THE DEATH OF CD? Linn Announces Exit from CD Player Market as High Quality Digital Streaming Proves to be the Future of Music in the Home

by admin on November 24, 2009 · 14 comments

in Studio/Tech/Recording News

From Linn via email. I wonder if they’ll continue to support their vaunted 20K Sondek CD Player? Linn does tend to gild the lily at times. And they are not ones to shy from hyperbole. Remember ‘Linn: The Only Sound‘?

Linn Products Limited, manufacturer of specialist home entertainment systems, has taken the dramatic decision to cease production of its range of CD players from the start of 2010 to focus on digital music streaming systems.

As the first manufacturer to make this landmark move, Linn’s exit from the CD player market is testament to the supremacy of digital streaming technology, the emergence of the networked home and the growing customer demand for higher quality audio performance. In 2009 Linn cemented its position as the market leader in this arena as sales of Linn’s DS range of digital music streamers dramatically surpassed those of its CD players.

With Linn DS, specialist dealers have an unparalleled opportunity to differentiate and grow their business by appealing to a new generation of music lover with an innovative proposition that delivers higher performance with more flexibility, convenience and value for money.  Linn DS players operate on a standard network infrastructure and are developed with a completely open programming system for seamless operation and integration with a potentially unlimited number of control devices and home automation systems.

Gilad Tiefenbrun, Managing Director of Linn Products Limited, comments: “Our customers have fast recognized the limitations of CD players and in the age of home networking, people now want better control of their music and the ability to enjoy it in any room of their home.”

He continues: “Having spent the past two years significantly developing Linn DS and listening to feedback from our customers, we have every confidence in our decision to discontinue the manufacture of CD players. A specialist proposition must offer customers the highest available performance and optimum value, and the breakthrough level of performance achieved with Linn

DS along with its many other advantages makes it clear that CD players no longer belong in the specialist domain.

CDs still have a role to play in peoples’ lives but we recommend that customers now listen to them through a Linn DS player to benefit from higher performance playback and improved music management.“

Linn’s record label has seen a dramatic uptake in Studio Master Quality downloads, which account for over 70% of all download sales, and will continue to produce and sell CDs and SACDs for those who prefer printed media.

With a heritage steeped in industry firsts, Linn has a proven track record in delivering precision engineered specialist systems that bring listeners closer to the artist’s original performance.  Amongst many other audio industry landmarks in its 37 year history, Linn is famous for creating the Sondek CD12 - widely acknowledged as the best sounding CD player in the world.  More recently the company became the first to introduce Studio Master Quality downloads and is now recognized as market leader in specialist digital stream players.

{ 1 trackback }

Audiophiles, Monty Python and the Brave New World. — Audiophilia
11.23.09 at 8:09 am

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Fawcett 11.21.09 at 6:31 pm

In one sense it’s not a surprise that Linn should be the first big-name manufacturer to “jump ship” - they were more critical of CD, and held out against it for longer, than almost anyone else. I’ve heard the Klimax DS and, while the circumstances didn’t allow a proper assessment of its sound quality (beyond proving that it can’t turn mutton into lamb!), I could see no justification for the US$20K price given that it is really only a standalone DAC with an ethernet port.

admin 11.21.09 at 6:40 pm

Bang on, Andy. But the ‘death’ of CD as seen by Linn reminds me of the famous Mark Twain quote to a reporter after a mistaken obit. ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’! :)

Paul S. 11.21.09 at 8:54 pm

“But the ‘death’ of CD as seen by Linn reminds me of the famous Mark Twain quote to a reporter after a mistaken obit. ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’! :)”

Well said. I don’t think that CD production will cease tomorrow because Linn made these comments.

admin 11.21.09 at 9:04 pm

Cheers, Paul. And welcome. Thanks, a

Matt 11.23.09 at 6:42 am

It had to happen. Maybe they’ll build a cd transport into the DS to make the changeover from CD to hard drive a little easier, oooh, but that would make it a bit like a cd player wouldn’t it Linn :)

Bill Woods 11.24.09 at 6:35 pm

I was just looking at Linn’s website and learned that they are incorporating DS technology into 4-5 other components. I’m very interested to learn how Linn has been able to improve the range and bandwidth of current streaming technologies. I do agree with Andy wholeheartedly regarding the projected price of the item. It has no storage capacity to speak of, and I question the practicality of bringing $20K wireless transmitter to market in this economy. One has to consider that there are numerous products that allow the digital streaming of music or other content between a server of some sort and an audio system. The primary hurdles were the quality of the content (ie. 128 kbps MP3’s, etc.) and jitter. It’s no secret that there is now an enormous variety of solutions for those issues in the form(s) of USB DAC’s and wireless distribution amplifiers and processors. The diversity (and enormity) of these music server solutions and options makes the field very competitive. Wireless technologies will likely play a substancial role in the future of mainstream audio reproduction and distribution, but in the high-end scheme of things, I wonder how the challenges of price-to-performance , versatility and adaptability will be met. I think it’s important to remember that the most sophisticated formats with the highest resolutions, ie. Bluray and SACD are still not rippable nor storable. When those formats are officially available for ripping and storage, the next generation of servers and streamers will have to rise to meet the high-def, multi-channel (and multi-terabyte) challenge. Your article mentions adaptability with whole house integrated control systems, so Linn obviously has an eye toward the lifestyles of the future. Unfortunately in the present, that lifestyle is very select and considerably small. Even still, I’m intrigued to learn what Linn has actually accomplished to warrant the outrageous price, not to mention the total abandonment of their entire line of very nice CD players.

admin 11.24.09 at 6:42 pm

My only gripe is the arrogance of the header. As if Linn’s exit is a death knell. They never wanted to get into CD in the first place. If the CD dies completely (it won’t), it won’t be because Linn killed it. They are a side player, no more.

Thanks again for the great letters, Bill. Cheers, a

Nick 11.24.09 at 6:50 pm

I agree with all comments, I have a huge collection of CD’s and still love playing them through a CD player. At a hi-fi show a few years ago they (Linn/Aldburn) pushing their Klimax player and comparing it against the CD12…yes it sounded great but I have no interest in investing in new “technology” and asked him about their CD products. The Linn rep got angry at me and said THIS IS the future and I should stop asking about CD’s. Sorry, I took the Linn chip out of my head long time ago, maybe this is the future but us 40 somethings have no interest in continually “reinvesting” our hard earned cash in new trends.

admin 11.24.09 at 7:00 pm

‘Linn chip’ LOL

Thanks, Nick.And a warm welcome to you. Cheers, a

Nick 11.25.09 at 12:42 am

Thanks for the kind words, another reason is that I have 4000 cd’s, am I really going to start uploading all of them on a server? and what about the cover art? or the lyrics to the opera? Besides CD technology has matured to the point where pound for pound you can get some good sounding gear at a good cost. I wish Linn lots of luck.

Andy Fawcett 11.26.09 at 5:59 am

Not that I’m wanting to stir the pot, but having just received a batch of Linn CDs (the November ‘3 for 2′ offer was too good to resist) I note that they all bear the legend “This CD sounds even better through a Linn CD player”. I wonder which manufacturer’s player they’ll be recommending we use next year ….. ;-)

admin 11.26.09 at 7:58 am


Maybe the marketing division should have a meeting with R&D.


Nick 11.26.09 at 12:48 pm

LOL!!! Good one Andy Fawcett, I totally forgot about the Linn legend on their CD’s. Hilarious!!!!!

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>