You enjoyed his iMacs, his iPhones, his iPads. You thrilled at the way he said “aluminium” [sic]. You admired the typeface. Are you ready for the $60,000 turntable? Better make up your mind fast, because Linn is only producing 250 of these handmade bad boys.
A record player doesn’t seem like a logical extension of Jony Ive’s post-Apple career — but then, nothing about Jony Ive’s post-Apple career has seemed especially logical. And hey, more power to him. Apple’s longtime chief designer officer likely isn’t hurting for funds, so who can blame the guy for just having a little fun with it?
Ive and his firm LoveFrom have designed 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 relatively minimalistic system in its own right, but Ive and team took things to their logical conclusion. Gone is the 70s-style wood design, in its place the sorts of clean industrial lines one would expect from the guy who helped bring the world the iPod.
“When it’s such a broadly recognized and respected icon, and elements of the design are familiar, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re optimal,” Ive said in an interview with Fortune. “Particularly when you have products that do assume that status of becoming iconic, and have that sort of cultural resonance, it’s easy to assume that they are beyond improvement. And this is a particularly challenging design problem to respectfully evaluate the product.”
Imagine Paul McCartney gives you a call and asks you to cover “Yesterday.” How close to the original do you stick? In this case, there are specific elements of the suspended sub-chassis system that needed to remain intact, so as to maintain its signature sound. LoveFrom’s challenge was effectively coloring in those lines in a novel way.
Of course, some changes to the mechanics were made in order to keep up with the times. Linn writes, “The sonic improvement comes by way of Linn’s all-new Bedrok™ plinth technology; formed of orthogonal layers of beech placed under extreme pressure to create an entirely new, solid and massive material. The consequent ultra-dense wood has negligible resonance and offers a superior isolating housing for the turntable’s mechanism.”
The turntable is expected to ship sometime between this August and the following March.