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Sorry if this is answered elsewhere - I couldn't see an obvious answer, having searched. 

I've fairly recently acquired a KDS3, having initially tested the water with a KDS1 renew. The KDS3 is magnificent, but I'm still not settled on amplification. A brief effort with valve amps caused domestic disruption, so they're out. I'm now back to using a Supernait 3, which is an excellent amp - but....I'm thinking the SN3 is worth a similar amount to a used Klimax Twin. And I'm also wondering whether, given the quality of the digital volume control in the KDS3 (is it even any different to the control on the DAC in the KDSM?), I could go straight from the KDS3 into a Klimax Twin. Has anyone tried this? I assume there is no reason why it wouldn't work, of course, but is the KK pre essential to get the best out of the DS and the power amp? I haven't funds for both a Klimax Twin and KK right now. 

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks. 

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Hi the kds and kdsm katalyst have the same DVC.  You can connect it direct to a klimax twin, but remember to enable the internal preamp within konfig, or it will default to 80 on the volume scale.

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Posted (edited)

Suffolkboy is basically correct. But there's more to it than that. Time to trot out my regular explanation :).

The primary characteristic of DVCs is that they do not actually exist, at least in any physical sense. Essentially, volume control in a digital streamer (or certainly any digital streamer made by Linn) is nothing more than a real time arithmetic process, applied at the end of the sequence of digital signal processing actions implemented by the FPGA processor, so immediately before the digital signal is passed to the DAC. Prior to the calculation, the signal is at unity gain (or 80 on the scale, as Suffolkboy says); the volume control function multiplies each element of the signal by whatever fraction of unity gain corresponds to the volume level set by the user.

In the present context, the point is that it is nearly meaningless to consider what the volume control does in isolation; what really matters is whether the output of all the previous processing stages will be degraded when the volume control is applied. The degradation (or lack thereof) is essentially the product of the whole processing sequence; it is frequently ascribed to the volume control, because that is where it tends to become apparent (in particular through quantisation effects). In reality, however, a digital volume control function is more messenger than message.

The FPGA used in Katalyst devices such as the KDS/3 has significantly more processing power and uses longer digital word lengths than its predecessors. This largely eliminates quantisation at normal listening levels. In consequence, the volume control in the KDS can be used as confidently as its analogue counterpart in the Klimax Kontrol. As you already have the KDS rather than a KDSM, I assume it is your only source. In that case, I suggest that the KK is irrelevant to your needs.

This explains why Linn is not making preamplifiers any more (the KK was discontinued as long ago as 2015). If a control unit is required to switch between sources, a DSM can do that job perfectly well. Indeed, in 2015, the Linn team went to some pains to explain that the then (i.e. pre-Katalyst) KDSM was a better preamplifier than the KK. Not everyone was minded to agree at the time, but the subsequent introduction of Katalyst seems to have settled the argument.

David

Edited by DavidHB
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Another thing to consider is your long term plan. If you want to play other devices through your system (such as an LP12) then you will need a KK or a KDSM. But I guess that can all come later...

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, entdgc said:

Another thing to consider is your long term plan. If you want to play other devices through your system (such as an LP12) then you will need a KK or a KDSM. But I guess that can all come later...

While this is mostly true, an LP12 with a Urika II phono stage will connect to a KDS/3 without requiring a preamplifier. The LP12 would of course need to be above Akurate level (and preferably at or approaching Klimax level) to make it sensible to fit the Uika II which has to be used with MC cartridges, but the OP already has or is planning to use Klimax level equipment in the rest of the system. In fact, I thought that the purchase of the KDS/3 (rather than a KDSM (which is the same price new) indicated that the streamer was intended to be the sole source component.

David

Edited by DavidHB

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Thanks for the replies. You are right, David - I only stream and that's all I plan to do. These replies confirm what I suspected, which is that there is no material difference between the KDS3 and DSM as a streaming source with volume. Whether a Klimax Twin will be to my taste is another question. I'll keep an eye out for a reasonably priced secondhand one, which should allow me to try without too much risk. 

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Make sure you try the connection via XLR interconnects as well.

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55 minutes ago, wuzznbuddy said:

Whether a Klimax Twin will be to my taste is another question.

I rather think that what you'd really like is a pair of Solos ... :) 

David

  • Haha 2

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Posted (edited)

This touches on the debate of do you benefit from having a traditional preamp in the chain between your source and amp? (not focussing on Linn here). Lots of opinions and user accounts to be sure. From what I have read you need to spend some money on a decent preamp to gain real benefit. But the growing trend is having a direct link between source and amp. 
 

In my second system I have a Pass Labs XP20 preamp which comes in two good size boxes, one being the power supply. I like the sound with this unit and prefer the cool matching remote with great volume attenuation (over using a tablet)...

Edited by PhotoMax

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Super Wammer
2 hours ago, PhotoMax said:

In my second system I have a Pass Labs XP20 preamp...

The kit someone has in their second system says a lot, in my view.  Pass Labs is one for my dream system!

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I spent about a year trying different options. My most recent purchase, the Pass Labs XA30.8 amp is my favorite. Like Lebowski’s rug it “just ties the room together.” This is a monster sized heavy Class A box with massive fins to dissipate heat. It is nominally rated at just 30 watts but it produces wonderfully warm rich sound without being mushy “pipe and slippers”.

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I had a KK in my system originally, but now use an ADSM. I found Urika 2 ADSM sounded better to me than Urika I KK. I couldn’t afford a move to KDSM. In my other system I have a Chord DAVE DAC and again I have found it preferable to go directly into the power amplifier than via a pre (KK or Naim NAC552 - the KK was transparent, NAC less so). So I’m happy with setting the volume in the digital domain. 

i do wonder if moving from ADSM to KDS would be a good move, but then I would lose the HDMI ARC, which I find very useful. 

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18 minutes ago, Nestor Turton said:

i do wonder if moving from ADSM to KDS would be a good move, but then I would lose the HDMI ARC, which I find very useful. 

Well, in I believe the unanimous view of those who heard the original comparative demo at Linn, the KDS/3 betters even the KDSM/3 as Linn's best streamer. At the same time, I believe that Katalyst has to some extent narrowed the gap between corresponding Akurate and Klimax models. So this is a case where your ears would need to be the just as to whether the SQ improvement justifies the cost in money and convenience.

David

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Thanks @DavidHB - I think you are right on with your advice. However, I thought KDS would be cheaper than it is. I had a look at the Linn August 2020 Price List and was surprised to find the KDS/3 and KDSM/3 at the same price.

image.png.8a3558df089b2f9817be97821c4e8a6b.png

So unfortunately both are out of reach for me. Still I'm very lucky to have the kit I have so I'll stop my wondering. 

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Nestor Turton said:

Thanks @DavidHB - I think you are right on with your advice. However, I thought KDS would be cheaper than it is. I had a look at the Linn August 2020 Price List and was surprised to find the KDS/3 and KDSM/3 at the same price.

image.png.8a3558df089b2f9817be97821c4e8a6b.png

So unfortunately both are out of reach for me. Still I'm very lucky to have the kit I have so I'll stop my wondering. 

It was all a bit odd. Linn dropped the KDS, which was priced as above, and reduced the KDSM from over £18k to £15,800. Then they reintroduced the KDS at its old price!

Mick

Edited by MickC

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