The proof: Linn Series 3, the best bluetooth speaker in the world

This is how the Scottish producer defines it, without false modesty: in the test we will try to understand if the claim is well founded or not. But what is certain is that it is one of the most expensive.

Builder of a legendary turntable, the Sondek LP12, Linn was one of the first hi-fi brands to believe in music streaming, back in 2007. But strangely, the Glasgow company waited until last year to launch its first loudspeaker. wireless: it’s called Linn Series 3, and it’s one of the most expensive on the market, around 3400 euros in Italy. More than other top of the range devices, such as Devialet Phantom, Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge or the fantastic Naim Mu-so 2 tried a few months ago .

The design

For this figure, there must be something special in the Linn Series 3, and indeed, from the first impact, it is evident that this is not a speaker like all the others. 30 cm high, 25 cm wide and 21 deep, the Linn weighs almost 7 kg, testifying to a very elaborate construction. The cabinet is made with a natural mineral compound used in domestic ceramics, and then finished by hand; shares many acoustically useful characteristics with stone, such as stiffness, density and excellent damping properties. To the touch it is smooth, almost soft. The shape, in Linn’s idea, recalls a wine glass, but here there is room for imagination: a drop? an egg? The choice of color is less imaginative:


The top is not horizontal, but angled slightly forward and covered with smooth, delicately illuminated glass. Re-proposing a stylistic element of the Selekt DSM all-in-one system, it has a circular indicator with about 100 LEDs to indicate the volume and the Linn logo in the center. There are also six numbered presets that offer quick access to your favorite content, easily configurable via the app. You can assign inputs, radio stations and content from streaming services, but not a media server.

It’s a sleek and minimal control system, but not instinctive – it would be more obvious to slide your finger around the circular ring of LEDs to adjust the volume rather than having to tap the volume up and down with the touch buttons on either side, like happens in the app. Not to mention that the absence of writings and the play between the white of the glass and the white of the backlight does not make it easy to remember the sequences of commands: for example, pressing presets three and four simultaneously starts the Bluetooth pairing, while the two and high five put the speaker in Wi-Fi mode.

The view from above, with touch controls

As did

Under the magnetic grille each speaker is equipped with a 19 mm silk dome tweeter and a 160 mm speaker for medium and bass in treated paper, powered by 100 watts each of Class D amplification. A highly respectable technological equipment, but still not enough to justify the price, as it is also found on devices that cost ten times less.

The speaker leverages Linn’s streaming platform, which offers access to networked servers, as well as Tidal and Qobuz music services, via the Scottish company’s Kazoo application. Spotify Connect can be added, as well as AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Roon support, but while Qobuz’s high-resolution catalog is fully accessible on Series 3, Tidal’s top tier subscribers will not be able to play the high-resolution master songs. resolution. Linn, in fact, does not adopt the Masters Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology used by this and other platforms, citing intellectual property issues, but who knows that behind there is a contrast with the main manufacturer involved in the definition of the protocol, Meridian, which is a direct competitor also in the field of hi-fi.

On the back, in addition to Ethernet, there is also an HDMI ARC socket, which allows you to connect a TV, with the problem that given the height it will be almost impossible to have it centered with respect to the TV without partially obscuring the screen. There are no analog or digital inputs, so you won’t be able to connect a CD player or turntable unless you use bluetooth. The metal part on the back, at least in the sample under test, does not reach worrying temperatures even after hours of listening at sustained volume, but tends to heat up even when not in use.

On the other hand, multiple Linn Series 3s can be placed in different rooms and controlled with the app for a luxury multiroom system. If desired, there is also voice control, but you have to use a compatible device with Alexa or Google Assistant, because the Series 3 does not have integrated microphones. The device is compatible with the Roon music management and control platform, which is perhaps the best on the market, but it’s not free: $ 120 a year or $ 700 for a lifetime subscription.

How it sounds

For the Series 3, Linn developed and optimized speakers, amplifiers and software at the same time, with the result that it is not easy to attribute a particular result to one or the other. Looking at them, the two speakers look well made, but there is certainly better on the hi-fi market. For amplifiers, Linn has a long experience, especially in the digital field, but it is perhaps the Exakt technology that really makes the difference. Starting from the amplifier, speaker and cabinet parameters, it corrects delays and overlaps between woofer and tweeter, and also acts as a crossover, separating the audio signal for each driver. Linn Exakt also reduces phase errors by delaying the higher frequencies so that they reach the ear at the same time as the lower frequencies. and operates in the digital domain for as long as possible to avoid any degradation caused by signal processing. The result is a rare naturalness and discretion, with a sound that does not immediately impress, but that is mature and balanced. It never tires and is never over the top, not even turning up the volume a lot (which in our case does not translate into particularly high levels, it must be said).

On the back, the only two inputs are HDMI and Ethernet, in addition to the power socket and the output for a possible second Series 3 speaker in stereo mode

Music and words

Unlike the shape, the sound is noticed for the most unexpected reason: it is not noticed. But then the sumptuous richness of detail in the midrange gives the voices character and warmth, and the middle octaves of the piano benefit as well. The high frequencies well present give clarity and airiness, and even in songs like Cupe Vampe by PGR from the beautiful Montesole they give the best idea of ​​a live concert. The Linn Series 3 has an exemplary balance, forgives poor quality sources and is always transparent. It seems that the lower frequencies are a bit ‘in the background, but when needed there are, for example in One Dove with the voice of Anhoni (then Antony) and the double bass of his band, the Johnsons. The end ofThe Rhythm Of The Heat , from Peter Gabriel’s fourth album, in its overlapping of African percussion, remains perfectly intelligible, even if the dimensions are necessarily to scale. Moving on to another genre of music, Max Richter’s Dream 1 from Sleep has a slightly rounded piano, but the low notes of the synth are all there, and with no noticeable distortion even at maximum volume. The complex arrangements of Lana del Rey ‘s Venice Bitch are rendered in a very correct way, the voice is natural and in the foreground. The overall hue of the Linn Series 3 is neutral, true to the source material – the better, the better it will feel. Secret Side , from Peel Sessionsdi Nico, for example, sounds metallic and compressed: they are defects of the recording, and yet in the foreground there is always the music, not its defects, so listening is still acceptable. The Linn Series 3 reproduces We Forgot Love by Nicolas Godin (ex Air) without altering the magical balance between the female voice and the other instruments. It favors the overall performance, over the single details, the harmony of the radiography. Even with Philip Glass’s Satyagraha , the Scottish speaker renders the choruses and intertwining voices in a masterly way, but here perhaps more than in other pieces you feel the limits of a monophonic reproduction.

In conclusion

It is a bizarre product, the Linn Series 3: by itself it is probably the best bluetooth speaker in the world, with a balanced sound and that never tires. But it has some important limitations: it almost certainly won’t fit under a TV, yet it has an HDMI socket just for that, and the excellent voice reproduction makes dialogue more understandable. It works with bluetooth, but due to the intrinsic limitations of the standard, the signal must be compressed, so the audio quality suffers. With Wi-Fi, with Chromecast, with AirPlay, however, it performs at its best. But right then it collides with its most important limitation: the sound is purely monophonic, and, however refined, it cannot in any way recreate a sound scene comparable to that obtainable with a system equipped with two speakers. It can also be done with the Linn Series 3, by purchasing the slave speaker 3-302, to be connected via proprietary cable. It is almost identical, only it does not have the controls and for this reason it costs a little less (around 3000 euros), but so the price of the system exceeds 6000 euros. For a similar amount, on the market there are certainly more versatile solutions, even if they are not necessarily better from the sound point of view. Unfortunately, we could not test it in this configuration. even if they are not necessarily better from the sound point of view. Unfortunately, we could not test it in this configuration. even if they are not necessarily better from the sound point of view. Unfortunately, we could not test it in this configuration.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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