Linn has announced a new flagship mono power amplifier that it says can ‘drive any given speaker optimally… under any conditions’.
The Klimax Solo 800 is the Scottish company’s first large, passively cooled mono model, taking the reigns as the amplifier range-topper from the much more compact Klimax Solo 500 which has been in Linn’s lineup since the late 90s. But whereas that relative veteran can offer 500 watts of power into four ohms, the new Klimax Solo 800 is capable of delivering 800 watts (or 400W at eight ohms, or 1.2kW into two ohms).
Linn is confident that the Solo 800 ‘measurably outperforms its larger rivals’, with CEO Gilad Tiefenbrun claiming that its “distortion and noise measurements are lower than anything the industry has seen”.
Tiefenbrun says the goal was to set a new standard in audio amplification, and to that end the Solo 800 benefits from the company’s analogue and digital expertise.
The Class A/B amplifier utilises Linn’s Adaptive Bias Control technology, which debuted in the 360 speaker system announced last year. It essentially works to optimise, dynamically and in real-time, the ideal bias current for each of the Solo 800’s sixteen output transistors by measuring, sampling and digitising the current fed to them, to eliminate distortion and ensure optimum performance.
Linn says it has chosen only the best transistors available, with the quality of the array allowing for the Solo 800’s output impedance to be divided by eight, thus allowing it to drive even the largest speakers that present difficult loads, and without any tail-off at high volumes.
Linn has stuck with its favoured switch-mode power supply, though it is implemented here in progressed form. Utopik, as it’s called, minimises switching noise and improves efficiency by implementing a circuit that ensures voltage across the power supply switch falls to zero before the switch is thrown.
It would be remiss of us to overlook the Solo 800’s aesthetic, not least because of how much it differs from that of previous Linn amplifiers. Compact this 27kg mono amp is not, nor is it quite as minimalist-looking.
As seen on later Linn components such as the Klimax DSM streamer, a jewel-like dial adorns the faceplate (available in either black-anodised or natural silver anodised finishes) to display the amp’s status. It’s back-lit by an array of one hundred LEDs, the brightness of which can be altered in three levels by a switch on the rear panel. As you’d expect, that panel also accommodates RCA and XLR inputs and outputs plus a set of binding posts.
The Linn Klimax Solo 800 is available now, sold and shipped as pairs costing £75,000.
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