A Visit With Loudspeaker Designer/Innovator Siegfried Linkwitz

Last spring while in San Francisco to speak to the S.F. Audio Society, AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer had the opportunity to speak on camera with Siegfried Linkwitz, whose name will be familiar to many audio enthusiasts as the co-inventor of the Linkwitz-Riley crossover network.

Mr. Linkwitz's designs are available as DIY (do it yourself) kits that you can read about on the Linkwitz Labs website. The LX521.4 shown in the video can be built DIY from a kit for around $3300, including a miniDSP 4x10HD equalizer/crossover. The sound in Mr. Linkwitz's untreated living room was full bandwidth, detailed, 3 dimensional and smooth.

Yes, you can great, full range sound without breaking the bank. This is somewhat off-topic for analogPlanet but you'll find it worth watching.

Mr. Linkwitz's listening room. Note the lack of acoustical treatment yet the staging and imaging were outstanding.

Despite being a science/measurement oriented innovator one thing that Mr. Linkwitz said during the interview is something everyone reading this should keep in mind when reading measurements:

"What is important to the eye is not necessarily important to the ear. Why should it be? Nature makes sure each does its job and does its job perfectly. You get cues from the eye but some things that look gross in the frequency response, the ear says 'I don’t care'."

Please enjoy this conversation with Mr. Linkwitz. Incidentally the electronics driving the system was a PowerBox 6 pro, which includes a preamp. A/D converter, DSP, 6 DACs/ and 6 Hypex NCore power amplifiers. Probably not an analog enthusiast's cup of swill but it too is reasonably priced at around $3000 for all of that and you can read all about it here.

MonetsChemist's picture

Thanks so much for this wonderful interview with such a lovely and thoughtful person. We have all had the great good fortune to benefit from his investigations over the years. So very fine!

Ortofan's picture

general philosophy about audio, then read this address he gave in 2014:

He first became known to me through his speaker design article published in Wireless World 40 years ago. It could still be built today given that Falcon is selling T27, B110 and B139 replacement drivers.

It would be interesting to hear more details regarding which aspects of speaker frequency response he considers more (or less) important than others. Even better might be a debate between himself and someone such as Harbeth's Alan Shaw, who would argue that the speaker's frequency response should be made as flat as possible.

One wonders just how successful, commercially, Mr. Linkwitz's most elaborate design might be given that it requires eight channels of amplification and a complex electronic crossover that would give palpitations to the op-amp phobic? I'd like to see what he might come up with if tasked to develop a speaker with a passive crossover that would need only one channel of amplification (per speaker). Note that his design in the WW article included options for both active and passive crossovers.

P.S. to MF: Tell HR that Siegfried Linkwitz approves of the Hafler DH-200 and DH-220 amplifiers.

Leon Suter's picture

Siegfried is an inspiration and his willingness to share with and educate others is wonderful. He is responsible for introducing me to the many benefits of open baffle speakers more than 15 years ago and his work has shaped our research in directions that improve the beauty and realism of our own speaker systems. Many thanks to Michael for doing this interview and Siegfried I do hope you are feeling fighting fit very soon. Leon Suter – Kyron Audio www.kyronaudio.com.au

Frenchvintagehifi's picture

I had the great pleasure meeting Siegfried in his home on Boxing Day 2011.
I am so sad to see him in bad health and hope he will recover sooner than later.
Here is a link to the article I wrote after my visit:
I am also good friends with Leon and Lee from Kyron Audio in Melbourne, who are joining me to say thank you for all Siegfried's work on dipole loudspeakers and wishing him a prompt recovery.
Great interview, Michael. Thank you.

Sgood@verizon.net's picture

My favorite of all your interviews. He is down to earth and humble with a great outlook / philosophy.

Wimbo's picture

how close his opinion is to mine on all things HiFi. Great interview.

marktrav's picture

I have owned the LX-521s for 4 years after owning a succession of speakers from Sonus Faber and Vienna Acoustics. I haven't found any speakers under $20K that seriously compete with them. I tried the MiniDSP solution and couldn't stand the digital hash in the treble. I built the new LX-521.4 ASP which keeps everything in the analogue domain and it sounds sweet. Rumor has it a new discreet ASP is being developed that gets rid of the op-amps in the current ASP. I'm powering them with a pair of ATI AT524NC class-d amps. My analogue rig is a top mod LP12 - VdH Frog cart through Parasound JC-3+ and JC-2 preamps. Heaven!

Ortofan's picture

... RIP Siegfried.