My interview in the UK’s Metro newspaper last week appears to have touched a raw nerve with many people. In that interview I claimed that mp3 downloads will be replaced by music at studio master quality. And it was this prediction that seems to have raised the most hostility.
This surprises me.
It's not like I predicted the demise of the toaster...by Gilad Tiefenbrun | 8 comments
While Carnegie Hall would never think of forcing a performing artist to play from memory, competitions and auditions - that give student musicians an important first step in the profession - frequently insist that their repertoire be performed from memory.by Alisdair Hogarth | 1 comment
I am not alone when I admit to my David Bowie fixation. It began when I started seriously collecting and listening to records in my early teens. I had “The Bowie Wall” in my room, with photos painstakingly cut out and pasted as a mural-like collage, but this was only a superficial marking. Like many teens trying on new personas in the process of discovering themselves, I was fascinated with the way he could exquisitely morph into a new character as easily as slipping on a new coat.by Colleen Murphy
Music, basically, has become the aural equivalent of fast food: consumed quickly, in super-sized portions; we get filled up but not necessarily nourished.by Jeremy Schlosberg
My 13-year-old had randomly pulled Annie Gallup's album from a disorganized shelf of used books offered for sale in our local library for fundraising purposes. It was the only CD there. "Do you know this?" he asked..by Jeremy Schlosberg
When I Was a Boy showed me the way. It started so accidentally. One minute I was in Tower Records in New York City in the early fall of 1993, briefly browsing, the next minute I was leaving the store with this Jane Siberry album I hadn't otherwise realized existed, never mind that I was going to buy.by Jeremy Schlosberg
Music has accompanied my life seamlessly; it has never occurred to me to wonder why I listen so intently, why I seem to need music on wherever I am, or what, even, I am concretely getting out of it. I have just always known that I want it and need it, that it satisfies something beyond the realm of my rational mind.by Jeremy Schlosberg
For part two of my blog mini-series on recording I thought I’d go behind the scenes and offer you some helpful hints and tips based on what I’ve learned from the recordings I’ve done so far – both with Linn and the BBC.by Alisdair Hogarth
Since the Mercury’s have helped shaped our music tastes for two decades now, we’d love to know which Mercury nominated albums are your all-time favourites and why?by Anna Savva
A Studio Master download is the highest quality music file available anywhere. It allows you to hear a recording exactly the way the original artist and producer intended it to sound, before it was altered to fit on a CD or squashed down to MP3 size.
Studio Master files are released at the same quality level they were recorded at, so it doesn’t get any better. Uncut, uncompromised and available for download.More
When CDs were released they were actually the lowest quality format available. The convenience of the player and the shiny discs was great but at the expense of audio quality.More
We capture the finest performances and let you download them to play in your home. Everything from award-winning classical and jazz recordings to the latest pop, rock and electronica. You can buy tracks or albums and download immediately, or choose between CD, SACD and vinyl and we’ll deliver your music straight to your door.
Awarded 'Label of the Year' by Gramophone in 2010, Linn Records is also home to a wide range of music from other high quality record labels, with specially selected albums available as Studio Master downloads.
You can listen to samples from any album page on linnrecords.com or tune in to our high quality web radio stations below to listen to uninterrupted music randomly selected from our entire catalogue.
We bought a record-cutting lathe in 1982 because the vinyl pressings we were using to test our turntable weren't good enough — within two years we had recorded and released The Blue Nile's classic debut 'A Walk Across The Rooftops'.More
We were the first label to release CD quality music downloads without DRM (Digital Rights Management) and the first to champion Studio Master downloads because we’re passionate about making the best recordings available at the highest quality.More
Tune in to the highest quality web radio. Our three stations bring you the best of the music available from Linn and our partner labels, broadcast in crisp 320 kbps MP3. That's better than what you pay for on iTunes and over twice the quality of current DAB radio.
Linn was started in 1972 by Glaswegian, Ivor Tiefenbrun. Ivor was passionate about music. He couldn't find a music system that was good enough to meet his exacting standards. So he decided to make his own.
The result was the Sondek LP12 turntable. This revolutionary product was designed to get more music out of a record. It worked. The LP12 is still produced by Linn and remains the benchmark for turntables worldwide.
Today, Linn DS sets the music standard for digital music players and outperforms every other CD or digital player on the market. It embodies everything we’ve learned about music and our passion for creating great music systems which last.
Some things haven't changed. Linn is based just outside Glasgow and still owned and run by the Tiefenbrun family. Most importantly, the passion for music and commitment to excellence that inspired Ivor back in 1972, still drives Linn today.The LP12 revolution
Not only did the Sondek LP12 improve sound quality, it turned the hi-fi industry on its head by proving once and for all that the source of music is the most important link in the chain.The LP12 revolution
We wanted to make a digital music player without compromise — something that combined our passion for music with the latest technologies to make everything you listen to at home sound better.Why we made the DS
Ivor Tiefenbrun has always been passionate about music. Sent out by his wife to buy much-needed furniture for their first flat, he came back with a hi-fi. He bought an expensive turntable and speakers but was deeply disappointed by the sound quality — he could only listen to music for a couple of hours, before wanting to turn it off.
Ivor was also a keen engineer and he made an interesting discovery: the music sounded better when he put the speakers in a different room from the turntable. He found this rather puzzling. How could the speakers interfere with the turntable? He decided to explore this further and so began a 40-year old love affair with music systems.
The answer lay in the quality of the engineering. The turntable was so badly designed and made, it was affected by the vibrations from the speakers. The only solution was to go back to basics.
Ivor redesigned the turntable from first principles using precision-engineered components to ensure a constant speed and minimum distortion. The result was the Sondek LP12 turntable. It was a revolutionary design backed by new levels of manufacturing quality, with parts made to the same standards required for aerospace.
The Sondek LP12 was launched in 1972. It introduced the music world to unique features, such as the patented single-point bearing which inspired the Linn logo. More importantly, it retrieved more music from a record than any other turntable on the market, then and now. You only had to listen to hear the difference.
This set a standard for Linn which still holds true today. We don't just design outstanding products; we build them to the most exacting standards, sometimes to within 0.001 mm. It’s about accuracy, consistency and reliability.
Back in the early 70s, the conventional wisdom was that sound quality was determined by good or bad speakers. The experts believed the hi-fi chain started with the speakers and worked down to the source of the music, which at that time was the turntable. Ivor proved the opposite to be true – that the source of the music was the most important.
Ivor took to the road with his new precision-engineered Sondek LP12 and demonstrated the difference to everyone who would listen. He could put the LP12 with their cheapest speakers and it would still out-perform any other turntable and speakers combination. The LP12 sounded so much better, it started a revolution – in thought, design and performance.
No matter how good the amplifiers or loudspeakers, you can't get back what has already been lost. Quite simply, information lost at the source is lost forever. In computing it's known as Garbage In, Garbage Out; but it means the same thing. This seems perfectly sensible to us now. But then we're all children of the revolution.
Ivor didn't set out to build a business; he simply wanted to listen to great music at home. But inspired by the musical improvements he achieved with the LP12, he established Linn Products with the aim of increasing the quality of sound all the way from the microphone to the ear.
Ivor's son Gilad joined Linn in 2003 with the dream of creating a digital music player which would do for digital what his father's LP12 had done for analogue: revolutionise the source by eliminating the weakest link.
The launch of the iconic CD12 in 1999 proved that Linn could excel at both analogue and digital music players. But as good as the CD12 was, it was held back by the limitations of the compact disc format. The new CDs were easy to use and heavily marketed, but in truth there was far less information on a CD than vinyl or 8-track tape.
Linn supported the emergence of disc formats such as Super Audio CD (SACD) and High Definition CD (HD-CD) because they offered better audio quality than the standard CD. We launched the Unidisk as an 'all-formats' disc player and began to release Linn Records music in these higher quality formats.
SACD offered higher quality than the standard CD but it never really took off. Not much music was released and most people didn't own a SACD player. SACD was a proprietary Sony technology and their tight control and high licensing costs made it difficult for both manufacturers and customers to enjoy the benefits.
As head of R&D at Linn, Gilad experienced first-hand the difficulties involved in supporting a 'closed' proprietary format during the Unidisk launch. Despite the massive investment made in SACD by Linn and other manufacturers and labels, they were wholly reliant on Sony to correct problems within the SACD platform itself. Gilad resolved never again to put faith in a proprietary disc-based format that required specialised hardware. Instead, he started to think about a new type of music player that wasn't tied to one particular disc or format but would fully realise the potential of digital music...a digital LP12.
Gilad’s dream was a music player that would play all digital music and make everything sound better, a digital LP12. The only way to create this was to build a system from scratch, using open standards and formats to create something designed specially for music and engineered to last.
By 2002, Linn Records were recording music at increasingly higher quality in order to capture every last detail.
The logical step was to create a standalone music player that was capable of playing this higher resolution music and design it to work on a standard home network. Building it for the 'open' network rather than a proprietary system would ensure it worked alongside the growing number of networked products and make it easier for anyone to get started.
We developed a streaming platform from scratch that would allow music to be pulled from the network rather than read from a drive within the player itself. Sound quality improved greatly and there would be no reliance on particular discs or formats — music could be ripped to a hard drive from any disc or downloaded from the internet at any resolution.
The growth of broadband meant most homes already had a home network and faster download speeds were available to download better than CD-quality music directly from linnrecords.com. These new Studio Master files were too large to be stored on a normal CD anyway.
Klimax DS was launched in 2007 and proved that Linn DS sounded better than any CD or digital player available.