PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds create black panel effect on the Linn Selekt DSM network music player
- Renowned hi-fi manufacturer Linn enhances its Selekt DSM network music player with multifunctional cover made of PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds
- Neutral gray PMMA from Röhm enables secret-until-lit effect
- PLEXIGLAS® material impresses with brilliant surface and outstanding light transmission for displays
Music lovers not only attach great importance to the perfect sound, but also to the appealing design of their playback devices. Accordingly, record players and stereo systems have already become world-famous design classics. The digitalization of music has not changed anything in this regard – indeed, the high-quality design and smart functions of digital network players compensate for the experience of carefully placing a record on the turntable and expectantly pressing the “Play” button with a gentle “click.” Network music players, also known as music streamers, can play music from digital sources such as streaming services, online radio stations or from a PC hard disk in hi-fi quality.
Secret until lit: The cover becomes a display
The Selekt DSM network music player, produced by the renowned Scottish hi-fi manufacturer Linn, allows digital music to be experienced with multiple senses. Its display with a multifunctional PLEXIGLAS® cover contributes to this: Only when the device is switched on does the high-gloss black panel on the front of the aluminum housing spring into life, showing the title and artist of the music that is currently playing. This is the “secret-until-lit” effect we are familiar with from smartphone displays and which is also known as the black panel or dead front effect.
“Multifunctional panels are not only in demand in home electronics, but are also ever more popular for displays in the interior of modern vehicles in automobile manufacturing. Here, the display and cover become a single unit. In order to accommodate this trend, we have developed neutral gray PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds specifically for these applications,” comments Christian Eberle, Technical Marketing Manager for Lighting, Extrusion, Optics at the Molding Compounds business unit at Röhm GmbH. These also include the PLEXIGLAS® 8N Gray molding compound, which Linn uses for the Selekt DSM display.
PLEXIGLAS® 8N with impressive black panel effect
Linn is known for its extremely high quality standards in terms of function, design and material. The high-quality hi-fi equipment is handcrafted at its company headquarters in Glasgow. Product Design Engineer Adrian Choong describes the aesthetic requirements when designing Selekt DSM: “The aesthetic we were trying to achieve on Selekt DSM was a seamless, polished onyx element stretching across the front of the product where the framing of the actual display panel would be imperceptible. This was achieved in part through the selection of a high-resolution AMOLED display panel, which does not use a backlight. To complete the dead front effect, we needed a suitable material, which is where the properties of the PLEXIGLAS® 8N Gray were beneficial.” According to Choong, tests with a different transparent material colored using a masterbatch did not produce the desired properties and vibrancy.
“There is a crisp AMOLED display that can also be read easily from the sofa.”
Displays made of PLEXIGLAS® special molding compounds with neutral gray coloring can accurately replicate the entire color spectrum of the LEDs behind them. For the display of the Selekt DSM, however Linn opted for white text on a black background in keeping with the elegant, minimalistic design of the device. “The front of the Selekt DSM does not display the cover in color. Instead, there is a crisp AMOLED display that can also be read easily from the sofa,” was the verdict in a review by the German hi-fi magazine AUDIO.
PLEXIGLAS® reveals inner values
Linn also uses PLEXIGLAS® 8N Gray for a component inside the network player – the housing of a digital to analogue converter, which is designed as an upgradeable module available in different performance levels. “This DAC module features transparent gray PLEXIGLAS®, which allows users to see the circuit board inside and admire its technology, while reflecting the external design of the Selekt DSM,” says Choong.
He describes Linn’s product and design philosophy: “Selekt DSM is a modular hi-fi product, the performance and function of which can be configured and upgraded in line with the customer’s needs. This is in harmony with Linn’s philosophy of manufacturing products that last and that can be continuously upgraded as our technologies advance.”
This is where another property of the brand PMMA from Röhm comes into play: PLEXIGLAS® is a highly durable material with a stable product quality. “We have subsequently used this material in our recently launched next generation Majik DSM player,” announces the Linn designer.
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Linn design and make the best music systems in the world. Based in Scotland and established in 1973, Linn manufactures everything in-house, from the electronics in its industry-leading network music players to the loudspeakers found in homes around the world. The iconic Sondek LP12 turntable continues to set the standard for vinyl playback and its network music players outperform any CD player available.
Linn's systems are sold through a global network of specialist retailers who also share a passion for enriching people’s lives through music. Linn was awarded a Royal Warrant in 2002 as suppliers of entertainment systems to the Royal Household, and received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2012.