Considering replacing Wharfedale Lintons

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by iNeedItGreasy, Jan 7, 2022.

  1. iNeedItGreasy

    iNeedItGreasy Active Member Thread Starter

    Hi all,

    Longtime lurker, first time poster here. I have owned my Linton's for roughly two years now. They are my first ever "audiophile" quality speaker. I am relatively new to the hobby, but the Linton's opened a door into the HiFi world that I will most likely never be able to close.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the Linton's and am continually impressed at how they can bring the music I love to life. I have them setup to the best of my ability in my room (a large 20x32 open concept living space with 9 foot ceilings)... Imaging is solid, soundstage is large and detailed, and music has heft & dynamic punch with out being loose in the bottom end. I am a lifelong musician and I never realized music could sound this good.

    That said, I have started to ask the question that many are familiar with in our hobby: "Is there better sound out there that I am missing out on? Could it possibly get better than this?" I don't live in a remote area by any means, but the closest HiFi dealer is over 2 hours from me - so this has made auditioning gear for my self difficult.

    What would be a logical upgrade from the Linton's? And what results could I see from taking the plunge? My main goal would be for the new speakers to retain the positive aspects of the Linton's, but to add increased detail, clarity, and holographic imaging. As a side note: if I decide to purchase new speakers, I won't be getting rid of my Linton's - they will just be moving upstairs to the master bedroom.

    My budget for new speaker would be roughly 5k (give or take a few grand depending on what I can find used). I am pretty impressed with the looks and reviews of Focal Aria's and Kef R series speakers. I have considered B&W, but the common comments about harshness have scared me away. I am open to other brands as well, I have considered Tekton, Sonus Faber, and Harbeth just to name a few.

    Current gear in my setup:
    Furman Elite 15 PFI Power Conditioner
    Rega P3 Turntable
    Schiit Mani Phono Pre
    Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC
    Schiit Freya + Preamp
    2 Schiit Freya Monoblocks
    Mogami Balanced interconnects and Kimber speaker cables

    Just some extra info: I generally listen around 85db and am considering purchasing a used stereo pair of REL S/3 SHO's.
    Bevok, raye_penber and KWJ2 like this.
  2. iNeedItGreasy

    iNeedItGreasy Active Member Thread Starter

    Forgot to mention... I listen to a variety of genres: Classic Rock, Alt Country, Folk, Blues, Jazz, and even some Rap and Metal occasionally.
  3. AC1

    AC1 Forum Resident

    Antwerp, Belgium
    I'm not sure if you'll find much 'better' for under 2K. Different, yes, but better? I've owned the Lintons for 8 months and I'm at a stage that I don't think I will replace them for anything. Their balanced, non-intrusive presentation and (what I perceive as) 'neutrality' is too fascinating for me right now. I am however interested in Peter Comeau's soon to be released design for Mission:

    That being said, I know that Dynudio will be more forgiving for the genres you listen too but they will add a stronger personal signature to the music.


    Dynaudio Evoke 30
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
    Bevok, MC Rag, bluemooze and 6 others like this.
  4. hoytis

    hoytis PDX Cratedigger

    If I had that budget I'd be looking at Tannoy Cheviot new or Tannoy Arden used.
    woody, georgebz1, Benzion and 4 others like this.
  5. Neiro

    Neiro Forum Resident

    I would think that the Focals, Kefs and B&Ws would be as far from the sound of the Wharfedales as you could get. Definitely audition, at home preferably.
  6. Djohm

    Djohm Forum Resident

    Mi Casa
    What cart are you currently using with your P3?

    As your stated goals, taking a look at a cart - even with a better phono stage - upgrade will get you to your goal for adding "increased detail, clarity, and holographic imaging" while retaining all the current goods of your Lintons. This will keep you well below 5k. Sharing from experience here, as I had the Mani as well when I was starting out. Cart upgrade certainly improved my P3, and jumping to a better phono preamp elevated it even more.

    Currently using KEF R3 in my system. Love the sound. Like most system - sound can be gear dependent. Tubes and KEF R3 sound pretty awesome (imaging eerily crazy at times) for a decent system here.

    Good luck on your journey!
    Twinsfan007, Bevok, Snargfarg and 3 others like this.
  7. Robert C

    Robert C Forum Resident

    London, UK
    Harbeth SHL5 would probably be the logical next step. The Linton's seem to be trying to emulate them.

    The Kef R-series is fantastic, but the approach to sound is very different.

    Definitely audition. Perhaps visit a hi-fi show (if they still exist post-covid!) and absorb lots of different sounds, then audition the stuff that appeals.
    tIANcI, kumizi, nomad709 and 6 others like this.
  8. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    GR Research has a crossover upgrade kit available. See it on youtube. About $400 USD.
  9. iNeedItGreasy

    iNeedItGreasy Active Member Thread Starter

    Thank you! I have the stock elys cartridge still on the P3. I probably should have mentioned though, I stream through Tidal 75% of the time, I really only listen to vinyl if I have a good chunk of time to sit down and do some critical listening (which seems to be rarer and rarer these days).
    jonwoody and Djohm like this.
  10. ChrisR2060

    ChrisR2060 Forum Resident

    North Carolina
    I have considered the same thing a few months ago, evolving from the Lintons to a higher resolution speaker.
    And I did... Purchased the Stirling LS 3/6.
    I have kept the Lintons for now. Way to hard to separate myself from those as the sound is so pleasant.
    The Stirlings have a more developed treble and midrange, which makes the Lintons a much warmer speaker.
    With the Stirling, you get more details and more soundstage dimensionality with more precise imaging.
    Evident Sonic upgrade as it should given the price difference, the Lintons remain so pleasant though, it's addictive in its on own way.
    I wanted to get a Harbeth or spendor classic 1/2, but my budget would not allow that.
    By the way, I kept the Lintons stands as the Stirlings fit them perfectly.
  11. Jeffreylee

    Jeffreylee Rock 'n' Roll Typist

    Which Schiit mono blocks do you have? There's no such thing as Freya amplifiers.
    Fredtones likes this.
  12. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    Personally I listened to the Linton's and while they make nice music they didn't move me enough to buy them.

    I also have the Gungnir MB Dac, but I use them with Naim amplification.

    I think that Harbeth and Totem are good choices. You may not need to spend that much money to get a different sound than the Lintons. Boy I'd bet a pair of Totem Forests would sound amazing with that system.
  13. Art K

    Art K Retired but not tired!

    Corvallis, Oregon
    I would think that a natural step up from the Linton’s would be the Harbeth SHL5.
  14. iNeedItGreasy

    iNeedItGreasy Active Member Thread Starter

    Sorry that was a typo, and I am not sure how to edit my post. They are Vidars.

    Edit: It allows me to edit this one, but not my original. Weird
  15. iNeedItGreasy

    iNeedItGreasy Active Member Thread Starter

    I actually just watched a youtube review of the Totem Tribe Towers. The reviewer was blown away. Would love to hear some Totem speakers for myself!
  16. head_unit

    head_unit Senior Member

    Los Angeles CA USA
    So I listened to the Linton Heritage at Audio Element and really liked it. The sound was nice and open throughout their open-plan shop. They are tuned down at 41 Hz
    Wharfedale Linton Heritage loudspeaker Measurements
    so go down pretty low. They sounded like some speakers I built back when I was starting as a teen, except with a much better crossover ha ha! My feeling offhand is it will hard to keep that same sound but "improved" - I do not consider their EVO as a step up since at the same listening session that had a narrow sweet spot and a non-open sound.

    Focal 936 I have in one system (with CC900 and SR900). They were driven by a Denon AVR-X3600H with AudysseyXT32 engaged and now an Anthem AVM70 with ARC powering an ATI 525NC. Really really REALLLLY clear ooh so nice, playing whatever. (OK not as nice as the Magico whatevers we heard at Brooks Berdan, which were like I dunno $20k or something yowza.) They are also tuned down to 40 Hz, pretty much good for all music. If you listen to long organ pipes or movie effects, a subwoofer is indicated, we added an SVS SB-2000 Pro we really like.

    I agree that the Focal (or Tannoy or whatever) will have a rather different sound. Those Lintons really do sound kinda "old school" yet in a good way, refined through 40 years of design advances. I usually dislike descriptive words but would agree the Lintons would be somewhat "warmer" and the Focal "dryer" - whatever that means. For the money you are spending you definitely must audition at home with your system and your hearing in your room, with a reasonable return policy. And spend towards the top of your $5k budget. Used could be good if the speakers are not very old, like maybe <10 years or such. If you can find those $10k Revels used within your price they are supposed to be very neutral, per many comments and reviews and my buddy who designed a lot of their drivers when he worked at Harman/JBL. Another possible option might be Monitor Audio-their Silver Sevens were super impressive, nearly as good as the Focal 936 when I listened to both at Upscale Audio. Their newer Gold models are probably worthy of your quest.

    A less expensive experiment would be to stuff the cabinets if they are not. Fiberglass slabs are the default-NOT pillow stuffing-this excellent book
    Loudspeaker Design Cookbook - Meniscus Audio
    contains a section about that. Absorb rearward sound radiation, and lower the port tuning a bit. Don't stuff near the inside port opening. A modded crossover is interesting, not that I noticed flaws in the factory one.
    Bevok, Nielsoe, Toneh and 1 other person like this.
  17. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    I have heard the Tribe Towers in a store with Rogue Audio Equipment. They were spectacular. They are like $6500.

    I have to ask myself though as much as I like Schiit Products are you going to have "too" much in the speakers at $6k a pair (Tribe Towers). Always felt that keeping a balance in your system was important. But that's me. They love power which you will have plenty of with Vidar Monoblocks.

    I think your room is too big for the Tribe Tower.
  18. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Spendor Classic 2/3s would be a nice but safe upgrade. Maybe the Classic 1/2s also if you can find a pair on the used market.
  19. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Is that a beer I hear?

    Tri-Cities TN
    Predictably I recommend Cornwalls for that space.
  20. Toneh

    Toneh Forum Resident

    Middle Earth
    Apologies @iNeedItGreasy... this reply is gonna be a doozy :laugh:

    For starters - I’ll be watching this thread with interest to see where the search takes you.

    I came to these speakers and their style of presentation after owning several pairs of speakers that reproduce music in the way you’ve described you’d like to move towards. So in a way we discovered the Linton’s at reverse ends of our respective audio journeys.

    I’d prefer to avoid reducing the discussion down to blunt dichotomies - like "musical" vs "analytical" but I guess there’s something to that in the context of this discussion.

    And btw - I hear you… sometimes I too wish for a little more sense of clarity. I’ve done what I can so far to coax more of that sound out of the speakers through careful system matching - avoiding warmer leaning upstream components and cabling. And I’ve reached a balance I’m OK with for now. So the details are there if you want to listen for them, but they are presented as part of the musical whole… not as a distraction to the music. And I don’t think these speakers are “warm”… that would imply that they add warmth to everything they play which they don’t. They’re quite neutral actually… they just happen to produce a sound with more meat on its bones than the narrow baffle, small driver designs that are so common these days. Many of those sound comparatively lean to me now, but because they are the norm they set the datum point by default.

    But coming back to that musical vs analytical comparative…

    The thing that’s so seductive about the Linton’s (and other speakers that take a similar approach, like some of those suggested up thread) is that they play music in a way that just feels right.

    And while more detail-centric speakers can provide thrilling, “hear through” clarity, that can also be a double edge sword. A lot of the time that can come with a tonal leanness and an “etched” quality that sounds really attention grabbing in the demo-room but ultimately fatiguing to listen to in the long term. Not only because that sort of clarity can often come at the cost of brightness which can literally cause discomfort depending on listener sensitivity but also I think, because at some point your brain just kinda figures out that what you’re listening to doesn’t sound “real”?

    For me personally that eventually led to a sense of listening to music broken into its constituent parts, a sort of forensic study of the recording… an “analysis” in other words…more cerebral than visceral and ultimately unable to connect emotionally in the way speakers like the Linton’s can.

    I have heard speakers that can convincingly balance both qualities, but they typically cost a lot of money. Which isn’t to say there’s nothing out there for your budget that can deliver. And none of this is meant to put you off your plans at all… I guess until I have a ton of money to spend I also wonder what my next move will be.

    The upcoming Mission speakers @AC1 mentioned have my interest too, because they’re designed by the same guy who did the Linton’s and he describes them as having significantly more clarity. What remains to be seen is if this is a “Goldilocks” speaker (in other words “just right”) that balances both musicality and analysis or if it is yet another either/or choice. Also as far as I know pricing hasn’t been announced yet either.

    And for whatever reason I keep wanting to hear the Klipsch Forte IV’s… but I could be well and truly barking up the wrong tree there :laugh:

    In any event - B&W (I've owned 6 pairs of them), Kef, Focal, etc… all of which I have experienced myself, will give you more of that “hifi” sound, but since you’re relatively inexperienced at this - and it isn’t my intention to sound condescending, promise - just be careful not to fall for the charms of conspicuously detailed sounding speakers based on a quick listen only to find they turn out taxing in the longer term.

    I remember back when I was first starting out… once I decided on what I wanted to get away from in my first system - which was flabby bass - I over compensated with my first few rounds of upgrades and due to inexperience lost many of the attributes I actually loved about that system… which was a seductive, lush midrange and delicate treble. Which as you well know happen to be two of the Linton’s strong suits… funny that :)

    To put it more succinctly - don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    But anyway - enough rambling from me… good luck and as I said, I’ll be watching where the search takes you with interest.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
    BluTorch, pscreed, Merkinman and 9 others like this.
  21. KWJ2

    KWJ2 Forum Resident

    Hi I recently found my self in similar situation I had a pair of the 2020 KLH model 5's and I was looking for
    the same as you "add increased detail, clarity, and holographic imaging".
    I bought a pair of FOCAL ARIA 926 and after break in they fulfilled all my wants and needs far
    be .on my expectation. They were one of the best upgrades I have made in a while. I liked them so much
    I ended up buying a pair of FOCAL Celestee headphones.
  22. Art K

    Art K Retired but not tired!

    Corvallis, Oregon
    Absolutely, both of those models sound great.
    Tawaun A Williams, jonwoody and Helom like this.
  23. Toneh

    Toneh Forum Resident

    Middle Earth
    This is my concern too... as I contemplate my next move.

    I'm in no rush right now and changes to upstream electronics will come first... I do quite like these speakers and I'm nervous to lose the things they do well. Until I've got enough money to spend (to hopefully buy my way out of the problem :laugh:) most of the options I look at seem to be varying degrees of "either/or" choices... always a balancing act this thing of ours.
  24. Toneh

    Toneh Forum Resident

    Middle Earth
    FYI - there's a 30 minute time limit on your ability to edit posts
    33na3rd likes this.
  25. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    Agreed....added bonus,the Wharfdale stands might be the best looking stands available for the Shl5 series :)

Share This Page