It's not even old enough to have evolved this far, but Lin um's wee LFX with the wacko tweeter has changed. Hell, I only reviewed it in October '92 but here it is with enough revisions to justify a MkII prefix...though Linaeum hasn't made much noise about it. I think the company, like so many others, prefers not to create havoc with existing owners, hiding instead behind the blanket 'We reserve the right to improve this product without notice' type of caveat which allows a manufacturer to tweak in secret, without controversy. But owners of the MkI LFX don't have to worry about a thing, because the big changes make less difference to the already staggering performance than the small refinements, and the most important of the small refinements might be retrofittable if Lin um is in a generous mood.
LFX-Two uses a woofer sourced from another maker, the clear Mylar figure-of-eight which gives the novel tweeter its distinctive look is now black, the crossover has been tuned to accept these modifications and the hefty binding posts have been drilled to accommodate banana plugs. The change of woofer came about because of the need for deeper bass (my fellow Americans really do have a near-anal obsession about this, much to my embarrassment...) and higher power handling. The change in tweeter colour? The chaps at Linaeum hmm'd and aah'd but didn't say much, and my ears couldn't identify any radical sonic metamorphosis when I played the new ones side-by-side with the old ones...with the grilles removed. Which brings us to the most important change of all: the new grilles.
Some know-nothing, stone-deaf klutz specified, for the early LFX, the thickest grille used since the 1950s. Maybe he had a garage full of Hudson Bay blankets or LL Bean sleeping bags, or maybe he was shtupping someone at the local carpet factory. Whatever, it was impossibly dense and it obscured the main feature of the Lin um: the magic tweeter. The new grille, on the other hand, is sensible. It's thinner and it therefore allows the tweeter to sing. You can, of course, run the old or the new LFX without grilles, but this worries me because the tweeter rests on the top of the cabinet and it's something of a dust trap. I prefer the peace of mind the grilles provide. And the new grille does far less to compromise the tweeter than the old one.Read more about the Linaeum LFX speakers on Page 2.
To give credit where it's due, the new woofer allows the LFX to go a tad deeper and a shade louder, but the overall character of this small masterpiece hasn't changed. Without question, the greatest gains -- cleaner top, slightly tighter image specificity and more 'air' -- came from the change of grille. Yes, I did try the old grille on the new LFX and the new grille on the old LFX to make certain that the gains/losses were due consistently to the new grille material rather than the change of tweeter membrane. Which leads me to a nice discovery for owners of MkI LFXes.Be kind to your friendly LFX dealer. Say that you'd like to buy a pair of the new grilles, and maybe the pre-drilled binding post nuts. I'd say that they're worth about 50- 75 all in, as a kit. Which Linéum should offer if it hasn't already. And for those of you who don't own LFXes but want a truly miniscule (smaller than an LS3/5A) loudspeaker that thinks it's high end, there are no better buys I can name at 699 than the LFX in wood. On the other hand, the 1399 Corian version is simply gorgeous to behold.