Ok, so my Classik Unik speakers and stands now collected from my local Brighton Hi-Fi shop, I open the well packed and heavy speaker stands and quickly assemble them. They are steel and well finished. I open the first Unik box and to my surprise find a 10m length of cable in each one. This is Linn's lower grade discreet cable which I leave in the boxes (as have better already in place). The first thing to be a little wary of is that the speakers are arctik white, so they do not match the stands exactly, but no matter, they look all the better for it. I prised the front grills off to take a peak at the drivers to find that the units are completely different to my old 5110s and there has clearly been some value engineering done to get the cost of the Uniks down, as they don't look too pretty with the grills off. But no matter, they look great with the white grills on - overall the Uniks look a little grey compared with the brilliant white stands.
And so to the important bit...how do they sound ...connected up the difference between the old 5110s and the Uniks is very clear - the Uniks are much better, having a bigger more rounded sound and more puch. The Top end frequencies are better integrated and the bass softer and less fussy about positioning. And they look as good as they sound. Despite their diminutive size, these speakers never sound lean even with bright recordings and always sound relaxed and musical. If you are looking for something that grabs your attention (that means a tiring listen to me) then look eleswhere. Unfortunately I can not compare the Uniks with anything at about the £250-£300 price point. But for just over £200 you can buy a pair of Uniks less stands (or brackets). This seems fantastic value to me - add the flexibility in and you have a great little speaker that works well with all types of music, even in a relatively large room.
Given that the Classik has been discontinued this might seem an odd time to make an entry against this product, but I have struggled to find any meaningful reviews of the Classik Unik speaker, which unlike the Afekt sub-woofer and the Classik one-box, has not been discountinued; instead it has been renamed the Sneaky Unik and remains in the Linn line up. I will start this post by stating that I have been using a pair of 5110s or "Locals" as they were introduced as in 2002. These are the forebears of the Unik. I have been using these for a few years in my conservatory simply as background fill, in a simple stereo set-up. Following a refit of my living room my beloved Keilidhs have gone to storage and I needed some discreet book-shelf speakers to fill the gap. Literally.. So I reached for the Locals, which incidentally are the same shape/profile as the Uniks but do not have the stand recesses in the base) and to say I was surprised by this entry level speaker is an understatement. Driven by my Linn Kolektor/LK85 combo they can not compete with my Keilidhs. Obviously. It took me a few listens to get the Keilidhs out of my system (excuse the pun) but when I did I was pleasantly surprised. They are just so damn musical. And they have bass too! And they go loud! So, getting back to where I started, I have now purchased a pair of Sneaky Uniks with stands and will report back my thoughts in the next few weeks. If you believe the blurb, Linn upgraded the crossover when Locals (5110s) became Uniks so I am hoping to report on the difference. As far as I am aware the addition of the Sneaky name has not seen an upgrade of the Unik, it was simply a rename.
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These are some of the best standmounters we’ve heard. If you have the budget and your system is good enough, they deserve serious consideration
A cable with an impressive level of detail and dynamic clout. Recommended
A hugely talented amp and a real comeback for Marantz
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