As soon as you enter the TheLinkShop you immediately notice a difference in approach: the listening room is set up like a typical 'living' room. In contrast to the standard store layout, here you immediately have an acoustic environment that matches your own living space.
This allows you to really estimate what it will sound like in your home.
The acoustics of your listening room plays an important role in the end result.

Many music lovers will find here, after their long wanderings through hifiland and the umpteenth misbuy, finally a home where music is listened to and sales is not limited to the mere passing of boxes.

Extensive advice is given about the total set and the setup in your living space and even possible adjustments to the acoustics.

In the sixties/seventies of the last century Hifi was a "dream" product for many families. The market was served by young passionate hifi salesmen, who with growing knowledge and supported by passionate distributors, sold products.

The number of Hifi magazines was growing, but much more important, the contribution of young reviewers (eg Jean Hiraga or John Atkinson, Angus Mc Kenzie, Martin Colloms, Stan Curtis, Paul Messenger) who, on an almost scientific basis and an extensive technical arsenal, critically evaluated the new products. with technical measurements and a subjective listening report (Hifi News, La Nouvelle Revue Du son, Stereophile)

The emergence of surround hifi, in the early nineties, the new multimedia products and the changed life pattern, the interest for HiFI (= read high fidelity) has shifted to the background.

The majority of hi-fi stores tried to adapt by partly taking a number of these products 'on board', which literally meant less space and attention for the real hi-fi products, worse still the passion for these products gradually faded away.

As a counterbalance to the lowering of the standard in hifi, there arose from the side of the manufacturer, in the mid-eighties, an urge for a higher standard in hifi, which was then called "high end" hifi. The decline in sales of classic hi-fi products was compensated by the rise of the more expensive high-end products.

The high end hifi went further in the purity of the reproduction, the purity of timbres, the separation capability and as a result the spatial reproduction of the music recordings. The reproduction before had become limited to a two-dimensional sound, which took place between the two speakers.

This is the main difference between good vintage equipment and modern high-end equipment. At best, the best vintage equipment, speakers included, achieved good tonal reproduction, but almost never succeeded in tearing apart and dissecting the picture in three dimensions.

That quest by High end manufacturers for the "Holy Grail" of perfect reproduction continues but due to their growing numbers they are working on a smaller and smaller scale and prices are rising to sometimes (to me unacceptable) astronomical heights.

It is the task of the good hi-fi salesman to separate the wheat from the chaff and to look for an optimal price.quality ratio ALSO within the more expensive high end products.

I myself have been professionally involved for 40 years with music reproduction via hifi components.
The virus had already 'infected' me long before that.

Already in my ninth year of life I started all kinds of audio and acoustic experiments. It intrigued me that the sound of my mini portable radio was amplified when I held a large cardboard tube over the speaker or placed the speakers of my later mini hifi system (Dual 2x6watt) in the corner and suddenly got more bass but also a smoother stereo image. Thus I gradually discovered the acoustic/physical properties of sound.
A real start was given to building speakers myself as soon as I connected my mini dual system of 2 x 6 watts to the big Pioneer speakers from a friend's father.
What a revelation that was! At once I realized where to find the weak link of a hifi chain. From that moment on I started building speakers but also amplifiers and fine tuning and upgrading my Thorens TD160 turntable, after I had thrown out my Lenco L75 (;-).

 The visit to many live performances (thank you, Jeugd&Muziek for the initiation of classical music but also Frank Zappa in the old AB) and the hifi shows of the seventies (applause for the beautiful demos of Luc VanderHeyden (B&W)) gradually formed the acoustic reference base, which later proved to be so important for building hifi speakers but also for putting together hifi systems. The demos of a few patient hi-fi dealers taught me the qualities but also the shortcomings of the then existing components, which formed the references of the market.

All that knowledge resulted in starting the company (1981) LINK audio components with the launch of the LINK M21 model. Many models would follow with LINK taking the lead in technique and design. Large manufacturers were soon inspired by the designs of LINK. An example is the design of the top model B600, created in 1990 and commercialized at the end of 1991 with its for that time very unique ball-shaped design, a design that is copied very often today.

Through the years I also came into contact with numerous hi-fi products in all kinds of circumstances and combinations and, not unimportantly, all kinds of setups in rooms with different acoustics.
Over the years my curiosity (but also my knowledge) about the physics of sound reproduction grew, but at the same time also my irritation about the blunders that people are advised to make.

This accumulated experience I now want to share with equally passionate people who do not find their way in the overly commercialized approach of the hi-fi trade and where the consumer only gets little 'attention time' despite the considerable investment he sometimes considers.

In my opinion there is only one truth in the reproduction of music through hifi and that is the most neutral, but at the same time most transparent and dynamic reproduction of the music.

All too often the components 'color' the reproduction. In the best case this can sound "euphonic" and make a bad recording more digestible.

However, a bad recording remains a bad recording. It's like an out of focus photograph, you can't make it sharper, what's not there you can't take out . in photoshop you can give an illusion of sharpness but it's not going to show you any further detail.

Euphonic coloration is cause of fatigue with longer listening . Coloration disturbs the music transmission , it requires more concentration when listening and is tiring.

The most disturbing Hi-Fi components are those that do not reproduce the musical spectrum in a linear fashion.
Linearity (read bass, midrange and treble at the same strength) is an absolute minimum basic requirement for a hi-fi component.

I expect much more from a hi-fi component than this basic requirement: I look for components with an optimal pulse response: the pulse response contains everything: linearity, response behavior and most importantly the 'stop' behavior of the components. Speakers or other hi-fi components (also cables) with a less good pulse response will continue to lag behind.

This illustration comes from an American book of 1956.... Just to say there is nothing new under the sun....



While the speaker or other hifi component is still vibrating from a previous 'pulse', it has already started the next one and is busy with its own music.
he has already started the next one and a slow oscillation behavior continuously tarnishes the reproduction.
The same problem occurs in a too clear acoustic environment, where the sound keeps rolling around in the room.

Components with an excellent pulse response are going to make sure that the reproduction is clear and distinct, without being aggressive.
The stereo reproduction is far superior, soloists are much more clearly delineated 'visible'.
The reproduction of complex music is frayed and, as in the live experience, becomes captivating to follow.

Poor pulse reproduction is a major reason why some people dislike content more complex music such as classical or jazz music.
Complex musical content requires very good "clean" reproduction from the hi-fi set.
If not, it becomes very tiring and the listener drops out. It therefore annoys me when I hear the same 'simple' records with a simple recording set of 'voice/bass/instrument' at hi-fi shows every time. This tells you little or nothing about the quality of the set up.
Any set can reproduce something like this acceptably. However, it becomes much more difficult when we want a jazz big band or a large classical orchestra to reproduce Stravinsky.

My demos span an extensive range from "simple" to extremely complex music. In a short period of time, a whole series of fragments are listened to. The reason for this is that a good hi-fi chain must be able to handle everything.

It is nonsense to tell that a system is only for classical -or pop music or other.

Equally, it is nonsense to say that there are e.g. "warm and cold sounding" speakers. A "warm" speaker (= one with pulse impurity or in worse cases non-linearity) is simply a less good speaker. Speakers that are accused of sounding sterile are often very transparent speakers that let you hear what is wrong in the rest of the chain (very often the LS cabling or preamp). It is not the task of the speaker manufacturer to compensate for possible errors in recordings.

These misconceptions often lead hifi melomaniacs to the wrong decisions in upgrading their chain !!! I consider it , with exception , impossible for the average melomaniac to discover what is really going wrong in his chain and how to correct it. It is usually a combination of factors that one must "recognize" and often very difficult, also must "recognize" (one has given so much money to it, after all!!!).  So it must be good, sir).

The reviews in hifi magazines should be taken with a large grain of salt.....Which products do they review ? The products of their advertisers, a very ambiguous relationship if you ask me....I am not even talking about the, for Belgium unknown, shoven feeling when an english magazine (Hifi News/Hifi choice/Hifi World) reviews an english product...or a french magazine reviews a french product.
Magazines that give good information are Le Diapason (FR) and ViFi (NL) and Stereophile(US) . The last two take the trouble to correlate subjective and objective measuring results. Here you can still find reviewers with experience and a critical attitude who dare to give their advertisers a headwind. Hifi News has lost much of its 'color' now that most of the classic reviewers have moved to the competition. What Hifi provides accurate commentary albeit from a limited , rather English focused selection. Stereo, Audio, Stereoplay (D) , Hifi World are of varying interest, the readings do give interesting info ( useful for the advanced).  

The influence of we audio review websites is growing ( . Often it concerns self-proclaimed gurus who give inconsistent, confusing info and are more misleading than truly informative. The information that the hi-fi hobbyist can find on the Internet should be taken with a big pot of salt. It concerns here all too often completely unfiltered information that seems objective but is not at all.

For example, a renowned manufacturer of digital analog converters has anonymously set up a website completely separate from its corporate website in which it proposes upgrades to modify the dacs...... of its biggest competitor. The uninformed consumer might then begin to doubt the quality of the latter's products, and this website served as a point of discussion in the various forums that dealt with the subject.

Anyone can set up a website and publish uncontrolled information (e.g. blogs) or even maliciously spout false information in order to attack the competition. One bad comment about a product has more effect than 100 good comments.

Within the gigantic offer of hifi equipment I look for the gems (or the crumbs from the bread as a cooperating Dutch importer described me because I did not want to include the whole range of his brand (;-)) ) The process for this selection is always done under the same highly controlled conditions.

The result is components with a phenomenal price/quality ratio.

Demos at home are possible : 75 euro/hour + travel expenses.
When purchasing material, this is considered an advance payment.

All products in the LINK shop come from the official importers for Belgium or the Benelux.

I find the backup of a good importer extremely important.

If you are googling prices, remember that for the US prices there is no VAT (sometimes up to 8% state tax).

and that, if you import something, apart from the transport, 21% VAT + import duties must be paid.

The discounters are silent about this.

Products bought in a neighboring country , with its own distributor for the brand, carry only the warranty in the country of purchase itself !

So, if there is a problem within the warranty period, it will not be covered by the Belgian importer or store of the brand.