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Plan on upgrading Majik ds/0, 5125, 5103 and Kaber to Akurate System Hub + Majik Exaktbox-I. Opinion?


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My current system is a Majik DS/0, 5125, 5103, none of them with Dynamik.  And Kaber speakers.  Haven't spend money on my main components for years, except for a Rel T9/i.  Still happy with my system, but feel like indulging myself...   I've seen a good deal at a local Linn dealer for a Akurate DS Exakt and a Majik Exaktbox-I, both with Dynamik but not with Katalyst.  I would pay 6k canadian for both.

I've red here that some people like the 5125 better than the amp in the Majik Exaktbox.  So I'm wondering if it's a good upgrade, or should I take another path, like new speakers, Dynamik, or something else.  Not sure about putting new power supply in old products like mine.  Also wondering if I can use my Rel with the Exaktbox with high level connection or if I must also have a sub Exaktbox.

I'm out of the loop for quite some time, my usual Linn store closed 6 years ago and it used to be the place where I'd go for a chat about the products.

It also worries me that the Kaber are out of parts now, so I'm also wondering what this system will sound like with 140 if something goes wrong.  I haven't heard great things about 140, but they are the only Linn speakers in my price range.

Thanks in advance for comments / suggestions / opinions.

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@leManu I never heard the Kaber, but I use an AEBi with Keltiks, which share some parts with the Kabers. The Keltiks are in my system for 3 weeks now after I made the switch from Majik 140. Before the change for AEBi I used similar components on the M140s. 

Now that being said: yes it would be and upgrade to swap the lot for the ASH and AEBi. Even though the AV5125 is fine and powerful amp, the x100 amps in conjunction with Exakt will outperform it in my IMHO. Also keep in mind that:

  • Katalyst or maybe even Organik is on the horizon for the AEBi. (Fingers crossed for Organik though).
  • None of your current kit is upgradable with dynamik via the official route anymore.
  • The ASH and EABi are dynamiked from factory. 
  • You can ditch al your interlinks, which I regard as necessary evil and the weak part of any system .
  • I can’t read from your post if you use the Kabers Aktiv or not, but that would be and upgrade on itself.
  • There are quite some people around that use the new sources in conjunction with the speakers from yesteryear. 

Another POV would be that if you swap to M140s now it won’t be long before you want to here them Aktiv/Exakt. I also like to think that it is easier to source a pair of M140s more easy then a great deal on ASH/AEBi wich gets you straight back in the 21 century.

I don’t know anything  about the subwoofer.

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Hi LeManu - welcome to the forum.

I used to to have a AV5103, AV5125 system with Keilidhs, not Kabers. It is a very well balanced system - with or without Dynamik on the 5125. Is your current system active or passive?

My main system is still built around 5125s but with a Kisto and Espeks (active) and a KDS/1 (Dynamik)

My second system is ASH/Exaktbox-i and the original Keilidhs - so very similar to what you are thinking of.

I would not say that one is better than the other - they are quite different, but the ASH/EB-i is certainly not worse, takes your Kabers active (and if not already active this is a noticeable change). The EB-i can be upgraded to Katalyst at a future date and so there is a degree of future proof available. The ASH is definitely a significant source improvement over the Majik DS/0. The EB-i is a fantastic piece of equipment.

The 5103 is a super pre-amp and, in terms of clarity, in my opinion difficult to better. It takes at least a Kisto or Klimax Kontrol to improve on it. The ASH is no slouch though and I doubt that you would think it a downgrade - it is certainly much easier to use! I have run the Espeks from my EB-i and personally I prefer the 5125s but that is a personal choice, others see the opposite. Again, I don't see the difference as a downward step - just different.

I've had 140s on demo but didn't have them long term and so I cant really comment on their choice versus Kabers. I chose to keep the Keilidhs. It is a change that you could certainly take your time over - I would definitely use the system on the Kabers first as I think that it will surprise you.

Canadian 6000, compared to the UK used price is at least comparable to a good deal   - and probably better.

If you can take the boxes home it is a very easy swap out to demo them.

In summary though, the source e is a big upgrade, the pre amp section is likely un-noticable (and you get a good phono stage if you fancy spinning vinyl at any time). The amps are different but not of differing quality and you can keep the existing speakers, at a fair market price and the new stuff  comes with some future upgrade potential and maybe some warranty.   

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You're on a good path there I think. It's pretty much the same one I've taken over the past five years or so, and I'm quite happy where I am. Yes, to the "it's a good deal!" Please PM me the dealer info if you don't want the ASH because that is my next step! Actually, my next step, following you, is a REL T7-x (I think). So I've thought about the connection question, and started a thread on it which should get that question answered.  

So you may not get the maximum out of your REL until you get an Exakt sub box, but you'll still be happy. Where in Canada are you?

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With just a 5125 your kabers have to be passive or bi-amped passive since you need 6 channels to go aktive.

I still have my kabers and doubt i’ll ever sell them although I upgraded to 242’s.

Here are my experiences with kabers. I was told when I had passive kabers with just an akurate 3200 that a 5125 is not the best amp for kabers. I never got to try a 5125 but did think the kabers passive with an akurate amp were good enough. Now I know that’s not the case. I took my kabers aktiv with akurate amps and they were very detailed, not fatiguing at all. I remember I listened to a lot more music with my kabers than I do now hence the reluctance for the sale.

When I converted the kabers back to passive I tried it with multiple amps (av5105, majik-I, lk140 etc) that didn’t sound as good as an akurate amp until…… I bought my first Klout. I can tell you that the magic that comes from a klout is better than an akurate amp for the kabers.

Now still passive I’m intrigued to try an exaktbox 6 with 3 Klouts but I’m still missing a third klout. Although I have not experienced exakt as yet I think the exaktbox6 (just so as to avoid the whole cards management etc) would be the best route with kabers. the only thing I don’t like about the Klouts is that the Adsm cannot put them in and out of standby. if the Klouts don’t sound as good as I imagine I could always use the akurate amps again.

Pertaining to an ash or an akurate level streamer/preamp. I moved from an mdsm/1 to an mdsm/3 (quite an improvement) to an Adsm/1.

The improvement from mdsm/1 to mdsm/3 is quite large but the Adsm is a whole different story. You don’t realize it immediately but 30 seconds in you start noticing small improvements and you have that “aha” moment that the money was well spent. I’m awaiting my katalyst upgrade and am keen to see how much of a difference that makes.

What tweeter do you have on your kabers? Most people prefer the 038/2 tweeters although I feel the original d20-lp-2 are the best sounding. The new hiquophons ow-2-92 are a close second.

The kabers are very very demanding speakers but I would pick kabers over keilidhs, Ninka’s, katans, and tukans (since I’ve actually Demi’s all of them one on one).
They also need very good positioning and my final position was totally the opposite of what was suggested in the manual.

Lastly the polymer bases are a huge improvement to the kabers.

I’m curious to hear your experiences so i’ll keep an eye on this thread


Adsm/1 >> Akurate 4200/3200/3200 >> Aktiv Akurate 242 (mark 1) Silvers/K400

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Thanks for your comments.

@zee9 My Kaber aren't aktiv, from what I understand they only made the mono card, and thus are not compatible with newest amps.  I would need a Tunebox which I never find.  They are bi-amped passive.  And with original tweeters and polymer base.  I have heard about Klout and Kaber, but that seems to me like a journey to the past with possible problems down the road to find parts if anything goes wrong.

@Jail4CEOs2 Thanks for the link.  At least I can use it even if it's not perfect.

@Dasher Thanks a lot for your insight. My feeling is, almost as you described,  that for sound quality this would be a small step forward, almost aside, and for quite some money.  Yes I'm going to be more future proof and warranty on the products, but I'm not 100% convinced that worth the money.  That's why I asked for opinions here.  Maybe I should just wait to be able to buy a ASH with 530 at some point in the future?  But finding reviews about the sound quality of the 530 quite hard.

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Posted (edited)

Ways to make Kabers Aktiv:

1. Kaber Aktiv crossover.  This was a LK-size single box crossover with one big circuit board, similar to the Isobarik PMS crossover.  Old and not as good. 
 

2. Mono Aktiv cards that fit LK100 and Klout and Aktiv Tunebox. Most common configuration. 
 

3. Klimax crossovers.  Extremely rare in Kaber configuration. 
 

4. Chakra mono cards.  These fit Majik and Akurate level amps.  Fairly common and cards still available from some dealers. 
 

5. Exakt. 
 

What’s missing are the Stereo Aktiv cards that fit intermediate amps like LK85, LK140, AV5125, 2250.  These were made for other speakers like Keilidh and Ninka and Tukan and Katan. 
 

Aktiv Kabers are super transparent, and wake up with high power.   Since you don’t seem to want to go for the mono Aktiv with Klout combo, it would be best to find Chakra cards and use in A4200 + A2200, or in two A3200. 
 

With Akurate level amps you could always add Exakt later and keep the amps. 
 

Really though, with the setup you’ve listed, the front end seems to be the weak spot.  Either a KRDS (dead end) or an Akurate DSM (upgradeable) would be a bigger upgrade.  An ADSM would replace your AV5103 as well and give you a phono input.  
 

The biggest upgrade for the money would be to buy an LP12 of course...
 

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3 hours ago, leManu said:

@Dasher Thanks a lot for your insight. My feeling is, almost as you described,  that for sound quality this would be a small step forward, almost aside, and for quite some money.  Yes I'm going to be more future proof and warranty on the products, but I'm not 100% convinced that worth the money.  That's why I asked for opinions here.  Maybe I should just wait to be able to buy a ASH with 530 at some point in the future?  But finding reviews about the sound quality of the 530 quite hard.

As you are using the Kabers passive then I think that the difference to the Exaktbox-i will be larger than you imagine. There is quite a difference between an Akurate streamer (ASH) and an MDS/0. What I was saying is that you have a nicely balanced system but you should be able to tell an immediate difference between what you have and what you propose. Whether it is to your taste and liking is a different question. To many people, once they have adjusted to the difference, then it is likely that they would consider the newer system 'better'. I think that you are being offered a good deal - and if you are considering changing things then it should definitely auditioned. Personally, if I didn't already have an active system, then I would almost certainly consider the change to active to be a big step forwards. In my earlier post, what I was really considering was that both systems would be active. Going active in many cases makes a big difference. It isn't always the case -  I have heard my Espeks driven by a Klimax Kontrol and Solos, Passive - they were stunning - but at the time unbelievably expensive. I certainly prefer Keilidhs and Espeks, whether driven by 5125 or exact box-i  in active form (obviously it is the only option with the latter.

You need to audition the system - only you can decide whether it is worth the money. Dont forget that you should be able to recover about a third of the cost by selling your 5125, 5103 and MDS/0. If you are thinking of a change then you are being offered a very cost effective way of doing so.

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Thanks for your comments.
@zee9 My Kaber aren't aktiv, from what I understand they only made the mono card, and thus are not compatible with newest amps.  I would need a Tunebox which I never find.  They are bi-amped passive.  And with original tweeters and polymer base.  I have heard about Klout and Kaber, but that seems to me like a journey to the past with possible problems down the road to find parts if anything goes wrong.
@Jail4CEOs2 Thanks for the link.  At least I can use it even if it's not perfect.
@Dasher Thanks a lot for your insight. My feeling is, almost as you described,  that for sound quality this would be a small step forward, almost aside, and for quite some money.  Yes I'm going to be more future proof and warranty on the products, but I'm not 100% convinced that worth the money.  That's why I asked for opinions here.  Maybe I should just wait to be able to buy a ASH with 530 at some point in the future?  But finding reviews about the sound quality of the 530 quite hard.

They do make the mono chakra cards for the newer amps. Someone on my linn FB page just asked about selling his tunebox with kaber cards. Send me your email and i’ll put you guys in touch directly.


Adsm/1 >> Akurate 4200/3200/3200 >> Aktiv Akurate 242 (mark 1) Silvers/K400
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Exact is a really significant step up.

You mention possibly moving to M140’s. I took my M140’s through all the stages…

Stereo passive - bi-amp passive - Aktiv - Exakt (Katalyst also)

They improved with every step.

Exakt really changed beyond expectation. I got the home demo and my wife commented on how good it sounded before I had committed to buy…

Removing the passive crossovers will make your speakers much more efficient. Though, you will drop quite some power going from a 5125 to Exaktbox-I.

Are you trading in your 5125 for that price?

I agree with others. Home demo in your room is the way to take this.

You will loose the use of your sub with Exakt filtering applied. I did, but do not miss it vs the overall gains. 

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You won't lose all of the sub, just the parts outside of those Exakt decides your speakers can output. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’m coming a bit late with this thread but, I’d like to add my three penneth. 
I too have a pair of Kabers although I do not have the experience of some of you previous contributors. I’ve been running them Aktiv with LK100 amps and have been happy with them. I’ve read lots regarding the benefits of upgrading to Klouts but being retired I could not justify the expense of £3k, give or take. I recently read a review regarding the AV5105 amps and the overall feeling was that they are good amps. Well, last week the opportunity arose for me to buy three of them. After some disappointing research I managed to find a sympathetic dealer who gave me the info on how to put my mono Aktiv cards from the LK100s into them and I’ve been having some serious listening sessions. I am blown away in the difference! They are night and day in their delivery. There is so much more depth in the sound. Spoken voice actually sounds in the room with accurate tonal variations and listening to vinyl and tape is just brilliant. So much more is revealed. Well known pieces show so much more detail. So, my point is that if any other readers are in the position of seeing the price of the recommended upgrade being Klout amps going silly, give the 5105 serious consideration. I cannot imagine you will be disappointed. 

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I reached out to this guy on CAM, he seems to be a good guy. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update, I sold my Ninkas when I compared them to my Kabers, both in passive and aktiv. I heard exalted Ninkas last week and was very very impressed. I’m more keen now to hear my Kabers exact than my 242’s in exact, so I guess I will be converting them back to Aktiv sometime soon. 

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