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Linn Sara - What Others Say

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Linn Sara reviews


Reviewed by: Alan (Unregistered User)
(Audio Enthusiast)

Review Date August 1, 2003
Overall Rating  4 of 5
Value Rating  4 of 5

Used product for: More than 1 year

Summary:
I have had two different pairs of Sara's, these would both be the original version, not, I believe, the newer Sara9. At the time I originally purchased a pair, they were a marvel of acoustic engineering with the "Isobarik" woofer design, that was originally build into and refined in the larger DMS speaker. They were so attractive certainly due to their ability to go as low as they do and remain as tight. The quoted bottom was about 35hz, but I think they went a bit lower than that. They were also desireable because of their size, and it continues to be quite exciting to find a smaller "bookshelf" size unit that will go this low. They were obviously designed for the European market where rooms in residences tend to be smaller and where the qualities of a speaker like this was so desireable. I believe when the speaker was first marketed, it was before the days of the added on subwoofer, which I continue to have a bit of a philosophical problem with anyway. On the downside, as acoustic technology has improved, I find the upper mids and high frequencies, particularly the upper mid-range female vocals to be harsh and annoying. When I moved to a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.3's and finally the Totem Mani-2's a couple of years ago I found that I much appreciated the ability of both of those speakers to produce comparable bottom (particularly of course, the Totem's) and at the same time provide smooth, seamless, and unfatiguing reproduction in the upper midrange. Both of these speakers also provide spot-on imaging which the Sara's cannot. Still, I am reluctant to part with my rosewood finish Sara's, perhaps for no other reason than they were, in their time, a real marvel.

Strengths:
Compact, easy room placement against a wall and room friendly in smaller rooms. Prodigious and tight bottom end. Historically significant technology. Reasonably priced on the used market.

Weaknesses:
Squawky and harsh in the upper midrange and particularly female vocal range. Improveable to some degree with some EQ-ing, but who want's to do that?

 

 


Reviewed by: Michael Fuller(Unregistered User)
(Audio Enthusiast)

Review Date November 30, 2001
Overall Rating  4 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5

Used product for More than 1 year

Summary:
My Saras are the older type which take the xlr connections. They have beautiful wood veneer and are very presentable, except for the speaker covers. They are well built and hefy, over 30 pounds a piece.
While something of an older speaker, they are extremely musical and provide a satisfying listening experience. They retain their value and have a strong cult following. If paired with the righ amp, they can be awesome and place you in the middle of the music. The Saras need strong current and/or a Naim product to be at their best. I am using a Counterpoint Solid 2 and it provides incredible balance.
The Sara's bass performance is legendary. Good stands are needed. The mid range is a little sweet, but not overly so. The highs are great as well; the tweets carry the highs. Women vocal are particulary good as well as acoustic music.
This is a great value on the used marked. These speakers were extremely expensive for monitos in the 80s; the price reflected the build and the performance. 41/2 to 5 stars!

Strengths:
Superb Bass; very strong high

Weaknesses:
Need a lot of power.

Similar Products Used:
Other Isobarik designs

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Edwin Chann(Unregistered User)
(Audio Enthusiast)

Review Date October 30, 2000
Overall Rating  5 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5

Used product for Less than 1 month

Summary:
I owned the Linn Kan 1's for over ten years, but needed a more forgiving speaker for everyday listening. The Kans can sound awesome with the right partnering equipment and recordings, but sound harsh and lightweight if things aren't quite right. I purchased a pair of Epos ES11's, which I kept for 4yrs, but their sweet midrange couldn't make up for their lack of speed, woolly one-note ported bass and relatively dull treble.

The rest of my system is: Roksan Xerxes/Artemiz/ATOC7, Naim CD3.5/Hicap, NAC32.5/Hicap/NAP250.

Since buying the Sara 9's I have been extremely pleased with the sound I'm getting from my system. The Linn speakers of the 80's seem to have such synergy with Naim equipment. The whole system just clicked right away with the Sara's. The punchy, tight, extended, tuneful bass was a revelation after the ES11's. Vocals have a lovely tactile quality which makes for a highly communicative sound.

If you like a highly analytical, super-detailed speaker, they are probably not the right speaker for you, but if you like a musical, easy to listen to yet highly involving sound, then there are not many speakers that can match the Sara's. Just try keeping your foot still while listening to these speakers.

Proper set-up is important. They need to be on rigid open stands (the dedicated Linn stands are the best) and as close to the rear wall as possible. A powerful amp is preferable, although the Sara 9's are easier to drive than the earlier Sara.

Loudspeaker cable is one area which requires some experimentation in my system. The Sara's are bi-wirable. However, Naim does not recommend bi-wiring. I am currently experimenting with single wire Naim cable and bi-wired Linn cable.

I auditioned several speakers in the $1,000 to $2,000 range prior to buying the Sara 9's. Most of them sounded good in their own particular way. However none quite had the wide array of qualities of the Sara 9's. Given their affordable price on the used market, this, to my mind, makes them a bargain.


Strengths:
Sheer musicality, bass (extended and tight), easy to accomodate, forgiving, very involving.

Weaknesses:
Not the greatest imaging (although by no means bad), lacks 'air' and is not as open as the best mini-monitors. Not as fast as some speakers (but by no means slow), retro looks (could be seen as a strength!)

Similar Products Used: Have owned: Early Boston (A40?), Linn Kan, Epos ES11. Have auditioned recently: Monitor Audio Studio 2se, Studio 6, Spendor S3/5, Spendor FL6, Naim Intro, Mission (can't remember the model #.

 


Reviewed by: Robert(Unregistered User)
(Casual Listener)

Review Date September 1, 2000
Overall Rating  4 of 5
Value Rating  4 of 5

Used product for More than 1 year

Summary:
I purchased the Sara 9's at the time they were introduced and still use them today with no regrets. This can be a very, very satisfying speaker depending on your requirements and environment. It stands up very well to modern-day speakers (as to sound and build quality) and a tremendous bargain when bought used. Linn does not make the 9's anymore unfortnately and they are somewhat hard to find. I use them with special spiked stands (sorry don't know the manuf) that were made specifically to support the Sara 9's.

I previously owned a number of good speakers such as Mission, B&W, Klipsch and Altec prior to purchasing the Linn's. Relative to these, the SARA 9 has been very satisfying, particularly in providing a clean midrange and fairly deep bass response for a speaker its size. Compared to many of the speakers I auditioned at the time, with good source material, the 9's were quite transparent and musical in the midrange to high end. B&W had introduced their MATRIX line at the time and I found their speakers very fatiguing by comparison.

Sometimes the 9's may seem cold on some material, but this may be due to front-end you are using. I once mated them with an Audio Research tube amp, and their imaging and "warmth" improved significantly over the solid-state amp I used normally. They became very "lush" sounding, almost euphoric.

Net Net. Most people will like the sound of this speaker, and given good equipment, the right type of room, and good source material will be quite satisfied.

This is a good speaker for a living room. It needs to be placed right against the wall. I for one, don't want to have speakers sitting 4 feet out from the walls in my living room (or in any other room for that matter). Thus, this speaker has been easy to live with.

Strengths:
Very good Bass for a speaker of moderate size.
Midrange to High-end neutrality. Easy on the ears.
Easy to place - backs against the wall.

Weaknesses:
Imaging is perhaps not as strong as some (but match it up to a good tube amp and you will be pleasantly surprised).

 

 


Reviewed by: JP(Unregistered User)
(Audio Enthusiast)

Review Date November 8, 1999
Overall Rating  4 of 5
Value Rating 4 of 5

Used product for More than 1 year

Summary:
These are far from the greatest speakers ever made, but they have other qualities which make them darn 'musical' and simply a joy to listen to. They play the music, not analyze it. It's hard not to get up and 'strip dance' when listening to the Sara's.

The highs are 'slightly' bright, but does give alot of detail; great for rock and guitar. Matching a smooth sounding amp to these speakers is the best.

Sara 9's are not soundstaging freaks, probably due to the fact that they are designed to be placed close to the back wall. However, put enough space in between them (at least 5 to 6 feet) and the soundstage comes 'alive' much more. Soundstage is good enuf for all but the true audiophiles in my opinion.

However, as with the previous review, these babies need lotsa power. They are power hungry as hell. But if you feed them well, they'll sing and rock for you. For the best bass response, the speakers should be placed with their backs close to the wall, and get some sturdy speaker stands.

The bass is the best I've ever heard. The sealed isobarik enclosure is awesome, producing the most natural, tight and smooth bass I've ever heard. Not too boomy, not too lean, just perfect in my opinion.

Damn, gotta go 'air drum' now.....

ROCK ON.

--JP

Strengths:
bass, 'musical', makes u dance

Weaknesses:
soundstage, highs

 

 


Reviewed by: Rickard Westerberg(Unregistered User)
( an Audio Enthusiast)

Review Date April 23, 1998
Overall Rating  3 of 5

Summary:
Linn Sara 9 is not manufactured anymore, but there are quite a lot of them out there still which is why I post this review. It ended an era of Linn speakers, along with the Linn Kan and the Linn Isobarik, all of which had the same characteristics as the Sara 9.
The Linn Sara 9 is a very different speaker. Listening to these boxes partnered with matching equipment can (with the right material) produce a seducing, larger-than-life sound which starts your foot tapping. However, these babies are not for the ones who like analytical speakers. Also, it might not be the most neutral-sounding speaker in the world, compared to say, newer Linns (Kaber, Keilidh) or high-end boxes like Thiel and ProAc. However, they are a LOT OF FUN and the bass performance is outstanding. Very few speakers can produce music with a "party factor" this high. Styling is also different, similar to the larger Linn Isobarik.

Very sensitive to placement, these sealed-box speakers can be a pain to set up. They also need a hefty amp to perform well, otherwise they will sound dark and "cold". I guess that the Isobarik-coupled woofers and the sealed box are the reasons why the amp has to work so hard. They can be run in active mode with active filters from Naim. Expect the sound to improve a lot in an active conifiguration.

The sound can be described as "extremely colorful", very vivid soundstage and G-R-E-A-T bass performance. After getting used to the Sara 9 bass, other speakers sound "thin". The bass is not only big, it is of good quality and the response is very fast.

Conclusion: A colorful speaker with colorful sound and outstanding bass performance. Not exactly neutral, but a_lot_of_fun_! The "party factor" is high. Is a pain to set up though, and requires a powerful amp.



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