Linn Isobariks risen from the grave!

I changed from Isobariks to DBL’s but didn’t have the heart to sell them, so they sit in my workshop in pallet wrap and their original boxes awaiting the dreaded day I blow my DBL midrange units!

Originally I had Kan’s and just loved them. Moving to Isobariks was not easy. They gave a much bigger sound (almost out of scale) but not as sweet and fast as Kan’s. In fact DBL’s are how the Isobariks should sound. Listen to some good drumming on DBL’s and you (and your chest) will be instantly convinced.

I own a pair of 1987 Isobariks and have done so for nearly 20 years having previously owned Kans and Saras. Going from the original cost back in the late 80’s and allowing for inflation doubling the price every 7 years or so then it probably would cost £20k plus to make them now. However I have heard Naim NBL’s and Kudos 808’s as replacements for Isobariks in a friends system and there is no doubt technology has moved on.

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Interesting that you say this. I had Kans back in the late 70’s through to the early 90’s and loved them. I always hankered after Isobariks but just didn’t have either the funds or room back then. However I remember when discussing this with my dealer he told me that some people had moved back to the Kans after upgrading to Isobariks as they thought the Kans were better. He himself had Kans and I remember him saying that he needed to decide whether to buy Isobariks or to activate the Kans. How can you activate the Kans I asked? Remove the crossover and drill holes for the extra terminals in the back of the cabinet was his reply! No idea if he actually did it!


I nearly went back to the Kans on several occasions. However, I was lucky to be at the Sound Organisation in the 80’s when the did the famous demo of a fully active pair of Brik’s and six 135’s with a fully loaded LP12 playing the acetate of Frankie goes to Hollywood. That left a deep impression on me, which didn’t get satisfied until I had the same system. I kept that system for the best part of 20 years. It’s taken DBL’s and a 500 system to make any significant difference, and even now I get a bit nostalgic about that Isobarik sound!



I ended up with IBL’s after the Kans, which I kept for 17 years. They were superb in so many ways, and definitely bettered the Kans for speed and transparency I felt. But the Kans had something special that I’ve honestly never heard replicated anywhere else. A sort of sense of solidity to the sound and a great sense of forward driving momentum and bounce that was incredibly addictive. I still miss that.


Perhaps the target market for these custom build Isobariks is those who like myself, could not afford them when they were a part of the Linn Products range. Like Pete01, I went from Kans to IBLs and then to SBLs, which I own to this day.

I’ve owned my Linn Isobariks DMS since 1984 and are still giving sterling service.
These Isobariks have been got at with different drive units across the board. Although they may sound different “ better “ they are not Linn Isobariks.
You make your choice to me I’d stick to the originals.



That is exactly my feeling after reading of so-called improvements. They may look like Linn Isobariks but if they have been modified to produce an ‘improved’ performance then they are a different animal altogether underneath. The resemblance is skin deep.

I am using my late father’s 1977 PMS Isobariks serial number 13 & 14. I believe he took them back to the factory for an upgrade. I have replaced the tweeters with Hiqufon OW2s, one of the tweeters failed and decided after so debate to try the OW2 as replacements.

Driven by a contemporary bolt down Naim set up of 3 250s a NAXO and 32 they sound great to me.


When I auditioned them I felt the positioning was not optimal…and they were being driven by a Naim clone 250’s … so its not entirely fair re my comments… the LS35a’s sounded very good…

I am sure you’re pms setup will sound superior with good positioning and being driven by Naims superb amps.

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