If you're the kind of person who can drop $60,000 on a turntable, Scottish audio maker Linn has just the thing for you. Former Apple design chief Jony Ive has created a new version of the firm's iconic Sondek LP12 turntable to mark its 50th anniversary. And as you can see from the image of the new version, the Sondek LP12-50 is a gorgeous thing.
I bet it sounds incredible too. I've worked for Linn in the past and that means I've been fortunate enough to spend time in their demo rooms listening to all my favorite music on high-end audio kit that costs more than my flat. Listening to the Sondek LP12 through one of the best AV receivers and best stereo speakers, or best wired headphones, is one of the best musical experiences you could ever hope to have.
Don't just take my word for it though. My colleagues at Techradar have reviewed tons of Linn products, such as the Linn Magik LP12 turntable and Linn Akurate system, and they've loved every single one of them. So, what has Jony Ive brought to the iconic LP12?
Why did Jony Ive turn his hand to turntables?
The whole thing was Ive's idea. Linn CEO Gilad Tiefenbrun, whose dad designed the original LP12, got a message from Ive's assistant that he initially thought was spam. But Ive wanted a turntable, and – unlike me – he could afford to get a Linn one. As he and Tiefenbrun talked, he got excited about the idea of making a special edition to celebrate.
I'm really fascinated by this because the LP12 has been constantly tweaked over its life. One of the reasons I liked working for Linn is because the people there are genuinely obsessed about improving their already incredible audio products. They're all quite mad, and I mean that affectionately.
The LP12's modular design means that Linn has been able to improve it again and again over the years, and the current version is as cutting edge as the original was back in the 1970s. It also means Ive can't just throw it out and start from a clean sheet of paper: that's not what Linn, or its customers, would want. As Ive told Fast Company: "It would be sacrilegious to disrespect those boundaries — and I think it would be such a pity to." The LP12-50 isn't just a makeover, though. There are "small improvements and gentle evolutions" throughout.
Linn is only making 250 of these, which means that despite the price tag, they're going to sell out in a heartbeat thanks to the limited availability. It seems fitting that the designer of the iPod is back to his first love, the turntable. "I feel really fortunate to have gone the full circle," Ive said about the project.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.