Customer Success Stories

Getting into the Groove with Altium Designer

"A project that flows from start to finish has a better net result than a project that stops and starts and is always struggling to get completed. Better electronic systems designs, realized via a smooth flowing integrated toolset, allows our team at Linn to focus on the highest quality music products for our customers”

Ian Wilson
Principal Electronics Design Engineer
Linn Products

Linn Products, Ltd., designs, manufactures, and sells high end audio and home theatre systems. Since 1972, the company has been music industry pioneers, developing some of the most-well engineered audio and home systems commercially available.

For Linn Products, recreating music is less about developing impressive hi-fi systems and more about realizing the intention of the musician. Principal Electronics Design Engineer, Ian Wilson explains further: "Music tends to follow a certain structure with the chord progressions, the rhythms, the timings and the systems. Linn Products really pays attention to making sure that we reproduce all that information in a musical way and not just in a hi-fi way."

This ethos was particularly true when Linn Products decided to create a new phono stage for its iconic Sondek LP12 turntable. The original was developed in 1972 and since then it has been its flagship product.

Updating it required a very modern touch for Linn Products—and that’s where Altium Designer came into play.

“The most important part of the design process is to focus our efforts where we can add value to the customer and not to reiterate the same part of the design over and over again. We provide more value when we are able to be creative.”

Ian Wilson
Principal Electronics Design Engineer
Linn Products

Reinventing a True Classic with a Unified Design Environment

Updating a beloved turntable is a daunting task, especially if PCB designers are using outdated software. Before migrating to Altium Designer, Linn Products had used a series of disparate tools to develop its electronics designs. This caused several problems because the engineers had no clear link between the schematic and the board layout. The constant back and forth between tools stultified creativity. 

“The most important part of the design process is to focus our efforts where we can add value to the customer and not to reiterate the same part of the design over and over again. We provide more value when we are able to be creative,” Wilson elaborates. 

By unifying the design process and providing a higher level of abstraction, Altium Designer helped restore creativity to Linn Products core designers. But that’s not all having a unified design environment did for Wilson and his team.

“Altium’s 3D modeling helps us visualize what the board ultimately looks like, before we even commit it to our mechanical design colleagues. With Altium Designer, we can go from design to layout in a single effortless process, and then from the PCB layout through to the mechanical designs. This is a much more simplified process compared to our previous CAD packages.

Ian Wilson
Principal Electronics Design Engineer
Linn Products

Beauty by Design

For Linn Products, a unified electronics design system needed to go beyond just electronics design. Linn Products design, manufacture, and ship all from its headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland. Altium Designer unified Linn Products’ design data, letting the engineers output and customize their data to the needs of their onsite manufacturing team.

“Altium’s 3D modeling helps us visualize what the board ultimately looks like, before we even commit it to our mechanical design colleagues. With Altium Designer, we can go from design to layout in a single effortless process, and then from the PCB layout through to the mechanical designs. This is a much more simplified process compared to our previous CAD packages,” Wilson explains.

“What we've found with Altium Designer is that it is a much more integrated package. The flow of information from schematic to layout and ultimately through to design is seamless for us, it’s effortless, it integrates into the business database which allows us to create the materials rapidly. It allows us to get accurate information to our service team for populating the boards. We can verify Gerbers before we send them off to the PCB manufacturer. All of these things just give us more time to be engineers and be creative engineers, and that allows us to make better products for our customers.”

Linn Products were able to update their flagship stereo system with ease. “When everything flows seamlessly, the engineers are a bit more relaxed, and the designs flow. A project that flows from start to finish has a better net result than a project that stops and starts and is always struggling to get completed. Better electronic systems designs, realized via a smooth flowing integrated toolset, allows our team at Linn to focus on the highest quality music products for our customers,” concludes Wilson.