Linn Sneaky DS

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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Hi everybody,

today I had my first (short) listening session to the Sneaky DS here in Brussels....connected to a Maijk-l ampli and a pair of floorstanders KEF (might have been the Q series, not sure).

We started playing the sneaky through the Maijk ampli (so bypassing the built-in ampli of the sneaky) and it was good...but to be honest didn't get me overexcited...than he plugged the Maijk and it was a different story, sound was very clear and detailed, instruments were clearly separate...we played a lot of music from classic to some acoustic complex pieces like Stairway to heaven from Rodrigo Y Gabriela....and I really liked the sound.
He proposed to book a proper demo with my gear to compare a pc through my rDAC and the Linn Maijk...also I will be audiotioning the Naim ND5XS....

Maybe in the meantime I will buy a SB and take that one to the demo as well to compare everything and decide which path I will take...but if I decide for the Linn would be the Majik for sure... :rockout:

He also have the Akurate...I am afraid to plug that in. :shhh:

I already know where I am gonna spend my next salary!!! :D

How the Linn would perform with my speakers in your opinion compared to the KEF? At this point a new ampli might come on the road as well...
 

tino

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Sep 29, 2011
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Sounds like you had a fun weekend! :dance:

So you weren't bowled over by the Sneaky DS then? A German hifi magazine rated Linn DS players as follows and it seems like your listening experience is in line.

- Klimax DS: 100 % (reference)

- Akurate DS: 90 %

- Majik DS: 86 %

- Sneaky DS: 75 %

Apparently though if you are going to use bypass the Sneaky DS internal amp, and play into another amp via its analogue outs, you need to adjust the volume level carefully and switch off the amp inside the Sneaky via software. This improves the sound allegedly. Do you know if the dealer did this during your demo?

Also when judging the relative performance of the Sneaky and Majik streamers, you will be playing throught your Vincent amp, and the difference may not be as noticeable???

I seem to recall that a few weeks ago you were talking about a £100-£200 power supply upgrade and are now talking yourself into a 2000 Euro digital streamer. I think it might be time to set yourself a budget and audition combinations of streamers / DACs around that price level. And maybe think about what components you wish to change - just the source, or the amp as well? However, if budget is not a limiting factor, and you are looking for the "best" sound, then go for it!

PS I wouldn't buy a Squeezebox Touch just for the purposes of auditioning one against the Linn DS streamers ... I think your existing PC and DAC setup would be at a similar level to the Touch.

PPS If you are going to spend a lot of money on a digital source, you may want to think about devices like the Naim UnitiQute, Musical Fidelity Clic, Leema Elements Streamer

PPPS From my own personal perspective, I have a number of combinations of digital source, DAC and amp and they are all quite similar. They offer a lot with regards to convenience and ease of use not just sound quality. My setups are quite modest by audiophile standards, but I'm happy with what I've got and at this stage not prepared to invest in a megabucks streamer. I think this is a market that has some fierce competition at the moment and you will see a lot of change and rising quality for reasonable prices in the next year or so. If you are prepared to wait then get the Squeezebox (or keep your existing setup) for now, and in the meantime go to demos, and keep reading this website for reviews and recommendations until you work out your ideal system
smiley-smile.gif
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Hi Acalex, I'm glad you got to listen to the Linn DSs.

Tino makes some very valid points above.

I dislike like Linn amplification, which I find a bit cold, clinical and unemotional, which will not have been helped by Kef speakers. I nearly suggested that you didn't demo through a Linn amp, but didn't want to influence your perception.

There is no doubt that the Majik DS is better (I own one), as it has the Dynamic power supply, but I suspect that if you could try the Sneaky (with internal amp bypassed) on your own kit (or even something similar), you might be more impressed.

Did you listen to any 24 bit?

Cno
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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Ok...first of all thanks for your replies. I will try to asnwer to everything! :)

First of all, Tino is true, I was trying the PSU because by reading I was surprised that such a small (and cheap) change could infulence the sound so much...I like to experience myself that's why I went down that road and discarded for now (not saying that a good PSU won't improve any system...just to be clear :rofl:)

Living with my system for a while made me think that I really enjoy high quality sound and every investement will be worth cz I am keeping it on almost 24/7. But I realized I don't like having to get up or switch pc on all the time I want to listen to some music...that's why I assesed the streaming route (I have 100% digital source so for me it makes a lot of sense). The dealer also convinced me that having a great-quality source is better than having a cheaper source and a great DAC...he tested a Linn Klimax DS at some clients site who had a 100k euro system with a super expensive Weiss DAC (around 15k) and wanted to add a Majik DS to their existing configuration. The dealer let them try the Klimax which basically was farrrrr better than a Majik + Weiis DAC and they ended up buying 2 Klimax DS)!

Again, if I like the sound I am getting a reasonable budget is not a problem for now (living with my gf who works as well and do not have kids...so very limited expenses and a good salary) :cheers:

Cominng back to the technical questions now...
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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tino said:
Sounds like you had a fun weekend! :dance:

So you weren't bowled over by the Sneaky DS then? A German hifi magazine rated Linn DS players as follows and it seems like your listening experience is in line.

- Klimax DS: 100 % (reference)

- Akurate DS: 90 %

- Majik DS: 86 %

- Sneaky DS: 75 %

Apparently though if you are going to use bypass the Sneaky DS internal amp, and play into another amp via its analogue outs, you need to adjust the volume level carefully and switch off the amp inside the Sneaky via software. This improves the sound allegedly. Do you know if the dealer did this during your demo? Yes he did, very easy to do, he bypassed the ampli and the volume control

Also when judging the relative performance of the Sneaky and Majik streamers, you will be playing throught your Vincent amp, and the difference may not be as noticeable??? No, playing through a Linn amp which I didn't like too much, I will be booking a proper demo session with my gear in the coming two weeks

I seem to recall that a few weeks ago you were talking about a £100-£200 power supply upgrade and are now talking yourself into a 2000 Euro digital streamer. I think it might be time to set yourself a budget and audition combinations of streamers / DACs around that price level. And maybe think about what components you wish to change - just the source, or the amp as well? However, if budget is not a limiting factor, and you are looking for the "best" sound, then go for it! Read previous post :D

PS I wouldn't buy a Squeezebox Touch just for the purposes of auditioning one against the Linn DS streamers ... I think your existing PC and DAC setup would be at a similar level to the Touch. I agree, but I would like to try anyway! Some people said that the SB is even better than pc + rDAC

PPS If you are going to spend a lot of money on a digital source, you may want to think about devices like the Naim UnitiQute, Musical Fidelity Clic, Leema Elements Streamer. The problem are the dealers...this dealer has Naim, Linn and Rega. I will audiotioning the ND5XS. I discarded a UnitiQuite because I want to have a separate amp...

PPPS From my own personal perspective, I have a number of combinations of digital source, DAC and amp and they are all quite similar. They offer a lot with regards to convenience and ease of use not just sound quality. My setups are quite modest by audiophile standards, but I'm happy with what I've got and at this stage not prepared to invest in a megabucks streamer. I think this is a market that has some fierce competition at the moment and you will see a lot of change and rising quality for reasonable prices in the next year or so. If you are prepared to wait then get the Squeezebox (or keep your existing setup) for now, and in the meantime go to demos, and keep reading this website for reviews and recommendations until you work out your ideal system
smiley-smile.gif
. I know, but there will be always a better upgrade on the road for a better price...and I like to enjoy it now that I still can afford (when kids will be down the road would be much more difficult :D)

Please read my comments. By the way the interface of the Linn through Ipad is great, amazing and very fast! Pity Linn streamer are not wi-fi connectable...thinking about multi-zone here...
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
Hi Acalex, I'm glad you got to listen to the Linn DSs. Tino makes some very valid points above. I dislike like Linn amplification, which I find a bit cold, clinical and unemotional, which will not have been helped by Kef speakers. I nearly suggested that you didn't demo through a Linn amp, but didn't want to influence your perception. There is no doubt that the Majik DS is better (I own one), as it has the Dynamic power supply, but I suspect that if you could try the Sneaky (with internal amp bypassed) on your own kit (or even something similar), you might be more impressed. Did you listen to any 24 bit? Cno

Indeed I wasn't super thrille about amplification as well, but I will try with my gear next time. Anyway, an amp will come down the road as well (have the opportunity to audiotion an ex-demo AN Soro...we will see), that's for sure. Maybe a pure A class.

I had tryed everything, included some 24/192 pieces...
 

tino

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Sep 29, 2011
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Acalex ... I think you have come back with some good clarifications on what you want to achieve. Thanks for the reply. And if now is the right time, and you have the cash, then go for it. I think you should start another thread along the lines of "I have $ X to spend and want a digital source + amp to go with my speakers" ;-)

PS For what it's worth, I.not sure I agree with the Linn "source first" approach (unless it's a turntable). I think a good partnered set of amp + speakers will be a better investment over the long run since these are components you will keep for many many years. Of course since a good amp and speakers will be a lot more revealing of your source, you will probably have to upgrade that as well, but necessarily to the same extent.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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acalex said:
Indeed I wasn't super thrille about amplification as well, but I will try with my gear next time. Anyway, an amp will come down the road as well (have the opportunity to audiotion an ex-demo AN Soro...we will see), that's for sure. Maybe a pure A class.

I had tryed everything, included some 24/192 pieces...

I've even heard the full Klimax (passive) system, and didn't like it either. Their active system sounds good, but is way too expensive.

In the future, it is also worth considering whether it is better to get a Majik DS; or get a Sneaky and spend the extra £900 on a better amp. You will have a better idea when you hear them with your kit.

The AN stuff sounds wonderful, but I've only heard it as an all AN system. Generally it means getting some AN speakers as well, as they need to be fairly efficient....well worth a listen.
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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tino said:
Acalex ... I think you have come back with some good clarifications on what you want to achieve. Thanks for the reply. And if now is the right time, and you have the cash, then go for it. I think you should start another thread along the lines of "I have $ X to spend and want a digital source + amp to go with my speakers" ;-)

PS For what it's worth, I.not sure I agree with the Linn "source first" approach (unless it's a turntable). I think a good partnered set of amp + speakers will be a better investment over the long run since these are components you will keep for many many years. Of course since a good amp and speakers will be a lot more revealing of your source, you will probably have to upgrade that as well, but necessarily to the same extent.

Tino, something I want to do for sure is upgarding amp for now...I will still keep the Vincent (as I think for the price is really not too bad) for the bedroom probably (I might have the opportunity to buy for really little money some Kef Q50 floorstanders which I might connect to it).

Speakers I will keep my MA RX6 for now...cz I think those are capable speakers which maybe need just more quality from the amp...

Still in doubt on the streaming side....seeking advice on this mainly. Thanks for the suggestion, I will for sure open a new thread when I will feel ready to go for the amp (he might be in December already)!
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
acalex said:
Indeed I wasn't super thrille about amplification as well, but I will try with my gear next time. Anyway, an amp will come down the road as well (have the opportunity to audiotion an ex-demo AN Soro...we will see), that's for sure. Maybe a pure A class.

I had tryed everything, included some 24/192 pieces...

I've even heard the full Klimax (passive) system, and didn't like it either. Their active system sounds good, but is way too expensive. In the future, it is also worth considering whether it is better to get a Majik DS; or get a Sneaky and spend the extra £900 on a better amp. You will have a better idea when you hear them with your kit. The AN stuff sounds wonderful, but I've only heard it as an all AN system. Generally it means getting some AN speakers as well, as they need to be fairly efficient....well worth a listen.

Cno, I have opportunity to "steal" a Soro SE ex-demo in mint condition...even if it's a bit far from where I live I am convincing the dealer to block it so I can audiotion with my speakers as well...you want to come for a ride and advice? :D I might host you in Brussels if you want :grin:

If I like what I hear when I go there it is not excluded I am coming back with my speakers and a Soro SE as well...

The alternative products I am thinking about auditioning are Pathos, Sudgeon A21SE and Musical Fidelity M6i even if the AN dealer said amongst these, only the Sudgeon is worth listening...not sure how much his judgement is unbiased though! It will be an interesting month from this point of view....
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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acalex said:
Cno, I have opportunity to "steal" a Soro SE ex-demo in mint condition...even if it's a bit far from where I live I am convincing the dealer to block it so I can audiotion with my speakers as well...you want to come for a ride and advice? :D I might host you in Brussels if you want :grin:

If I like what I hear when I go there it is not excluded I am coming back with my speakers and a Soro SE as well...

The alternative products I am thinking about auditioning are Pathos, Sudgeon A21SE and Musical Fidelity M6i even if the AN dealer said amongst these, only the Sudgeon is worth listening...not sure how much his judgement is unbiased though! It will be an interesting month from this point of view....

If Ryanair fly there, I'm yer man. ;) I was in Brussel over 30 years ago, and stayed with friends at Avenue Rene Gobert, Uccle. Nice place and great food.

You have listed some of my favorite amps, but be warned, once heard they are hard to get out of one's head.

I have no idea how the AN will sound in another system. The M6i is powerful and dynamic, and one of the few solid state amps that I like. Of your list, the Pathos and Sugden would be my picks, with the Pathos taking the lead....it'll be intriguing to see how you find it.

If the AN sounds "wrong", get it played through some more suitable speakers (preferably AN-K)
 

tino

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Sep 29, 2011
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You've opened up your budget for the amplifier I see! I've always wanted a Pathos ... have you heard of the Pathos Ethos? That sounds like something you might like as it includes a high quality DAC. That way you can kill two birds with one stone (DAC + Amp) - start with the amp first and get yourself a basic streamer, then work up from there over time.
 

acalex

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tino said:
You've opened up your budget for the amplifier I see! I've always wanted a Pathos ... have you heard of the Pathos Ethos? That sounds like something you might like as it includes a high quality DAC. That way you can kill two birds with one stone (DAC + Amp) - start with the amp first and get yourself a basic streamer, then work up from there over time.

You are just reading my mind...I think this might be the best solution in the short term...getting a SB touch as cheap as I can and definitely upgrading amp...but still auditioning/looking for best solution in terms of streaming.

I haven't heard any Pathos..I think I will need to go back to Italy to be able to get hands on some of them...or maybe just come to UK :cheers:
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
acalex said:
Cno, I have opportunity to "steal" a Soro SE ex-demo in mint condition...even if it's a bit far from where I live I am convincing the dealer to block it so I can audiotion with my speakers as well...you want to come for a ride and advice? :D I might host you in Brussels if you want :grin:

If I like what I hear when I go there it is not excluded I am coming back with my speakers and a Soro SE as well...

The alternative products I am thinking about auditioning are Pathos, Sudgeon A21SE and Musical Fidelity M6i even if the AN dealer said amongst these, only the Sudgeon is worth listening...not sure how much his judgement is unbiased though! It will be an interesting month from this point of view....

If Ryanair fly there, I'm yer man. ;) I was in Brussel over 30 years ago, and stayed with friends at Avenue Rene Gobert, Uccle. Nice place and great food. You have listed some of my favorite amps, but be warned, once heard they are hard to get out of one's head. I have no idea how the AN will sound in another system. The M6i is powerful and dynamic, and one of the few solid state amps that I like. Of your list, the Pathos and Sugden would be my picks, with the Pathos taking the lead....it'll be intriguing to see how you find it. If the AN sounds "wrong", get it played through some more suitable speakers (preferably AN-K)

Where do you live? From Brussels you can reach a lot of destinations through Ryanair...think about that I am serious! Plus I am Italian so hospitality is kind of "built-in" condition! :D

Regarding the amps...I really would like to get a Pure Class A amp...what about the Sudgeon Masterclass? Still the Pathos would be yuour pick between the two?
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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acalex said:
Where do you live? From Brussels you can reach a lot of destinations through Ryanair...think about that I am serious! Plus I am Italian so hospitality is kind of "built-in" condition! :D

Regarding the amps...I really would like to get a Pure Class A amp...what about the Sudgeon Masterclass? Still the Pathos would be yuour pick between the two?

I live in Northern Ireland, and your offer is more than generous. I am shortly going for a discography, with the possibility of back surgery; but saying that, I will be taking your offer seriously....sounds fun, just not in the very near future.

My other link with Brussels, is that my mother studied singing at the Royal Conservatory, so there's an emotional tie there as well.

The last few times I was in Italy, I was given a very "Irish" welcome, so I know about the hospitality!

The Masterclass IA-4 is a good step up from the A21, so it depends which Pathos you are comparing it against.
They are both so good in their price range, it comes down to a matter of preference, and the ancillaries they are matched with.
:cheers:

Cno
 

acalex

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tino said:
acalex said:
Have some good wine of course...more from my region though... :cheers:

Posso venire anch'io? Portero la mia Squeezebox cosi la puo ascoltare ;-)

Certo! Seriously guys...why we don't organise a massive meeting somewhere (I am more than ready to host you :D) and do some serious testing? :D

Let me see when I will be able to organise the AN demo and I will let you know...you never know!!! ;)

Just bought Vivaldi guitar concertos today...it sounds amazing even on my humble system! :)
 

acalex

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CnoEvil said:
acalex said:
Where do you live? From Brussels you can reach a lot of destinations through Ryanair...think about that I am serious! Plus I am Italian so hospitality is kind of "built-in" condition! :D

Regarding the amps...I really would like to get a Pure Class A amp...what about the Sudgeon Masterclass? Still the Pathos would be yuour pick between the two?

I live in Northern Ireland, and your offer is more than generous. I am shortly going for a discography, with the possibility of back surgery; but saying that, I will be taking your offer seriously....sounds fun, just not in the very near future. My other link with Brussels, is that my mother studied singing at the Royal Conservatory, so there's an emotional tie there as well. The last few times I was in Italy, I was given a very "Irish" welcome, so I know about the hospitality! The Masterclass IA-4 is a good step up from the A21, so it depends which Pathos you are comparing it against. They are both so good in their price range, it comes down to a matter of preference, and the ancillaries they are matched with. :cheers: Cno

Well...let me know! I know now Brussels quite well to be able to give you a nice tour! There is a direct fly from Dublin...! ;)

Regarding the amp, I want for sure have a good listen at a Sudgeon (Masterclass and A21)...and Pathos if I can get my hands on one of them...which one might be compared to the Masterclass in terms of price range? Thanks!!!
 

CnoEvil

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acalex said:
Regarding the amp, I want for sure have a good listen at a Sudgeon (Masterclass and A21)...and Pathos if I can get my hands on one of them...which one might be compared to the Masterclass in terms of price range? Thanks!!!

As suggested by Tino, there is the Ethos (with DAC)
http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Pathos-Ethos-Integrated-Amplifier/product_5262

or for a bit less the Logos:
http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Pathos-Logos-One-MkIII-Integrated-Amplifier/product_2631
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
acalex said:
Regarding the amp, I want for sure have a good listen at a Sudgeon (Masterclass and A21)...and Pathos if I can get my hands on one of them...which one might be compared to the Masterclass in terms of price range? Thanks!!!

As suggested by Tino, there is the Ethos (with DAC) http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Pathos-Ethos-Integrated-Amplifier/product_5262 or for a bit less the Logos: http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/Pathos-Logos-One-MkIII-Integrated-Amplifier/product_2631

The Pathos is a class A like the Logos?
 

CnoEvil

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acalex said:
The Pathos is a class A like the Logos?

The two Pathos amps mentioned are both Hybrid designs. To go for Class A you have to go up to the Inpol 2 (much more expensive).

The Sugden Masterclass and A21 are both Class A.

All are worth listening to.
 

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