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Posts posted by DavidHB

  1. Let's face facts. "Optimal sound" is about as real as the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.. There is no point in trying to go there. The really clever trick is in training ourselves to get maximum enjoyment  from what we have. Then each upgrade becomes not another step along the road to an unattainable ideal but a process of discovery in itself and valid in its own terms.


    • Upvote 6
  2. 2 hours ago, Phobic said:

    I can't really see much point in separating out the streamer in the Akubarik exakt setup

    Obviously, Series 3 demonstrates that what you propose is a functionally viable setup. But it would ne interesting to see what styling and ergonomics Linn would come up with to provide on device control functionality. There's also the question as to what the expectations of the customer base might be at the £30K+ price point of the system. Would Linn be prepared to reduce that price if it no longer includes a System Hub, I wonder?


    • Like 1
  3. 5 hours ago, Dasher said:

    The principle behind mass vaccination is to protect the society, not the individual.

    Yes, I know this. So does my family, but they are still insistent that I should be vaccinated before I travel at all far afield. A classic illustration of the fact that, though there are always reasons for what we do, it does not follow that those reasons are always rational.


  4. 6 minutes ago, Brock44 said:

    congratulations on your "promotion" to Tier 3, David O.o

    That's what we get for being so near you lot in Tier 4 ... :( 

    7 minutes ago, Brock44 said:

    When I added the Klimax Renew to my system I was shocked at the sheer punch of the signal it produced - it blew both me and my amps/speakers away quite conclusively, and caused considerable listening fatigue.

    That's just wrong. I Assuming (1) that the KRDS is working normally and (2) you turned off its internal volume control,. Then even an original spec KRDS should significantly outperform a Sneaky, not the other way round. Did you by any chance try reinstating the volume control on the KRDS, and connecting it directly to the Klouts, bypassing the Kairn? I note that the DS output has (as I would expect) a rated sensitivity output sensitivity 2V RMS/150 Ohms at unity gain (i.e with the volume control off), while the Kairn CD input sensitivity is specified as 188mV/24 kilohms. Others more knowledgeable than I will be able to say whether this constitutes a mismatch.

    35 minutes ago, Brock44 said:

    I can only assume that my older system was designed by Linn to get as much as possible out of weaker old sources, but that the more modern systems offer the possibility of significantly more effective control. Could this be part of the difference between older Linn gear and the modern products?

    This seems unlikely. The Sneaky, like the KRDS, outputs at 2V RMS at unity gain (but has an output impedance of 300 Ohms)


    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1
  5. Well, 2020 started with the Karousel and Kandid upgrade and finished with the replacement of my second system with an MDSM/4 and a pair of 109s, and there was a lot of enjoyable listening in between.

    There are two things I want for 2021. The first is for my dealer Chris Fuller of Hidden Systems to recover from the serious illness he has had. And the second is to get vaccinated against COVID, so that I can visit him at his shop in Windsor, and see what kind of upgrade rabbit he can pull out of his hat.


    • Like 6
  6. 17 hours ago, Elad Repooc said:

    My criticism wasn't leveled towards their final verdict, but rather the subjective nature of the review as a whole and the lack of information with respect to features that were slighted (SO2) instead of more fully explored.

    While I might not have been quite as forthright as you, this was essentially my concern as well. A competent review will among other things, base whatever conclusions it reaches on considered facts and informed judgement. As IMO both were signally deficient in the review under discussion, the competence of the said review is in serious doubt. My own experience of the actual product, probably over a longer period than the reviewers had it is sufficiently at variance with what the review says that I consider it misleading and a disservice to the buying public.


  7. 39 minutes ago, sunbeamgls said:

    It could be a pair of 302 versions which need an Exakted DSM of some description.

    Of course. That makes sense. I was puzzling over the connections I could see. Now I think about it, was not Neale buying the 302s for use as rears? That could mean that he is driving them from his DSM in the other room.

    39 minutes ago, sunbeamgls said:

    Strange that Urika II can be connected but not EDSM?

    I think it can. It's just that, in the diagram you show, all 3 Exakt ports are in use.


  8. On 24/12/2020 at 01:11, Elad Repooc said:

    I agree this is complicated for the typical end user, but to be fair to Linn they do have an expectation (rightfully so I think) that the dealer at least attempt to perform this service.

    This is, at least in part, a valid point, given the way that Linn uses the dealer network to market its products. But circumstances alter cases. I think that the majority of users would be ill-advised to set up their own LP12, for instance. But the MDSM/4 which is the subject of this thread, is hardly more difficult to set up than a Sonos, which a user would expect to install. As we all know, setting up electronic gear of any kind is is as much about availability of information as about user competence and confidence. There are cases (dismantling and setting up the system during a house move, for instance) where, even if the initial setup was done by the dealer, we would normally expect to do the job ourselves. That is the point at which the messy presentation of the required information creates an issue, IMO unnecessarily. I think we are pretty much agreed on that.

    On 24/12/2020 at 04:43, 90sLinn said:

    Most of my fellow Linnies left the former Linn forum for exactly that reason; that SO is robbing much of the life from the music (relatively speaking of course) and that ”new” Linn has made a turn for a more analytical sound.

    It would be equally true to say that some of us started buying Linn kit in earnest because the sound was not so much more analytical as more real and immediate than the competition could offer. It think that it is wise to assume that debates on this point are at least as much about what listeners are like as about what the kit is like. As regards Space Optimisation, I can only report that, after setting it up and testing it on my MDSM/4 in less than half an hour (and I'm a slow worker on these things), SO transformed the bass output from muddy and ill-balanced to precise and well integrated. Even though I had done SO (admittedly version 1) with the 109s before, I was surprised how much of a difference it made.


  9. 56 minutes ago, SnapperMike said:

    Please excuse my ignorance, but why do you connect the series 3 speakers to your KDSM if there are already amps, wifi and DACs inside them?

    I thought that Neale actually had a KEDSM, though that's not what his Wigwam info says. Either way, he must be running his Exakt 350s from an Exakt port on the DSM. Depending on which model Neale does have, there are either two or four such ports, and I guess that the only way he can be running the Series 3s is from another Exakt port.

    Later: it now occurs to me that Neale is also using the Urika II. So if he has a KDSM, its two ports will be insufficient for both sets of speakers and the Urika. The KEDSM, with four ports, would be fine.


  10. Perhaps the most sensible antidote to the review is a discussion of what the MDSM/4 is actually like.

    The casework certainly seems plainer than I had been led to expect from pictures, but plain is not the same thing as "less premium". The cleverly machined pattern of ventilation slots, and the Linn logo at the left rear corner, on the top of the case are clear indications that the device is not meant to be stacked or shoved into a tight shelf space.

    The rear panel is as orderly and as well labelled as we have come to expect, though the presence of a USB socket will prompt a wry smile from those who remember Linn's former outspoken hostility to USB. Even now, the socket is for audio playback only, not to connect storage devices. The rear mounted mains switch will be regarded by some as a regression, but, if, as intended, the device is placed on a shelf or the top of a cabinet, the switch is fully accessible.

    The display is, in terms of quality of presentation, better than anything else I have seen from Linn (other than the Selekt, of course). It is far superior to the display on my KEDSM. The buttons are both neat and easy to use. The case buttons, including the 'joystick' are neat but not overly fiddly to use. There's the sense that the device is there to do a job reliably and without fuss.

    There are some niggles (none mentioned in the review, incidentally). Those ventilation slots reveal that three blue LEDs have been fitted to the main board, and that they glow brightly whenever the device is powered. The light shines up through the slots, and can be annoying in a darkened room. There seems to be no way of turning the LEDs off.

    Setup is also more complicated than it should be, because there is no single document that tells the new owner, step by step, what he or she needs to do to get the device working. I have now owned four DSMs; this is the one on which, even as an experienced user, I have found it hardest to navigate through the documentation, while, for different aspects of the setup process, I have found myself using three separate applications - Kazoo, the Linn Account and Konfig. I had dealer help with the installation, but the setup should be no more complex in most cases than setting up an old-style component Hi-Fi and well within the capabilities of many owners.Tidying up the documentation would make this process a good deal easier.

    The final niggle relates to the power amplification. The inbuilt class D amplifiers do deliver the same 100wpc RMS into 4 Ohms as their Chakra counterparts in the previous MDSMs.  However, the Class D amplifiers have, as the documentation makes clear, significantly lower gain than their predecessors. I find that music I would play at a volume setting of 50 to 55 on my main system, needs, for a similar perceived volume level, to be played at a setting of 60 to 65 on the MDSM.This difference is a small irritation when moving between my systems. I have set the startup volume on the MDSM to 60, which helps.

    But, of course, most of the above is of relatively little significance compared to what the MDSM sounds like, with the M109s with which it is paired in the Linn marketing literature.  Now that the system has been pretty much run in, it is proving itself fully capable of bringing out the character and dynamic of any music it is asked to play. There is a fullness and an immediacy in the sound picture which keeps the listener's attention and is very enjoyable. There is less sense of the acoustic environment in which the music is playing than there is in my primary (Exakt) system, and also some limitation in the tonal range. As would be expected, the lower bass is somewhat lacking in depth, but that is an inevitable limitation of the 109s or almost any reasonably priced standmount speaker, and previous experience tells me that it is fixable with a decent subwoofer. (I have already reported that a simple application of SO v2, using the room model inherited from the Kiko that was the MDSM's predecessor, tightened up the bass and greatly improved the tonal balance of the system.)

    As I indicated in my previous post, I see the MDSM/4 plus passive speaker setup as all the Hi-Fi many music lovers and even some audiophiles will need, neatly packaged and sensibly priced. The Kiko served me well for six years, but the MDSM has proved to be all of the substantial upgrade I was looking for. In terms of value for money, I think that it challenges pretty much everything that sits above it in the Linn product hierarchy.


    • Like 3
  11. 38 minutes ago, ThomasOK said:

    The Entity does have switchable input resistance with settings of 180 Ohms (optimal for Krystal and similar)), 120 Ohms (optimal for Kandid and similar) and 90 Ohms for some of the very low impedance MC cartridges like Lyra SLs and similar.

    Perhaps I should have said that the Lejonklou phono stages do not require regular user intervention; once the switch position has been set for the cartridge, the Entity, like the Slipsik, can be placed in any suitable free space at the back of the shelf, out of sight.


  12. 16 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

    I thought the conclusion of the Verdict actually did cover its suitability as an All in One quite well, though as you say I’m not entirely persuaded with rock tracks being compared with a Naim Atom to give me great confidence!  They said:- “Music streaming has come a long way over the past few years, and Linn’s just-add-speakers system shows just how high-quality, convenient and flexible such propositions can be.”

    This is, I concede, to an extent fair comment, albeit more generous than I am prepared to be. What the review does not do explicitly, however, is describe one or more actual use cases and relate the product to those cases, thereby providing an assessment from the user perspective. With all-in-one products particularly, this is important. The MDSM/1 was, I found, unsuited to the use case of my primary system. Its /4 successor is ideal as my second system. For a prospective purchaser, that kind of experience-based information is invaluable.

    The comments on both SO and sound quality are so much at variance with my experience of the MDSM/4 over the past couple of weeks that I can only believe some kind of external bias is at work. Now I'm not saying that the MDSM/M109 combination is the best system I have ever heard (my much more expensive primary system is in another league and does a different job), but I am saying that it is at least as good as the Quad and LS3/5A system I had for over 20 years, and which cost me in real terms a lot more money. If I were using the MDSM as a primary system, I'd probably add a subwoofer (I had one with the LS3/5As). If my late wife were still alive, that configuration might be all the Hi-Fi system we would want or need for the 2020s. I suspect that there are plenty of people in a similar situation. To the extent that this review deters such people from listening to the MDSM/4 for themselves, it is seriously unhelpful.


  13. 5 hours ago, Matteo said:

    Obviously, Linn are not giving What Hi-Fi enough advertising revenue. This is a mealy-mouthed review if ever I read one.

    There are two criticisms of the MDSM/4. The first is of the build quality. When you read the review, you find that the criticism is not of the physical build quality, but of the styling, which the reviewer finds rather plain in comparison with the Selekt and its joystick control. A comment which IMO definitely fails the "so what?" test. As the owner of an MDSM/4 and a previous owner of an ADSM/1, I'd say that the build quality of the former is, for all practical purposes, similar to that of the latter (the extra thickness of the Alurate case is the main difference).

    The other criticism is enunciated in these words: "The Linn Majik DSM is not as versatile and all-encompassing in the sound department as it is for its features and that ultimately costs it a fifth star." What on earth that is supposed to mean I have not the faintest idea. We are told is that the reviewer prefers the Naim Uniti Atom on some tracks. But the range of musical comparisons that are reported seems pretty narrow to me, with no classical music and (unless my limited knowledge is at fault) no jazz either.

    The reviewer also judges Space Optimisation on the basis of a short and badly self-taught acquaintance. I found myself wanting to shout in his ear that the simple use of the one preference slider - in other words, pretty much the simplest tweak imaginable - would have changed his view completely. But then, perhaps the editorial direction had been that the review had to be a bit sniffy, justifiably or otherwise.

    A useful review would have considered likely use cases for a product such as the MDSM, and assessed the extent to which it meets possible requirements. There's none of that here. The obvious question - "is this ,'just add speakers' solution all the HiFi users with £4K to spend are likely to need?" - is not even hinted at. All we get is an ill-focused and ill-informed expression of subjective opinion. It's just such a pity that people out there who could make good use of an MDSM/4 will believe this nonsense.


  14. 2 hours ago, Dasher said:

    I wouldn't sat that the ADSM card is bad - the Uphorik is just better - even with my lowly cartridge!

    Quite And you'd find that, as you'd expect, the Urika is better again, though there is reason to believe that the Lejonklou Entity tops the bill for MC users who do not have Exakt systems.  For MM users, I think that the Lejonklou Slipsik 7 is in a class of its own among phono stages I have heard. Incidentally, the Lejonklou phono stages are quite tiny and require no user intervention, so in many systems they can be hidden at the back of a shelf, thereby not adding to the visible box count.


  15. On 21/12/2020 at 10:12, TooManyCatweazles said:

    If there is something like a 'Linn family', he's certainly one of the elder brothers.

    I'm not sure that Linn would agree; Chris can manage a nice line in tweaking their tails from time to time. Which IMO is all to the good from the customer perspective.

    I shall be thinking of Chris a lot over the holiday period. Much as I dislike it, I'd far rather have the kind of lockdown that is facing us all here than the kind he is having to face.


    • Like 1
  16. On 21/12/2020 at 14:46, zee9 said:

    I know that’s no solo

    The Klout is in a number of respects a precursor to the Solo, and is certainly closer to it than any other Linn amplifier design. IIRC, the main difference, apart from power output, is that the power supplies in the Klout are transformer based, whereas the Solo has always had some form of SMPS (which has been Dynamik for some years now).


  17. 4 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

    As mentioned above we tried it also with non-Linn (where we were able to switch between 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s).

    What applies to other brands may not be relevant to whatever design Linn produces. If you use your test as a basis for criticising Linn's choice of connection speed, you are not really comparing apples and apples.

    6 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

    I bet the next generation of Linn Streamer will provide 1 Gbit/s (because older hardware isn’t available anymore

    Arguably, the next generation of Linn streamers is already here, in the form of the Selekt and, more recently, the MDSM/4. Both of which have 100Mbps connections.


  18. 12 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

    I tried it with several different setups with Linn DS and other DAC who support 1 Gbit/s. Using a NAS with different NetCards where I can switch between 100 MBit/s and 1 Gbit/s

    Yes, but that was at the NAS end. At the DS/DSM end, it's always been 100Base-T. Which in turn of course means that the connection to the DS/DSM always runs at 100Mbps. I'm not denying that changing the switch can sometimes have an effect on sound quality (which IMO is likely to be noise-related*), but the change cannot be a function of connection speed as such, as that does not vary.


    *I have seen your suggestion that sound quality changes are the result of varying jitter in the network connection, on several occasions, including in a certain cable manufacturer's literature. But I have yet to see any explanation of how packet switched data, which is buffered, clocked and rendered as a stream at the receiving end can be subject to jitter generated at the sending end or in the cable.

  19. 19 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

    I really don‘t know why Linn uses a standard of the last millennium. Even 100 Mbit/s are enough for 192/24 a 1 Gbit/s line sounds better.

    it's adequate to do what is required of the port, and, as I said, I suspect it's less noisy than a gigabit port, which helps to keep the analogue noise floor down. How can a gigabit port sound better? And even if it did, how would you know? Linn DSs and DSMs have only ever had 100Base-T ports.

    1 minute ago, Phobic said:

    And Sorry David, you were right :$

    Thank you. But I did misread your post, so I guess  it's a case of :$ all round, But who cares, it's nearly Christmas.


    • Like 1
  20. 5 hours ago, PeterHawks said:

    By restarting the DSM the problem was solved. Later it appeared again. By what is it caused? Can I prevent it from happening?

    The fact that you can get everything  working, and then the system fails again later, suggests (but does not prove) that the fault is less with individual components than with some or all of the connections between them, in other words the network - both the wireless and wired components, though with suspicion tending to fall on the former. I have in the past been accused of jumping to the conclusion that a fault is in the network, so I should perhaps explain my reasons for looking at that first.

    In a networked streaming system there are for the purposes of discussion three logical components, all implemented in software or firmware and typically on separate, network connected, devices. These components are the renderer (i.e the player, implemented in the DS/DSM), the server (on a computer of NAS, or perhaps just a streaming service) and the control point (on a computer, tablet or phone). The industry standard network messaging protocol which "glues" these components together into a single coherent system is called UPnP AV. For reasons I will not bore you with, Linn developed their own variant of UPnP AV, called OpenHome, and offer the OpenHome programming stack as open source software; it is used by a few other player manufacturers, including Lumin and Auralic. Most other manufacturers stick with UpnP AV, because it underpins the now dominant DLNA 'standard'.

    In OpenHome, the master copy of the player settings and playlist resides in the renderer, that is in the DS/DSM. Your control point (Kazoo) is only used to browse and select music from the server library, issue playing instructions to the renderer, and receive and display feedback from the renderer on the current status of the player. This feedback, in particular, requires virtually continuous messaging between the renderer and the control point; most users would be astonished at just how much messaging is required. Obviously, if the messaging is interrupted, the control point will cease to function, even if playback continues normally.

    Sadly, even when network issues are suspected, diagnosing them can be a right royal pain, which is why resetting the DS/DSM or even the whole network is often used, as you have used it, to force reconnection. As you have also discovered, this is rarely a long term solution.  In order to offer a sensible solution in your case, we'd really need, as @Nopiano says, to know what equipment you are using, and what your network topology (what router you are using, and how the various components are connected to each other) looks like, to be able to offer relevant suggestions. There are a couple of general points I can make now, however.

    Firstly, even in this day and age of decent powerline connectors and improving Wifi standards, the server device should really be connected to the player via wired Ethernet. As this is the default in a Linn system, we will tend to assume that this is how you are doing things unless you advise otherwise. Conventional wisdom also says that, ideally, the DS/DSM should be connected to the same switch as the server device. Connection via multiple switches can be perfectly viable, but there are more potential points of failure.

    If you are running your control point(s) on wireless devices (phones and tablets, for example), decent Wifi is a must. For a control point, raw bandwidth is less important than responsiveness and continuity of connection. A  current AC standard wireless access point, AC standard connectivity on the mobile device, and a clear (ideally line of sight) signal path between the WAP and the device can transform the reliability of a system. But we won't know whether this would be relevant to your system  until we know more about your setup.

    I hope this helps.


  21. 7 hours ago, Newton John said:

    All is well now except I have lost the BT Digital Voice that comes with the BT Hub so we have no home telephone. Everybody was of the opinion that this was a small price to pay for reliable internet.

    An interesting sign of the times. I assume that your house is not wired for both conventional phone and internet. If there are standard  phone sockets, they can perhaps be run from the house master socket, which these days should have both phone and broadband outlets, as well as a built in filter to stop the one interfering with the other.


  22. 59 minutes ago, Brock44 said:

    By the time Covid restrictions end I will probably be desperate for some sea air!

    They're still allowing you to take a windswept walk on Southsea Common, aren't they? Mark you, with the way the wind is blowing a hoolie round my house, and so probably yours, at the moment, no form of outdoor exercise actually seems inviting ...

    59 minutes ago, Brock44 said:

    Your point about the Adikt is interesting as it's certainly a cartridge I've been very pleased with so far. The limited lifespan and high price of MC cartridges does worry me, so this and the phono stage may well make for a convenient later step in the chain.

    I have to admit that I too dithered and worried about committing myself to MC cartridges. I did take the plunge, partly because - I admit - having an Exakt system made the Urika II rather attractive (which was definitely putting the cart before the horse). I'm very happy with my eventual choice, but it's not the one I would necessarily recommend to everyone.

    The thing is that Krystal vs Kandid is rather like Lingo 4 vs. Radikal; the less expensive component is undoubtedly the better value in pure cost/benefit terms, but the more expensive component brings something rather special to the table. Given their relative positions in the hierarchy (which works pretty well as a prioritised to-do list), there is a better case for splashing the extra cash on the Radikal than on the Kandid and an MC phono stage. But opinions will vary, and, as kelly200269 says, your own ears need to be the judge of what suits you best. So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to as many LP12 configurations as possible between now and your decision day. Before deciding on my own baseline LP12 specification, I listened to four LP12 builds in comparison with the Basik from which I was upgrading.

    59 minutes ago, Brock44 said:

    I would in many ways prefer to bite the bullet if I can and aim for a target specification rather than incremental upgrades, hence my original question.

    That's very understandable. If, after listening, you decide that one or more decisions cannot be rushed, there might be merit in splitting the process into two stages - those things that can be done now and those things that require further thought. I did a bit of that along the way, but that was partly because I was uncertain now much I would use the LP12 once I had it. When I found myself using it more than expected, further upgrades were justified. Doing things in stages is indeed a bit more messy and expensive, but it also provides more opportunities for discovery at each stage, which is a big part of the fun.


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