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Behold: the mighty Linn Majik DSM!!!


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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.

David 

Edited by DavidHB
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12 minutes ago, Peacelord said:

And in Germany there’s a second hand MDSM IV available for only €1800. Someone’s anxious to get rid of it really quick. 
 

Stolen? :) 

David

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14 hours ago, Elad Repooc said:

Actually I have witnessed first hand on more than one occasion this exact practice occurring so I would suggest your "zero evidence" comment has no bearing in actual fact. It's very possible WHF does not at all engage in this practice, but from my personal experience it's highly common within the audio industry. 

I also happen to know that Linn has always insisted that they do not engage in this behavior and from what I've been able to corroborate there is no evidence that they do.

Yes, I was referring only to WHF magazine, as they published the review we were discussing.  I’ve certainly read persuasive reports of adverting being placed or withdrawn, to encourage or in reaction to a review in other websites and journals.  

WHF are pretty mainstream, and Linn pretty high-minded, so I’m confident here that both parties have behaved as we’d hope.  I hope they don’t fall out over a single star, and nor must we.  

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We absorb the information presented in the review and observe that it adopts a casual style, using the collective “we” to express opinions whilst reporting all previous actions in the present tense. At first this trendy messaging technique piques our interest but soon gives way to repetitive irritation. We also find the cursory and dismissive summary of Space Optimisation somewhat disappointing as it clearly fails to grasp the detailed rationale behind its application, or the uniqueness of its advanced calculation methodology. We find the overall soundbite presentation not so much biased as superficial, though it may be regarded as useful for providing a quick comparison with some of the competition. However, the conclusions are often frustratingly opaque, relying on new-age, meaningless descriptions. That said, we would not like this review to be dismissed out of hand as there are perhaps one or two hidden insights to be found. We will continue looking.

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10 hours ago, 90sLinn said:

As well as them preferring SO turned off ”must” mean they did not position the speakers ideally.

Just on this point, they have a set of passive ATCs* in their ideal location permanently in their main listening room, and virtually every Hifi amplifying product gets tried on them.  Where appropriate they also try smaller speakers, or those supplied with the system under test.  With the Majik DSM, they didn’t seem to mention using it with more price appropriate speakers, which is a shame.  

In the circumstances of the review speakers, SO might indeed have had little opportunity to show what it can do in more compromised settings.  That’s a downside of a purpose built listening room, but it does provide a good environment for reviewing consistently.  Though I sometimes use SO, I don’t see it as quite so amazing as many, but I’m fortunate with my room and speakers.  

*Review here...https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/atc-scm50

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So, you have yet to hear it

Correct.

Quote

and you seem to agree about the Selekt, which did get 5 Stars

What What HiFi chooses to symbolically represent one of their evaluations with is really a bit mystical, don't you think? I personally could care less what "label" or "rating" they place on a product and instead consider what was actually said about the product.

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but cannot accept that the reviewers find the Atom a more entertaining entry level product?

You are choosing to ignore what I stated here:

Quote

And I'm not saying it's still not possible to prefer a Naim Atom to a Linn Majik DSM, even with SO2 engaged. That's absolutely the prerogative of the evaluator, and I respect the opinion of anyone who has gone through the work, done their due diligence, and still decides to prefer something else, to a Linn anything. 

In other words, I have absolutely no problem with someone telling me they prefer a Naim Atom to be "a more entertaining entry level product" to a Linn Majik DSM.

If you consider what I wrote, my issue in this case is with reviewers have making a statement like this, without providing evidence that they fully explored the capabilities of the Majik DSM. I don't need to have experienced hearing a Majik DSM/4 to have a valid reason for finding issue with the review.

And to be clear, while many in the industry would consider a 4-star What HiFi review to be a "good review" (based on the subjective "star" rating as previously mentioned), and because of pedigree, etc. consider What HiFi to be a good publication to take advice from, as someone with an intimate knowledge of the audio industry (and consumer electronics in general) again I find their coverage to be seriously lacking with respect to this. A potential consumer for this type of product who might want to find out more about it by seeking out relevant information in a review and reads this content will come away with nothing but subjective opinion as evidenced by very little to no coverage of objective details with regard to the product functionality.

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How many on this forum can honestly say their speakers are ideally positioned?

To be clear, I don't think there is necessarily one "ideal" position in a given room, and have many times found equally (if not ever so slightly different) positioning with the same equipment and speakers in a given room.

My criticism is made from the perspective that if the group of WHF reviewers followed the Tune Dem method and put in the work to set up the speakers properly, they should have made note of this, especially with respect to SO2.

Since there was absolutely no mention of it, my assumption as someone highly familiar with Linn and achieving exceptional results with SO2 is invariably going to take issue with a review that treats SO2 as merely a side note and of negative impact in their own environment.

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Most of my fellow Linnies left the former Linn forum for exactly that reason;

What reason is that exactly? And which Linnies are those?

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that SO is robbing much of the life from the music (relatively speaking of course)

Relative to what? In my personal experience, I have absolutely no reason to make this assessment. My experience is polar opposite to yours.

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and that ”new” Linn has made a turn for a more analytical sound.

What does this even mean? How do you begin to describe "more analytical sound". 

If the equipment is more transparent to the original source, it's more transparent. Period. Analysis would reveal this, and it does, which is why a lot of people spend money on "new" Linn.

Quote

 And as these became the foundation for ”all” discussions on that and especially this new forum all that disagree are gone making this a very homogenous group thus a much less interesting forum.

I think the forum is probably less interesting to you because there are very few current owners of Linn products who've decided older Linn somehow sounds better than newer Linn. It's not been mine, nor countless other Linn owners' experience and so some pushback to this sentiment is to be expected in a Linn forum.

The product they began the company with, the LP12, can very easily sound broken if not configured properly, but exceptional under the careful, methodical, logical setup process of a trained LP12 specialist. Those of us who comprehend how SO2 is a virtual component on the digital side are using fundamentally the same philosophy and principles (provided by Linn) to implement SO2.

There are plenty of people who have told me they like this or that turntable better than an LP12 but very few of the people with this opinion have actually heard a properly setup LP12. I find this sentiment to be so ubiquitous amongst non-Linn HiFi enthusiasts, it's an automatic expectation that when inform someone I own Linn they will snicker, tsk-tsk, and call my credibility into question.

Similarly I've found that those who discount, overlook, or have found negative results with SO2 to be committing the digital equivalent of not adjusting tracking force, VTA, and anti-skate (just for starters) on an LP12, or making sure the thing is level and properly placed in the room.

So you'll have to bear with me, but from my perspective a review of a product with no evidence that competence was employed with respect to configuring a highly advanced and crucial feature, will lead me to consider that a poorly written review, regardless of how many "stars" or how otherwise lauded the product might be.

At that point it just comes off as laziness, to the tune of "oh, here's another Linn product chaps, let's do a bit of subjective back and forth and pump out another smashing, supportive 4-or-5-star review!"

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WHF are pretty mainstream, and Linn pretty high-minded, so I’m confident here that both parties have behaved as we’d hope.  I hope they don’t fall out over a single star, and nor must we.  

As I think I've now attempted to clarify, I don't really care much about 4-or-5 "stars". 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.

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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.

David

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We're all different. We all have different tastes. We all have different preferences. We all have confirmation bias equivalent to our financial, and post count, investment. Any denizen of this internet cul-de-sac is biased to the Linn sound. When I go to hifi shows I realise that the Linn sound is....singular? Which means there are a large range of "sounds" that designers see as "right", and that consumers are willing to throw large amounts of cash to acquire. Sometimes I've come home from those shows and listened to my system thinking I was happy, other times thinking something was missing. 

I've always been happy to find reviews by the What people. That review seemed to be pretty good. I've been fairly happy with what SPACE has done for me, but I can totally understand how a reviewer with the resources of a dedicated listening room etc wouldn't spend the time needed to get it dialed in, or see it as a benefit to his readers as a whole. Think about the amount of folks, just in this thread, who SPACE is not their cup of tea. Ultimately, the review's adjectives were solidly on Linn's side. If I were reading it in Glasgow I'd be counting it as a win. 

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On 24/12/2020 at 10:01, Elad Repooc said:

Correct.

What What HiFi chooses to symbolically represent one of their evaluations with is really a bit mystical, don't you think? I personally could care less what "label" or "rating" they place on a product and instead consider what was actually said about the product.

You are choosing to ignore what I stated here:

In other words, I have absolutely no problem with someone telling me they prefer a Naim Atom to be "a more entertaining entry level product" to a Linn Majik DSM.

If you consider what I wrote, my issue in this case is with reviewers have making a statement like this, without providing evidence that they fully explored the capabilities of the Majik DSM. I don't need to have experienced hearing a Majik DSM/4 to have a valid reason for finding issue with the review.

And to be clear, while many in the industry would consider a 4-star What HiFi review to be a "good review" (based on the subjective "star" rating as previously mentioned), and because of pedigree, etc. consider What HiFi to be a good publication to take advice from, as someone with an intimate knowledge of the audio industry (and consumer electronics in general) again I find their coverage to be seriously lacking with respect to this. A potential consumer for this type of product who might want to find out more about it by seeking out relevant information in a review and reads this content will come away with nothing but subjective opinion as evidenced by very little to no coverage of objective details with regard to the product functionality.

To be clear, I don't think there is necessarily one "ideal" position in a given room, and have many times found equally (if not ever so slightly different) positioning with the same equipment and speakers in a given room.

My criticism is made from the perspective that if the group of WHF reviewers followed the Tune Dem method and put in the work to set up the speakers properly, they should have made note of this, especially with respect to SO2.

Since there was absolutely no mention of it, my assumption as someone highly familiar with Linn and achieving exceptional results with SO2 is invariably going to take issue with a review that treats SO2 as merely a side note and of negative impact in their own environment.

What reason is that exactly? And which Linnies are those?

Relative to what? In my personal experience, I have absolutely no reason to make this assessment. My experience is polar opposite to yours.

What does this even mean? How do you begin to describe "more analytical sound". 

If the equipment is more transparent to the original source, it's more transparent. Period. Analysis would reveal this, and it does, which is why a lot of people spend money on "new" Linn.

I think the forum is probably less interesting to you because there are very few current owners of Linn products who've decided older Linn somehow sounds better than newer Linn. It's not been mine, nor countless other Linn owners' experience and so some pushback to this sentiment is to be expected in a Linn forum.

The product they began the company with, the LP12, can very easily sound broken if not configured properly, but exceptional under the careful, methodical, logical setup process of a trained LP12 specialist. Those of us who comprehend how SO2 is a virtual component on the digital side are using fundamentally the same philosophy and principles (provided by Linn) to implement SO2.

There are plenty of people who have told me they like this or that turntable better than an LP12 but very few of the people with this opinion have actually heard a properly setup LP12. I find this sentiment to be so ubiquitous amongst non-Linn HiFi enthusiasts, it's an automatic expectation that when inform someone I own Linn they will snicker, tsk-tsk, and call my credibility into question.

Similarly I've found that those who discount, overlook, or have found negative results with SO2 to be committing the digital equivalent of not adjusting tracking force, VTA, and anti-skate (just for starters) on an LP12, or making sure the thing is level and properly placed in the room.

So you'll have to bear with me, but from my perspective a review of a product with no evidence that competence was employed with respect to configuring a highly advanced and crucial feature, will lead me to consider that a poorly written review, regardless of how many "stars" or how otherwise lauded the product might be.

At that point it just comes off as laziness, to the tune of "oh, here's another Linn product chaps, let's do a bit of subjective back and forth and pump out another smashing, supportive 4-or-5-star review!"

No one can say you beat around the bush, and you do get right to the point. 

Edited by Paulssurround
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On 24/12/2020 at 10:29, DavidHB said:

I think that the majority of users would be ill-advised to set up their own LP12, for instance.

I had an LP12 in the late 70s and really liked it, but during the 80s had to move around a bit and the deck really needed setting up afresh. Foolishly I tried myself. I then, after reading a persuasive article, went to a shop and compared my LP12 to another TT and ended up part exchanging it for this rival. Over the next 10 years I played less and less records and grew to prefer CD. The substitute TT started to play up and on advice from a friend I listened to a properly set up LP12. Needless to say I returned to Linn and haven't looked back since. 

A good dealer, in my case Peter, Phil & Wayne at Cymbiosis, to setup the LP12 and Space Optimisation is vital. I'm not sure how my system would sound without dealer installation expertise. Fortunately, I do not need to find out and can simply play music and enjoy it. 

I've no problem with a reviewer preferring a Naim Atom, but unfortunately the review gives the impression the Atom is better than the MSDM/4 without objectivity. My conclusion is both pieces of kit have strengths and the only way to judge is to have a dealer set up both optimally and listen for yourself. I cannot agree with WHF when it says "If you end up hearing one [Naim Atom] and fail to be excited at the prospect of ownership then, quite frankly, there’s little hope left for you" [Ref: What Hi-Fi? October 08, 2018] surely there must be some hope for old Linn folk like me. 

Edited by Nestor Turton
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