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Anyone using a 3rd party external DAC with a DSM?


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I'm curious if you can still use the DSM as a streamer which is outputting via toslink/spdif to an external 3rd party DAC, and then have the external DAC connect back to the DSM via toslink/spid/RAC inputs.

basically I would like to have a play with some 3rd party DACs and quite possibly a miniDSP box.

so the connection would go > DSM streaming > toslink out > DAC > toslink in > DSM > exakt link > Akubarik (not using the Akubarik DAC)

I think this would work fine if the DAC had a built in streamer or a seperate 3rd party streamer. Just not sure if it will work if the DSM is the streamer as well as the pre-amp.

hopefully that makes sense....

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25 minutes ago, Phobic said:

I'm curious if you can still use the DSM as a streamer which is outputting via toslink/spdif to an external 3rd party DAC, and then have the external DAC connect back to the DSM via toslink/spid/RAC inputs.

Signal sent via Toslink is digital. So when digital signal goes back to DSM via whatsoever digital connection, again DSMs' DAC  should be engaged, right?

If your like to engage 3rd party DAC, your signal should be sent from 3rd party DAC back to DSM via analog (RCA or XLR) connection. When analog signal comes to DSM, it could be again converted to digital using DSMs' DAC and sent further to Akubarics via exakt link. 

35 minutes ago, Phobic said:

so the connection would go > DSM streaming > toslink out > DAC > toslink in > DSM > exakt link > Akubarik (not using the Akubarik DAC)

In my opinion there are at least two reasons why this is not possible because:

1. Already explained above.

2. It's not possible to bypass DACs embedded in Exakt Akubariks, as the exakt link happen to be a sort of digital connection too... so you need digital to analog conversion again prior your signal is fed to Akubariks power amps.

Best Regards,

NL.

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1 minute ago, NL. said:

Signal sent via Toslink is digital. So when digital signal goes back to DSM via whatsoever digital connection, again DSMs' DAC  should be engaged, right?

If your like to engage 3rd party DAC, your signal should be sent from 3rd party DAC back to DSM via analog (RCA or XLR) connection. When analog signal comes to DSM, it could be again converted to digital using DSMs' DAC and sent further to Akubarics via exakt link. 

In my opinion there are at least two reasons why this is not possible because:

1. Already explained above.

2. It's not possible to bypass DACs embedded in Exakt Akubariks, as the exakt link happen to be a sort of digital connection too... so you need digital to analog conversion again prior your signal is fed to Akubariks power amps.

Best Regards,

NL.

oops, slight brain fart on my part, I was thinking of the DAC sending it back via RCA :D

I guess I was wondering how exactly analogue inputs are processed for transmission over the Exaktlink, there's a difference from streaming a bit perfect data source over exakt to the DAC, and the DSM's ADC digitising something for transmission over the exaktlink.

for analogue via ADC what does that look like exactly? is the DAC processing it in exactly the same way as a FLAC file? what's the sampling & filtering look like? what is the ADC converting the analogue source to (presume a raw PCM stream?).

Why do I feel disturbed that an LP12 would get digitised and then hit the DAC, that seems very wrong

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33 minutes ago, Phobic said:

Why do I feel disturbed that an LP12 would get digitised and then hit the DAC, that seems very wrong

Ah... many times I asked myself the same question... :(

From one side, it looks logical to me the analog signal should be kept analog till it reaches the speakers. Following this logic, if I use LP12 as a source, analog signal should be preserved by using e.g. Urika 1 => Klimax Kontrol => Klimax Solos => passive Akubariks.

Yet from the other side, by keeping analog from the source all the way to speakers, I can't use Space optimisation (which greatly improves sound in my listening room , particularly in bass area by removing boomy bass).

@DavidHB and some other fellow Linnies claim to have excellent experience with digitising audio signal via ADC in the earliest possible stage (e.g. via Urika 2) and then going back to analog with Katalyst embedded Akubariks... that reportedly brings huge sound improvements.

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Yes I know there's been some very good results in digitising.

I know the analogue > exakt solution works well, I'm not questioning that. :) 

I'm questioning what the difference is with an external DAC with an exakt solution - which is a supported option.

having thought it through there must be a difference with an external DAC, the ADC & exaktlink has to be "transparent" otherwise changes to the LP12 or other analogue sources will be constrained by the DAC.

I guess the question is does the ADC to exaktlink provide any real constraints?

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For the AD/DA conversion one need to separate on where the products was in their development when assessing if it overall adds benefit.

For ADSM prior to Katalyst and Majik DSM prior to DSM4 all have the ability to do Space Optimization. However in Konfig all devices has the option to digitize the signal or not (hence enabling access to SO or not). Clearly this option is provided by Linn as they knew that the design of the devices was not at the development stage that digitizing the signal from for example vinyl was not overall best.
This is clearly audible. In one of my listening rooms I have a MDSM/2 + M6100 into M109 using a Majik LP12 (Jelco version arm). While I have found a SO setting that improves the performance for streaming the overall benefit is negative for vinyl due to the loss inn the AD/DA conversion. Can also be compared with SO off and turning digitize on and off in Konfig. The newer ADSM with Kat and MDSM4 is another matter due to teh improved circuit design. Technology has moved on. 

Øyvind I

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There is no way to separate the DAC from the Exakt processing.  Whatever you feed into the DSM that's analogue will have to go through the DSM's ADC for onward translation into Exaktlink format.  Digital feeds are also converted to Exaktlink format. Then the Exaktbox or Exakt integrated speaker does the Exakt translation and the DAC work all in one unit.

The only thing you could change is the ADC stage - you could use an external ADC and plug it into a DSM digital input.

The ADC in the KSH is better than the one in the ASH.

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2 hours ago, formann said:

For the AD/DA conversion one need to separate on where the products was in their development when assessing if it overall adds benefit.

For ADSM prior to Katalyst and Majik DSM prior to DSM4 all have the ability to do Space Optimization. However in Konfig all devices has the option to digitize the signal or not (hence enabling access to SO or not). Clearly this option is provided by Linn as they knew that the design of the devices was not at the development stage that digitizing the signal from for example vinyl was not overall best.
This is clearly audible. In one of my listening rooms I have a MDSM/2 + M6100 into M109 using a Majik LP12 (Jelco version arm). While I have found a SO setting that improves the performance for streaming the overall benefit is negative for vinyl due to the loss inn the AD/DA conversion. Can also be compared with SO off and turning digitize on and off in Konfig. The newer ADSM with Kat and MDSM4 is another matter due to teh improved circuit design. Technology has moved on. 

Øyvind I

Just think how much was lost in the ADC stage when creating the vinyl in the first place...  :)

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The logic of keeping analogue as analogue throughout makes perfect sense to me, Finding on audition of Urika II that it sounded better to me than any previous stage I had used (Urika, Naim SuperLine, Dynavector, Croft) made no sense at all. That I went ahead and bought Urika II and now my system is more enjoyable than ever makes even less sense. Still I’d sooner be happy than right.

I have used the digital out from ADSM Katalyst to feed a Chord DAC and in my opinion, the Chord DAC sounds better. However, I lost my Space Optimisation capability and so reverted to the Katalyst. As good as Chord’s MScaler + DAVE is, I didn’t enjoy my system as much as when SOV2 was working its magic. So in the context of my lounge, I would rate what I have tried as 1) ADSM+SO, 2) MScaler DAVE, 3) ADSM and a distant 4) Naim DAC with 555PS.  

For me the best way to play vinyl is Klimax LP12 Urika II ADSM .... yes KDSM if my ship comes in. I’m sure there are some great alternatives, but my auditioning days are over. I do not have a full KLP12 as I use A-Radikal & Krystal, but I’m happy and very lucky to have it. 

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17 minutes ago, Nestor Turton said:

The logic of keeping analogue as analogue throughout makes perfect sense to me, Finding on audition of Urika II that it sounded better to me than any previous stage I had used (Urika, Naim SuperLine, Dynavector, Croft) made no sense at all. That I went ahead and bought Urika II and now my system is more enjoyable than ever makes even less sense. Still I’d sooner be happy than right.

I have used the digital out from ADSM Katalyst to feed a Chord DAC and in my opinion, the Chord DAC sounds better. However, I lost my Space Optimisation capability and so reverted to the Katalyst. As good as Chord’s MScaler + DAVE is, I didn’t enjoy my system as much as when SOV2 was working its magic. So in the context of my lounge, I would rate what I have tried as 1) ADSM+SO, 2) MScaler DAVE, 3) ADSM and a distant 4) Naim DAC with 555PS.  

For me the best way to play vinyl is Klimax LP12 Urika II ADSM .... yes KDSM if my ship comes in. I’m sure there are some great alternatives, but my auditioning days are over. I do not have a full KLP12 as I use A-Radikal & Krystal, but I’m happy and very lucky to have it. 

Given that the RIAA stage of Urika II is much more accurate and avoids much of the noise generated by a traditional phono stage, then it does make sense that it could be better than a noisy inaccurate analogue stage.

Its great that you gave it a try and found it is to your liking.  Those that don't try it are missing out, regardless of which they prefer after they've heard both.

Edited by sunbeamgls
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