What consumer electronics product has been made for 40 years?

Linn's iconic LP-12 turntable is celebrating its 40th anniversary; the Audiophiliac ponders the meaning of it all.

The 40th anniversary Linn LP-12 turntable comes with a bottle of 40-year-old Highland Park whiskey. Linn Products

I bought a Linn LP-12 way back in 1978, and used Linn turntables until five years ago, when I bought a VPI Classic . Turntables last practically forever, which is one of my favorite things about high-end audio gear: the best products have incredibly long lives. As I recall, the LP-12's initial claim to fame was conceptual; Linn promoted the idea that the "front-end," aka the source -- a turntable, CD player, or cassette deck -- would make or break the overall sound of a music system. If the source's sound quality was poor to start with, a great amp or speaker would not improve the sound. Linn's admittedly self-serving assertion, invest first in the best-quality source, still makes sense. Then again, the old "garbage in, garbage out" maxim is the same idea.

Linn started out as a turntable manufacturer, but went on to also make speakers, electronics, CD players, and music servers. The company stopped making CD players years ago, but the LP-12 soldiers on. It's been in continuous production since Day One.

The LP-12's debut predates the introduction of the CD by 10 years, and while few audiophiles are still singing the praises of early CD players, lots of 40-year-old LP-12s are still going strong. The design has evolved over the years, but the basics are still in place. Decades-old LP-12s still fetch high prices on eBay.

Linn is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a limited-edition run of 40 commemorative turntables. The Scottish audio company joined forces with the distiller Highland Park, and the turntables' bases are crafted from oak casks used by the distillery to make the company's whiskey. Each turntable comes with a bottle of Highland Park's award-winning 40-year-old whiskey. The special-edition turntable's price is, gulp, $40,000!

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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