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What exactly is “Exakt”? - A linn lovers first Exakt experience!


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What exactly is “Exakt”? - A linn lovers first Exakt experience!

 

As  most of you who know me from my posts on the old linn forum as well as the linn section on hifiwigwam, i’m not new to linn but did take a 27 year break from linn.

.

I got back into linn 3 years back with a similar setup that i had before (Passive Keilidhs with a Majik-I) but this time around it was a used C3200, Unidisk SC and a pair of passive Keilidhs. Since i can’t afford new linn gear and also enjoyed old linn gear enough i started to upgrade my system with used gear and slowly moved up the ladder. I tried Kabers after the Keilidhs, then Ninkas, then back to Kabers and recently moved to Akurate 242’s. the other speakers that i have experienced are , Kan I’s, Kan II’s, Katans, Tukans.

In regard of preamplifiers I've got to experience a Unidisk SC, Kinos, Kairn, Classic Movie Di and even an old Kollektor.

for amplifiers it was a Majik-I, LK100, LK140, AV5105, AV5125, a Klout, Majik 5100 (non D), Akurate 3200 (non D) and an Akurate 4200/1 (D).I’ve heard enough passive and aktiv setups to know the difference, the advantages and the disadvantages of either setups.

.

My Present system consists of Adsm/1 >> Akurate 4200/3200/3200 >> Akurate 242 (mark.1) with Silvers/K400s aktiv with chakra cards.

.

i loved my Kabers (although i found they lacked the bass out of aktiv Akurate amps, that is not the case with a Klout) and still have them (Passive with a Kairn/Klout combo and they produce more bass than when they were aktiv with Akurate amplifiers) as i usually sell what i don’t need only after i’m convinced that whatever upgrade i bought is actually better to my ears (here i mean the Akurate 242 speakers but before i found my 242’s i contemplated if Aktiv Ninkas would be an upgrade to my Aktiv Kabers. I loved the bass that the Ninkas produced but i felt they lacked the mid range that i got from the Kabers and hence eventually sold the Ninkas to a (now friend) locally who is a very happy camper with them. i wrote a huge thread about my impressions of the Ninkas as per the link below:

.

 

.

And now for the main story:

.

A very kind gentleman invited me over to hear his setup after visiting my apartment as he was eager to hear 242’s and was concerned about how clinical or harsh 3k arrays sounded compared to his Exakted Ninkas. At first instant he said my system sounded very much like his system and i felt that his system would sound clinical too, just what i felt about my aktiv 242’s. Later he told me that he didn't find it clinical or harsh. we chatted about this possibility mid last year but due to the safety concerns waited till all parties got vaccinated and were comfortable to meet indoors.

.

His Setup:
- LP12 (Plinth w/ corner bracing Cirkus Kit, Ittok LVII Arm, Benz Micro ACE S cartridge, Urika II, Radikal Akurate PSU) All on a Creaktiv Rack)
- Klimax Exaktbox 6
- Linn Mdsm/3 - i used that before upgrading to my adsm/1

- Aktiv Ninkas (which i know)

- K400 speaker cables (same ones i use)

  • 2 x 3200’s (D) - I have the same amps but without Dynamik however did hear my Ninkas bi-aktiv with my 4200/1

.
.

The first track we heard was Nightingale by Norah Jones and i right away felt that the vocal was not centered. he quickly made a change and the vocal was back in the middle but not as high as i have it on my slightly inclined speakers. it turns out that the balance was slightly to the right based on his preference of hearing etc. The moment the upright bass came in i asked if SO was on and he confirmed as the instrument didn't sound right. he obliged me by switching it off and we continued to listen.

.

what i immediately noticed was the reason i sold the ninkas over my Kabers. when compared to Kabers the ninkas feel like they almost have no or very little mid range. they have great bass unlike my then aktiv Kabers (now also proven wrong as the bass totally awakens with the Kabers even passive, but only with a Klout.) i asked my self how could this system generate a range of frequency that didn't exist in a speaker since passive to Aktiv was what was meant to open up the speaker to its fullest. Luckily his previous system was a c5100 with aktiv cards and a bi-amped aktiv pair of the same Ninka’s and he said that that was the first change he noticed when he went exakt. unfortunately/fortunately he got to experience Exakt and Katalyst at the same time and that also at Klimax level so he couldn’t define how much of the improvement had to with Ekakt, Katalyst or just that fact that the DAC was now at Klimax level. We b both guessed that this was what we heard different in Exakt against analogue Aktiv.

.

.

to digress i just bought a used linn Basik to try vinyl ands was eager to try some of the records i had just acquired and we moved to records after 2/3 tracks on the Mdsm/3.Once the LP12 came on we started discussing things i should watch out for with vinyl etc and were not really listening critically till we switched on a Harry Belafonte record and i was surprised that i was hearing instruments that i didn't hear on my system. when i asked if that was due to Exakt, he said possibly but we were also talking about a 30 times more expensive source than my second hand Basik TT. At this point i also felt that there was too much bass for my liking and he said that’s why he usually had SO on so we switched it back on. He played me some of his records and although i dint know the tracks well (he had played the same tracks when he visited my apartment so i did recognize them) that i realized how immersive the music session was getting. i was completely drawn in to music that i didn't know but could just feel how my toe should tap next to stay in rhythm with the track playing. i had never heard separation and image placement like this before. i think i almost cried.

.

by now it was just past midnight and i decided to call it a day although i did not want to leave and probably would have spent the whole night listening to his record collection.

.

The day thereafter:

i woke up and was dying to play the records we had heard on my system so that i could analyze my listenings to the ones from the night before. Not a fair comparison with my $600 TT and i realized the instruments that i thought i didn't hear on my system from the previous night were there alright but there was not enough separation and detail that they made a mark or a point when i was listening to the same record on my system. i tried to remember more of my thoughts from the earlier night and realized that the mdsm/3 with tidal didn't engage me enough and also that i never got lost in the songs that we streamed. i’m guessing (not confirmed yet) this points out to the fact that although the DSM is only sending an exakt or digital signal its still very very important in the chain. (i must remember to tell him that)

.

I’ve also suggested to him that the effort to cut internal wires in my Kabers would totally be worth it if we could hear my Kabers in place of his Ninkas. It would only be fair to make them active, leave them at his apartment, let him play around with positioning and then finally go hear them in Exakt Aktiv. at that point i would also carry my Adsm so that he can hear the difference to his Majik DSM, if there is any)

.

So what is Exakt?…… to a lay unexperienced listener like me its the most emotional, most engaging pair of Ninkas with the best image that i have heard. if i had heard this pair before i sold my Ninkas id probably have kept my Ninkas and never felt the urge to hear 3K arrays.

.

Should i buy into Exakt?….. the separation and imaging will surely be a plus but that was never my complaint with the 3k arrays. they are just a different level of detail compared to Ninkas and sound a bit too clinical to me. Maybe they will be less clinical once my Katalyst upgrade arrives for my ADSM/1, however i have requested a home demo for an Akurate Exaktbox10.

.

.

STAY TUNED!

Edited by zee9
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Zee, I'm delighted that your first experience of Exakt was a positive one. Hopefully the home loan of the AEB 10 will answer many of your questions going forward. I would certainly keep the 242's for those tests. Hopefully the Exakt/Katalyst solution will take away their clinical and cold nature.

Mike.

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Good story Zee, For what's its worth, I would probably not have kept my Exakt Akudoriks if not for the Katalyst upgrade, I used the word clinical at the time to describe them. Looking forward to you update.

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Mike / Craig,

My opinion was strictly based on the ninkas getting such an improvement from when I had ninkas. The issue is finding out what improved what? I think the test with the Exact kabers is what I’m really looking forward to.

I ordered a katalyst upgrade for my Adsm/1 which might help with the clinical sound but will be a waste if the Exaktbox10 works with the 242’s. I’ll have to sell the Adsm/3 and get an ASH then

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

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Hi Zee, thanks for the extensive report! Happy to hear indeed it was an overall positive one. As you know i went straight to Katalyst but based on several recommendations that this upgrade really makes a significant difference. Now looking forward to the Organik update. But as said, despite some issues to get settled with my system, it never sounded clinical and i can really not relate to this.

In line with one of the comments made yesterday, indeed there are a lot of factors that can play a factor on the music experience in case of digital other than the equipment including (ether) cables, grounding etc. Improvements in these areas really made a difference as well, together with a good conditioner, in terms of clarity and sound stage, and again definitely not clinical. 

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Thanks for a nice story and good read. The key limiting factor in his system is the  Linn Mdsm/3 which is the item that clearly holds back. With a Akurate Hub (or EDSM) the music is a lot more engaging and natural flowing. He will in the second hand marked be able to make a swap with minimal outlay.

Regards. Øyvind

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6 hours ago, formann said:

Thanks for a nice story and good read. The key limiting factor in his system is the  Linn Mdsm/3 which is the item that clearly holds back. With a Akurate Hub (or EDSM) the music is a lot more engaging and natural flowing. He will in the second hand marked be able to make a swap with minimal outlay.

Regards. Øyvind

Do you think that having separate boxes (System Hub + Exaktbox) vs a 'integrated' DSM could make a difference as well?

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33 minutes ago, frans5508 said:

Do you think that having separate boxes (System Hub + Exaktbox) vs a 'integrated' DSM could make a difference as well?

MDSM is an integrated streamer, pre-amp, DAC and power amp in one box with an Exakt output (which doesn't use the onboard DAC / power amps) and connects to an Exaktbox.

A System Hub is an integrated streamer, pre-amp and Exakt output which goes to an Exaktbox.

So they are both "integrated" units, just different combinations of integrated components.  Those who have heard the difference universally seem to prefer the System Hub which is less "integrated" than the MDSM.  Was that what you were asking about? Or were you thinking about Selekt DSM which, with the correct combination of modules, can be streamer, pre-amp, Exaktbox, DACs and power amps?

Edited by sunbeamgls
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28 minutes ago, frans5508 said:

Do you think that having separate boxes (System Hub + Exaktbox) vs a 'integrated' DSM could make a difference as well?

Can‘t understand. If you don‘t have Exakt Speakers with integrated DAC you need an Exaktbox,  Hub or DSM and amp. Or at least DSM or Hub with Exaktbox I.

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Yes, Hub should be better than DSM when it‘s from the same range. Exaktbox and Akurate Amps should be better than Akurate Exaktbox I

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43 minutes ago, sunbeamgls said:

MDSM is an integrated streamer, pre-amp, DAC and power amp in one box with an Exakt output (which doesn't use the onboard DAC / power amps) and connects to an Exaktbox.

A System Hub is an integrated streamer, pre-amp and Exakt output which goes to an Exaktbox.

So they are both "integrated" units, just different combinations of integrated components.  Those who have heard the difference universally seem to prefer the System Hub which is less "integrated" than the MDSM.  Was that what you were asking about? Or were you thinking about Selekt DSM which, with the correct combination of modules, can be streamer, pre-amp, Exaktbox, DACs and power amps?

Sorry i was not specifically referring to the MDSM (didnt know it had amps integrated as well, so comparable with the Akurate Exaktbox-i). I was referring to:

Streamer/pre-amp with DAC's integrated VS Streamer/pre-amp and Exaktbox with DAC's indeed.

@DB1328 answered my question. I am more in favor of separate boxes as well instead of integrated ones but admittedly never did an 'apples to apples' comparison. I went the separate box route and sometimes regret it as it's also the more expensive route, especially when going for surround as I am (i 'cheated' with my Exaktbox-i for my rear speakers ;-). 

Edited by frans5508
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22 hours ago, zee9 said:

I loved the bass that the Ninkas produced but i felt they lacked the mid range that i got from the Kabers

 

The mid range is least accentuated part of the frequency response on the Ninkas. Here are my in-room measurements for R and L:

Ninka Measurement.jpg

Ninka 2.jpg

Edited by snatex
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9 hours ago, snatex said:

The mid range is least accentuated part of the frequency response on the Ninkas. Here are my in-room measurements for R and L:

Ninka Measurement.jpg

Ninka 2.jpg

Zee, look at that curve stretching to fifteen hertz!

15 hours ago, sunbeamgls said:

MDSM is an integrated streamer, pre-amp, DAC and power amp in one box with an Exakt output (which doesn't use the onboard DAC / power amps) and connects to an Exaktbox.

A System Hub is an integrated streamer, pre-amp and Exakt output which goes to an Exaktbox.

So they are both "integrated" units, just different combinations of integrated components.  Those who have heard the difference universally seem to prefer the System Hub which is less "integrated" than the MDSM.  Was that what you were asking about? Or were you thinking about Selekt DSM which, with the correct combination of modules, can be streamer, pre-amp, Exaktbox, DACs and power amps?

I just upgraded yesterday to an AEDSM from my MDSM/2 into my Majikurate Exaktbox-i, and I'll admit I was wrong to be sceptical that anything upstream of the Exaktbox-i could affect anything. The difference is the removing of the digital, clinical edge. Everything is now more relaxed, smooth, and "in the room", organic real players, playing real instruments. Bigger soundstage outside of the speakers in all directions. Much better low level volume performance. 

Sunbeam, any comments here on your KSH upgrade?

Edited by Jail4CEOs2
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On 17/06/2021 at 23:32, zee9 said:

What exactly is “Exakt”? - A linn lovers first Exakt experience!

 

As  most of you who know me from my posts on the old linn forum as well as the linn section on hifiwigwam, i’m not new to linn but did take a 27 year break from linn.

.

I got back into linn 3 years back with a similar setup that i had before (Passive Keilidhs with a Majik-I) but this time around it was a used C3200, Unidisk SC and a pair of passive Keilidhs. Since i can’t afford new linn gear and also enjoyed old linn gear enough i started to upgrade my system with used gear and slowly moved up the ladder. I tried Kabers after the Keilidhs, then Ninkas, then back to Kabers and recently moved to Akurate 242’s. the other speakers that i have experienced are , Kan I’s, Kan II’s, Katans, Tukans.

In regard of preamplifiers I've got to experience a Unidisk SC, Kinos, Kairn, Classic Movie Di and even an old Kollektor.

for amplifiers it was a Majik-I, LK100, LK140, AV5105, AV5125, a Klout, Majik 5100 (non D), Akurate 3200 (non D) and an Akurate 4200/1 (D).I’ve heard enough passive and aktiv setups to know the difference, the advantages and the disadvantages of either setups.

.

My Present system consists of Adsm/1 >> Akurate 4200/3200/3200 >> Akurate 242 (mark.1) with Silvers/K400s aktiv with chakra cards.

.

i loved my Kabers (although i found they lacked the bass out of aktiv Akurate amps, that is not the case with a Klout) and still have them (Passive with a Kairn/Klout combo and they produce more bass than when they were aktiv with Akurate amplifiers) as i usually sell what i don’t need only after i’m convinced that whatever upgrade i bought is actually better to my ears (here i mean the Akurate 242 speakers but before i found my 242’s i contemplated if Aktiv Ninkas would be an upgrade to my Aktiv Kabers. I loved the bass that the Ninkas produced but i felt they lacked the mid range that i got from the Kabers and hence eventually sold the Ninkas to a (now friend) locally who is a very happy camper with them. i wrote a huge thread about my impressions of the Ninkas as per the link below:

.

 

.

And now for the main story:

.

A very kind gentleman invited me over to hear his setup after visiting my apartment as he was eager to hear 242’s and was concerned about how clinical or harsh 3k arrays sounded compared to his Exakted Ninkas. At first instant he said my system sounded very much like his system and i felt that his system would sound clinical too, just what i felt about my aktiv 242’s. Later he told me that he didn't find it clinical or harsh. we chatted about this possibility mid last year but due to the safety concerns waited till all parties got vaccinated and were comfortable to meet indoors.

.

His Setup:
- LP12 (Plinth w/ corner bracing Cirkus Kit, Ittok LVII Arm, Benz Micro ACE S cartridge, Urika II, Radikal Akurate PSU) All on a Creaktiv Rack)
- Klimax Exaktbox 6
- Linn Mdsm/3 - i used that before upgrading to my adsm/1

- Aktiv Ninkas (which i know)

- K400 speaker cables (same ones i use)

  • 2 x 3200’s (D) - I have the same amps but without Dynamik however did hear my Ninkas bi-aktiv with my 4200/1

.
.

The first track we heard was Nightingale by Norah Jones and i right away felt that the vocal was not centered. he quickly made a change and the vocal was back in the middle but not as high as i have it on my slightly inclined speakers. it turns out that the balance was slightly to the right based on his preference of hearing etc. The moment the upright bass came in i asked if SO was on and he confirmed as the instrument didn't sound right. he obliged me by switching it off and we continued to listen.

.

what i immediately noticed was the reason i sold the ninkas over my Kabers. when compared to Kabers the ninkas feel like they almost have no or very little mid range. they have great bass unlike my then aktiv Kabers (now also proven wrong as the bass totally awakens with the Kabers even passive, but only with a Klout.) i asked my self how could this system generate a range of frequency that didn't exist in a speaker since passive to Aktiv was what was meant to open up the speaker to its fullest. Luckily his previous system was a c5100 with aktiv cards and a bi-amped aktiv pair of the same Ninka’s and he said that that was the first change he noticed when he went exakt. unfortunately/fortunately he got to experience Exakt and Katalyst at the same time and that also at Klimax level so he couldn’t define how much of the improvement had to with Ekakt, Katalyst or just that fact that the DAC was now at Klimax level. We b both guessed that this was what we heard different in Exakt against analogue Aktiv.

.

.

to digress i just bought a used linn Basik to try vinyl ands was eager to try some of the records i had just acquired and we moved to records after 2/3 tracks on the Mdsm/3.Once the LP12 came on we started discussing things i should watch out for with vinyl etc and were not really listening critically till we switched on a Harry Belafonte record and i was surprised that i was hearing instruments that i didn't hear on my system. when i asked if that was due to Exakt, he said possibly but we were also talking about a 30 times more expensive source than my second hand Basik TT. At this point i also felt that there was too much bass for my liking and he said that’s why he usually had SO on so we switched it back on. He played me some of his records and although i dint know the tracks well (he had played the same tracks when he visited my apartment so i did recognize them) that i realized how immersive the music session was getting. i was completely drawn in to music that i didn't know but could just feel how my toe should tap next to stay in rhythm with the track playing. i had never heard separation and image placement like this before. i think i almost cried.

.

by now it was just past midnight and i decided to call it a day although i did not want to leave and probably would have spent the whole night listening to his record collection.

.

The day thereafter:

i woke up and was dying to play the records we had heard on my system so that i could analyze my listenings to the ones from the night before. Not a fair comparison with my $600 TT and i realized the instruments that i thought i didn't hear on my system from the previous night were there alright but there was not enough separation and detail that they made a mark or a point when i was listening to the same record on my system. i tried to remember more of my thoughts from the earlier night and realized that the mdsm/3 with tidal didn't engage me enough and also that i never got lost in the songs that we streamed. i’m guessing (not confirmed yet) this points out to the fact that although the DSM is only sending an exakt or digital signal its still very very important in the chain. (i must remember to tell him that)

.

I’ve also suggested to him that the effort to cut internal wires in my Kabers would totally be worth it if we could hear my Kabers in place of his Ninkas. It would only be fair to make them active, leave them at his apartment, let him play around with positioning and then finally go hear them in Exakt Aktiv. at that point i would also carry my Adsm so that he can hear the difference to his Majik DSM, if there is any)

.

So what is Exakt?…… to a lay unexperienced listener like me its the most emotional, most engaging pair of Ninkas with the best image that i have heard. if i had heard this pair before i sold my Ninkas id probably have kept my Ninkas and never felt the urge to hear 3K arrays.

.

Should i buy into Exakt?….. the separation and imaging will surely be a plus but that was never my complaint with the 3k arrays. they are just a different level of detail compared to Ninkas and sound a bit too clinical to me. Maybe they will be less clinical once my Katalyst upgrade arrives for my ADSM/1, however i have requested a home demo for an Akurate Exaktbox10.

.

.

STAY TUNED!

Thx for sharing your thoughts @zee9. It's great to read that you have friends around, who are of the same crazy breed like us all here. Sharing is caring!

When I moved from Aktiv to (Akurate) Exakt, my first impression was, that the speakers were getting out of the way between myself and the music. The music appeared much more playing in the room, than being emitted from the speakers.

This was a big improvement, but I need to warn you, that from Akurate Exakt to Klimax Exakt (which I'm longing for, but could not source on the used market as yet, at least not in black) is yet another big improvement. As you "spoiled" your ears already with your friend's Klimax Exaktbox, it remains to see, how enthusiastic your reception of the AEBox 10 will be. Pricewise, the investment into Klimax gear for 242s is HUGE though. This is the main reason, why I never parted from my AV5140s. These are 3-way speakers, and thus much better suited to my salary.

Happy listening!

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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13 hours ago, snatex said:

The mid range is least accentuated part of the frequency response on the Ninkas. Here are my in-room measurements for R and L:

Ninka Measurement.jpg

Ninka 2.jpg

How did you make those measurements @snatex?

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