macfan

Newbie Wammer
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About macfan

  • Rank
    LP12 Newbie

Wigwam Info

  • Turn Table
    LP12
  • Tone Arm & Cartridge
    Akito 3B / Krystal
  • Digital Source 1
    McIntosh MC450
  • DAC
    McIntosh D1100
  • Pre-Amp
    McIntosh C70
  • Power Amp/s
    McIntosh MC152
  • My Speakers
    Dynaudio Special 25
  • Trade Status
    I am not in the Hi-Fi trade

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  1. With my new Selekt DSM set to arrive next soon I thought it might be fun to speculate on what the SDSM could do in the future. One of the appealing aspects of this unit is the modularity of it. Let’s take a look inside and see what type of expandability is availability: On the operating table we can see the SDSM stripped down. From what I can see there is at least 4 places to install cartridges. The left most location in this photo with the open space on the rear is where the power amp or line cartridge is installed. On the surface this leaves 3 additional slots for expandability - the two slots on the left and a horizontal slot on the right next to the phono input daughter card which is elevated above the main board. This photo was highlighted by the author of a good article on the SDSM and is linked below. Here we can see the (1) green = main board, (2) blue = phono board, (3) yellow = power supply, (4) = amp cartridge with Katalyst DAC. We also see the power supply installed and the front panel reattached. It appears the space above green highlight is where another daughter card be installed. This photo shows a more detailed view of how the Katalyst DAC is installed at the rear of the amp cartdrige. This is an interesting an unexpected design choice. I would have thought the DAC module would have been located elsewhere in the system. However, since most of the signal processing in the SDSM is performed in the digital domain it makes sense to covert to analog right before the analog output stage providing a short signal path to the external world. If we look toward the front we see the heat sink for the amp but could this be space be used for expanded functionality. Image an expansion cartridge that does not have any outputs and has at least two or three of Katalyst sized modules or even ones of different sizes. These type of expansion cartridges and associated modules could greatly enhance the value of the SDSM. It could provide a platform of growth that I have not seen in any many other audio products. The best direct analogy is the LP12 where we can start with foundation and upgrade it as desired or as new products become avaiable. What could we do with this expandability? So we have at least three places where we could install cartridges to extend the functionality of the SDSM. What follows is pure speculation and is intended to be fun to see what those interested can come up with. Headphone Cartridge: I read somewhere that this may be in the works and would essentially be a headphone module. Would be nice to accommodate XLR along with 1/4” and 1/8” phono outputs without the need for an adapter. It would also be nice if the outputs could support a variety of output impedances in order drive the widest possible range of headphones. Anyone purchasing this level of product or higher is not going to buy cheap headphones and some may venture into the exotic. If the design was especially ambitious it could offer support for electrostatic headphones like Stax but this may be too niche to bother with. More advanced phono cartridge: None of the specifications I have read give any indication as to how close or far away the phono input daughter card is to the the Urika II, Uphorik or any other Linn phono preamp. One thing for sure is at some point it does hit an ADC like the Urika II. Additionally, it is not clear how precise the RIAA implementation is vs. one of the other Linn options based on web site information. If one were to purchase a Urika II for their LP12 you would use Exakt Link to connect to the SDSM so this may not be the best of ideas as a good option already exists for LP12 owners and a SDSM. Based on the physical size of the two perhaps an internal version of the Urika II with all of its core benefits would be something to consider - especially for those who do not have an LP12. The ability to optimize the input by simply choosing ones cartridge from a list on the front OLED would be nice as well. This could also easily be updateable by firmware. End users could even have a way to exchange cartridge loading presents extending ease of use to all sorts of cartdriges and turntable setups. Realtime Declick, decracke, depop, and dehiss: This may be a full size board or individual modules on a full size DSP co-processing cartridge. There are a number of good offline products that perform these functions but being able to do this in realtime would be very useful. The most resent option for consumers is a product from SweetVinyl called the SugarCube. Personally I have used realtime products from Cedar Audio. Could take on a variety of form factors with a single card that does it all or break each module up into a Katalyst sized module and the end user gets what they want or need. From a functional point of view this could be an automatic function or provide “strength” sliders for the end users to control the level of processing applied. It might also be beneficial for the end user to specify the order of precedence of the filters as well as having the ability to individually engage or disable them. Internal recording capability: This would allow the user to record directly to internal SSD based storage at a variety of sample rates. Most likely PCM only but DSD could be an option. For example , you may want to record an album from your LP12 and declick and depop in the process and then store it for safe keeping.You could even record directly off internet radio or perhaps schedule a recording order to listen to it later or take it with you to your car or another portable player. Upsampler: Another example of a module for a DSP coprocessor card. Many options and approaches here but the one I find very intriguing is what Rob Watts of Chord Electronics is achieving with the M Scaler. This gets into some very interesting sample theory and is worth reading and looking into. This module might be limited to the implementation of the AKM DACs in the SDSM but Linn could potentially support higher sample rates in order to do something similar as the M Scaler. Very esoteric however. Clock Module: This might be a stretch but perhaps a fancy rhodium clock that is designed to provide the Katalyst DAC a higher end clock source. Many companies doing work in this area and it might be worth the effort. While this is all pure speculation it seems the SDSM could be many things. Like the LP12 it is posted to be a foundational platform. What do you all think and what would you like to see it capable of? Would like see what type of cool ideas we come up with. Photos sourced from the following article: https://www.lowbeats.de/linn-selekt-dsm-einer-der-besten-streaming-amps/
  2. Officially took the plunge and placed order for SDSM with Katalyst. Also heard from Linn themselves that DSD and PCM are handled independently and DSD is natively played back. On hindsight this should have been self evident as DSD can not have Space Optimization applied to it. Now its a few weeks wait till the SDSM shows up. The LP12 will be happy to have a new friend. Thanks to all who chimed in.
  3. Thanks everyone. Been very busy this week. Currently up at 3:30 AM here is the US babysitting hospital radiology stuff during monthly major updates. For those more technically inclinied I would like to know the following if anyone has insights. The Linn Katalyst DAC architecture appears to use a AKM chip known as the AK4497. Does this seem correct? I read through a white paper on this chip and it appears it can handle DSD and PCM on independent audio paths. Do you know if Linn handles DSD and PCM separately from one another and does not cross convert at any time? Essentially keeping a pure DSD or PCM path? The chip is capable of higher sample rates than Linn supports. Any ideas why Linn made this design choice? More curious than a complaint. Since I am just about to commit to the purchase and continue to read about products such as Chord and some of the interesting advances they have made with FPGA based DACs I hesitate just a bit. However, the SDSM clicks all the right boxes so I should probably just be happy I can make the purchase and get down to listening.
  4. @jverty Interesting note. I am about to make a Purchase of a Selekt DSM. What other gear are you running with it? For example, other external components and cabling. I will be using it with a McIntosh MC 152 power amp with Dynaudio Special 25s. All cable is Transparent Super. Do you use a music server or turntable? Curious about the sources.
  5. Like some of the other posters here I am going to continue with local playback for DSD, PCM and of course vinyl. Streaming will be for discovery, items I can do east purchase in physical form, and true high res downloads. Completely agree about Tidal and other services being what they are and they may not be around forever. Personally I am not sure I can support Tidal and will need to look at the other options but might have to stick with it depending on content availability. I will also use it for internet radio if I happen to be listening to a program in the car I want to continue with in my home. Once the DSM arrives I will give it a try and report. Also - I heard from by Linn dude and he reports he received a note from Linn stating they are making progress on the pop on stop with DSD / .dsf playback. If anyone encounters this please chime in. With luck the fix could be in the next firmware update - but no promises. Last - there seems to be a tizzy of activity relating to the Amazon HD streaming service. I guess it makes sense for Linn to try and bake this service in since so many folks use Amazon Prime and it would be part of that subscription. Do you thin Linn should include this as one of the streaming options?
  6. Thanks guys. Seems like a number of votes for one of the streaming services vs. any form of local playback other the vinyl from the LP12. Honestly, the physical media I buy these days is typically vinyl with the occasional CD or SACD - usually from Discogs. I have gravitated to physical media for so long and can clearly hear differences between streaming, CD, and vinyl on the same album that for me, the Melco with the CD importer is a good safety net vs. a high end CD/SACD player like a Playback Designs, Esoteric or similar. @PhotoMax Yes have considered Roon and still mulling it over. Nice interface. @CJ1045 Oh the metadata and cover art. My touch of OCD loves organizing this stuff and getting the cover art right is a must. I have a number of Mobile Fidelity albums and went as far to figure out the font used for "Original Master Recording" as well as the kerning of the letters. Ultimately made a template in Pixelmator and using other techniques that make user of Fourier transforms for descreening can obtain nice results. Silliness for sure but it is fun to get it looking good @Pennypacker Surprised by some of the titles I found on the streaming services. When I did a demo at a local dealer between a physical source and the supposed same source from Tidal it sounded odd to me. The spacial relationships and levels of the instruments was not at all similar to the original CD and this is not a remix. Soft sounds that should have been soft were loud. Also took on a harshness that is not present on the MoFi CD not the vinyl. This is only one instance and not a high end streamer but did give me pause to use it full time. Thanks all -
  7. Hello everyone - A few updates on my new Selekt DSM. Everything is more or less set for me to finalize the purchase and wait for delivery. DSD findings: My Linn dealer found and odd problem when playing .dsf files from various music servers. Everything is fine until the stopped playback where an audible pop went through the system. This does not occur on PCM or any other source. Gapless playback was fine with all file types. Linn was contacted who asked for files to investigate, My understanding is they could reproduce the problem. Waiting to hear back on this one. Since I sold most of my system this past week, I now only have a McIntosh MC152 amp sitting dormant. The proposed system is now: Linn Selekt DSM with Katalyst Melco D100 for for CD playback and ripping direct to N100 Melco N100 for file based playback Chord Epic USB and Ethernet cables to tie it all together Linn LP12 (Kore | Akito 3B | Krystal | Radikal PS) - already here. @CJ1045 Totally get where you are coming from on a music server. I struggle with this one. I would like to have the playback ability from my original sources (CD and SACD) so I automatically jump to this option. I think I would miss not having my sources for listening to my go to albums vs. the streaming alternative. My plan is to use streaming for discovery and convenience and the LP12 and Melco for more formal listening sessions. It is a dilemma though and I could use the funds allocated to the Melco to a Eurika-II. Hopefully in a few weeks everything will be sorted and in house.
  8. Thanks for the further options. I am close to a final choice. My Linn guy was listening to some DSF files I provided and noticed a "minor" issue he is checking on with Linn. He did not elaborate in the last note note but did mention he heard a small high frequency click - low level - short duration - when DSD dsf files crossed track boundaries. He definitely does not support the idea of a computer like a Mac Mini being the source. I can appreciate that up to a point but if I can have better playback performance with the Mac mini route then perhaps this is something to consider. The main issue would be can the DSM support DSD over USB? @timsterThis would be USB would be usefil - DoP to move DSD into the DSM. However, there are compelling technical reasons why the Melco ethernet approach is appealing and would benefit streaming as well due to all the overhead of ethernet being stripped out before it is send to the DSM. So many thing to consider and want to take the time to choose the right direction.
  9. Thanks everyone - @Nestor Turton Which application do you use for playback on you Mini? Personally I had looked closely at Audirvana since it can play SACD.ISO and even support Disc-at-Once with Cue sheets. Both options would replicate the disc experience and keep the built in pauses between tracks as it is on the disc. Also will allow continuous playback albums do so without the pops, clicks or pauses build it. Completely agree it is more flexible and versatile. Bases on this I could get the Eurika II and feed Exakt link to DSM. @Tendaberry For #6 was just wondering if you use any from of physical playback. Mine will be a LG OLED and Sony 4K which will feed stereo audio via the optical input of the Selekt DSM. The big question is external or internal. I have a McIntosh MC152 which works will with my speakers so it might be prudent to keep them. BTW, I do have a Krystal my LP12 is Kore | Akito III | Krystal | Radikal Akurate So based on feedback it might be best to consider: Selekt DSM with Katalyst Exakt II for Preamp MacMini for file based playback of SACD.ISO, DVD-A PCM, PCM (I am vey Mac savvy and can tweak this quite a bit for playback) Streaming Tidal from Selekt Keep McIntosh Amp Keep Transparent Cable throughout This seems to strike a nice balance between price vs. performance. The gear I sold will cover the cost of the DSM and Eurika II so it is really a swap of components at this point. Thoughts?
  10. Hello - This past year I put together an Akurate level LP12 with a Radikal power supply. I am looking to add a Linn Selekt DSM and have a few questions for those who own them. I just sold off the majority of my system to scale down the number of large heavy boxes I had. Many were redundant with many inputs I would never use. Hence the Selekt DSM seems like a good overall choice and I am considering adding the amp cartridge in lieu of the line out to make it a one box affair. From there the LP12 could use the MC in or Exact link and the proposed Melco N100 could use the ethernet in for streaming duties of PCM, DSD, and a service such as Tidal or Qobuz. The OLED would simply go into an optical input. Just stereo. Do you use yours with the available internal power amp or an external amp? If an external amp which amp do you use? Do you use the internal MC phono preamp and if so what do you think? If you have an LP12 do you use the Urika-II and have you tried Exact link? Which streaming service did you use like? What are you using as a player for CD or streaming media files. Something like a Melco or something else? Speakers are Dynaudio Special 25's which are 4 ohms and 88db sensitivty Any input would be great and appreciated. Thanks.
  11. NoPiano: Thanks for the tip. Last thing I want is another set of issues that is just more fuss and hassle. This past year has been a mixed bag. I have had several pieces of gear that had issues new out of the box. None of the issues were with Linn gear but it was troubling. zee9: I am located in Nashville and my Linn dealer is in Atlanta. CD and SACD is well sorted actually. The DAC is great and very versatile. If I could come up with a solution for a phono preamp that is similar to the Urika II with a useable digital out to send to the DAC I would do that.Have not located anything that would work. Another option is to sell the tube preamp, obtain a phono preamp like the new PS Audio Stellar Phono and then send this to a different preamp. I think getting out of the tube business would be a good plan. Those little glowing bottles really do not want to behave.
  12. Going to make bit of a left turn with my next upgrade to the LP12 and my system as a whole. Have decided to perform a scale down to some extent. Option 1: Purchase Selekt DSM with Katalyst Purchase Urika II for LP12 and connect to SDSM via Exakt link interface. Powered with Radikal Akurate Keep existing CD/SACD transport and connect to SDSM with SPDIF connection for CD playback. Plus and Minus of this option Plus: Obtain better preamp more optimized for Krystal cartridge and works as a cohesive whole in the Linn ecosystem Plus: Gain benefits of SDSM and support of streaming sources such as Qobuz (live in US so this is new) Plus: Continue to play physical CDs from McIntosh MCT450 transport (until it breaks) Minus: Loose ability to directly play SACD from physical media. MCT450 is transport only and will only send DSD over special connection to another McIntosh DAC Option 2: Purchase Selekt DSM with Katalyst Use internal MC phono stage of SDSM in lieu of the Urika II initially. If this is good option then it might be a good way to go. Purchase Melco N100 and D100 for media server duties Plus and Minus of this option Plus: Obtain better preamp more optimized for Krystal cartridge and works as a cohesive whole in the Linn ecosystem Plus: Dedicated music server that can deliver PCM and DSD playback to the SDSM. Would be concerned about gapless playback Neutral: Urika II may be the better option overall - especially with the investment already made. I tend to like Option 1 knowing I loose SACD playback but gain in other areas. Simply accept loss of SACD in 2019. With the exception of classical music, new titles are becoming more rear and reissues are taking longer and longer by the likes of Mobile Fidelity. Have a nice collection but could accept the loss if needed. Thoughts or suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks.
  13. Matteo: Yes. This is the RCM I have been considering. I like that is really seems like a well thought out purpose built product rather than a process supported by a variety of parts assembled together in support of the defined process and presented as a product. The downside is this RCM is from a small company and it looks like they are just getting going. There is always a risk when purchasing from a relatively new upstart, which is especially true when the company is geographically very far from where I live here in the US. That being said I am close to giving it a go. Nestor: Don't sell yourself too short. Completely understand about wanting to have a go at something and feel comfortable with how a product works but we are never too old to learn and try new things. That being said I totally agree with local dealer support. Ideally this is the best way to go and is what I normally do over 90% of the time. However, when I jumped into the world of the LP12 I had to accept my closet dealer was 250mi/402km away. For an item like a RCM, getting it from an internet dealer is usually the way we have to go due to lack of local dealer support. This becomes especially true the more narrowcast a product becomes. While purchasing from the internet does have its risks, this is such a niche item with the effort to produce a working product rather high, it all seem on the level to me.
  14. @DavidHB Good point on the filter and dislodged contaminants - especially for tank based systems. While it appears most of the ultrasonic systems use a filter of some sort The Degritter does use active filtering. Water in the tank is drawn in toward the top of the tank, filtered, and then added back in. Similar to a swimming pool. The active nature would introduce a circulation effect and help prevent the contaminants from settling at the bottom. The filtering occurs while the particles are still suspend in solution. The filters are user replaceable. Another solution could be to use the ultrasonic cleaner for the heaving lifting and then a vacuum cleaner to remove the moisture and any left over particles that did not completely dislodge into the tank. This would be more work than I am willing to take on however. With firmware updates, cleaning programs, and ability to control the length and speed of the fans that support drying, this solution gives enough options to make most of us happy it would seem. I have just gotten back into vinyl this last year and took delivery of my LP12 only in June. It has been great. I personally find that clear vinyl sounds best and has the least imperfections followed by some of the colored variants. Black interesting enough has the most clicks and pops. Records naturally fall toward a clear color and an additive called carbon black is added when making them. I have read the following theories of why this is added to make the black records we have known since we got into this hobby: It reduces static electricity of the PVC which attracts dust. The dust would accumulate and due to the interaction of the stylus and needle could cause damage to the needle and could even bond the dirt are particles to the groove wall. It increases structural integrity of the record - more associated with shellac records than PVC based production It hides imperfections in the vinyl pressing It reduces groove friction Reason #1 is in fact the primary reason this is done but I still tend to like the clear. However, one of my favorite records which is a clear pressing has developed a few ticks that were not initially there. So there could be something to the theory. Perhaps if I had an ultrasonic cleaner I could help have reduced or even remove the clicks that have appeared. Oh, this brings up the point especially for those buying new or collectible records. The more we wash, the more the cost of the cleaner goes down. And when one considers the price we are paying for some of these records, the investment may not be all that bad. @MickC Your findings are similar and glad the Audio Desk is working for you. Helps support my decision to acquire an ultrasonic cleaner. I am thinking of getting it toward the end of this year.