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George 47

Hifi Wigwam's First Linn Review

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We have just released a new review of Linn's newest top streamer the Klimax DSM Mk3.

Not only is this one of the first reviews of Linn's streamer but we are also introducing a new reviewer, Alex Colburn. Not only is this a good review of the design of the streamer but also a comprehensive subjective review. I managed to hear the streamer in a shop for a few hours and it was impressive and far better than what it replaced. Want to know more then go here:

http://www.hifiwigwam.com/hifiwigwam-review-of-the-linn-klimaz-dsm-mk3/

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I stopped reading after the last word in the first paragraph: "musicality". This is not a word I want to read when applied to hifi equipment..

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Sad that Linn have stopped using "local" Wolfson DACs ( yes I know Wolfson go bought up... ) and now use a Japanese sourced DAC.

I don't like it when reviews say it sounds a big improvement over the previous version. The original Klimax measured brilliantly and, cost aside, was a very good product. Accurate DACs should sound more and more similar the better they get and the analogue output stage was already very good on the Klimax. If it sounds so different that implies it has been "voiced" to sound different to the previous model which may have only been replaced as the original DAC chip may no longer be in production.

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I thought Alex got it just right. Being a guy who designs, builds and maintains electronics for a living the first thing he likes doing is whipping the top of and examining the circuit. Normally with words like 'that is nice', 'Jeez why did they bother with that' and a few sweary words. However all of this has to be heard to make sure there is a difference and whether it was worth doing. Should you part with your hard earned is another question. 

The Linn Klimax DSM has had a couple of revisions since it hit the market and from what I have heard there was a change, an improvement that was not really worth it and a big change.

Having heard these changes (separately from me) Alex did not bother with updating his Klimax until this latest change. I have not heard the new Klimax at his place. I have only heard it at a dealers, which is always an alien environment.

Linn makes technical changes, measures them and prove they work in practice by listening. That sounds a good approach. I am sure there is a lot of slick marketing as well but at least there is a technical basis for their changes. 

Now is it the best digital streamer on the market?? Well it ought to be at that price.

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1 hour ago, George 47 said:

The Linn Klimax DSM has had a couple of revisions since it hit the market and from what I have heard there was a change, an improvement that was not really worth it and a big change.

Having heard these changes (separately from me) Alex did not bother with updating his Klimax until this latest change. I have not heard the new Klimax at his place. I have only heard it at a dealers, which is always an alien environment.

Linn makes technical changes, measures them and prove they work in practice by listening. That sounds a good approach. I am sure there is a lot of slick marketing as well but at least there is a technical basis for their changes. 

Now is it the best digital streamer on the market?? Well it ought to be at that price.

What is "the big change"?

Linn listen to their own products, but don't compare them with any of the competition, so they are working in a bubble.

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Alex covered it in the review; a new DAC, a better clock, lower noise etc.

Maybe you should have read beyond the first paragraph. B|B|

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why so defensive, a review gets published, people pass comment, its normal. At 18k a pop although well beyond my budget, I would have thought Linn would have been well able to defend themselves if required. Just out of interest, is the more analogue than analogue based on a DL103 or a Cadenza black, both analogue but a bit different.

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This talk of "analogue" sound (versus "digital") also gets my goat! The audio output of all digital audio devices is by definition analogue (the A in DAC gives a clue), so yet another meaningless garbage word used by reviewers and subjectivists.

24 minutes ago, George 47 said:

Alex covered it in the review; a new DAC, a better clock, lower noise etc.

Maybe you should have read beyond the first paragraph. B|B|

Thanks, premature loss of interest on my part. I would have thought any competent digital audio device would have an inaudible noise floor.

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£18900 for a streamer (OK it's a PreAmp + DAC + possible DRC system) ? Just ridiculous ... and probably on the lunacy border.

Apart from few pejorative descriptive terms in the review I couldn't relate to, it's technically informative and easy to follow. It's encouraging that HDMI is finally getting it's way through (imho hugely underestimated digital transport) and that some form of DSP/DRC in DAC integrated form is taking shape ... but without the measurement MIC and complementing processing software realtime usability is questionable. Not sure why the review author didn't allocate more time for this particularly unique feature.  It seems that AKM4490/AKM4497 is the "IN" chip at the moment and somewhat cherry picked more frequently by "high end" DAC designers. As first hand experience, I did like AKM4490 "economic" based Questyle CMA600i sonic delivery ... and wouldn't hesitate to pick up another design based on the AKM449X platform, but at the sane price surely.

Sorry, I still can't get over that pricing structure. Still ridiculous ...

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I think they should charge more for it...someone will always pay for the 'best' (re -top of price range @ Linn)

The AK4497EQ DAC chip is by all accounts, very good.  Over on Head Fi they have been raving about its implementation in the Gustad A20H headphone/pre/DAC Gustard A20H DAC.

...although they only charge $800 for a dual DAC box.  So the chips are probably cheap as chips.     But, not really apples n apples to the Linn reviewed..an indication of Linn margins through.

Linn does their own version of room auto EQ and calls it Space Optimisation.  Cool.  It's been available for years on far cheaper solutions: 

Re-clocking for timing jitter etc.  Hmm the DAC chipset owns that, so it's down to Linn implementation.  Anyone who is buying ion jitter improvements is probably out of touch with the exponential per-generation R&D DAC sampling improvements made in since the 1980s first had early DACs in CDPs

Looks like a fine all in one player though.  Albeit at a big premium. I'd be happy to listen to one.

One can imagine they will sell as many as they can at this price, and then repackage or trickle down the tech into their 'normal' higher unit volume lines.  It's a tough market and Linn does have some loyal customers.   I wish them luck.

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Super Wammer

i'll stick to my 1st generation klimax 'renew' which cost me <10% of the price of this latest klimax and undoubtedly won't sound significantly worse(to my increasingly elderly ears)

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Super Wammer
16 minutes ago, huwge said:

i'll stick to my 1st generation klimax 'renew' which cost me <10% of the price of this latest klimax and undoubtedly won't sound significantly worse(to my increasingly elderly ears)

Or wait 3 or 4 years for a KDSM/2 (the correct name for the KDSM Mk3 of the review) to be available as a Renew...  :)

For those of you in the thread who've heard this product, can you let us know how it sounded to you please?  Oh, hang on...

Still, better get your opinion of it out there, get all the prejudices sorted quickly.

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I have not noticed anything all that prejudicial against Linn, few comments on the wording, few on the price structure. May be we need to get the fan boy stuff out there with the prejudices. If these reviews are going to be as intended, then the comments need to be as well.

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16 minutes ago, dudywoxer said:

I have not noticed anything all that prejudicial against Linn, few comments on the wording, few on the price structure. May be we need to get the fan boy stuff out there with the prejudices. If these reviews are going to be as intended, then the comments need to be as well.

I agree with this. May I remind everyone that these reviews are written by members NOT professional journalists. It is the sole intent to give an 'honest' appraisal from our community. Concentrate on the product, not the person writing it or the manufacturer or retailer. 

This isn't about whether you like Linn (or other brand) or not, it's not about whether you think the price is wrong, its not about criticising how it's written, if its not grammatically correct (although we will do our very best), it is about making sure that it is bullshit free and above all a REALREVIEW of trust and honesty that you can count on. After all it is being written for your benefit.

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6 minutes ago, HiFiWigwam said:

I agree with this. May I remind everyone that these reviews are written by members NOT professional journalists. It is the sole intent to give an 'honest' appraisal from our community. Concentrate on the product, not the person writing it or the manufacturer or retailer. 

This isn't about whether you like Linn (or other brand) or not, it's not about whether you think the price is wrong, its not about criticising how it's written, if its not grammatically correct (although we will do our very best), it is about making sure that it is bullshit free and above all a REALREVIEW of trust and honesty that you can count on. After all it is being written for your benefit.

I for one am looking forward to reading some more realreal reviews!!  

Hopefully something more modest priced perhaps  :D 

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