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    New Linn Klimax DSM With Organik DAC

    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. 

     

    Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Black Top Corner.jpgLinn 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. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Silver Rear Panel.jpg

     

    Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Internal Analog.jpgKlimax DSM 2021 Audio Internal Digital.jpg

     


    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. 

     

    Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Silver Room.jpgThe 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 2021 Audio Black Top Vinyl.jpg

    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

     

     

     

     

     

    Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Black Room.jpg Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Organik DAC Internal.jpg Klimax DSM 2021 Audio Silver Bottom.jpg

     

     

     

     

     



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    I have heard the Linn products, which I am highly impressed with, just not interested in expensive speaker that look like cloth covered obelisks. I do like the sound though.

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    40 minutes ago, JoeWhip said:

    At these price points, no way Jose.

     

    Come one, you could go to Antarctica for a second time or have a Klimax DSM to listen through for years :~)

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    1 hour ago, botrytis said:

    I have heard the Linn products, which I am highly impressed with, just not interested in expensive speaker that look like cloth covered obelisks. I do like the sound though.

     

    I love the cloth covered speakers. 

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    Design is hideous. Linn used to have very slick Bauhaus design. The new Klimax is looks cheap with the silly gold bling and no sense of proportions. Pitty.

     

    Wondering about the chips used. AKM 4499 or AKM 4498/4191?

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    This company is very good at attention to detail but the first video is just describing what's there is almost every dac lol 😅, just the level of accuracy and perfection changes. I'm not a PCB designer, but I feel that the clock routing looks 👌👌. Anyway most of the magic would be in that 8 layers you don't see. I Ion't quite understand if this is a delta Sigma dac or a PWM dac.

     

    And by the way, I see a few ti opa1612 and opax140 opamps. Interesting to know a 39000$ device still relies on a 7$ chip at some point. Was expecting Linn to make custom opamps or choose something discrete, like Weiss.

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    I haven't heard any Linn product so far, but I liked the company until I found their blog. I just can't take them seriously after reading this one: https://www.linn.co.uk/blog/dac-or-network-music-player-which-is-best-for-home-audio

     

    Quote

    For starters, DACs can be a real pain if you want them to work with your other devices. A DAC needs to be physically tied to your computer, which therefore needs to be in the same room as your hi-fi system.

    If you want to control and choose music using a phone or tablet—or have the whole family accessing music around your home using a device of their choice—you’re out of luck. So hunch yourself over that laptop and get used to it. That's the window to your music collection from now on.

     

    Quote

    So if you want multi-room audio, or maybe surround sound, or would like digital audio from sources other than your computer, your DAC will be obsolete.

     

    Quote

    Most DACs are low-spec consumer devices, whose quality is further impaired by the computer they connect to. They’re built on the basis of price rather than performance. The music you hear is very different from the original source, because musical information is being lost along the way.

     

    ...so you shouldn't buy a high-end DAC because digital streamers don't exist and most DACs are cheap. Sure.

     

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    25 minutes ago, mForMusic said:

    I haven't heard any Linn product so far, but I liked the company until I found their blog. I just can't take them seriously after reading this one: https://www.linn.co.uk/blog/dac-or-network-music-player-which-is-best-for-home-audio

     

     

     

     

    ...so you shouldn't buy a high-end DAC because digital streamers don't exist and most DACs are cheap. Sure.

     

    Your glass is really empty this am. 
     

    There is truth to those statements. If you look at them in the most negative way possible, then you get to where you got. 

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    I’ve never owned any Linn but the times I have demo’ed them, they’ve been fantastic. Happy to see them introducing this line. Looks very exciting!

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    I find this very interesting

     

    Quote

    taking the coolness to another level, Linn put an SFP port in the Klimax DSM! 

     

    just added fiber to my system, Mac Mini M1 server running Roon and HQPlayer >> Cat6 >> Cisco 2960 with SFP port >>> fiber to 2nd Cisco 2960 >> CAT6 to  endpoint (JCat femto ethernet card in gaming computer running AudioLinux as HQplayer NAA endpoint off of an M.2 card, , , JCat USB out to DAC)

     

    I know there are thunderbolt to SFP adapters so think I can eliminate the switch on the server end , also see a lot of PCI SFP cards so thinking about that as a way to eliminate that switch. I saw a discussion here from about 3 years ago that spoke to the problems with that. Seems like there would be an audiophile PCI SFP card by now... any thoughts? Seems like a good idea to get rid of the switches but "seems like" does not always translate to "good idea."

     

    thanks

     

    BTW, my older Mac Mini choked on DSD to 512 with Sinc-M and ASDM7, this M1 cruises with it. 

     

     

     

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    Just re-looked at the Organik DAC video again.

    I wonder more and more if it actually resembles more to Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC architecture. 

    https://www.hifinews.com/content/mola-mola-tambaqui-network-attached-dacstreamer-feel-pulse

    Because you can think of the Mola Mola as a 5-bit 3MHz DAC or a 1-bit 100MHz DSD/SDM DAC with 32-element and shift register.

    While the design is still not as sophisticated (or complicated) as the Chord Pulse Array DAC design, this approach should still significantly reduce jitter sensitivity at the actual DAC level although it would still be susceptible to noise floor modulation depending on the noise shaper.

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    2 hours ago, ecwl said:

    Just re-looked at the Organik DAC video again.

    I wonder more and more if it actually resembles more to Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC architecture. 

    https://www.hifinews.com/content/mola-mola-tambaqui-network-attached-dacstreamer-feel-pulse

    Because you can think of the Mola Mola as a 5-bit 3MHz DAC or a 1-bit 100MHz DSD/SDM DAC with 32-element and shift register.

    While the design is still not as sophisticated (or complicated) as the Chord Pulse Array DAC design, this approach should still significantly reduce jitter sensitivity at the actual DAC level although it would still be susceptible to noise floor modulation depending on the noise shaper.


    Similar to the DSC1

     

    https://www.signalyst.com/hardware.html

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    43 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Yes, from a pure DAC architecture standpoint but at least according to my limited understanding...

    I think if you run HQPlayer and feed it into DSC1, it can feed DSC1 any signals of 0’s and 1’s alternating. Mostly because HQPlayer can modulate the oversampled DSD signal based on the noise shaper, but also that HQPlayer has no idea whether the DSD DAC it’s feeding into is a 64-element, 32-element or 1-element DSD DAC or whether it uses shift register as an architecture.

     

    But Mola Mola DAC would only feed PWM signals from 0-32 to the DAC meaning that you’ll only get 

    00000000000000000000000000000000

    00000000000000000000000000000001

    00000000000000000000000000000011

    00000000000000000000000000000111

    00000000000000000000000000001111

    00000000000000000000000000011111

    etc. Until 

    01111111111111111111111111111111

    11111111111111111111111111111111

    And when you feed that into the shift register, whenever the DAC is maintains the same signal, say 5, your DAC is would be constantly switching and the advantage is that there is 1 element that’s going from 0 to 1 while another element is going from 1 to 0 and so that balances the DAC elements out and produces constant amounts of noise. 

    And that’s what you can see from the Organik DAC images of the 32 elements:

    00000000000000000000000000011111

    00000000000000000000000000111110

    00000000000000000000000001111100

    00000000000000000000000011111000

    00000000000000000000000111110000

    Etc. Until

    01111100000000000000000000000000

    11111000000000000000000000000000

     

    The difference between Chord DACs and Mola Mola is that Mola Mola can still switch from say 5 to 15 then back to 5 in the next sequence and jumping like that would force 10 elements to go switch from 0 to 1 in succession and then later from 1 to 0 in succession 10 times and that would still generate small signal linearity issues and noise floor modulation, albeit significantly less than other DAC architectures or HQPlayers feeding the same DAC architecture.

     

    Whereas Chord DAC noise shapers would only go gradually from 5 to 6 to 7 to eventually to 15 if needed so that you’re at most having 1-element imbalance in the switching, thus significantly reducing small signal linearity issues and noise floor modulation. At least this is what I can gather from Rob Watts the designer of Chord DACs and the videos Chord posted.

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    I've only heard Linn products twice, both full Linn systems. First time was at an audio show and I left really impressed. Second time was at an experienced Linn dealer and I was so impressed I contemplated starting over.

     

    At the dealer, the L/R speakers could not have been more than 30 cm from the wall yet the soundstage was immense.

     

    I'm on the fence as to their speaker's aesthetics but love the look of their other components.

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    One of the expensive DACs that does not support MQA.  😄😄

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    1 hour ago, MetalNuts said:

    One of the expensive DACs that does not support MQA. 

     

    I like that Linn dislike MQA. 😀

     

    Matt

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    10 minutes ago, matthias said:

     

    I like that Linn dislike MQA. 😀

     

    Matt

    Me too.  This may be the critical advantage for me to rate it over other expensive DAC😆

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    14 hours ago, ecwl said:

    Just re-looked at the Organik DAC video again.

    I wonder more and more if it actually resembles more to Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC architecture. 

    https://www.hifinews.com/content/mola-mola-tambaqui-network-attached-dacstreamer-feel-pulse

    Because you can think of the Mola Mola as a 5-bit 3MHz DAC or a 1-bit 100MHz DSD/SDM DAC with 32-element and shift register.

    While the design is still not as sophisticated (or complicated) as the Chord Pulse Array DAC design, this approach should still significantly reduce jitter sensitivity at the actual DAC level although it would still be susceptible to noise floor modulation depending on the noise shaper.

    It also reminded me of the Mola Mola DAC in as much as there appears to be a single bit stream shifted through a series of single bit registers. The paper describing the operation of the Mola Mola DAC is here https://www.hypex.nl/img/upload/doc/an_wp/WP_AES120BP_Simple_ultralow_distortion_digital_PWM.pdf

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