loud filling room superbly. Drums sound real and have that typical ‘DC insistent rhythm. Guitars bite and “crunch” as they should. Vocals are placed dead centre. Majik?
Alternatively, play a Beethoven String Quartet and they will demonstrate a wonderful delicacy allowing enough space and aural clues as to the space in which instruments are playing that you can get lost in the ebb and flow of the music.
The fact they do this in a fairly compact structure with a world class fit and finish and are also unfussy with regards placement make them a speaker that should be on anyone’s shortlist. Oh, and the fact that they do all this for less than a quarter of the price of the RW’s and a third of the price of the Cremona’s is truly remarkable and makes them, in audiophile terms, a bargain.
There are two caveats to what I have said to this:
· I have only listened to them Linn amplification (Akurate 2200) and a Luxman SQ-38 (the amp I had before the Linn)
· Read my Audiophile Insanity Blog. If what you have is working for you then stick with it. If not and you are looking for a change then I urge you to stick these on your shortlist.
Thanks for reading!!!!
One Last Picture of the 140’s
Oh and one final thing. In case anyone is wondering I have nothing at all to do with Linn or House of Linn. I have paid over my hard earned cash to by all the equipment mentioned and have received nothing in return from either organisation. Up until last year Linn, as a brand, would have been last on my list to listen to. I am now converted to Linn as such that as a brand they should certainly be at or near the top of your list for audition……
All photographs taken with a Fuji X100 – Review to Follow!