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Hi all

I'd like to set up a system based on a Linn streamer but am baffled by the plethora of options. Basically my budget will get me a DS1 Klimax (just), a DS0, 1 or 2 or DSM Klimax renew or a Katalyst Akurate in DS or DSM form. The plan would be to run directly to a power amp or integrated (yet to be chosen). 

My main questions are whether the newer Akurate will be better than an older Klimax, whether the "full" Klimax significantly betters the renew (I gather the case is the only difference) and, if I'm not using any other sources, what a DSM offers over the DS. If anyone can offer any views/guidance based on their experiences I'd be very grateful. 

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Akurate with Katalyst better than Klimax without Katalyst. However you can upgrade Klimax at later date. Renew is never upgradeable. To upgrade Klimax is about twice the price of upgrading Akurate. Only need DSM of either type if you have several other sources.

That should cover it

CJ

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A dsm is a streamer and preamp included. A DS is just a streamer source. I’ve heard akurate katalyst is better than an older Klimax (non katalyst) and as CJ says every upgrade on Klimax is way more expensive on akurate range. If it was me i’d opt for an akurate dsm/3 which comes katalyst from the factory.

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2 minutes ago, wuzznbuddy said:

whether the newer Akurate will be better than an older Klimax

Probably (your ears have to be the judge). My view is that it will provide you with the better baseline going forward. if CJ, who is a dealer in used Linn kit, is more positive that that, I'd take due note, but there is still no substitute for listening for yourself, difficult as that is at the moment.

5 minutes ago, wuzznbuddy said:

whether the "full" Klimax significantly betters the renew (I gather the case is the only difference)

The case is not just bling. Its extra rigidity reduces vibration and therefore microphony. You'll get different views as to how much difference this makes. Probably the key issue is that, as CJ says, Renew is not upgradeable, and, given Linn's upgrade policies, longer term, that is a major potential downside. Linn's latest technology (see below) is not available in any current Renew model.

14 minutes ago, wuzznbuddy said:

... if I'm not using any other sources, what a DSM offers over the DS.

Essentially, as CJ says, nothing apart from longer term flexibility if that is an issue. You can even connect an LP12, albeit one that will probably cost you as much as or more than a Klimax DS, to an Exakt capable DS. However only DSMs are HDMI-capable if you want to connect your TV or whatever.

It is worth bearing in mind that Linn's so-called Katalyst technology, which is essentially a complete board redesign with major components including the DAC and the processor replaced, greatly increased processing power with corresponding improvement in firmware capabilities, produced a major improvement in sound quality. This is why, if a current Klimax DS(M) is unaffordable, I would recommend getting an ADS/3 or ADSM/3, depending on connectivity requirements. If you can find one of those (remember that it has to be the /3 - current - model) going second hand, that would IMO be a very good buy. However, and CJ will know better than I, I don't think that the /3 models are as yet all that common on the second hand market.

David

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Super Wammer

Most of the points have been covered above, but just to add:-

If you buy a used Akurate (DS or DSM variety) /1 or /2 model, rather than the rarer, newer /3 (the one with Katalyst)  Linn will make it Katalyst for £1800 and give you a fresh five year warranty.  Used Akurate prices are roughly £2000 to £3000, so maximum outlay is £4,800 for an item that is £6600/£7500 new, with the same warranty.  In my book that is roughly three grand to spend on speakers, music or a holiday!

 
And talking of speakers, active speakers are an easy choice if you get a DSM. 

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8 hours ago, wuzznbuddy said:

Thanks all - this is really helpful. It looks like an Akurate Katalyst is the way to go but I still haven't discounted a DS1 renew on the basis of it looking like a bargain at current prices even if it is a dead end. I'll see what's out there. 

Katalyst is one of the best bang for the buck upgrades, that Linn has recently sold. But before hunting down a DS(M) with Katalyst, try to get an opinion if and when you may or maynot see Exakt technology on your roadmap. As an Exaktbox (or Exakt speakers) come with Katalyst, you could spare this in the DSM. This may lead back to considering a Klimax Renew DSM, which is in my ears superior to an  Akurate w/o Katalyst but trumped by a machined Klimax box.

The Klimax ADC should be better than the Akurate ADC, so if vinyl is on your menu, it has some benefits. Even if you go for a Urika II phono preamp later, which sports its own ADCs, you still have a better master clock with a Klimax DSM.

I for one happily went for a KRDSM. Visually I prefer the cheap understatement box to the Darth Vaderish Akurate boxes. I don't intend to use HDMI anyway (which has been upgrades in the latest DSMs), and I don't use the DAC, in the DSM. In this use-case, a system hub would serve the purpose, but it does not help with the roadmap, when Exakt is to be added sometimes down the road.

The great thing - and the upgrade pain - with Linn is, that there are so many different options. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a land & expand strategy.

Happy listening!

Edited by TooManyCatweazles

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