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Linn Owners

A new DAC for my LINN Karik or not

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Jan Atom

Newbie
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Apr 12, 2019
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Hi,

I am looking for an external DAC for streaming and connectivity (used max €500). I own a Linn Karik mk3, with slimline brilliant power supply and a Laser upgrade, it is in great shape and i like how it sounds. However it is old and It is not going to last forever. Will the Karik benefit sonically from the new DAC and is it still up for the task as a transport?

Use it as a transport connected to a new DAC?

Use it as a CD-player?

Get a newer CD player/transport?

Jan A

 

Tin

Is this thing on?
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Apr 13, 2019
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DACs have evolved a lot the last decade and, if you're up to it, I'd suggest replacing it for a network streamer as those are the logical choice in the Linn universe.

Luckily Linn makes very good ones, although €500 maybe a tad difficult.

If you're going for an external DAC, there are a myriad of options, like the €200 Audioquest Dragonfly. Look it up, it will run.. fly.. circles around your Karik.

 

CnoEvil

Legend Wammer
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Aug 7, 2018
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FWIW. I had the original Karik Numerik....and a Linn Sneaky out performed it. You should be able to get a second hand one for around that budget....so I would get a NAS and move away from CD.

Please ignore if this is out of the question.

 

DavidHB

Well-Known Wammer
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Oct 9, 2018
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David
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@Jan Atom The answer depends on where you want to take your hi-fi in the longer term. If you are happy with the sound of your current system, the problem is in its likely longevity more than the need for immediate change.

Unsurprisingly, as it is now a decade since Linn gave up making CD players, they no longer support any of their CD models. Your laser upgrade was probably a very good investment, as that seems to be the part that gives most trouble. From my experience and reports on the old Linn forum, people tend to have more trouble with the CD transports than the CD electronics, so a new, separate DAC is not necessarily the best bit of future proofing for your current system.

I faced this same problem some six years ago (though by then my Linn Mimik had been replaced with a Roksan Kandy Mk. III, which I still have). In the end I bit the bullet and went the streaming route with an ADSM (costing me, of course, far more than €500). The CD player was (and still is, despite other system changes) digitally connected to my DSM, and so, in effect, had its DAC substantially upgraded. So I still had full access to my CD collection while it was still being progressively ripped to the server for streaming purposes. These days, there is another option for DSM owners who don't enjoy ripping and tagging CDs (I do); leave the CD collection and player as they are and use them as before, while also subscribing to one or more of the streaming services.

Frankly, if €500 really is the total budget, I'd be inclined to hold on to what you have and put the money into an upgrade fund for the day when you finally lose the Karik. Tim is correct in saying that newer DACs are far superior to those of a decade ago (and streamers generally perform better than CD players), but the Dragonfly that he mentions (I have one) is a USB device, so very different from what you are running now. If CnoEvil is correct, and you can get a Sneaky DSM (rather than the DS, as you will want to connect the Karik) within budget, that would certainly be an option. But you might well find that future proofing with longer term satisfaction is only achievable, with any make of kit, at a much higher price than your current budget.

David

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jan Atom

Newbie
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Apr 12, 2019
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  1. No
Thanks David,

@Jan Atom The answer depends on where you want to take your hi-fi in the longer term. If you are happy with the sound of your current system, the problem is in its likely longevity more than the need for immediate change.
All is good, really, external DAC is for streaming and wanted to know if the Karik would benefit from being connected to an external DAC. Almost any DAC is better than no DAC, really. I use analoge output from my devices at the moment, and compared with other sources i can hear that my system would benefit from an upgrade.

 leave the CD collection and player as they are and use them as before, while also subscribing to one or more of the streaming services.
Exactly! Since i am going to use the Karik until it wears out and like the way it sounds :)  however will not complaint if it sounds better with an external DAC.

Frankly, if €500 really is the total budget, I'd be inclined to hold on to what you have and put the money into an upgrade fund for the day when you finally lose the Karik.

David
Well, that is my budget at the moment. I am not aiming for a high end DAC at the moment, just want to get me started with what i got. Having just landed my current setup, i have no plans swapping major components for a long while. I have a few DACs in mind, Schiit gets good reviews, second hand Hegel, Rega and Cambridge Audio DACs are also interesting, they are all almost 20 years younger than the Karik. The main point is to get the most out of streaming services like Tidal and Spotify, and streaming bandcamp from my Mac and iOs devices.

 

Jan Atom

Newbie
Wammer
Apr 12, 2019
5
0
0
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
FWIW. I had the original Karik Numerik....and a Linn Sneaky out performed it. You should be able to get a second hand one for around that budget....so I would get a NAS and move away from CD.

Please ignore if this is out of the question.
Thanks  :)

 

Jan Atom

Newbie
Wammer
Apr 12, 2019
5
0
0
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
DACs have evolved a lot the last decade and, if you're up to it, I'd suggest replacing it for a network streamer as those are the logical choice in the Linn universe.

Luckily Linn makes very good ones, although €500 maybe a tad difficult.

If you're going for an external DAC, there are a myriad of options, like the €200 Audioquest Dragonfly. Look it up, it will run.. fly.. circles around your Karik.
Thanks, i have done some reading. Looks good, but i need connectivity as well, listed a few alternatives above here somewhere :)

 

Tin

Is this thing on?
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Apr 13, 2019
619
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HiFi Trade?
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Thanks, i have done some reading. Looks good, but i need connectivity as well, listed a few alternatives above here somewhere :)
Owning a DSM, I can full heartedly recommend those, but you may need to rob someone first. Maybe you can find volunteers here?

I'd step in, but I'm afraid I have plans that evening. 😇

Anyway, if you're prepared to rip music, you won't miss the Karik.

And, you could add the Pioneer N50-A or N70-A to your list maybe.

 

Jan Atom

Newbie
Wammer
Apr 12, 2019
5
0
0
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Owning a DSM, I can full heartedly recommend those, but you may need to rob someone first. Maybe you can find volunteers here?

I'd step in, but I'm afraid I have plans that evening. 😇

Anyway, if you're prepared to rip music, you won't miss the Karik.

And, you could add the Pioneer N50-A or N70-A to your list maybe.
Sometime in the future i might rip some of my CDs and go down the NAS road, i actually used to have my music ripped to my macs ages ago, and my CDs were stuffed away. For now i am ok with the old school routine. Will be checking out the N50/70, thanks :)

 

sktn77a

Audio Dinosaur
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Nov 11, 2014
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AKA
Keith
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The DAC in the Karik, though old, is probably as good, or better, than anything you're likely to find for €500.  As stated above, it's the mechanics and optics on CD players that tend to go out, rather than the electronics.  I'd stick with the Karik until it gives up the ghost or your budget can be increased for a replacement.