Linn Sara or Linn Keilidh

I have just got a NAP 250 to use with Linn Sara isobarik speaker. I have sent it to be serviced at Class A. My question is would 2 X NAP 250 amps with the Linn Keilidh sound better. Than the Sara. Naim NAC 72 & Hi-cap olive series are being serviced also.
Thanks for you help and advise.

Only tried bi-amping once and although it sounded a bit clearer it seemed a step backwards in terms of enjoyment, but that wasn’t with 250s.

I’ve had Sara 9s and early + late Keilidhs in recent years but used a CB 160 instead of 250. The Sara 9s had better midrange than Keilidhs although they both sound congested. Late Keilidhs have better top end. Both boogie. Both have pretty decent bass. Obviously Keilidhs are much easier to drive and get going at lower volumes - still using a pair in my office setup.

My guess is that the Keilidhs will work a bit better with CD but I only use vinyl so it’s just a hunch. Later Keilidhs with the 3-bar tweeter are more refined, but now it will also depend on how they’ve been looked after / stored. Like Saras, Keilidhs also work well with Naim CB / Olive amps, and to my ears better than Linn amps of the same period.

Ultimately, I would just compare them both passive with the 250 once it’s back from service. The rest of your system and your room will form part of the picture.

If you want clarity then SBLs are miles ahead of either Linn speaker, albeit less tuneful. If you want clarity and tunefulness then some late Isobariks (pre-kustone) will sound even better, if you have space, but you need a good cartridge/source. Linn Kabers can also work very well with Naim CB amps but didn’t really engage me 100% like the others. Not tried any other Naim speakers of that period.

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A tangential comment as I cannot say anything about Linn Saras or bi-amping -but if you have not already done so, I would suggest upgrading your tweeters to the 3 bar variation or OW replacements. Also if you would use them in single amp mode then replace the capacitors on the cross over. These upgrades were amazing for my Keilidhs and gave them a second lease of life without having all the wiring and boxes of bi amping. The cross over was so cheaply made that a good proportion of the bi amping upgrade came from by-passing the crossover !

Not sure whether this is what you want to hear but a pair of Keilidhs upgraded with Monacor Mid/Bass drivers and Hiquphon tweeters plus a recap of the crossovers completely cured my itch to upgrade my speakers. I am convinced that the few hundred pounds I spent upgrading equated to thousands in SQ improvement. Going down this route is niche and not many have done it but it just works. I just wish I could let others hear it :blush:

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Unless going active Keilidhs will work superb on a single 250. They only benefit passive triamping by halving the load on the bass drivers. Passive bi-amping does little for Keilidhs.

But to excel, they must have the latest drivers, and Ku-stone plinths.

That said, if you can find Kabers instead, do that. Much better. I say that as someone who loved their Keilidhs but would have really preferred the Kabers.


Doubt it.

Sara is a much better speaker, yet a bit colored.
Not that Keilidhs are bad, in fact on the cheapskate a good solution.
Sara need much more amp while Keilidhs can run with most out there.

With your fresh serviced Naim amps, there’s basis for a great performance provided you take care of setup and use a top source.

There’s no point in running biamp, imo a downgrade or at best a sidegrade.
try run 2xNap125 if you can, this should be slightly better on Sara’s as they can be a pig running.

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I owned 32.5/Hicap/ 250 Sara’s for a few years and it took an S1/500 808 system 37 years later to make Dire Straights Telegraph Road sound more thrilling. Pink Floyd The Final Cut likewise. Give the serviced 250 a spell is my advise. If they are your taste in speaker then hard to part with.

Having had Sara’s ( years ago ) an Keilidh now . I’d say both can be fantastic , Sara’s I would say need a better front end and Keilidh are more forgiving better at low volumes . It’s really down to how you listen . Sara’s can blow your socks off with good equipment upstream ,played LOUD

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Found this from JV…must say I agree.


I’ve heard both over the years, they are quite different. But what matters is which you prefer. I know which one I preferred but my taste is irrelevant for your tastes.

I have a pair of Sara’s (and some others) and can attested that a serviced Chrome 250 drives them well.

I doubt it. You have the right front end and the 250 with Sara’s should be a great improvement over your 180. The other speaker is very good but I’d say not in the same league as properly driven Sara’s that are carefully set up only you can decide in the end so audition both and let the forum know how you got on

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I wonder what were Linn’s own amp destined to Sara (LK280/Spark ?) or were Sara developed on Nap 135’s ?
I do recall Linn pulled out from cooperation with Naim around mid 80’s.
Or was it Naim that went out due to LK1/LK2 ?

Saras can be huge fun, but can also sound poor these days, mainly thanks to failed seals and drivers past their best. The last pair I heard was a shadow of what i remembered them to be back when new.

I’d guess that Linn developed the Saras on the end of whatever Naim amps were then current - most likely the NAP160 and NAP250.

Interestingly, some years back I came across a NZ made Integrated amp called a Roberts STA-50. This was reputedly a recommended match with the Linn Sara as it was one of the few amps around able to drive it reasonably well. The price was inexpensive so I bought it, but confess I’ve never put it to the test…


The original was introduced in '78 so probably something like a bolt down 250. I once asked Martin Dalgleish what Naim amps the Kan was first developed with and he couldn’t recall, so probably lost in the mists of time now as I think he did the Sara as well.

I’ve got a serviced LK280 at the moment and I think it has a bit more shove than the Klout. It should have driven the Sara 9 easily enough (introduced in '87) as they don’t need as much grunt as the original Sara.

My dealer told me about a customer that sent his Saras back to the factory for repair in the early-to-mid 80s. Instead of Naim amps he was using a Lentek integrated which had a lot of power on paper. Anyway, the Linn engineer spoke to him on the phone has said in a thick Scottish accent, ‘These speakers are frrrried!!’ and basically said the customer’s amp was not up to the job.

Great reason to upgrade all the drivers and recap the crossovers :wink:. All my pianos sound in tune.

Naim amps and Naim active filter Naxo 2.
I had a pair of active Linn Sara´s driving them with Snaxo and 4-pack Nap 135´s,they really need active crossovers to perform at their best,really amazing on some tracks,but in the end active Linn Kans are more musical and much faster.

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Well this was in -98 and Keilidhs were introduced in -92,so the drivers and crossovers should still be fine at that moment :wink:
But good that you enjoy yours,I was never impressed with them,I thought that both Sara´s and Kan and the Naim speakers were much better.

I am very lucky to have a pair of Sara’s that were rebuilt 8 years ago and going out on limb here they may be one of the best sounding pairs in existence. They are truly magnificent! The full rebuild was detailed on the old Linn forum with numerous photos and in depth descriptions of each stage of the work. It took him 6 months to complete them. My friend moved on to the big Isobariks which he runs active with 6x135 /52/supercap/stiletto LP12/ekos se/Kandid and radical. My end goal is to go active. They were rebuilt with this in mind, the crossovers sit in the base of the stand mounted in enclosures so the hard work has been done. My friend has a spare snaxo waiting for me. This will be my retirement project to get them running active.


Great ,active will transform them !

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