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Positive Feedback ISSUE 7
linn Adikt cartridge
as reviewed by Victor Chavira
LPs are troublesome things. They get scratched easily, collect dust, warp, and need to be cleaned often. Nevertheless, as far as I'm concerned, there is no greater pleasure in audio than the sound of music produced by a stylus gliding through vinyl on a properly set up turntable. The experience is made even more rewarding when that stylus is connected to a premium cartridge like the new Linn Adikt.
The Adikt is Linn's entry-level moving magnet cartridge, and is designed for easy installation in Linn turntables like my Axis. It comes with two hex-head bolts that screw into threaded inserts in the Adikt's shell. The cartridge features a composite body and user-replaceable Gyger ll stylus with aluminum cantilever. At 7 grams, its mass is identical to the K9 cartridge it replaced. Tracking force is specified at 1.75 grams. The distinguishing feature of the Adikt is its gracefully curved body. With its propeller-shaft-like cantilever descending to the surface of the record, the cartridge calls to mind the stern of a boat when viewed head on.
The Adikt was connected to an E.A.R. 834P phono preamp, which was then routed to my Magnum Dynalab 208 receiver with two meters of Nordost Blue Heaven interconnect. The Adikt was easily mounted onto the Linn Basik Plus tonearm, with only slight adjustments to VTA and tracking force. Out of the box, The Adikt sounded detailed and dynamic, but before I commenced serious listening, I broke it in for 100 hours on a locked groove of pink noise from the Cardas Frequency Sweep and Burn-In LP.
The first record I played after the break-in period was congero Poncho Sanchez' 1983LP, Sonando, on Concord Picante. This record features lively playing from some of Los Angeles's finest Latin Jazz musicians. The Adikt had greater clarity and improved focus than my K9. The vocals and chorus on tunes such as "Almendra" and "Este Son" sounded more dimensional and cohesive. Slaps on a conga sounded clear and focused at the center of a vivid soundspace. The horn section was rendered with greater resolve and spaciousness. Instrumental timbres were more accurately reproduced, especially with respect to their transient response and decay. The Adikt also produced a quieter background and deeper silence between notes.
Classical recordings also fared well with the Adikt. Various Beethoven piano sonatas and symphonies sounded as if a layer of haze had been lifted between the performers and the listener. First and second violins were depicted with greater distinction within the contrasting lines of a melody, in passages such as "Scene by the Brook" from the Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 as performed by Rene Leibowitz and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
No review of a Linn product would be complete without listening to some soulful Scottish music, in my case from Rod Stewart and the Average White Band. Rod the Mod's unique voice was given shape and breath on my copy of The Best of Rod Stewart on Mercury. Once again, the Adikt drew me closer to the music than the vintage K9 cartridge. The Average White Band likewise demonstrated the Adikt's excellent pace, rhythm, and timing. From the moment the stylus came into contact with the spinning black vinyl, the Linn locked into that funky groove and never wavered.
As far as tonality is concerned, I noticed a slight blanching of tone and color with the Adikt. Trumpets, voices, and guitars were tinged with tiny drop of white. However, the Adikt's superior transparency may have allowed me to hear a sonic signature more attributable to the Blue Heaven interconnects than to the Adikt.
In closing, the Linn Adikt is a good sounding and logical replacement for the K9. The Adikt displayed the solidity and clarity of line that one comes to expect in a Linn product. Scores of LPs in my collection were enjoyed with renewed appreciation. For K9 owners like myself, the Adikt is a no-brainer. Victor Chavira
Adikt moving magnet cartridge