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Organik: Hype, failure of previous streamers or just a taste of what is still to come


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I wonder if the firmware for Organik will be remotely upgradable

Isn't it already remotely upgradeable? Or am I missing something?

I thought the entire benefit of owning a Linn was that the processing is happening upstream in an FPGA so as to tailor the digital audio stream data to the specific DAC. The DAC's firmware is thus the firmware for the specific DSM in use, as it instructs the downstream DAC how to operate. 

I mean, personally I've experienced noticeable improvements in performance with a Majik DS simply because of firmware updates. Why would Organik be any different? We've all experienced improvements to Space Optimisation - that's an improvement to the DAC, and Linn is still not done with what SOv2 has to offer, as far as I am aware. 

I think any prospective Linn owner should be confident that Linn improves their DSM product line, and has the track record to prove it, via free software and firmware updates. I don't think they are changing this at all with Organik.

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12 hours ago, Elad Repooc said:

Isn't it already remotely upgradeable? Or am I missing something?

I thought the entire benefit of owning a Linn was that the processing is happening upstream in an FPGA so as to tailor the digital audio stream data to the specific DAC. The DAC's firmware is thus the firmware for the specific DSM in use, as it instructs the downstream DAC how to operate. 

I mean, personally I've experienced noticeable improvements in performance with a Majik DS simply because of firmware updates. Why would Organik be any different? We've all experienced improvements to Space Optimisation - that's an improvement to the DAC, and Linn is still not done with what SOv2 has to offer, as far as I am aware. 

I think any prospective Linn owner should be confident that Linn improves their DSM product line, and has the track record to prove it, via free software and firmware updates. I don't think they are changing this at all with Organik.

All this time, I wasn't aware that Katalyst was being upgraded via DSM firmware version releases. So Organik could have the potential to be even more upgradable, since it is all in-house, I would think.

P.S. Something just occurred to me, I haven't found any audible improvement with the firmware upgrades since the Katalyst Akubariks. I look forward to the next DAC firmware upgrade.

Edited by akamatsu
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So back on topic. Since Organik, and other DACs for that matter, are firmware upgragable, and I assume Linn designed the Organik hardware to be somewhat future proof, we should be able to look forward to many years of sound quality improvements. All this with hardware already purchased.

Edited by akamatsu
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3 minutes ago, akamatsu said:

So back on topic. Since Organik, and other DACs for that matter, are firmware upgragable, and I assume Linn designed the Organik hardware to be somewhat future proof, we should be able to look forward to many years of sound quality improvements. All this with hardware already purchased.

The big difference, that I see, is that Organik, being implemented on a FPGA is completely  defined in code, unlike the Katalyst where the functions are implemented in hardware, on the chip, and optimised by Linn. The way the DAC is implemented  and runs on the FPGA could be completely changed by a firmware update, in future.

In addition, the functional elements of the KDSM have been implemented on separate boards, meaning any single one could be upgraded in future, without having to redesign the whole layout. So, new HDMI format, or new clock - no problem. They’ve also given themselves more space to work within.

’troll

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1 minute ago, Moomintroll said:

The big difference, that I see, is that Organik, being implemented on a FPGA is completely  defined in code, unlike the Katalyst where the functions are implemented in hardware, on the chip, and optimised by Linn. The way the DAC is implemented  and runs on the FPGA could be completely changed by a firmware update, in future.

Thank you for this. This is what I was originally trying to say, but lacked the knowledge and vocabulary. Intuitively, I don't see this level of upgradability with Katalyst.

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49 minutes ago, Moomintroll said:

In addition, the functional elements of the KDSM have been implemented on separate boards, meaning any single one could be upgraded in future, without having to redesign the whole layout. So, new HDMI format, or new clock - no problem. They’ve also given themselves more space to work within.

Just yesterday, I was looking at photos of the interior of the KDSM and had the same thoughts. I saw the HDMI board and thought it would be easy to remove. :D

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Yes FPGA is a Field Programmable Gate Array. Before I retired I used to use FPGAs in my day job. We were always looking for better ways to secure networks. When we felt it might be possible to compromise our code, we completely re-engineered it and were able to push out the revised code to every deployed device across the world. If we had used an ASIC (Application Specific Intergraded Circuit) this would not have been possible. 

Moreover, FPGAs interface to the electronics making the hardware element of Linn’s Organic DAC simple compared with the inherent complexity with a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) chip. 

Chord Electronics have a similar hardware design for its Pulse Array DAC. However, Linn DAC architecture is different from that of Chord Electronics. PS Audio is another taking advantage of FPGAs: PS Audio converts PCM to DSD making its hardware design even simpler: PS Audio has upgraded its code and customers were able to take advantage of the improvements. 

To me, the Linn design looks a marvel of simplicity and that can only be a good thing. 

The downside of FPGAs are they are noisy blighters. The casework and quality of shielding within the case are very important and I am convinced Linn has put as much thought into this as it has into its FPGA code. All this and modularity within the box.

if I carry on with this post I’m going to convince myself I need one. 

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My guess that Katalyst, from an R+D/ design budget point view improbably already dead. It is quite possible that there will be a 'son of Katalyst'-an "Organik  Light", FPGA approach to the lower levels.  This move appears  to be about more than music reproduction quality. It is also about taking control in house and relying less on third party  chips. With third party chips the obsolescence timetable is dictated by other players  actions. The interesting design challenge, taking Nestor's point above, will be taming the noise without the use of hideously  expensive machining. I doubt that the markets for "Majik", Selekt" and whatever fills the "Akurate" gap will stand the cost of tens of hours of (very) expensive machining.

Katalyst is  interesting - I certainly prefer my ASH with a Kat AEbox-i over a non Kat AEB-i. I do, however, still prefer my KRDS/1 and active  analogue playback over the Akurate and Katalyst. So, to my ears, Akurate and Katalyst still didn't match Klimax (even Renew) and  non Katalyst.

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16 minutes ago, Dasher said:

My guess that Katalyst, from an R+D/ design budget point view improbably already dead. It is quite possible that there will be a 'son of Katalyst'-an "Organik  Light", FPGA approach to the lower levels.  This move appears  to be about more than music reproduction quality. It is also about taking control in house and relying less on third party  chips. With third party chips the obsolescence timetable is dictated by other players  actions. The interesting design challenge, taking Nestor's point above, will be taming the noise without the use of hideously  expensive machining. I doubt that the markets for "Majik", Selekt" and whatever fills the "Akurate" gap will stand the cost of tens of hours of (very) expensive machining.

Katalyst is  interesting - I certainly prefer my ASH with a Kat AEbox-i over a non Kat AEB-i. I do, however, still prefer my KRDS/1 and active  analogue playback over the Akurate and Katalyst. So, to my ears, Akurate and Katalyst still didn't match Klimax (even Renew) and  non Katalyst.

As Nestor pointed out above, PS Audio's DirectStream DAC uses a FPGA instead of an off-the-shelf DAC and they have apparently solved the "noisiness" issue without using expensive machining - there is nothing special about its casework and it only weighs about 22 pounds. FWIW, they send out firmware updates about every 6 months that are focused on improving the sound. This DAC has been around for about 5 years and, due to the software updates, still competes very well with newer designs. 

It will be interesting to see how Linn approaches the firmware updates going forward because Linn has typically stated that Davaar updates don't impact sound at all, yet I can remember the debates on the old Linn Forum about which Davaar version sounded best which had a lot of people rolling back to earlier versions because it sounded better, despite Linn saying there was no impact on SQ. 

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On 15/09/2021 at 14:51, 7ryder said:

PS Audio's DirectStream DAC uses a FPGA instead of an off-the-shelf DAC and they have apparently solved the "noisiness" issue without using expensive machining - there is nothing special about its casework and it only weighs about 22 pounds. FWIW, they send out firmware updates about every 6 months that are focused on improving the sound. This DAC has been around for about 5 years and, due to the software updates, still competes very well with newer designs. 

The PS Audio DirectStream DAC does not sound very good in my personal opinion, despite whatever technical pedigree they claim. There are many other DACs from other manufacturers which cost quite a bit less and offer better performance to my ear (including Linn; a Sneaky DS/DSM for example) so I don't even take their products very seriously anymore. I used to subscribe to Paul's Posts but honestly receiving boring audiophile drivel each morning was a bit much, so I had to cancel. I don't comprehend what some of these manufacturers are listening for, let alone listening to, to create some of the products they pawn off to people. That being said, I did like their entry level Perfect Wave DAC back in the day, mainly because hardly any consumer HiFi companies even made DACs at that price point, and I do appreciate some of their products in the power category, though I've never owned them personally. 

A cursory look at their newly designed website leaves a lot to be desired. They make claims such as:

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DirectStream takes a different approach by first converting all digital audio signals into a purer form of digital audio known as DSD. DSD is a far more analog-like encoding and decoding process than the classic CD based PCM. In fact, most modern A/D converters used to make recordings are DSD based already. 

There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim which means they are pulling it straight out of their behind. When manufacturers expect one to believe this drivel it makes the entire industry suffer as a result. They might think they are helping "high-end" audio with this crap, but they are only hurting it. 

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8 hours ago, Elad Repooc said:

I don't comprehend what some of these manufacturers are listening for, let alone listening to

This. 100%.

’troll

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On 15/09/2021 at 19:32, akamatsu said:

Just yesterday, I was looking at photos of the interior of the KDSM and had the same thoughts. I saw the HDMI board and thought it would be easy to remove. :D

Yes you can 😀 and do a listening test with Ben, before and after removing it 😉

Have you got some news for your Klimax hub ? You said 14 weeks passed…
My dealer doesn't even dare talking about delivery with me 😀😬

Edited by Chris 1970
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3 hours ago, Chris 1970 said:

Yes you can 😀 and do a listening test with Ben, before and after removing it 😉

Have you got some news for your Klimax hub ? You said 14 weeks passed…
My dealer doesn't even dare talking about delivery with me 😀😬

I'll be keeping my warranty intact. 😁

No word from the dealer yet. Perhaps I'll get notice of shipment next week. And thank you for asking. :)

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