Wharfedale’s first Linton loudspeaker was launched in 1965 and was, says the manufacturer, “bought in its millions right across the globe.” Successive and successful models followed, culminating in the Linton 3XP, which was a three-way loudspeaker and one that marked the last Wharfedale offering to bear the Linton name. Or rather it was the last, until we come to the present day where Wharfedale has now created a Linton 85th Anniversary Limited Edition stand-mount model (which I will call the Linton 85 in this review). According to Peter Comeau, Wharfedale’s Director of Acoustic design, the hallmarks of the original Linton design were “fine craftsmanship, natural sound quality, and affordability inside a beautifully proportioned loudspeaker,” and—not surprisingly—these same characteristics also define the Linton 85.
The Linton 85s sell for $1,198/pair US or £999/pair in the UK, and their matching floor stands sell for $300/pair US or £100/pair in the UK. I would encourage anyone considering the Linton 85s to buy the matching stands. Any way you look at it, a per-pair price $1,498 or £1,100 is not a lot of money for what turns out to be a bona fide audiophile-grade loudspeaker. So, consider the “affordability” box properly ticked.
Next, let’s consider the “fine craftsmanship” and “beautiful proportions” factors. Let me state unequivocally that from the moment you first crack open their shipping cartons, absolutely everything about the Linton 85s suggests that they must surely cost more than they actually do—a lot more, in fact. I say this because the first thing you see when you open the boxes will be a clear vinyl, snap-closure pouch that contains the Linton 85 user guide (printed on parchment-coloured paper), a set of protective stick-on rubber feet, and a pair of white linen gloves to use when handling the speakers. Further down in the box, when you first glimpse the Linton 85s, you will spy cabinets covered in gorgeous real wood veneers (either Mahogany or Walnut), not the vinyl wraps that are so common on speakers in this price range.