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Aktiv Majik 140’s, to Aktiv Akubark’s Anyone?


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51 minutes ago, BB1 said:

I’d assume that the difference between KEBs and AEB 10 has become smaller with Katalyst. As you’ve stated, fitting all electronics into the space available has on effect on SQ. The AEB 10/0’s PCB was rather crowded. This might be reason for reports stating that two AEB 6/0s sound better than one AEB 10/0. With Katalyst the package density of the AEB 10 has been significantly reduced which leaves a lot of room for a better PCB layout. In the net result the improved layout might gain more SQ than the losses introduced by the usage of the DACs. The AEB 10/1 uses 5 DACs in stereo mode for its 10 output channels, whereas the KEB/1 uses 6 DACs in mono mode for its 6 output channels.

All of this makes sense to me, but I'd have to hear an A/B comparison to know whether it makes good sense. As I am enjoying my present setup so much, I could not justify the cost of upgrading to two KEB/1s to myself, much less anyone else. That being the case, I can hardly ask a dealer to go to the trouble of giving me a demo, and the price of the KEBs contains my curiosity rather well.

57 minutes ago, BB1 said:

Was my upgrade cost effective? Most likely not, but now I’m rather sure that I don’t need any upgrade on my source’s side for a longer period of time. I do also remember that you’ve replaced your AEDSM by an KEDSM. Unless using mainly analog sources, I wouldn’t call this upgrade cost effective as well. ;) Nevertheless I’ve to admit that I’ve replaced my AEDSM by an KSH…

In the end, if you have the money and your purchase gives you the pleasure you expected from it, then it has done its job. 'Cost-effectiveness' implies that there is some sort of value standard that applies more widely, and can be agreed upon (or at least referenced) by a range of interested parties, such as the participants in this forum.

I actually replaced an ADSM with the KEDSM, and my reference cost was the marginal cost of the upgrade. The decision process was very similar to your KEB purchase; I was able to compare the two components in my system as it was (pre-Katalyst Exakt), and decided that the KEDSM was worth the upgrade cost to me. Subsequently, I replaced my Basik turntable with  an LP12, so the ADC part of the KEDSM is now adding further value. All of that said, the biggest upgrade, at probably the smallest marginal cost, was in taking the AEB 10 from /0 to /1 standard.

Of course, all the other steps (KEDSM, original AEB, 4200/2200 amplification and the Akubariks) had to be in place for me to get full value from that final upgrade. I'd readily concede that cost effectiveness can be a bit tricky to assess in those circumstances. Even so, one only needs to look at the relative costs of two KEBs and a single AEB 10 to realise that, with the AEB 10/1 as good as it is, the KEBs have their work cut out to justify the differential.

David

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Well, I don't know anything about Aktiv Akubariks. Or maybe that's not entirely true: I once heard them hooked up to an Exakt system and wasn't too thrilled about the sound. I believe that was more caused by the way the Exakt system was configured than by the Akubariks. I have to confess, by the way, that I'm not a big fan of the "Exakt sound" and/or the pricing of Exakt products.

I have, however, heard passive Akubariks hooked up to a Klimax DS and was quite blown away of how good they sounded. So much blown away that I have ordered a pair of them - I will pick them up in London since we are going their for a short holiday end of September.

Must say that I really am looking forward to hearing them in my home setting. My complete set of Klimax DS/1 >> Klimax Kontrol/1 >> Klimax Solo's >> Akubariks will probably account for a very big happy smile on my face :-)

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2 hours ago, DutchWillem said:

Well, I don't know anything about Aktiv Akubariks. Or maybe that's not entirely true: I once heard them hooked up to an Exakt system and wasn't too thrilled about the sound. I believe that was more caused by the way the Exakt system was configured than by the Akubariks. I have to confess, by the way, that I'm not a big fan of the "Exakt sound" and/or the pricing of Exakt products.

I have, however, heard passive Akubariks hooked up to a Klimax DS and was quite blown away of how good they sounded. So much blown away that I have ordered a pair of them - I will pick them up in London since we are going their for a short holiday end of September.

Must say that I really am looking forward to hearing them in my home setting. My complete set of Klimax DS/1 >> Klimax Kontrol/1 >> Klimax Solo's >> Akubariks will probably account for a very big happy smile on my face :-)

Very similar to my setup!

Mick

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On 04/09/2019 at 21:13, BB1 said:

I’ve never had the opportunity to compare an AEB 10/1 with KEB/1s. The moment at which I’d decided that I have to buy KEBs was an Exakt event at my dealer. Keltiks with Klimax Tuneboxes, an AEB 10/0 and KEB/0s were demonstrated. The differences between these setups were huge. Not just noticeable, but more like listening to three different speakers.

I’d assume that the difference between KEBs and AEB 10 has become smaller with Katalyst. As you’ve stated, fitting all electronics into the space available has on effect on SQ. The AEB 10/0’s PCB was rather crowded. This might be reason for reports stating that two AEB 6/0s sound better than one AEB 10/0. With Katalyst the package density of the AEB 10 has been significantly reduced which leaves a lot of room for a better PCB layout. In the net result the improved layout might gain more SQ than the losses introduced by the usage of the DACs. The AEB 10/1 uses 5 DACs in stereo mode for its 10 output channels, whereas the KEB/1 uses 6 DACs in mono mode for its 6 output channels.

Was my upgrade cost effective? Most likely not, but now I’m rather sure that I don’t need any upgrade on my source’s side for a longer period of time. I do also remember that you’ve replaced your AEDSM by an KEDSM. Unless using mainly analog sources, I wouldn’t call this upgrade cost effective as well. ;) Nevertheless I’ve to admit that I’ve replaced my AEDSM by an KSH…

I've had KEB/1 in my system and currently use AEB6/1.  The level of detail extracted the the KEB/1 is extraordinary, but I found that distracted from the music.  For me, in my system, the AEB/1 is the more musical box.

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1 hour ago, 90sLinn said:

Interesting. Do you suspect something remains to be tuned in the setup or that Linn has gotten something quite wrong when an Akurate product is more musical than a Klimax dito.

Perhaps the KEB/1 is the proverbial "too clever for it's own good"

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3 hours ago, 90sLinn said:

Interesting. Do you suspect something remains to be tuned in the setup or that Linn has gotten something quite wrong when an Akurate product is more musical than a Klimax dito.

I think it could be system context as I've definitely enjoyed other systems containing KEB/1. My dealer thinks its because the AEDSM isn't good enough and the KEB/1 needs a KEDSM. Its possible I suppose and whilst the KEDSM sounds better than AEDSM, I don't think its enough of a change to explain this one.

Just for clarity the comparison was made using Akurate power amps, not my current Lejonklous.

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22 hours ago, sunbeamgls said:

I think it could be system context as I've definitely enjoyed other systems containing KEB/1. My dealer thinks its because the AEDSM isn't good enough and the KEB/1 needs a KEDSM. Its possible I suppose and whilst the KEDSM sounds better than AEDSM, I don't think its enough of a change to explain this one.

The only time I have been able to do an A/B comparison between a pair of KEBs and an AEB 10 was in pre-Katalyst days, with an AEDSM front end (those were the days when we didn't think there was a lot of difference, sound-wise, between the KEDSM and the AEDSM), a mixture of Akurate and Majik amplification and AKubariks. In that setup, the KEBs were to my ears definitely superior in sound quality (both smoother and more detailed, and generally a bit easier to listen to). However, the AEB 10 was itself so good that I didn't think that the extra cost of buying the KEBs was justified, even then.

The KEB 10/1 provides a really significant quality improvement over its predecessor, in part because a major design limitation of the 10/0 - the amount of electronics that had to be crammed on to the board - has been overcome in the much more open layout of the 10/1. I suspect that this has reduced the quality gap between the KEB and the AEB 10, while the price differential has, I believe, increased in real terms. So even if Sunbeam's experience is, as he acknowledges, not necessarily representative, the AEB will be much the better buy for all but the most well-heeled purchasers.

David

Edited by DavidHB
sunbeamgls' correction
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On 04/09/2019 at 22:54, kelly200269 said:

The only thing that puts me off this option, is that I’d probably be clamouring for Akurate level amplification rather than my Majik amps, before you could say ‘Akubarik’!

Basically all Chakra power amp designs are very similar. Each channel usually consists of an monolithic circuit (TDA 7293) paired with one pair (Majik) or two pairs of bipolar transistors (Akurate). The bipolar transistors are only in use if higher output power is required. A 200 W design requires two pairs of bipolar transistors, whereas one pair is sufficient for a 100 W design.

Majik 3100:

3100.jpg.2fe4c21f5341c719552aeff6e2a4aefc.jpg

1 to 3 are marking the output stage’s power devices for its three channels. The devices with 15 pins are TDA 7293, the devices with 3 pins are bipolar transistors. It’s worth to note, that a Majik 2100 uses the same main PCB as a 3100. The only difference is, that the components for the third channel aren’t assembled. Majik level amplifiers with more than 3 channels will contain another 3 channel PCB located at the other side of the housing.

Akkurate 2200:

2200.jpg.3e342184e2d6dc52ad8a1e63c892c2d8.jpg

As for the 3100, 1 and 2 are the output stage’s power devices for its two channels. It uses two pairs of bipolar transistors per channel. Additional channels are added by a second PCB.

So why an Akurate amp sounds better than a Majik amp if the additional output power is not needed? First of all, it obvious that there is more PCB space available for the two channels on Akurate level than for the three channels on Majik level. The power supply in use might also be better and in the worst case (M6100 vs. A4200) it has to supply less channels of amplification. The housing is different as well.

As you might be curious how the amplifier section of an integrated Akubarik looks like (it’s a Katylyst Exakt Akuburik, but its power stage design should be nearly similar to an Aktiv Akubarik), here it s:

Akubarik.thumb.jpg.0e9123d5558fc60904e342e381832ff9.jpg
1. Isobarik bass power stage consists of two TDA 7293 and two pairs bipolar transistors
2. Upper base power stage consists of a TDA 7293 and one pair of bipolar transistors
3. Mid range power stage consists of a TDA 7293 and one pair of bipolar transistors
4. Tweeter power stage only consists of a TDA 7293
5. Super tweeter power stage only consists of a TDA 7293

As you can see the output power stages of integrated Akubariks differ from the usual output stages used by external amplification at Majik and Akurate level for the isobaric bass as well as the tweeter and super tweeter. The omission of the bipolar transistor pair(s) for the tweeter and the super tweeter can be easily explained. There is no need for additional output power the bipolar transistors could provide. Hence omitting them saves board space. It’s not so easy to guess what’s the purpose of the two TDA 7293’s driving the isobarik basses. They might be used in parallel (increasing the current until the bipolar transistors comes into play) or bridge mode (increasing the available voltage).

Another drawback of all integrated speaker is that a high power demand on one channel would affect all circuits, as there is only power supply.

It’s not my intend to talk you into take the approach i’ve suggested. I haven’t made the comparison between Aktiv Aubariks and passive Akubariks driven by external Majik level amplifiers, but my gut feeling is, that passive Akubariks driven by external Majik level amplification would be at least at pair with Aktive Akubariks in terms of SQ. If you’re following this approach, you’ll need two additional channels of amplification. As the bass would benefit most from more power, I’d suggest buying on 2200 for driving them. Later on it might might be used for driving the super tweeters if the rest of system is driven by two 4200s.   
 

Edited by BB1
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^ great post BB1, thank you for the insight.

I think your analysis is broadly correct, but interested in the non-power device parts of Majik vs Akurate amps. They do look quite different in terms of IC types and component count (eg the small brown cuboid devices which I assume are caps) on a per channel basis. Or I might be being far too superficial, which is entirely probable!

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6 hours ago, DavidHB said:

The only time I have been able to do an A/B comparison between a pair of KEBs and an AEB 10 was in pre-Exakt days, with an AEDSM front end (those were the days when we didn't think there was a lot of difference, sound-wise, between the KEDSM and the AEDSM), a mixture of Akurate and Majik amplification and AKubariks. In that setup, the KEBs were to my ears definitely superior in sound quality (both smoother and more detailed, and generally a bit easier to listen to). However, the AEB 10 was itself so good that I didn't think that the extra cost of buying the KEBs was justified, even then.

The KEB 10/1 provides a really significant quality improvement over its predecessor, in part because a major design limitation of the 10/0 - the amount of electronics that had to be crammed on to the board - has been overcome in the much more open layout of the 10/1. I suspect that this has reduced the quality gap between the KEB and the AEB 10, while the price differential has, I believe, increased in real terms. So even if Sunbeam's experience is, as he acknowledges, not necessarily representative, the AEB will be much the better buy for all but the most well-heeled purchasers.

David

Sorry for being a pedant David, but I assume you mean pre-Katalyst days?

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Top post by @BB1Wonderful Chakra Amps 101 :) I feel I know what's going on in there now!

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8 hours ago, sunbeamgls said:

^ great post BB1, thank you for the insight.

I think your analysis is broadly correct, but interested in the non-power device parts of Majik vs Akurate amps. They do look quite different in terms of IC types and component count (eg the small brown cuboid devices which I assume are caps) on a per channel basis. Or I might be being far too superficial, which is entirely probable!

Yes, very informative BB1, although I’m under the impression that 350s have multiple power supplies. I seem to recall that explaining the cost of the Dynamik upgrade.

’troll

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11 hours ago, sunbeamgls said:

... I assume you mean pre-Katalyst days?

Yes,, I did. Thanks for the helpful correction; I have amended the post.

David

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On 07/09/2019 at 01:29, sunbeamgls said:

^ great post BB1, thank you for the insight.

I think your analysis is broadly correct, but interested in the non-power device parts of Majik vs Akurate amps. They do look quite different in terms of IC types and component count (eg the small brown cuboid devices which I assume are caps) on a per channel basis. Or I might be being far too superficial, which is entirely probable!

No, you are not being too superficial. The "small brown cuboid devices" (which color is actually closer to yellow than brown ;) ) are tantalum capacitors. Usually they provide bulk capacitance for the local supply voltage. In conjunction with much smaller (in size and capacitance value) ceramic bypass capacitors they will provide a cleaner and more stable voltage rail for the local components connected to it. If there is more board space available, there is more room for optimizing the filtering of local supply voltages. The biggest difference between Katalyst and Pre-Katalyst architecture isn’t the IC’s internal D/A conversion process, but allowing to supply the IC with all of its needed voltages externally. They cleaner and more stable they are, the better is the result.

For the very same reason two A2200s are sounding slightly better than a A4200. If two channels of an A4200 are e.g. driving the bass, the voltage drop of its main power supply caused by high peak current demand will negatively effect the two remaining channels.    

As I can’t identify the IC types, I can’t comment on their differences.

Side note:
All of Linn’s amplifiers have been a very long time on the market and it’s much likely that components of the PCB and the PCB itself has been changed since their initial release. As an example, i’d like to show first a comparison between a Klimax Twin Chakra and Non-Chakra:

Klimax_Twin_Chakra_vs_Non_Chakra.jpg.ec252a28ca6355fb716aee65cdb351e5.jpg

Despite of the power stage both devices look very similar. What I’ve marked are:

1) Five power chokes and four bulk electrolytic capacitors
2) Four power resistors

In a later design all of the marked through hole devices have been replaced by surface mounted devices:

Linn_Klimax_Twin_Chakra.jpg.eb68299db8ed3c0fb9c4c3cb327122d1.jpg

If you look more closely, you might noticed that one of the marked through hole power resistors pairs have been connected in parallel. The revised PCB would allow the same, but only one resistor is actually mounted. You might also have noticed that some of the yellow tantalum capacitors have been replaced by tantalum capacitors in a black housing. Smaller size with either equal or even better electrical values..

As I don’t have access to neither the schematics nor the PCB layouts, don’t take my comments as the absolute truth. They are just based on reverse engineering and educated guesses based on my profession. In my system (no analogue sources in use) there should be no difference between an AEDSM and a KEDSM. Nevertheless, IMHO there is. From an engineers point of view, the only reason is less coupled-in input noise from the network to the rest of the system.

Edited by BB1
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