LINN AV-5103 A/V Preamplifier

AV-5103

User Reviews (15)

Showing 1-10 of 15  
Colin   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 14, 2015]

I purchased this unit locally on Craigslist. I have Linn speakers for my A/V system (AV 5140/5120/Sizmik) and thought that I would try to put together Linn amplification as well. I paid $400 for the AV-5103 which I now understand to be a steal, even given its age.

Given the lack of Linn power amps at prices that I could afford, I decided to use the 5103 in my 2-channel system, displacing the pre-amp function of my Musical Fidelity CD-PRE24 (see full system below).

My first comment on the results has to be a caveat to those of us who are not that tech savvy when it comes to programming! The 5103 and its companion 5101 remote (Linn calls it a handset) are not easy to set up. Admittedly I was at a disadvantage in trying to program it without the benefit of a TV display. It took a few frustrating hours but eventually I managed to get five sources successfully loaded. It was worth the effort!

In 2-channel stereo I am using a mere fraction of the 5103's capability, and the same can be said for the 5101.

Both units are aesthetically very pleasing. Elegant.

As for the sound, wonderful! I shall not wax lyrical in the way of your average Stereophile reviewer - I don't have the vocabulary and most of the verbosity makes me cringe anyway. Suffice to say that the Linn brought a clarity and depth to my system that I had not heard before. I loved my Musical Fidelity pre-amp but the Linn is at a different level.

So now I need another unit for my A/V room!

Two Channel System:

Pro-ject Wood deck and Linn Adikt, NAD PP2 phono stage
Pioneer RT-707 reel-to-reel
Rotel RT-940AX tuner
Sony MDS-JB930 minidisc
Musical Fidelity CD-PRE24 cd player
Musical Fidelity A3 power amp
Qudos speaker cables, various interconnects
Spendor SP7/1 speakers
Boston Acoustics PV1000 sub

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
bjm   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 31, 2003]
Strength:

Clean, clear, a "you-are-there" realism that envelopes a listener in both music and videos. The Limbik music surround is very, very good.

Weakness:

Complex set-up. Cannot handle any of the new six channel formats---I don't feel they are needed when five channels are done right.

The clarity of this preamplifier is truly astounding at times! I thought my previus McIntosh unit was good, but the 5103 really is a different level. I like the small footprint of the piece, and also the ease of use once it is properly setup--- Set-up however does require some time and a willingness to delve deeply into the very good manual. This unit allows for unlimited choices in setup. Inputs and outputs are individually assignable and allow the user to configure them in unique ways to fit system demands. It is also possible to easily "name" each input/output so that its name is shown on the front display. All of this flexibility is also the 5103s weakness---it does take time to comprehend. This is definitely NOT a device that you will be able to just unpack and play. Most new buyers will have the dealer handle the setup, but if you are buying it on your own, be prepared to face a steep learning curve. The 5101 remote comes with its own huge manual---and I found it much more difficult to setup than the preamp! But, you'll be able to run the world from your easy-chair once everything is input. Beyond the set-up complexities of the 5103 is the payoff---it is a truly stellar performer! As an audio-video processor, movie DVDs have a impact that provides tremendous realism. I've observed no steering artifacts between speakers in either Dolby AC3 or Pro-Logic. This is supposed to be a dated chip compared to current higher MHz processors, but the "proof is in the pudding" and this one is really well done.I use this unit's processor to decode redbook CD instead of the higher MHz processor in my Sony unit and I think it sounds better. As an audio preamplifeier, the 5103 provides both the delicate details and powerful slam. It is smooth, clean and has a very "black" background. This is the most expensive piece of equipment I have every purchased, and it was a real "gulp" to pull the trigger on the purchase, but it has proven to be one of the best buys I've ever made. Truly outstanding performer! The rest of the system: Linn AV 5125 five channel amplifier. Sony 900NS SACD/CD/DVD player Systemdek IIX turntable Clearaudio phono preamplifier Linn K400 speaker cables Discovery Plus 4 interconnects Kimber Illuminati digital cable Linn 5140 main speakers Linn 5120 center channel speaker Linn Unik surround speakers

Similar Products Used: Marantz SR8200 this highly reviewed receiver was unlistenable to my ears.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
linn5140   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 19, 2002]
Strength:

Natural realistic sound. The best going.

Weakness:

The price. At around $8000, you have to pay to play.

The Linn 5103 is the best pre-amp I have ever had the chance to listen to. Not only does it make the music and movies sound so clear and natural, but it is extremely quiet and cuts out any background hum even at loud volumes. Linn really hit a homerun with this unit.

Similar Products Used: My system is a complete Aktiv Linn System. The 5103 for the Pre-amp, 6 Linn 5105 amps Aktiv all the way around. Linn 5140s up front and Tukans in the rear. Another Tukan for my center. The Linn 5150
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rass   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 26, 2002]
Strength:

Excellent sounding! Sublime sublety.

Weakness:

Lack of 5.1 inputs prevents DVD Audio and SACD analog wise.

Ahh the Linn 5103. After agonizing months over what componets to choose for a multi-channel home theater system, I finally decided on the 5103 along with the following system: Linn 5130 Linn 5125 Linn Ninkas Linn Trikan Linn Index (rears originally purchased 10 yrs ago still awesome) Rel Strata Sub Arcam Dvd 88 Piano Plus Projector HE 3100 Still deciding on a Screen LK 400 Speaker cable This is a very high class system. When I first installed it and listened sound was all over the place. My girlfriend couldn't even tell which sounds were coming from wich speakers. There really is something to say about an all Linn system. Clean, clear and very musical. Very Pitch perfect. I was truly amazed and still am. Movies are truly magic almost overwhelming with sounds going all over the place. Best to make system strong all over. Either Linn or other Hi end componets. Much better sound than you could ever get from any theater.My next upgrade will be to add another 5125 amp to really achieve separation and dynamics.

Similar Products Used: NAD, ARCAM
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
hugh kleinschmidt   AudioPhile [May 24, 2002]
Strength:

stunning dynamic range,looks sounds better than any other hi fi

Weakness:

none allthough may be a bit expensive for the average stereo buyer

linn 5103 system consisting of - 5103, two 5125, 1 klout,keltics up front (fully active)melodik sub,2 pair sekrets as rears and 5120 for centre.karik numerik cd player. on first listening i could not beleive the detail and quality of sound.on music dvds it was like hearing music for the first time, the way sound projected around you made you feel as if you were there.playing movies made you realise that the sound makes the movie alive.using a sony dvd player at the moment waiting for linns new one soon

Similar Products Used: linn karin pre amp.lk 140 amps,isobarik speakers
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
nhojsllih   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 01, 2002]
Strength:

I will not be looking for another pre-amp ever!

Weakness:

Linn''s marketing approach has steered many would be buyers away from the 5103, as they do not sufficiently promote its 2 channel capabilities.

For any of you Linn Kairn owners out there thinking that the AV5103 is only for cinema enthusiasts, thnk again! I bought this 1996 model 5103 from a Linn dealer for only 995, about 20% of its original retail cost. This price was because it does not sport the DTS bits, however, if you want to mainly or only listen to music, the lack of DTS doesn''t matter. I owned a latest spec Kairn with slimline brilliant power supply ''n'' all, and very good it was too. Changing to this early 5103 made the Kairn sound all muddled and ungainly by comparison. I''m sure that the latest 5103 will be even better, but the older ones are still miles ahead of the Kairn. The 5103 must be one of the best 2 channel pre-amps ever made and can justify its price tag for this virtue alone. If you are into home cinema as well, then you get that thrown in as well. BTW, my system is: Ikemi, 5103, 2 x LK140 with aktiv boards, K400, Ninkas. Kremlin, Origin Live TT, Linto. Sony DVPS9000ES DVD/SACD. MDSJA555ES Minidisc.

Similar Products Used: Kairn.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul Hendricks   [Aug 13, 2001]
Strength:

The setup flexibility is incredible. The user is able to really tailor the unit to his/her room and equipment. The unit also has the highest quality multiroom capability in the marketplace. Finally the switched mode power supply saves the user dollars for expensive line conditioners.

Weakness:

You obviously need to hide the receipt from your wife, or buy her that lovely Jaguar convertible you promised her after buying that flaky internet stock near the top of the market...

The Linn 5103 is a fabulous unit. It will appeal to those who place music at the top of their priorities. The Limbik music in the round capability is the best attempt I know of to synthesize five channels from stereo.

Similar Products Used: Many Audio Research pre-amps, NYAL minuet, APT Holman, Linn Kairn, Levinson preamp - JC2 ML1, Arcam
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
anon   Audiophile [Apr 09, 2000]
Strength:

with other Linn components, combination sounds "magical"

Weakness:

many quirky things

When starting a DVD, the 5103 takes too long to recognise what bitstream it is decoding and results in a few seconds of silence while the video starts to play. This becomes very very annoying when skipping chapters or navigating a dvd because every time, the music clicks on suddenly after the video. At this price point, it should have component video switching, but does not. Should be upgradeable, but is not unless you consider flashing the device an upgrade. From my experience, the unit is not rock solid by any means...if i were to have someone over and demo my system, in the back of my mind I would always worry that the 5103 would shut down- It is easy to overheat the machine. The AVP is about 3g's less, and is upgradeable, both hardware and software. Just a lot more bang for your buck. And what can I say about lexicon ;) Please- if you are considering purchase, borrow one for a few days before you commit. Thanks

Similar Products Used: AVP, Lexicon
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Samir   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 07, 2000]
Strength:

Excellent pre amplifier, ease of use

Weakness:

It is running hot

Very musical, detailed pre-amplifier. It gives an accurate presentation of the music, never gets fuzzy.

Buy a used one if you use it as a pre amplifier only. Then if you have a DVD Player, use the internal decoder to watch your movies and you will get, even with a 2-speaker setup, a clear, lively, and detailed sound. Dialogues remain easy to follow.

Similar Products Used: YBA, Triangle, Cairn
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
pmc   [Jul 17, 2001]
Strength:

sound

Weakness:

some delay in switching

YOU MUST TRY THE NEW AV5125 WITH AV5103
FANTASTIK...I THINK AV5125 BETTER THAN KLOUT

MY OLD EQUIPEMENT WAS KAIRN WITH KLOUT FOR STEREO MUSIC
AND YAMAHA DSP3090 FOR CINEMA ..I REPLACE EVERY THING
PIECE BY PIECE WITH FIRST THE AV5103 THAT I USED WITH KLOUT .. SOUND WAS BETTER THEN WITH KAIRN AND 100%
MORE THAN THE YAMAHA IN CINEMA .BUT WHEN I REPLACE THE KLOUT
WITH AV5125 THE SOUND GET MORE VIVID AND CHANNEL SEPARATION
COME MORE PRESENT ...SOUND MORE DYNAMIC


I THINK AV5125 THE BEST BARGAIN AMPS YOU CAN BUY.
THE AV5103 IS A LITTLE EXPENSIVE BUT COMPARE WITH OTHER
PROCESSORS IT IS IN THE PRICE AND WORTH HIS VALUE

THE ONLY DRAWBACK IS THE DELAY IN SWITCHING...
IT IS NOT REALLY BOTHERING ME BUT FOR THE PRICE..
IT COULD BE A LITTLE BIT BETTER


OVERALL I THING 5103 AND AV5125 THE BEST AV SYSTEM YOU
CAN BUY ..

THANKS FOR READING ME ..I HOPE IT WILL HELP

Similar Products Used: linn kairn YAMAHA DSP3090- LEXICON MC1-
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 15  

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