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Got a Linn Akurate DS and I LOVE it. Not nearly as hard to set up and use as is reputed


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After almost two years of research and experimentation I finally took a dive and settled on a DAC to replace my CD player. When I first saw a Mac Mini hooked up to a plasma and a stereo system I immediately fell in love with the convenience. I started to experiment with a few DACs in my two channel system, but my Rega Saturn always managed to beat the sub $2,000 DACs I tried. I decided I was going to have to spend some more money and narrowed down my search to the Weiss DAC 2, Ayre DAC, or one of the Wavelengths. I then obviously went crazy trying to determine if Firewire or USB was better. This took up almost a year and I was going mad, Firewire, USZ, Synchroneous, Asynchroneous etc. the the problem of having to use the MIDI in OSX to switch between 16/44, or 24/88 or 24/96. Then I realized playing 24/192 was almost impossible unless I used toslink (another can of worms was just opened) or back to FireWire. You all are familiar with the dilemmas. Then my local dealer said why don't you try one of the Linn DS streamers?? I replied that I had read the reviews and they were all glowing, but that apparently the setup was complicated and that the interface was archaic.

I then did some more research and started to see that it might actually be a very elegant solution. For starters the setup is not really that difficult, you just need to feed it with an ethernet cable. So you need a computer or a NAS drive, big deal I already had those things plus the router. I then realized that the biggest plus could be that you don't have to have a PC chained to the stereo or even in the same room. Another huge plus is that you play whatever song you want in whatever format you want, and it automatically adjusts between 16/44, 24/96, 24/192 etc. As for the interface, sure it's not as easy as itunes, but it's easier than getting up and feeding discs to the CD player, and it's really not that awkward. The more I read the more I found to like. I read a few more glowing reviews out of Germany so I decided to give it a try. My local dealer, Oswaldo Martinez of Let There Be Sound arranged an audition and I was literally blown away. Finally I heard a computer audio setup that not only equaled but far exceeded the sound I was getting out of my beloved Rega Saturn on 14/44. Of course the sound of higher resolution formats is to die for.

 

I got the Akurate, set it up and have been in digital heaven ever since, and that is saying a lot since I love my vinyl. Soncially this is the best digital I have ever heard, and that includes some mighty nice SACD players. To those of you who might have been put off by the reviews (Stereophile Klimax review comes to mind) saying that the setup and use was next to impossible, don't believe it!!! To those who don't want to have a PC in the listening room, or that can't decide between Firewire, or the vaious USB options, I would suggest you do a little research and consider Linn's approach.

 

Please don't get me wrong and don't start flaming me. I am not suggesting Linn is the only way, or the best way. I just think it's a shame that many of you may have written off their approach as I had due to negative reviews. That is a shame because sonically these units are superb, and on this point all the reviewers agree. Finally I wanted to thank all of you at computer audiophile, I have been reading all your posts on a weekly basis for over a year and you are all doing a great job. This way of listening to music is a new frontier and without this site and forum it would have been very difficult to make sense of it.

 

Andrew Levy

 

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Thanks for the very good review, and thanks also for outlining the considerations you went through in the process. In addition to the behaviors of the various communication protocols (USB vs. Firewire) you considered, there's also the issues of; which OS, how should that OS be configured, how will updates to that OS affect performance (see Chris' rantings on the Win 7 update) and several others to be dealt when implementing the computer/external sound device model. The OS in your DS will very likely never require upgrading or be infected with a virus.

 

Your review didn't have much positive to say about the control interface. As a DLNA/UPnP device, the DS can be controlled by any compliant UPnP Control Point that addresses audio devices. Ask your Linn dealer about Konductor (obviously a Linn produkt).

 

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"...it automatically adjusts between 16/44, 24/96, 24/192 etc"

 

Boy, that's a huge selling point right there. This is the thing I most dislike about the iTunes experience. Also, Linn equipment -- in my limited experience -- sounds great.

 

Konductor... that's something I would use a lot. I'd get my playlists lined up for the evening and then settle in, iPhone in one hand and a cup of late night tea in the other.

 

Having enjoyed the iTunes interface, I now want cover flow, search, and the other goodies. This is the main reason (well, besides cost) that I haven't seriously pursued a dedicated player. I am tempted by the Soolos offering in this regard, especially now that Meridian has taken over. That should be a great pairing of company talent . Like the Linn gear, this is all really too expensive for me. But when I get old and rich -- this kind of thing would be at the top of my list.

 

As an audiophile type, I should be saying that all I care about is the sound. And definitely, that is a requirement.

 

But with computer audio I've really come to enjoy the full screen browsing and easy assembly of playlists by rule or by roster. The difference between browsing my walls (and walls) of LPs versus using coverflow could hardly be greater.

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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"As an audiophile type, I should be saying that all I care about is the sound. And definitely, that is a requirement.

 

But with computer audio I've really come to enjoy the full screen browsing and easy assembly of playlists by rule or by roster. The difference between browsing my walls (and walls) of LPs versus using coverflow could hardly be greater."

 

Well said flatmap. Many readers are thinking the exact same thing. Having fun and listening to music makes this wonderful hobby so enjoyable.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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Hi Andrew - Thanks very much for your informative comments on the Linn system. It's a very valid concept that brings musical enjoyment to many people. Linn did its homework and release this system long before many manufacturers even considered computers as a valid approach to high end. I really like what Linn is doing.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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I have had a Linn Klimax DS for about 10 months now. It has lived up to and beyond my expectations. Linn has made significant efforts with frequent firmware support and trying to upgrade the user interface. While I have not had any trouble using Twonky (Upnp) solution, it remains a potential problem to users of Netgear ReadyNas. After much pontification about which DAC solution I should use, I went with the Linn DS for the same reasons Andrew did. My music is 100% WAV with fully functional tags and cover art.

 

 

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I have to thank CharlyD for turning me on to Konductor, I did not know about it. I wanted to thank all the rest of you for being part of such a pleasant and friendly site and for your pleasant follow ups to my post. Many of the other forums I am interested in have been taken over by sigle minded people itching to fight, so it discourages people from posting.

 

Regards,

 

Andrew

 

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Charly D said... "The OS in your DS will very likely never require upgrading or be infected with a virus."

Actually haven't Linn updated the underlying code running on their DS streamers several times? The latest to the "Cara" software (see news release). Okay so not so much updating the OS but it has has software update - more like updating the code on your iPhone.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Eloise,

 

Linn does release software updates periodically and they are much as you say like the iphone updates. The updates are very easy to install using the 'konfig' program. It gets done from any computer in the network and it takes no more than 2 minutes. All the updates are easily reversible if you happen to like the prior release for any version.

 

Regards,

 

Andrew

 

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