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Review Of The Next Generation Klimax DSM A/V


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This afternoon, I visited the HiFi Centre, which is one of Vancouver’s Linn dealers. They received  a brand new Next Generation Klimax DSM A/V a few days ago.

The Next Gen Klimax DSM A/V was just set up several days ago, but I wanted to listen to it as soon as possible, once it had some burn in time.

The Klimax DSM was hooked up to a beautiful pair of cherry Katalyst 350’s. I heard these Katalyst 350’s a couple of months ago, when they were still Exakt, and they have recently been upgraded to Katalyst modules in the past month or so. Since the Katalyst upgrade for the modules, I revisited the HiFi Center showroom again, but with the Selekt DSM. Sound quality with the Katalyst upgrade for the 350’s and Selekt DSM was impressive, with great power and aplomb. I was very impressed indeed!!!

The Katalyst 350’s, have their own built in DAC’s, in the amplification modules, making the Organik DAC’s in the Next Gen Klimax DSM redundant, for my listening session today. However, I plan to go back and listen to the Klimax DSM when it is not hooked up to the 350’s, so I can compare the sound quality with the Organik DAC. So for today’s listening session, the Next Generation Klimax DSM was being used as a Klimax Hub for its music streaming functionality. 

Unfortunately, the HiFi Centre sold their Klimax LP-12 recently, as the customer did not want to wait for a new one to come in, so I was not able to listen to the LP-12 today through the new Next Gen Klimax DSM.

HiFi Centre has a Roon setup for streaming their music, and also have Tidal available to access additional music selections not in their library. 

Some of my reference go-to music includes Steely Dan’s Hey Nineteen, Janie Runaway, Jack of Speed, and Ruby Baby. I also listened to Dire Straits Your Latest Trick, Jain’s Come, The Cat Empire’s The Lost Song, Diana Krall’s No Moon At All, Yello’s The Expert, Till Tomorrow, Tangier Blue, Petro Oleum, and Oh Yeah 2009.

‘I started out with the Steely Dan tracks, and cranked it up for Hey Nineteen. It did not disappoint.The music has tremendous grip and authority. The bass seemed like it was at least 2 octaves lower than what I remember  with the Selekt DSM a few weeks ago. There was great depth and power to the bass, yet it did not overshadow or overpower the mids and highs at all. In fact, this is the deepest, best controlled bass I think I have ever heard. The musical detail was brilliant and the soundstage filled the room. The closest I had heard to any HiFi system that had that kind of depth and soundstage was a pair of Komris with a Klimax spec LP-12

Even at low volume, the bass was surprisingly very present with a lot of energy, but the mids and highs seemed slightly compressed. However, turning up the volume to 55 or higher and the system was fully alive, with a seamless dynamic presentation that was stunning on every level. The soundscape was solid, with everything firmly anchored in place, with instruments and vocals. It gave a great sense of being in the studio, with superb timing, pace and rhythm. Truly a highly engaging  experience. 

After the rest of the Steely Dan tracks, it was on to Yello. The electronica was absolutely staggering, with the speakers providing a rhythmic pace, timing, presentation  and balance that was mesmerizing. I am well familiar with all these tracks, and this is by far the best I have heard these songs. It was like being at a dance club and fully immersed in the music.

Dire Straits Your Latest Trick was a 16 bit version from Tidal, and sounded really good, but was not up to the sound quality of the previous tracks. From Steely Dan or Yello.

‘The Cat Empire’s The Lost Song came to life like I had not heard before, and the drums and vocals superb. With every beat of the drums, interlaced with the other instruments and vocals, a truly compelling experience. Stunning!!

‘My only real disappointment was that Diana Krall’s No Moon at All was only available on Tidal and it did not have the presence and detailI I was hoping for. That said, it still sounded wonderful, but I have been spoiled by the 24/192 version

‘Overall, the sound quality of the new Klimax DSM A/V was extremely impressive and entertaining, with an engaging, powerful, dynamic, immersive “live” at the concert feeling.

‘Hopefully, in the next week, I will bring the DSM home to audition in my HiFi system. Not only try out the music in stereo and surround, but explore all the features that the Next Generation Klimax DSM A/V has to offer.

As a side note, the HiFi Centre has already ordered the Organik DAC modules  for the 350’s. I am definitely looking forward to that audition at their showroom.

‘My bottom line:  Linn has done a superb job in developing and building the Next Generation Klimax DSM, that is truly a giant leap forward in sound quality from the previous generation of Klimax DSM’s

‘Build quality rivals the best I have seen, and at almost 40 pounds, it is a substantial piece of kit

If you zoom in on the picture of the setup I listened to today, you can see the reflection of the mirrored surface of the face of the DSM that Pdcman describes, and see the Vicoustic diffusers on the back wall.

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39E206AB-8C55-4314-AC41-2B4B36BA54F6.jpeg

Edited by Paulssurround
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Thanks for the thorough review. You have given us all something to dream about as sugarplum faeries dance in our heads.😂🤣🙏🙏

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Thanks for the review Paul - can you confirm if they were using the same SO profile as with Selekt please?

Was a previous gen KDSM / KSH used for comparison too, or just the Selekt?

Edited by sunbeamgls
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Sorry to chip in some ranting from tune exile again:

I had the opportunity to listen to the above baseline setup of Selekt / Katalyst 350 Exakt at Linn's factory demo and at my dealer's shop. Despite the fact that the two demo rooms were very different, the system managed to sound the same at both locations thanks to a careful SO config.

Unfortunately this setup made it easily into the top ranks of my "tunewise worst ever" list both times. Utterly boring and uninspired.

To satisfy my curiousity about the KDSM I'm very patient to wait for a demo setup without 350s and without SO, as the tune addict I am.
Anyhow it will not result into more than touristic knowledge, as I cannot earn the money at the speed this machine -  like every other digital device - will loose value.   :D

Edited by HH2010
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9 hours ago, weinconsi said:

Dear Paul,

great writeup, thanks for sharing your impressions with us (and the fine wording).... I have feared the conclusion:x:o

Thanks you Weinconsi. The sound quality is superb, but it is very spendy 

I hope to bring it home to try out in my system and see how it sounds with my Akubariks and Surround system

This is very exciting to me, as this is the A/V version

8 hours ago, Clavius said:

Thank’s Paul!

Very compelling review, looking forward to have a listen myself! 

Cheers. I think you are going to love it. 😊👍🏻

6 hours ago, sunbeamgls said:

Thanks for the review Paul - can you confirm if they were using the same SO profile as with Selekt please?

Was a previous gen KDSM / KSH used for comparison too, or just the Selekt?

Thanks Sunbeamgls.

Yes, the SO profile is the same for the Selekt DSM and the Next Gen Klimax DSM A/V at HiFi Centre

I hope you get to hear it soon

You may have noticed that sitting on the shelf below the Klimax DSM, in my picture above, is the Selekt DSM

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A nice, enthusiastic review there, @Paulssurround.

If I read you correctly, you only auditioned into Exakt speakers? So, you only heard the “Hub” element of the NextGen DSM and not the Organik DAC?

I had the opportunity to compare the same A/V model against a 2016 KDSM (ie Katalyst version) this afternoon in a passive system with a couple of new Solos and non-Linn floorstanders (sorry can’t remember what they were). So a comparison including the DAC elements.

The music is just much easier to listen to and makes more sense - indeed, you are just closer to the music and not the Hifi. Songs played through Katalyst, that I really didn’t want to listen to, became interesting and compulsive through Organik. I felt that it wasn’t that the Organik appeared to be so good, it was that I was immediately drawn to what I now heard as weaknesses in Katalyst. Whereas I had previously revelled in the tunes presented to me through Katalyst, it was now out of tune. The difference, once heard, is not subtle.

My Organik upgrade for the 350s is on order.

’troll

edit - speakers were Kudos 707s. Very impressed by them

Edited by Moomintroll
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1 hour ago, Moomintroll said:

A nice, enthusiastic review there, @Paulssurround.

If I read you correctly, you only auditioned into Exakt speakers? So, you only heard the “Hub” element of the NextGen DSM and not the Organik DAC?

I had the opportunity to compare the same A/V model against a 2016 KDSM (ie Katalyst version) this afternoon in a passive system with a couple of new Solos and non-Linn floorstanders (sorry can’t remember what they were). So a comparison including the DAC elements.

The music is just much easier to listen to and makes more sense - indeed, you are just closer to the music and not the Hifi. Songs played through Katalyst, that I really didn’t want to listen to, became interesting and compulsive through Organik. I felt that it wasn’t that the Organik appeared to be so good, it was that I was immediately drawn to what I now heard as weaknesses in Katalyst. Whereas I had previously revelled in the tunes presented to me through Katalyst, it was now out of tune. The difference, once heard, is not subtle.

My Organik upgrade for the 350s is on order.

’troll

Congratulations on your Organik upgrade for the 350’s on order.

‘Yes, I have only been able to hear the “Hub” element so far, but have a request to bring in some other speakers. In the next room (picture below) are some new B&W 800 series speakers, with McIntosh electronics, which I would love to hear with the Organik DAC. The HiFi Centre also has a home theatre room, which would make a great audition.

I hope to have another opportunity to hear this in my own Linn system

0BB1FB23-6E32-4574-975F-07D460A3BFD9.jpeg

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Thanks @Paulssurround very interesting and welcome write-up. 
Look forward to reading your impressions when the Organik DAC is in full swing.

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16193325518194130877648126111725.thumb.jpg.49e9465723915502d6aba7fe20e54192.jpg

Image: Not the New Klimax DSM

I had the opportunity to have a quick audition of the New Klimax DSM, hooked uo to up to date 350s, at Speakers Corner yesterday. At volume 53 the performance was really nice, soundwise. As I only auditioned a few digital tracks, all one can judge is virtually limited to the New Klimax clock, though, as the ADC and DAC are not being used. Thus, conclusions about analog sources or analog sinks, cannot be drawn. Unfortunately, I also had no opportunity to a one-on-one comparison with the original Klimax Hub. So my verdict with caution: I could not find anything to complain about soundwise.

What I still don't like is the design. In real life, the box actually looked even worse, than expected. Hiding the display behind mirror-glass (!) is not a good idea, and can impair readability - depending on the light in the room. I missed this detail from the images so far. The upper part really reminds me of the lid of a biscuit tin. (compare image above). What happens to the LP reminiscent grooves over time remains to be seen. The carved out Linn logo is nice, though. This all refers to the silver version. I did not see the black one. But obviously, this is a matter of taste. Others may have other tastes. Replacing my Linn master clock at the price of a Rolex? I'm not convinced, yet.

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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4 hours ago, TooManyCatweazles said:

What I still don't like is the design. In real life the box actually looked even worse, than expected Hiding the display behind mirror-glass (!) is not a good idea, and can impair readability - depending on the light in the room. I missed this detail from the imagesso far. The upper part really reminds me of the lid of a biscuit tin. (compare image above). What happens to the LP reminiscent grooves over time remains to be seen. The carved out Linn logo is nice, though. This all refers to the silver version. I did not see the black one. But obviously, this is a matter of taste.

I’ve only seen the black one and still feel the same about it. Yes, that front panel is very, very shiny. The whole thing does scream quality, though.  If I go for a new hub, I’m not sure I’d go as far as putting it in the cupboard, but it’ll be behind my listening position anyway.

’troll

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11 hours ago, TooManyCatweazles said:

16193325518194130877648126111725.thumb.jpg.49e9465723915502d6aba7fe20e54192.jpg

Image: Not the New Klimax DSM

I had the opportunity to have a quick audition of the New Klimax DSM, hooked uo to up to date 350s, at Speakers Corner yesterday. At volume 53 the performance was really nice, soundwise. As I only auditioned a few digital tracks, all one can judge is virtually limited to the New Klimax clock, though, as the ADC and DAC are not being used. Thus, conclusions about analog sources or analog sinks, cannot be drawn. Unfortunately, I also had no opportunity to a one-on-one comparison with the original Klimax Hub. So my verdict with caution: I could not find anything to complain about soundwise.

What I still don't like is the design. In real life, the box actually looked even worse, than expected. Hiding the display behind mirror-glass (!) is not a good idea, and can impair readability - depending on the light in the room. I missed this detail from the images so far. The upper part really reminds me of the lid of a biscuit tin. (compare image above). What happens to the LP reminiscent grooves over time remains to be seen. The carved out Linn logo is nice, though. This all refers to the silver version. I did not see the black one. But obviously, this is a matter of taste. Others may have other tastes. Replacing my Linn master clock at the price of a Rolex? I'm not convinced, yet.

How does the biscuit tin sound?  

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4 hours ago, Paulssurround said:

How does the biscuit tin sound?  

Tinny

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7 hours ago, sunbeamgls said:

Tinny

Because there are no GUNSTIG underneath. 😜

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