Ask an expert: Principal Design PD150 speakers, Dr Penfold and possiblity of clones of Linn Sara speakers. Part #1 of 2

Hello. I came across your very good blog whilst looking for Linn Sara information. I wonder if you have any knowledge of another Speaker Manufacture? I purchased a set of Principal Design PD150 speakers in the mid to late 80s. One drive unit has developed a fault so I have been looking for information about the manufacturer They operated from Roper Lane London Bridge and then Stockwell Road London. I seem to remember the PD150 having an Audax driver with a Scan Speak tweeter, but it was a long time ago,

I have contacted Audax but get no reply. I have managed to get a pair of the better PD300, these appear to have a Kef B200 driver, both models are identical in size to Linn Saras, some one did tell me the PD300 was a blatant copy of the Sara but who knows?

I have been told and do remember a Christian Thomas working there and both my speakers are signed by CT? Also a Dr Penfold was the designer.

Hello and thank you.

I've been thinking about this. Yes, all too long ago I do recall such a manufacturer. I had no direct personal dealings with them nor indeed their products. I've looked up my notes from the Subjective Audio era (1976 > 1988) and can find nothing about them. All I have is a very vague memory of some distaste about either the people or the products. Possibly totally unfair on my part. What follows re this might but only might be a possible cause for my vague memory.

As a retailer, we were bombarded with every Tom, Dick and Harry and yes the their bloody dog too to try their new groundbreaking speakers. They were ALL groundbreaking!

The pitch was always the same. It went along the lines of this:

“Linn really are it. We are not worthy. We can never beat them – but we love and respect them. They are more like Gods than humans. So what we are offering you is a unique opportunity to invest in our tribute product. We’ve used the Linn a, b, or c (you insert) design as our benchmark. Our isn’t as good ‘cos we are mere mortals – but ours is cheaper!”

And so on, and so on and ...

Anyway, I loathe the Linn Saras then and still do. I felt that the sound on classical music was a utter travesty. And I still do. The basic principle was fine I think but their implementation of it was way off the mark in my view. As an example of the design principal “done right” then look no further than what Totem are doing!

Sincerely

Howard Popeck hp@no-alibi.demon.co.uk