Finally, a product release that's 100% worth the pre-announcement hype!
I can't count all the press releases and hype emails I've received over the years. I admit, I ask for them because I want to know what's coming. 99% of the time it's all hat no cattle. The hype is almost never proportional to the product. This time is different.
Linn has been preparing everyone for the next big thing, culminating with its launch LinnCast to share the details of the new flagship Linn Klimax DSM network music player and integrated preamp. Based on what I've seen, this one is worthy of the hype, and them some. Not only is the Klimax DSM an all new design, but the Organik DAC inside is Linn's own creation and available for the first time in the Klimax DSM. Much about which to talk.
As the Linn team said in my recent interview of them on the Audiophile Style podcast, the company designs products its own unique way and this originality is just part of the Linn ethos. Thus, it's no surprise that the heart of the new Klimax DSM is the New Linn designed Organik DAC. The Organik DAC is a complete in-house design that uses FPGA processing and a discrete conversion stage. I applaud Linn for creating videos about the new DAC that show how the music flows on board traces of equal length etc... We've all heard extreme technical talk about DACs and had our eyes gloss over fairly quickly. The Linn video hits the high points, leaves the geekery out, and uses video how it should be used, to show how something works. Great stuff.
On the technical side, Linn says the new Organik DAC achieves distortion figures 20dB below the Katalyst! The Klimax DSM also supports PCM sample rates up through 24 bit / 384 kHz and DSD up through DSD256. Taking the coolness to another level, Linn put an SFP port in the Klimax DSM! For the less geeky, this means it can connect via fiber optic network cable to one's home network. I have a full fiber network from the utility pole outside my house to my router to my audio endpoints, and can't wait to connect a Klimax DSM to the system.
For those of us who value high quality industrial design and chassis engineering, Linn has delivered here as well. The Klimax DSM dial looks stunning and like a dial I'd elect to use rather than pull out my iOS device to adjust the volume or a setting. Even if I had to physically walk over to the Klimax DSM, I think I'd still do it because of the luxurious dial.
The front panel display is another item that I can't wait to see in person. It's much less like a piece of electronic gear and more like an informational plaque at a museum. But, this one becomes invisible when not in use. In addition, the top panel of the Klimax DSM has beautiful aesthetically pleasing grooves like that of a vinyl record. The photos look great, but the look and feel of the Klimax DSM will need to be experienced in person I'm sure. Anyway, a couple very nice touches, among many others inside and out.
Note about the Linn Klimax System Hub: The System Hub is very similar to the Klimax DSM, but doesn't have have the built-in Organik DAC. The Hub is mean to connect to other Linn products like an Exactbox or Linn Klimax speakers, that already contain a DAC. According to Linn, "the Hub performs the ADC and supports source switching etc. It offers better value to customers who have our integrated ... speakers." Yes, there's an Organik DAC upgrade path for the Klimax Exactbox and Klimax 350 speakers.
There's also an AV version of the Klimax DSM. This version features 4 HDMI inputs and a single HDMI 2.0 (4K resolution @ 60 Hz 4:4:4; HDCP 2.2; HDR; eARC; CEC) output.
I can't wait to have Gilad and the Linn guys back on the podcast to go over the Klimax DSM inside and out. Exciting stuff, that's fo sure.
Pricing for the new Klimax components:
Klimax DSM (Audio) $39,000
Klimax DSM (AV) $39,000
Klimax System Hub $19,500
Klimax Exaktbox with Organik DAC $19,500
Klimax 350 Speakers with Organik DAC $74,750
Organik DAC Upgrade for Klimax Exaktbox $7,020
Organik DAC Upgrade for Klimax 350 Speakers $14,040