Capital Audiofest was the third US show this year,
where you could enjoy LINKWITZ LX521.4MG
An outstanding team hosted the visitors of Suite #650.
Fernando on the controls:
Interested visitors had been welcomed just outside the room in the aisle. Questions could be discussed there, too.
We did not apply any kind of room treatment. Just the empty hotel room, the LX521.4MG system a few banners and chairs. The room was on the rather small side.
Our music originated from either vinyl, CD-transport or from a NAS-streamer and led to the preamplifier (Passlabs XP-32, only available Friday & Saturday).
On Sunday, Jeff Rowland was so kind to help us out with one of his Capri S2 preamplifiers.
Long balanced XLR cables routed the analog signal to each PowerBox 6pro Ncore precision analog.
Short multicore SpeakOn cables sent the amplified signal to the nearby LX521s.
Thank you for the many individual “Best of Show” compliments, that we received from you.
Some more voices:
Thanks. I really enjoyed the sound and presentation in your room. It is amazing what those speakers could do. It was easily the best sound of the show based upon my limited time in the room, but that is just my humble opinion. I hope that your system finds its place in many homes where music reproduction of that level can be appreciated.
Linkwitz Room. LINKWITZ LX521.4MG system with PowerBoxes 6pro NCore precision analog $19,900 – 22k depending on finish choice. One of the most shocking speakers at the show. The spatial presentation was astonishing to say the least.
“Phenomenal sound, fast, and holographic. Bass is so tight and “in the pocket”
“Two friends and I were fortunate to have the Linkwitz room (650) mostly to ourselves when we stopped by today and thoroughly enjoyed hearing a live recording of The Double Planet by Michael Hedges, which seemed well suited.”
Audiophilejunkie: “Killer Stuff”
“The lackmus test beyond anything else”
While we’re on the subject of open-baffle speakers, I was excited to see the Linkwitz LX-521 speakers at the show. The last time I’d heard these speakers was at an RMAF show where they were being demonstrated by their designer, the late Siegfried Linkwitz himself. These latest versions have an updated midrange driver and have gone to an Analog Signal Processing box per speaker that incorporates 5 channels of NCore Class-D amplification per side. While the speakers have always been available as a kit or DIY with plans, they are also available as a turnkey finished system that is built and shipped from Germany (approximately $20,600/pair) which is what I heard at the show. I’m happy to confirm that the sound from the latest LX-521 was as natural and appealing as any speaker I’ve ever heard. Another standout speaker at the show.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHHDdSAAFIc from 12:15
“…when you listen to the LINKWITZ, you realize how faulty many box speakers are…”
“…the difference to box speakers is so apparent…”
“ LINKWITZ they disappeared, it´s like you were listening to a performance….something most people grow to appreciate more over time”
“…Kudos to LINKWITZ, one of my best rooms, as usual.”
“Impossible to appreciate a speaker like the Linkwitz over youtube/headphones. I’m listening on Focal Utopias and while this does sound great, it does not convey the magic of the real 521.4 I just heard at the Capital Audiofest. These speakers do not exist while listening with your eyes closed, you just “see” the performers live in front of you with a sense of realism I have never heard from another speaker (not saying they do not exist, just have not come across any and I have listened to some in the six figures). Never considered dropping $20k on speakers but honestly these are a bargain at that price (includes amplification/crossovers in separate enclosures). … Listen to them if you ever get a chance but only if you got the cash and the space for them, they will spoil you!”
Linkwitz: The Linkwitz LX521.4MG speaker system is one of the most unusual looking at the show, but it is a perfect example of form following function. It is an open-baffle active 4-way speaker that (according to the company) keeps 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortion beneath the threshold of human perception. The end result is undeniable, super easy to listen to with “picture perfect” soundstage and imaging. – MH
One more positive view:
Suite 650 Linkwitz Lab
Much to my delight, Linkwitz chose to attend Capital AudioFest. This was one of the rooms selected for a Best of Axpona 2022 award and I felt honored that they printed the award on the promotional postcard for this show as well as on a poster for their door. That postcard made it very simple to understand the system and the speakers’ requirements. For $19,900 plus DHL airfreight from Germany, you get not only the speakers, but the two boxes seen on butcherblock amp stands beside each speaker. Those ‘Power Boxes 6pro’ each contain an N-core amplifier tailored for each driver along with signal processors with precision analog phase compensated active crossover. (There is also a rear-firing driver as well as two 10″ woofers in the open black box.)
The open box woofer cabinet with a driver facing each direction has become a trend among speaker builders, if not adopted by companies that specialize in active crossovers like JL, Rel, SVS, and others. There is an aesthetic issue with this woofer design, yet it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to provide a grille for the front, at least. There is also an aesthetic issue with the quirky upper open-baffle for the main drivers. The American Walnut finish shown here works well in forested living rooms but it can also be custom-built with your choice of finishes at additional cost. This would take it deeper into contemporary territory as well as make it more formal if the wood stain is too rustic for you. (To give you an idea of what I mean, imagine the open baffle painted to match the speaker in the next room.) Another option ($2k) is to have the open baffle made from Panzerholz, an extremely dense German plywood. I happen to have a small sheet of it and I can tell you it is heavy and requires special machining.
The front end in this room included a turntable (not in use) and a Pass Labs XP 32 three-box preamp. A steamer and a DAC were likely out of sight, but they must have been of high quality. The sound quality here was even better than what I recalled from Axpona. The postcard suggests improvements to the midrange driver and the active crossover, but I don’t know how recently they were made. I should also mention that the package includes a short length of speaker cable with SpeakOn connectors, but longer lengths are available. Given the package includes the speakers, speaker cables, and amplifier units, this represents an extraordinary value. You won’t get to readily swap out amplifiers, but once you hear this speaker, it is unlikely you will want to. Plus, you can always add tubes to your system in the DAC and preamp.
I really wanted to review this speaker, and Dr. Frank Brenner offered the opportunity, but with this show report and commitments for other reviews already on hand, I reluctantly passed it on to another capable reviewer at Enjoy The Music.com. Keep an eye out for it in the near future.