You enjoy his iMacs, his iPhones, his iPads. You’re happy the way he says “aluminum” [sic]. You are impressed with the typeface. Are you ready for a $60,000 turntable? Better make up your mind quickly, because Linn is only making 250 of these handcrafted bad boys.
A record player doesn’t seem like a logical extension of Jony Ive’s post-Apple career – but nothing about Jony Ive’s post-Apple career seems particularly logical. And hey, more power to him. Apple’s longtime chief designer probably isn’t hurting for funds, so who can blame the guy for just having fun with it?
Ive and his company LoveFrom designed the Sondek LP12-50, a clear labor of love for all parties involved that marks the 50th anniversary of Linn’s iconic Sondek LP12 turntable. The original version, introduced in 1972, was a fairly minimalistic system in its own right, but Ive and the team took things to their logical conclusion. Gone is the 70s-style wooden design, in its place are the kinds of clean industrial lines expected of the man who helped bring the world the iPod.
“If it’s a widely recognized and respected icon, and the design elements are familiar, it doesn’t mean they’re the best,” Ive said in an interview with Fortune. “Especially when you have products that claim this status to be iconic, and have this kind of cultural resonance, it’s easy to think that it can’t be improved. And it’s a very challenging problem to design to respectfully evaluate the product.”
Imagine that Paul McCartney called you and asked you to cover “Yesterday.” How close to the original did you stay? In this case, there are certain elements of the suspended sub-chassis system that must remain intact, in order to maintain its signature sound. The LoveFrom challenge effectively colors the lines in a new way.
Of course, some changes to the mechanics were made to keep up with the times. Linn writes, “The sonic breakthrough comes from Linn’s innovative Bedrok™ plinth technology; formed by orthogonal layers of beech placed under intense pressure to create a new, solid and large material. The resulting ultra-dense wood has less resonance and offers an optimal isolation housing for the turntable mechanism.
The turntable is expected to ship between this August and next March.