The Exakt technology is intended to deliver linear phase performance across the entire frequency range – that’s been its mission statement since Linn first introduced it in 2013. Incoming digital audio information (here up to a maximum of 24bit/192kHz, all popular file types catered for) is kept in the digital domain until the last possible moment – anything less hearty than 24bit/192kHz is upscaled, as Exakt handles digital crossover filtering at this resolution. The signal is then upsampled to 768kHz before its conversion to analogue, an instant before it hits the power amps.
Getting information into a 301 Series 3 is simple, no matter your preferences. As well as being Roon-ready (301 has an Ethernet socket, just in case you value rock-solid integrity of connection to your local network over full-on wirelessness), there’s Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. The Kazoo control app allows the user to integrate Qobuz, Spotify, TuneIn radio and TIDAL accounts too, though Linn’s rather vocal scepticism regarding MQA means TIDAL Masters is unavailable. There’s even an HDMI ARC socket, in case you want to involve Series 3 in your video, as well as your audio, experience.
The 302 Series 3 that makes up a stereo arrangement is, relatively speaking, a much simpler creature. It has the same driver complement and amplification arrangement as its 301 foreman, naturally, but connectivity is simply mains power and an Ethernet-style socket for an Exakt Link connection to 301. ‘Wireless’, in the case of a Linn Series 3 stereo system, means a mains connection for each speaker and a (bundled) Exakt Link cable joining them.
There’s no denying the industrial design of Series 3 is a bit of a departure for Linn. The 30 × 25 × 21cm (h/w/d) infinite baffle cabinet is cast from a ceramic mineral before being finished by hand, and its inviting curvaceousness is matched by its tactility. Linn is prepared to talk, at length, about the material’s density, stiffness, and damping properties – no doubt the engineering principles behind it are solid, but the fact it looks and feels so unusual and so alluring doesn’t do any harm either. The thin, stiff and magnetically attached grille only adds to the visual drama. And Series 3 is a shape that invites those who gaze upon it to project their own meanings – does it look like a wine-glass, as Linn suggests? A bulb of fennel? Please send your suggestions to the usual address.
Control is achievable, up to a point, using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice control – as long as you already have a mic-equipped speaker on your network, Bluetooth-driven integration into the Google Home or Alexa app is easy enough. Or you can use the touch-controls integrated into the winningly tactile glass top-plate of the 301: one hundred individual LEDs form a gently glowing circle to indicate gain level, and there are controls for initial set-up, Bluetooth pairing and ‘favourites’. It’s a responsive and pleasant interface, though it collects fingerprints like a scene-of-crime investigator.