A Celebration of 50 Years of Innovation - Linn Factory Visit

A Celebration of 50 Years of Innovation - Linn Factory Visit

Celebrating 50 Years

As part of the celebrations in 2023, in which Linn are celebrating their 50 year anniversary, we were invited to their class-leading factory in Eaglesham, a suburb about 30 minutes south of Glasgow.

Linn had invited over 150 delegates from around the world - people from incredible businesses that have some connection to Linn.

We’ve been to visit many times in the past. Our first visit was in 2013 and have revisited every two or three years since. But this time, it felt...different. If I had to put a word to it - apprehensive optimism.

In this article, we share who Linn Products Ltd are, our experiences on this visit, and why they are the best in the business.

So, who are Linn?

If you have a passing interest in audio or hi-fi, you will have undoubtedly heard of Linn.

Founded by Ivor Tiefenbrun MBE in 1973, Linn Products (originally founded near Linn Park in Castlemilk, Glasgow) set about changing the then-preconception that the most important part of a hi-fi system was the speaker, when in fact, it is the source. “After all,” as Ivor has said many times, “garbage in, garbage out”.

Over the next fifty years, the team at Linn, lead by Ivor, then his son, Gilad, have set about developing and manufacturing the world’s best audio systems with a zealous dedication to the concept of “source-first”.

In more recent times, the company is most famous for their innovation in digital audio streaming technology and the continual development of their LP12, the world famous turntable - so famous, in fact, that earlier this year, designer Sir Jony Ive (Chief Apple Designer 1997-2019) collaborated with Linn to develop the LP12-50, celebrating fifty years of the LP12.

So when we got the call to visit in 2023, we booked a flight, and arrived in Glasgow.

the university of glasgow

Day Zero - Settling into Glasgow

First stop after arriving at the Clayton Hotel in Glasgow was a walking photography tour of the stunning University of Glasgow and the Cloisters within.

With the University of Glasgow largely absent of students due to university holidays, the gloomy weather, building architecture, and aftermath of what was one of Glasgow’s coldest winters in history presented a dark, macabre atmosphere, which only further stimulated our creativity.

A quick battered haggis in curry sauce and bottle of Irn-Bru (a native Glaswegian soft drink that closely resembles Fanta in appearance but tastes like violence) was great recharge before meeting up with some colleagues for a pint at the local pub.

linn 360

Day One - Welcome to 50 Years

Upon arriving at the Linn factory, we were ushered into their main presentation hall, where the Linn team and some 150 Linn business partners from around the world were gathered in anticipation of the day’s activities. Immediately present to behold were Linn’s newest loudspeakers, the 360, in various colours and finishes.

After a short presentation by Joe Rodgers, Linn’s native brand ambassador, and Gilad Tiefenbrun, CEO of Linn, the guests were treated to a day of audio demonstrations to showcase the 360 loudspeakers, various training sessions, and a tour of the latest iteration of the Linn factory.

Let the fun begin...

linn factory

The first thing that struck me as I was walking around the factory was just how much the Linn factory had grown. Areas that were previously large, open spaces used for filing and storage where now filled with 3D printing machines, board fabricators, chip setting machines and PCB board assembling rigs. Previous spaces that were used for a small service team was now filled with 5 axis CNC machines, welding robots and die-casting presses.

It was immediately obvious that the scale of Linn’s capabilities was ten-fold what it was only a few years prior - something that our Linn tour guide made a point of. Truly, a world-class manufacturer. Few companies in the audio industry can come close to what Linn are today.

A feature of the factory that has been in place for a couple decades now, but something I still find quite entertaining is watching the self-driven robot trolleys that receive input commands from the human assembly team that build the components before being boxed and shipped all over the world.

Almost everything that has a Linn badge on it is produced by Linn in their own factory. Think about that for a moment - in the era of globalisation, cost cutting, and inevitably, corner cutting, Linn have instead gone the other direction, reinvesting in their factory and capabilities to push the boundaries of technology and audio reproduction to levels their competitors can only aspire to achieve, yet likely will not.

The other aspect of the Linn build process that is quite important to their quality is single-stage build. Every finished Linn product is built by a single person, from start to finish, with that person’s name signed on the back of the unit, before going out to a customer’s home somewhere in the world.

 This not only gives a human element to the build, but it also encourages accountability, as the Linn engineer building the product knows that his or her name is on the product. Rather than it being a sense of undue pressure, the Linn engineers actually feel a sense of pride, knowing they are bringing joy in the form of music to a future owner.

linn 360

The final part of the Linn tour was a visit to the “Linn Home”. This 250 square metre area within the Linn factory is a little apartment that Linn have built to act as a meeting space, a demonstration facility but also, an area where customers can visit and envisage Linn products in the context of a home.

Linn have created a virtual 3D tour which you can access here, and Linn regularly run factory tours for customers.

Even if you have no interest in audio, the Linn factory visit is something that is worth doing one day. Their dedication to quality and audio is infectious, and their factory is incredible. A must see.

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