Page 1 Linn Majik DSM Network Music Player Sonic Lead into Gold

Page 1 Linn Majik DSM Network Music Player Sonic Lead into Gold
 Linn Majik DSM
Network Music
Sonic Lead into Gold
Steven Stone
n my office wall I have a pin that I acquired in the Linn
room at the 1984 summer CES in Chicago that reads,
“Wheres the Tune?” At the time, Linn was an analog
champion, heroically fighting back against the CD onslaught with
its iconic LP12 turntable. Fast-forward to 2016: Although the
LP12 is still on Linn’s roster, the manufacturer has morphed from
an all-analog advocate into a thoroughly modern hi-fi firm that
has 50 employees in its R&D division and 25 engineers dedicated
solely to software development. — -
One of Linn’ most flexible offerings is the Linn Majik DSM
network music player. It combines the capabilities of the Majik
DS network device with an integrated preamp and a power am-
plifier. The Majik DSM can be used as a one-piece standalone
music center to pair with any speakers, or it can be combined
with othet Linn products to create different setups with increas-
ing price and performance levels.
During the review period, I spent time using the Majik DSM as
a source component as well as a standalone integrated amplifier
connected to a pair of Linn Majik 140 loudspeakers, and finally,
combined with the recently launched Majik Exaktbox-I. This new
130 May/June 2016 theabsolutesound
one-box upgtade takes the simple Majik-DSM-plus-Majik-140-
speaker system to its highest performance using Linn's Exakt
technology. To call the Linn Majik DSM a “flexible” component
would be an understatement on the same order as calling the
Beatles just another rock band.
The Tech Tour
Well begin our tour with the Majik DSM component. It
combines music streamet functions with a preamplifier and
power amplifier—just add speakers and an Internet connection
(or NAS) and youre ready to rock ’n’ roll. Input options include
tour HDMI, three line-level analog, one dedicated moving-magnet
phono, three coaxial SPDIF digital, three TosLink digital, and one
Ethernet connection. Output options include an HDMI, TosLink
digital, SPDIF digital, two analog, and a set of high-level speaker.
‘The Majik DSM also has Linn Exakt Link connectors.
The Majik DSM’s front panel looks very much like that of the
Linn DS streamer. Controls include a centrally located front panel
display flanked on either side by three buttons. On the left side
you'll find the mute and volume up and volume down buttons,
along with a 3.5mm stereo headphone output jack. On the right
side there's a sleep button, and forward and back source-select
buttons, as well as a 3.5mm auxiliary analog input connection.
Unlike many manufacturers whose product pages include a
virtual parts list of whats inside the chassis, Linn emphasizes its
engineering methodologies rather than individual parts. However,
the company is very happy to talk in detail about its key technologies
and have both videos and in-depth detail on Exakt and Space
Optimization on its website. Given the length of this review, Pm
going to truncate the technical section and suggest you check out
Linn’s own extensive “Linn Docs” pages on the companys own
site for additional info arranged in Linn's own unique way. This site
is geared towards those who already own products. For a lighter
touch and introduction, I recommend Linn's main website.
The Majik 140 Loudspeaker is a ported, four-way, bass-reflex
design with 16mm silk-dome tweeter, 30mm PU dome midrange,
and 160mm doped-paper upper-bass and 160mm sandwich-cone
lower-bass drivers. The Majik 140 uses something Linn calls its
“2K driver array,” which houses the two high-frequency drive units
in a separate cast-alloy chassis that sits in front of the speaker’
forward frring port. The 140 can be single-wired up to quad-wired
(or amplified). The review samples wete finished in cherry and the
overall build-quality was excellent.
The Majik Exaktbox-I is a one-box upgrade containing power
amplifiers and the Exakt electronics, which turn the simple Majik
System into an Exakt System. In a system using a Majik Exaktbox-1,
the eight separate channels of 100-watt Chakra amplification are
used to directly drive the individual drivers in a loudspeaker, and
the original lossy analog crossover in the loudspeaker is bypassed,
with the Exaktbox-I performing the crossover digitally.
By combining this lossless digital crossover with sophisticated
modeling of the characteristics of every drive unit in the speaker,
Exakt is able to eliminate both magnitude and phase distortion,
which should vastly increase the chances of every note reaching
your eats free from such sonic concerns.
Most cutrent-production Linn loudspeakers can be connected
to the Exaktbox-1, as can quite a few non-Linn speakers, including
the B&W 802 Diamond (in either tti- or quad-amp configurations).
Along with its eight channels of amplification via high-level, four-
way binding posts, the Majik Exaktbox-I also has two Exakt Link
connectors and eight RCA analog outputs. Once connected to the
Linn Majik DSM via the Linn Exakt Link, the Majik Exaktbox-I
becomes an extension of the DSM with all its control functions
thereby integrated.
The Setup
I used the Linn Majik DSM in four different configurations. First
1 installed the Majik DSM as a source component, routing its
analog line-level output into a Parasound P-7 preamplifier in my
main system. After almost a month thete, I moved the Majik DSM
into my living room's real-world system. I removed the Parasound
P-7 and Perreaux E-110 power amplifier that had been in that
installation and replaced them with the Majik DSM. The speakers
in this system were AV123 X-Statics modified by Skiing Ninja,
augmented by a Velodyne DD-10+ subwoofer. After several
weeks, 1 replaced the X-Statics and subwoofer with Linn Majik
140 floorstanding loudspeakers. Finally, after another couple of
weeks of listening, the Linn Majik Exaktbox-I was added to the
system. Once the Majik Exaktbox-1 was installed, the system was
completely re-set up using Majik DSM's “Space Optimization”
system of built-in room optimisation features. l’ve never before
reviewed one component in so many different iterations.
The installation process for the Majik Exaktbox-I is far
from a simple DIY procedure; it’s involved enough to require a
trained Linn specialist. Darrin Kavanagh, the Denver area Linn
representative, configured my review system and set up the Space
Optimization+. Tt was an all-afternoon operation. Once it has
been set up, the Linn system can be configured so that the end-
user can readjust the settings to his or her own taste, if desired.
To add the Majik Exaktbox-I to the system, you connect the
Majik DSM to the Exaktbox via Exakt Link using Cat-5 cable, and
then configure the Majik 140 speakers so they can be used with
132 May/June 2016 the abuolutsaound
EQUIPMENT REPORT - Linn Majik DSM Network Music Player
Majik DSM Network Music
Player and Integrated Pre/
Power Amp
Power amp: Built-in 2x 90W Linn
Digital audio formats played/
supported: FLAC, Apple Lossless
(ALAC), WAV, MP3, WMA (except
lossless), AIFF, AAC, OGG
Digital audio resolution; Up fo
Inputs: 1x Ethernet (RJ45),
4x RCA phono, 3x TosLink,
3x SPDIF, 4x HDMI, 1x 3.5mm
stereo AUX
Outputs: 1x RCA phono (line
level), 1x RCA phono (pre-out),
1x TosLink, 1x SPDIF, 1x HDMI,
2x Exakt Link, ix 3.5mm stereo
headphone out, two pairs of
4mm binding post/banana/
Built-in phonostage: Configurable
to mm or line level and upgrade-
able to MC
Dimensions: 15" x 3.6" x 14"
Price: $4750
Majik Exaktbox-1
No. of channels: 8
Speaker types supported: 1 pair
of stereo speakers, up to 4-way
Exakt connections: 2x Exakt Link
Analog outputs: 8x unbalanced
RCA phono
Power amps built-in; 8x 100W
Speaker connections: 16x 4mm
banana/binding posts
Dimensions; 15.1" x 3.6" x 14,3"
Price: $6320
Majik 140
Speaker type: 4-way floorstand-
ing loudspeaker
Analog connections: Four pairs
of binding posts (bare wire/4mm
Driver complement: 0.6" silk-
dome tweeter, 1.2" PU dome power conditioners
midrange, 6.5" doped-paper
upper bass, 6.5" sandwich-cone
lower bass
Comment on this articio af wwe wa
Impedance: 4 ohms
Efficiency: 88dB
Frequency response: 55Hz-
Crossover: Analog passive,
upgradeable to external Exakt
Dimensions; 9.8" x 38.4" x 13.2"
Weight: 46.9 Ibs.
Price: $2995/pr.
Source devices: Late 2013
MacPro model 3.7 GHz quad-
core computer with 16GB of
memory with OS 10111, running
iTunes 12.3.1 and Amarra Sym-
phony 3.0, Pure Music 3.0.1, and
Audirvana+ 2.24, Roon, Tidal
11, a 2010 Mac Mini with 8GB of
memory and OS 10.111, and simi-
lar apps. QNAP TS-251, Roon,
Tidal, Sony HAP Z-1ES
Analog sources: VPI TNT Ill w/
Graham 1.1 tonearm and Clear-
Audio Victory ll cartridge, VPI
HW-19 with Souther SLA-3 "arm
and Denon 103/VanDenHul car-
tridge. Vendetta 2B and Rossi
LIO phono preamps |
DACs: PS Audio Direct Stream
DSD DAC, Cary Audio DS-
Amplifiers: Perreaux E-110, April
Music $-1 monoblocks
Loudspeakers: AV123 X-Static
modified by Skiing Ninja, Spatial
M-3+ Turbo, Emerald Physics
4.3, two JL Audio Fathom F112
subwoofers, one Velodyne DD-
10+ subwoofer
Cables and accessories: Wire-
world USB cable, AudioQuest
Carbon USE cables, AudioQuest
Colorado single-ended RCA
interconnect, Kimber KCAG
interconnect, Audience Speaker
AU24e speaker cable, PS Audio
Quintet, Dectet, and Premier
E a
HEGEL HD30 DAC with Streaming and AirPlay
The HD30 is the ultimate digital control center. It does everything you can dream of,
and does so with world-class quality.
There is an abundance of inputs, ranging from balanced AES/EBU and BNC
connectors, to Network and USB connections - with the latter also accepting
DSD signals. The built-in volume attenuator allows you to connect directly to a pow-
er amplifier or a pair of active loudspeakers. Highly advanced power supplies and
careful lay-out brings the noise floor down towards a mindblowing -150dB.
Do you even dare to try it?
In short...
Hegel USA
East Long Meadows, MÁ
Phone: 413-224-2481)
usa@hegel com
www hegel com
BiPod HiPhone DiPad,
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