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DavidHB last won the day on March 7

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About DavidHB

  • Rank
    Veteran Wammer

Personal Info

  • Location
    Isle of Wight, UK
  • Real Name

Wigwam Info

  • Turn Table
    LP12 (Klimax)
  • Tone Arm & Cartridge
    Ekos SE/1, Kandid
  • SUT / Phono Stage
    Urika II
  • Digital Source 1
    Klimax Exakt DSM
  • Digital Source 2
  • DAC
    Akurate Exaktbox 10
  • Pre-Amp
    Akurate Exaktbox 10
  • Power Amp/s
    Akurate 4200s/2200
  • My Speakers
  • Headphones
    Grado SR 225
  • Trade Status
    I am not in the Hi-Fi trade

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  1. No trouble, There is a US address on the Keith Monks website: Keith Monks America PO Box 771 Mequon WI 53092 USA Tel: (413) 539-4378 kmonksusa@gmail.com David
  2. That cannot be literally true of the cavitation machines, of course, as they have no suction pump. But taking (somewhat arbitrarily) £2K+ as being "really expensive", most of them fail your price test. The exception would be the inexpensive, and rather basic, Velvet Vortex, but, as that has an open topped bath rather than the "toaster" design of the more expensive machines, though I haven't seen/heard it in operation I suspect that it is fairly noisy. I haven't heard your Nitty-Gritty, but the Pro-ject machine, according to reviews, is supposed to be somewhat quieter and I find its noise level unacceptable for extended use. So I'd agree in general with your stricture. The one likely exception is the Keith Monks Prodigy. At £800, this is, I suggest, less than "really" expensive, and it has a 12V motor and suction pump. The more expensive Monks machines, such as my Redux, use medical grade pumps intended for use in dialysis machines and the like, and they are suitably quiet; I can use my machine for hours without discomfort. Jon Monks claims that the Prodigy is "super silent" and "living room friendly", and several of the reviews of the Prodigy say that it is quiet. David
  3. Fair point. However,the automation serves their "single point build" system, which is where there are some parallels with Morgan. But I suppose that the closest parallel is that the engineering design and production model informs the business plan, rather than (as with many companies) the other way round. To be clear, I'm not saying that either approach is inherently better than the other, but that the approach Linn has chosen makes it difficult if not impossible for them to adopt the other one. I'm sure that, in a recent podcast with Gilad Tiefenbrun which I heard recently, he said that the company prioritises sustainability and engineering values over raw profitability. IMO, that would be consistent with the way we have seen them develop and make products down the years. Thanks for the reminder/correction. I suppose that both the Solo and the 350 Passive are low volume but high return survivors from an earlier age. IIRC, the Solo has essentially the same amplification technology as the Klout, albeit with a Dynamik power supply. Its longevity (and price!) make it a bit sui generis, and its future is difficult to call. I'd guess that the 350 Passive will survive while the Exakt 350 is in production, but its price puts it into a very small market segment. The Twin is essentially Chakra in a machined case, so its future depends on when Chakra more generally is replaced. David
  4. I agree, kind of. It's probably fair to describe Linn as an "aspirational" brand for some people, but I think that the important point is that the way they engineer and make things just does not lend itself to the volume production that has to go with (low) "beginner" prices. I have in the past compared them to Morgan cars in this respect. Asking Linn to switch over to conventional production line manufacture would be tantamount to asking them to close down and start up again as a new business with a totally different product line. I suppose I ought to give my answer to the interesting question posed by the topic title. Look at Linn's product range as a whole, I would say that the range is currently strong in terms of source products, respectable in terms of "single box" offerings, but weak, disorganised and incomplete in terms of amplification and speakers. The Chakra amplifiers are coming to the end of their product life and are over-priced, especially in multi-channel configurations; there is a need for a new amplifier design (possibly Class D), particularly at Akurate level. As regards speakers, other than the 5 Series, which is apparently never going to get Katalyst, the integrated speakers are massively expensive, small niche market items, which do not give the enthusiast the all important opportunity to upgrade progressively. The passive speaker range is now Majik (with the dated and limited 2K array) only. Linn badly need to produce decent 3 (or possibly 4) way standmount and floor standing passive speakers at Akurate level that can be more or less affordably upgraded to Exakt, using the new amplification. At the moment, you can get a decent Linn Exakt system for under £10K, but, unless you settle for the 5 series, the next step up will cosy you over £20K for standmounts and over £30K for floorstanders. IMO, those price jumps are just too big. David
  5. It's not a case of not believing, but of the conviction that a technology about which they always had reservations (IMO, for good reason) has had its day. In terms of music sales at least, the market seems to be bearing Linn out. Gilad Tiefenbrun is on (ahem) record as saying that it was he who, on joining Linn (having previously cut his project management teeth at Psion), persuaded the company that streaming was the way of the future. As Gilad himself has recounted, his arrival at Linn was by no means universally accepted by the technical team, so I think he is right to claim credit for the change of direction. But there were other factors as well. Linn never made complete CD transports, and there always seemed to be reliability issues with their bought in components. Some of their competitors did much better. The transport on my Mimik failed after a few years. I replaced it it with a Roksan Kandy, which is still going strong almost 15 years later. To say that Linn "do not believe" in analogue active speakers is, with due respect, plain wrong. Linn still supply Aktiv cards, for instance. But Linn believe (as do I, and others who have made the comparison) that Exakt provides, among other benefits, a better way of implementing the speaker crossover than Aktiv. There are still plenty of speaker manufacturers who regard active technology of any kind as alien and irrelevant to what they are doing, despite the obvious and well documented limitations of the passive speaker crossover. Pity that. Have you listened to a DS or DSM? And do you, by any chance, have an LP12? David
  6. Functionally, the Keith Monks machines are pretty much the same; there are of course some small differences in technology and component selection. This is unsurprising, as the Loricraft was deliberately developed to fill a gap in the market at a time when Keith Monks himself had given up producing new machines. Now the boot is on the other foot; Loricraft production is temporarily suspended, and Jon Monks is marketing more recently developed models. To add to @HH2010's description, the platter on my Redux machine revolves at 78rpm or thereabouts, and the suction arm tracks outward from the centre of the record, taking advantage of centrifugal force. The arm triggers auto shut-off of the motor just after the nozzle drops off the outer edge of the record, so the cleaning operation, once initiated, can be left to look after itself. As noted in previous posts, the sacrificial nylon thread spacer used in the original Keith Monks machines and the Loricraft to keep the the nozzle away from the record surface has been dispensed with in the current Keith Monks models; the re-engineered nozzle has been designed to rest on the record surface and so provide more effective suction; a press-fit rubber puck is now used to hold the record on the turntable. The Redux machine retains the brush arm with integral fluid application (using the windscreen washer pump from the 2CV) of its predecessors, and its fluid reservoir and waste fluid containers are housed within the machine; the waste fluid container on the Loricraft is external to the case (a rather messy design IMO). The Redux also has a warning light and buzzer to indicate when the waste fluid container is full; this is useful, because the container fills up only slowly, and can easily be overlooked. A strong handle is fitted to the heavy gauge steel lid-cum-baseplate, and a stay is provided to hold the lid open while the fluid jars are being refilled or emptied. A power cutoff ensures that the machine is electrically isolated when the lid is open. All in all, a well thought out and easy to use device. David
  7. Curiously enough, while the WAM was down, I did some online research on the two machines. I can't have an opinion on reliability, of course, but I can agree with you to the extent that the Degritter looks like the better thought out design. I particularly like the idea of the removable tank. And it's a similar price to the Systeme as well. I note that the supplier in the UK that seems to stock the widest range of record cleaning equipment, Analogue Seduction, is currently featuring the Keith Monks Prodigy. At £800 here in the UK, it comes nicely between the conventional (and noisy) vacuum machines from the likes of Pro-ject and the (no longer available but allegedly to be replaced) Loricraft at £1,500 or £1700. Jon Monks claims that the Prodigy cleans as well as his more expensive machines, albeit a bit more slowly (2.5 minutes per side). Looks are, to my way of thinking a bit weird (think Tutankhamun's RCM), and you might have reservations about a machine made largely of grass (well, bamboo). As these things go, £800 is not too much to pay for an effective RCM. David
  8. I think that Thomas and I would both say that we are happy with the machines we have and use, but we can't say that we 'favour' them, because we haven't tried the alternatives. That said, I have my doubts that the overall ease of use and 'faff factor' of a machine such as the Systeme better those of my Monks Redux. The 'toaster' design of the Systeme (which is £500 more expensive than the Monks machine, btw) looks attractive in ease of use terms, but there are issues. Firstly, though the Systeme drying system is clever, it is still blow drying, potentially leaving cleaning fluid residues. The targeted vacuuming of the Redux small nozzle system reduces this risk considerably. Also, cleaning is a bit slower on cavitation devices, because cleaning and drying are fully sequential operations, whereas they are combined in vacuum machines. So, although the latter only clean one side of the LP at a time, they can actually be quicker overall. Audio Desk claim a 5 minute cleaning time for the Systeme. My Redux cleans a side (fluid application and vacuuming) in about 90 seconds. Then there is the question of how, with the cavitation machine, you deal with several litres of cleaning fluid sloshing around. I'm not sure how viable or sensible it is to leave the Systeme filled with partially used fluid between cleaning sessions that might be weeks or months apart. And it presumably has to be emptied and refilled before you move it. Finding a place in the house to keep an RCM can be tricky, so arrangements for handling fluid might be a significant logistic issue. My Redux, on the other hand, only uses about 5 ml of fluid per side cleaned, and the clean and used fluid reservoirs are sealed plastic jars, each located in its own recess inside the case, which can therefore be readily moved without being emptied. All of this means that RCMs, of any description, should be 'try before you buy' items. That was the main attraction of the Monks machine for me; I could use it before I committed to it. Which in turn means that, while the relative advantages and disadvantages of particular machines are interesting, the machine you should buy is the one your friendly dealer has let you try and which you have found to be usable for your purposes. If a demo is not possible, it might be sensible to limit the spend, and accept the limitations of something like the Velvet Vortex. David
  9. Thanks @HH2010 for an interesting post. It is perhaps worth noting that the Loricraft as we know it is no more. A week ago, Loricraft, now part of SME, made the following announcement: "Loricraft Audio would like to make you aware that the manufacture of all existing models of Loricraft Record Cleaning Machines will cease with immediate effect and no further orders will be taken from the date of this announcement. We are currently in the process of developing, engineering and testing a new improved version of the hugely successful existing version with a new cabinet and upgraded mechanical components whilst maintaining the functionality, operation and importantly the performance. We envisage this new improved model to be fully tested, certified and available for sale in Q1 2021." As, from what I have learned from Jon Monks, Loricraft machines have not been produced for several months now, this announcement means that they will, at best, have been out of the market for the better part of a year when sales resume, if they resume. The recent track record of their parent company has not been stellar in that regard. David
  10. As so often, the markets in the US and Europe seem to be somewhat different. Probably the best established cavitation machine on this side of the pond is the Audio Desk Systeme, which I have not seen, much less used, but which has been given favourable reviews by people here I normally agree with, including @MickC. From what I have seen online of the Kirmuss (and its maker), I tend to agree with your assessment of it. A similarly priced UK product which can be used with a lot less faff, and whose maker is not into disputes with other people, is the Velvet Vortex (https://velvetvortex.com), which is highly rated by a number of people on the WAM general forum. I did wonder whether the VV could be used for the first stages of @ThomasOK's suggested process, as it is certainly suitable for use with the quadruple distilled water that he favours, but I don't know whether the VV, which seems to be the product of a kitchen table business using 3D printing, is exported outside the UK. A friend and I did have a plan to buy a VV to try it out, but, sadly he has now moved away, so that plan came to nothing. In other respects, I agree with Thomas' concerns about residues remaining on the disk. There is an interesting new post on the Record Cleaning Machines topic (https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/136515-experiences-with-record-cleaning-machines/page/6/?tab=comments#comment-2629765), which suggests that ll cleaning fluids can leave residues that affect the friction between stylus and record groove.For his part, while Jon Monks admits to having little knowledge of cavitation machines, he does express concern that using the same cleaning bath for multiple records could be a source of cross-contamination. Heavier dirt particles do tend to sink to the bottom of the tank or be removed by any filter that is used, but vinyl is a hydrocarbon product which will release oils that tend to form a suspension in the cleaning bath. Using new fluid for each record cleaned and then vacuuming it away gets round that problem. David
  11. Given Linn's wish to maintain its different product levels, I would expect that too. Which, given the pricing of the parent clearaudio arm, will create an interesting situation. Are Linn going to undercut clearaudio on the pricing a product sourced from them? How inferior (in Tunedem testing) to the Akito can the Krane be, or indeed afford to be? Will Linn resolve any inconsistencies by increasing the price of the Akito? I could be wrong, but I don't see this element of the product range settling down very easily. David
  12. No. Listen first. As initial deliveries will not be until the latter part of next month, you have a while to wait. And there's a good chance that the performance of your Ekos will still be closer to that of the current top of the range Ekos SE/1 than that of the new Krane arm. David
  13. I have used both, as the (non Linn) Hi-Fi store in our local town has a record cleaning service using the VCS. There are quite a few Keith Monks models. I use the discOveryOne Redux, which is the more fully featured (and expensive) of the two models produced for the home user market. It is impossible to do true A/B testing of RCMs, as, once a record is cleaned, you cannot return it to its previous state to try on another machine. But I am sure that the Redux gets more dirt off the record surface, so the records sound better after cleaning, than the VCS. The build quality is also better, and cleaning is quicker, a lot quieter, and involves less faff. The downside? The Redux costs three times as much as the VCS and is intended to use special cleaning fluid (albeit only about 5ml per side cleaned) which is only available from stockists. There is a much less expensive Monks machine, the Prodigy, which is made largely of bamboo, and is supposed to work as well as the Redux, albeit more slowly and lacking some of the convenience features of its more costly sibling. The Prodigy does use the "small nozzle" technology of the other Monks machines, which I think is the key to their effectiveness. David
  14. The SINGularity is dual mono, has solid copper cases, and costs (UK price) £32,000. Few of us have heard it, @ThomasOK being a very definite exception. Rather more in the realm of the possible is the Lejonklou Entity, developed in the light of experience with the SINGularity. This MC phono stage is considerably cheaper than either Urika, but Thomas, for example, is firmly of the opinion that it outperforms them both. I have heard the Entity in my system compared with the Urika II, and IMO it's hard to pick a winner on sound quality; the Urika II wins in terms of system integration, and the Entity wins on price. People who have compared the Urika with the Urika II mostly seem to prefer the latter, so it did not come as much of a surprise to me that Thomas reported that he has customers who have replaced the Urika with the Entity. David
  15. Good news. So now you need to make an exception for Konfig in McAfee. I hope that's reasonably straightforward. David