Linn Majik-I review

This new amp, the Majik-I, is an enjoyable piece of kit, but in pricing it against the likes of Primare’s I-30, Linn has bitten off more than it can c Tested at £1630

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It's a decent amplifier, but priced against stiff competition


  • +

    Sophisticated control system

  • +

    fast and direct sound

  • +

    good rhythmically

  • +

    excellent build and styling


  • -

    Lacks the insight and authority of the best at this price

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Linn's new integrated amplifier, the Majik-I, is more sophisticated than its simple, yet undoubtedly elegant appearance suggests. For starters it comes complete with a decent quality moving-magnet phono stage, which is something of a rarity these days (see panel for more).

You can also configure each of the five line-level inputs to a specific source by naming the input appropriately and adjusting the relative volume level to suit differing output levels. Other neat touches include a front-panel-mounted 3.5mm input jack for those who want to listen to their MP3 players through the main hi-fi, and the ability to accept modules that make active operation possible with Linn's own loudspeakers.

Watching its weight
The Majik-I feels lightweight compared with most of the established competition or even, for that matter, the Cambridge 840A v2 (reviewed this issue p12), which costs only half as much. any people equate weight with quality: in this case that would be a mistake. The low weight is in part due to the use of a switched-mode power supply instead of he more conventional (heavy) transformer-based designs that most rivals employ.

Get past the lack of weight and there is much evidence of good-quality build. Fit and finish is every bit as impressive as you'd expect at this price level, and the feel of the minimal
front-panel controls is classy, too.

Chip-amp and Chakra
The Majik-I's power amplifier circuits are based around Linn's Chakra design, where a single chip-amp is used in combination with a number of external tran-sistors, which are used as boosters. At low volumes, the chip-amp does all the work, leaving the tran-sistors to deliver the muscle as the volume level rises.

The idea works well to a point, with the Majik-I delivering a fast and punchy performance with Radiohead's The Bends. The Linn majors on giving a direct, ard-hitting sound with a good sense of rhythmic drive.

A certain richness missing
So far so good, but the Majik-I isn't so skilful at delivering very low-level detail or the natural richness in a recording. Even a full-bodied disc such as the first The Lord of the Rings OST sounds overly dry and just a little clipped. There isn't he space, low-level detail or bass power we'd expect at this price.

The Majik-I is an enjoyable amplifier, but in pricing it against the likes of Primare's I-30 and AVI's Laboratory Series, Linn has forced this little amp to bite off more than it can chew.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test