Warmth and Richness required for Linn DS based system

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Long story short I recently upgraded my sneaky DS, that I have been running directly into my Linn 2250 Dynamiked power amp, to a Klimax Renew DS - for those that don't know this is the original board from Linn’s top of the range DS recycled into a plain black box by Linn as a bi-product of customers upgrading their Klimax streamers to the latest spec. I did get this unit for a very good price and couldn’t hear before buying.

Anyway the issue is that although very detailed and revealing it's near impossible to listen for any length of time without developing a headache. I know if I asked this on the Linn forum (of which I am a member) they would tell me I need to go out and buy a Linn pre-amp (or possibly a Lejonklou Kikkin analogue volume control) - they are very brand loyal!

I was thinking of selling my Linn power amp and trying something different, maybe an integrated amp that could offer a bigger and richer sound and a bit more bass but without loosing the detail that I have got to hear through my all Linn system

I also don't really want more that two boxes in total, so that means putting the money I would get from the Linn power amp towards a high quality (possibly used) integrated amp

Not heard anything yet but been reading loads of reviews.....

So far ones that jump out are;

Creek Evolution 100A

Exposure 3010S (A localish dealer sells both Creek and Exposure so easy to audition)

Rogue Audio Sphinx (this one looks very tempting but will maybe difficult to audition)

Pathos hybrid amps (used - probably couldn't audition)

Any other ideas? Open to exotic suggestions :)

Yes I know I need to hear them but in the real world it is not always easy to hear products side by side with your own speakers etc so any experience or ideas welcome (also NO dealer is going to have my source and speakers lying around in their shop so I would have to listen at home or take my equipment with me.)

The other thing to mention is I don't really want a downward step with changing my system but happy to make a sideways step if it makes it more enjoyable to listen to

Thanks for reading this far!

P.s it is possible that the source itself is the problem but the Linn Klimax DS is generally very well regarded so I thought it would be worth a punt. The “problem” is probably that I am not using an analogue preamp but only the digital volume that exists in the Linn DS range. The reason the Sneaky was easier on the ear is it has got some built in digital attenuation that the Renew does not have
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
843
3
18,540
Visit site
mond said:
Long story short I recently upgraded my sneaky DS, that I have been running directly into my Linn 2250 Dynamiked power amp, to a Klimax Renew DS - for those that don't know this is the original board from Linn’s top of the range DS recycled into a plain black box by Linn as a bi-product of customers upgrading their Klimax streamers to the latest spec. I did get this unit for a very good price and couldn’t hear before buying.

Anyway the issue is that although very detailed and revealing it's near impossible to listen for any length of time without developing a headache. I know if I asked this on the Linn forum (of which I am a member) they would tell me I need to go out and buy a Linn pre-amp (or possibly a Lejonklou Kikkin analogue volume control) - they are very brand loyal!

I was thinking of selling my Linn power amp and trying something different, maybe an integrated amp that could offer a bigger and richer sound and a bit more bass but without loosing the detail that I have got to hear through my all Linn system

I also don't really want more that two boxes in total, so that means putting the money I would get from the Linn power amp towards a high quality (possibly used) integrated amp

Not heard anything yet but been reading loads of reviews.....

So far ones that jump out are;

Creek Evolution 100A

Exposure 3010S (A localish dealer sells both Creek and Exposure so easy to audition)

Rogue Audio Sphinx (this one looks very tempting but will maybe difficult to audition)

Pathos hybrid amps (used - probably couldn't audition)

Any other ideas? Open to exotic suggestions :)

Yes I know I need to hear them but in the real world it is not always easy to hear products side by side with your own speakers etc so any experience or ideas welcome (also NO dealer is going to have my source and speakers lying around in their shop so I would have to listen at home or take my equipment with me.)

The other thing to mention is I don't really want a downward step with changing my system but happy to make a sideways step if it makes it more enjoyable to listen to

Thanks for reading this far!

P.s it is possible that the source itself is the problem but the Linn Klimax DS is generally very well regarded so I thought it would be worth a punt. The “problem” is probably that I am not using an analogue preamp but only the digital volume that exists in the Linn DS range. The reason the Sneaky was easier on the ear is it has got some built in digital attenuation that the Renew does not have

The brands for you to look out for, apart from the ones you've already mentioned which are excellent in their own right, are Sugden, Electrocompaniet, Accuphase, or Luxman.

I'm sure others will be along with other great suggestions, but there's some to be going on with.

Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
179
52
18,670
Visit site
I would take the opportunity to audition what's easily available first at your local dealer, then get them home for a few days to see how they integrate with your system and room. At least that gives you a bench mark to work from, otherwise your are back to taking a calculated chance with something based on reviews and recommendations.
 
Ray, yours was a classic case of less being more, until you "upgraded". The balance has obviously shifted unfavourably but I'm surprised if you literally get headaches. There was a recent thread suggesting one might choose to tweak speaker position and so forth if changing the source, and maybe you have experimented? It would be worth a bit of trial and error before the cost of new amps is undertaken.

Reluctant to recommend too much tinkering, I'd still consider changing some cables. Mains or signal are equally controversial , but could save a bunch versus a new amp. The Linn forum has espoused various views over the years.

I have a pal where I've heard Klimax from about three years ago, and he used two big subs to support the sound. It certainly was very detailed but not in an entirely realistic way to my ears, but very impressive with hires files. He had PS mains power supplies and elaborate stands and support (still points) so these may reward you.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
nopiano said:
Reluctant to recommend too much tinkering, I'd still consider changing some cables. Mains or signal are equally controversial , but could save a bunch versus a new amp.

He probably wants actual differences rather than placebo effects. Mains wire suggestions are totally ridiculous. A mains wire can't affect performance.

As for warmth, either positioning, obviously make sure the cables are thick ones first, or different speakers will fix it. Amplifiers generally have a flat frequency response, so swapping them out isn't going to do much unless you get one with added warmth in the shape of eq.
 
TrevC said:
nopiano said:
Reluctant to recommend too much tinkering, I'd still consider changing some cables. Mains or signal are equally controversial , but could save a bunch versus a new amp.

He probably wants actual differences rather than placebo effects. Mains wire suggestions are totally ridiculous. A mains wire can't affect performance.

As for warmth, either positioning, obviously make sure the cables are thick ones first, or different speakers will fix it. Amplifiers generally have a flat frequency response, so swapping them out isn't going to do much unless you get one with added warmth in the shape of eq.
Ironically, trev, the placebo effect might be exactly what is required here. Even patients in drug placebo trials told they were given the placebo reported feeling better, and that all the OP is seeking here. Your views are well understood!
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
51
6
18,545
Visit site
In this situation, my first port of call would be to audition with a good quality Valve Amp. An 845 power valve based Amp from Icon Audio or Unison Research might do the trick.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
192
3
18,545
Visit site

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Thanks for all the suggestions and thoughts,

Maybe headache is a slight exageration, but I find myself turning the volume down more than I do turning it up! I will look at the suggested brands of amps and even the valve amp option that I have also been considering. Actually the Rogue Audio one I mentioned is a hybrid, which could be the way to go.

I don't want to start messing with cables and mains etc as have spent lots on those over the years and don't think any that I use will be causing the slight harshness that I am currently experiencing. Positioning I will and have been trying as I am always moving speakers around a bit to see if they sound any different.

I think anything with a quality anouloge pre stage (possibly valve) and a more smooth sounding power amp may help. What the system does well it does very well and it can sound amazing, just not very easy on the ears for long periods.

Ray
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
80
46
18,570
Visit site
Hi Mond.

I read your post with interest. I too have a Linn DSM source (Akurate) feeding a Hypex Nord power amp and ATC speakers. The sound overall is essentially very, very good although (in a perfect world), I too occasionally crave a little more 'warmth'. Whether this means adding a pleasant pinch of distortion, I'm not sure and I'd really not want to lose any of the fine detail that the system reveals. I'm a little surprised that you find the Klimax headache-inducing because they are generally rated as one of the finest streamers money can buy (as you'll be aware).

Your choice of amp is probably not helping. I've heard the internal amp in a Majik DSM as well as a Linn Chakra power amp and found both far from ideal (driving my speakers). Before buying the ATCs, I also had the MADs on my longlist but never managed to audition them. Are they on the clinical side presentation wise? A different amp may be the solution and other posters here have offered some good suggestions (as well as those that you have mentioned). The possibility of a valve amp in the chain could be the solution. Or you could even try Naim although I'm not sure it would add warmth (definitely more welly!) and you couldn't mention it on the Linn site, of course. I'll be very interested in your quest and findings. All the best!
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
51
6
18,545
Visit site
mond said:
Thanks for all the suggestions and thoughts,

Maybe headache is a slight exageration, but I find myself turning the volume down more than I do turning it up! I will look at the suggested brands of amps and even the valve amp option that I have also been considering. Actually the Rogue Audio one I mentioned is a hybrid, which could be the way to go.

I don't want to start messing with cables and mains etc as have spent lots on those over the years and don't think any that I use will be causing the slight harshness that I am currently experiencing. Positioning I will and have been trying as I am always moving speakers around a bit to see if they sound any different.

I think anything with a quality anouloge pre stage (possibly valve) and a more smooth sounding power amp may help. What the system does well it does very well and it can sound amazing, just not very easy on the ears for long periods.

Ray

I never have a problem with headaches from my Valve Amp. My main problem is that I tend to listen for far too long and don't want to switch it off. - 'One more track' syndrome?
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Hi Pedro2,

I guess you know what I am talking about then! With the sneaky you could attenuate in the digital domain via Konfig - mine was set at -12db which meant playing at volume levels 60 - 80 on Kinsky sounded good, but on the Klimax there is no such adjustment facility. I think not having a pre amp is half of the problem but I am not sure I want to get locked in to an all Linn system anyway right now so thought changing the amp may be the way to go. I must take care though and will definately listen before I buy . I am sure the Klimax is capable of amazing things - just maybe not showing it's best side to me at the moment.

The MAD speakers are great, and definately not lean or bright, if anything they are the opposite so I am surprised to be in this situation.

I have just had a very interestinng conversation with someone about the Belles Soloist integrated amp; this is a brand I had not heard of but they seem to get very good reviews. Moreover he says I am welcome to listen to his and even bring my own equipment along to hook up to see how it integrates in my system. I know there is an answer, and I am sure that the Klimax will really sing when the conditions are right :)
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Visit site
Linn Klimax (Renew) for a very good price. That's an oxymoron.

So, we have c£3k digital sourced mated to c£1350 speakers with 6 inch mid-bass drivers.

As TrevC says, try adjusting the speaker positioning.

Start with them in the corners of your room, play some music through them. Gradually move them out towards the centre of the room until the bass snaps into focus. Then adjust the toe-in to personal taste with a variety of tracks. Maybe firing straight down the room will sound best, maybe with their axes crossing in front of your listening position will sound best.

Try listening with your ears at the same height as your tweeters or mid-bass units - if you aren't already.

If after doing all that, you're still not happy with the sound, prioritise changing the speakers, not the amplification.

I'd see an amp change in your system as a way to free up some cash, by you finding something that sounds as least as good as your Linn amplification for less than their current 2nd hand value.

Your Klimax Renew is a world class digital source, but in the context of your system, I personally would find it very difficult to justify over a £50 2nd hand CD player / DAC. Mainly because the differences between world class and run of the mill digital sources are far less important than the differences between speakers.

And please go to the Linn Forum and ask them for advice. Whatever the general consensus of opinion is over there: do the opposite for best results.
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Hi Lindsayt,

Thanks for sharing your insight. I know exactly what they would say on the Linn forum and that is : get a Lejonklou Kikkin analogue volume control. And as it happens there is a used one for sale right now on a certain auction site. I am not going to change my speakers right now; I have only had them a few weeks!

I mention the volume control as I think this is probably the issue, I am listening to music now as I write this at relatively high volume and it sounds great. The issue is probably the digital volume within the Klimax as opposed to an analogue one - this is something that most but not all of the Linn folk prefer.

Actually it was quite a good price for the Klimax - and I thought I would save myself time and money in the long run going up through the range in the normal ugrade fashion! :)
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Thanks Electro , that looks interesting

I was looking at auditioning an ATC SIACD http://www.whathifi.com/news/atc-adds-siacd-cd-playerdacamplifier-combination before taking the plunge and buying the Klimax. Thing is I didn't really want the CD player part of it so couldn't really justify the money to then run a cable to the USB socket intead of streaming which is what I have been doing for years now.

amazing piece of kit though by all accounts
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Visit site
You could try something along these lines:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw=passive+preamp&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR3.TRC2.A0.H0.Xstepped+attenuator.TRS0&_nkw=stepped+attenuator&_sacat=0

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=passive+preamp&_sop=15

I like the less is more approach of stepped attenuators.

And on the speaker front, it doesn't matter how long you've owned any particular piece of hi-fi. If it's not working as the right tool for you to listen to your music at home: change it.
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Funnily enough I already have a Tisbury Passive Pre amp hanging around, I did try it but it didn't make much difference, something else I will probably put on ebay in the near future. Maybe I will look for £50 cd players instead .... and go on a nice cruise with the profits I would make :)
 

paulkebab

New member
Dec 26, 2014
66
1
0
Visit site
of your gear but I know what you're searching for so I can definitely vouch for a hybrid amp, as this was my main issue before upgrading. As someone previously said, 'just one more track' and before you know it the sun's coming up.
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Well I have bought the Lejonklou Kikkin 2.2 single source pre-amp that has been on ebay for a while, they swear by them on the Linn forum(and compare them favourably with the Klimax pre-amp) and as they are now discontinued don't come up for sale that often, and for what I paid for it is probably worth a go. If this doesn't help then I will sell the pre and power and look into integrated amps and quite possibly some hybrid designs. I am hoping that an analogue stage between DS and amp will smooth things out a bit and should make it sound better at lower volumes too.

I will report back my findings when it is installed ..

Thanks for all the suggestions

.
 

mond

New member
Jan 11, 2011
10
0
0
Visit site
Hi Nopiano,

Yes, certainly some interesting ideas, I particularly enjoyed the suggestion of using a 2nd hand £50 cd player instead of the Klimax :) If all else fails I will give that a try ...
 

Vector

New member
Oct 28, 2016
0
0
0
Visit site
If the Lejonklou doesn't do the trick, I'd suggest getting out and about to hear more stuff. Ask forum friends nearby, attend any bake-offs you can get to. Try to get to a dealer who sells used kit and audition as much as possible. Then you can take a look at 2nd hand items that invest you. If you buy well, you won't lose a penny and you will increase both your knowledge of what is possible and also learn what you like.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Visit site
mond said:
Hi Nopiano,

Yes, certainly some interesting ideas, I particularly enjoyed the suggestion of using a 2nd hand £50 cd player instead of the Klimax :) If all else fails I will give that a try ...
Going down that route won't improve the sound quality of your system - if that's all that you do.

But it would free up £thousands which you could use for getting better sounding speakers - resulting in a net increase in the sound quality of your system. Or you could use it for other things such as holidays, buying albums, paying off debts etc etc etc.

How much did you pay for the Lejonklou?
 

TRENDING THREADS