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LINN PLAYBACK PRESENTS 3 Nights Of Pink Floyd - review Print E-mail
Written by Glenn Povey   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon - Linn PlaybackWell, ever wondered what The Dark Side Of The Moon sounds like on a £50,000 hi-fi system? A lot better than the CD player in the car, that's for sure. I was one of a lucky handful of applicants offered free tickets on a first-come first-served basis to attend the first sitting of a three-day showcase at The Sound Gallery in High Wycombe on 9 December to listen to Pink Floyd's classic album on a very special hi-fi system.

Store manager Ronnie Handkammer first had the idea of staging a listening party earlier in the year to tie in with the 40th anniversary of Linn hi-fi. Pink Floyd was the obvious choice of listening matter with the Dark Side Of The Moon also celebrating its 40th anniversary. Bizarrely the first person Ronnie shared this concept with was a long-standing customer who helpfully chipped in that he was a friend of Chris Adamson, the man responsible for the spoken word passage, "I've been mad for fucking years..."

Adamson, the one-time Floyd roadie keeps himself busy these days by heading up Rock-It Cargo, possibly the most renowned entertainment freight forwarding company in the world. Between stops on Fleetwood Mac's European tour and a Tom Petty US tour Chris kindly signed and inscribed a copy of the album with his immortal words to be given away in a prize draw at the event.

The Sound Gallery is a family run business owned by Chris Gildersleve, started in 1985 and has remained at the same premises since. Experts in digital streaming, multi room, cinema systems and good old vinyl turntables their philosophy is one of enjoyment of music rather than a hard sell, and customers are treated as equal enthusiasts. On entering their somewhat intimate shop floor guests were treated to complimentary nibbles and drinks (with real ale supplied by local micro-brewery) as Live At Pompeii played on a large TV screen, before being invited to one of their upstairs listening rooms, which seated a dozen or so people.

Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon - Linn Playback prizeBoth Ronnie and Linn sales rep James Edwards introduced the proceedings and how the event came about. Both are enthusiasts, both for hi-fi systems and Pink Floyd, which made for an entertaining post-listening discussion.

And so, with lights dimmed we sat back and enjoyed the 40th anniversary 180gram pressing of the Dark Side Of The Moon album played back on the brand new Linn Exakt system, using the flagship Linn LP12 with Ekos SE tonearm and Kandid cartridge.

Something that immediately struck me was that despite being played through such an expensive top-end system all the crackles and pops that are present on vinyl were still evident, and as the needle hit the vinyl that initial crackling seemed somehow comforting. I was, with the record being flipped over to side-B, immediately transported back to my teenage years listening to vinyl albums in my bedroom. I can't think of too many times in recent years when I've actually sat down and given a whole album my undivided attention without interruption. Like so many, music has unfortunately become an incidental soundtrack to our busy lives. This sentiment was shared, although judging by the majority, I was clearly in the minority! As a vinyl enthusiast I already know this has profoundly affected how I must make time to listen to favourite albums from start to finish rather than catch snippets on an otherwise impersonal iPod that's put on shuffle.

You don't need me to tell you what an exceptional album the Dark Side Of The Moon is, and maybe it was the experience I just described that cemented this for me, but for those lucky enough to attend this unique showcase it will not easily be forgotten.

The three-day event was in the end so heavily oversubscribed that it is certain to be repeated, and certainly Ronnie and James hope to repeat the format with other Pink Floyd listening events.

Watch this space!

 
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