General Discussion about Källa

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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by jajo »

matthias wrote: 2021-10-13 16:01 It would be very interesting to know how Källa performs on the new BORD from Harmonihyllan:bord-lp12-800.png
Anders has one so you should just be able to send him an e-mail and ask :-)
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by tokenbrit »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-13 16:03
matthias wrote: 2021-10-13 16:01 It would be very interesting to know how Källa performs on the new BORD from Harmonihyllan:bord-lp12-800.png
Anders has one so you should just be able to send him an e-mail and ask :-)
Ask for clips :)
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by David Neel »

matthias wrote: 2021-10-13 12:27
David Neel wrote: 2021-10-13 11:07 From LSNAS it was just lifeless.
Could it be that a NAS is like a coffin for music?

Matt
On that track, as ripped by me, onto my NAS, yes.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by David Neel »

Defender wrote: 2021-10-13 12:11 David - as the LSNAS has not changed it probably means the Källa has improved since or do you have a different explanation. And you now actually say the LP12 couldnt reveal as much emotion as the Källa does? I want to make sure that I am not reading something into your statement.
It is possible that Källa has burned in. It is also possible that the more I listened to Källa the more I got what it was doing and was better able to forget the sound and focus on the music.

Yes, I am saying that the Källa revealed emotion that the LP12 didn't. While Källa was here, the LP12 used the Sagatun single input with the switch up, to be as even-handed as possible in comparing with Källa into input 3. For the Oysterband comparison, Källa and Entity shared the Quadraspire bronze shelf, the LP12 (no baseboard) was on the rigid top shelf. I judged that the LP12 performance was pretty much the same as when it has occupied the bronze, with Entity on a regular shelf. So there were variables, but they were minimised to the extent possible without powering down the system.

Now that Källa is gone, LP12 and Entity are sharing the bronze - a tight fit! Does it sound a little more musical? Yes. As much emotion as Källa, on that track? Probably not.

So you are not reading something I didn't say - but that was one track, albeit congruent with what I've heard on others. You will have to make up your own mind when you hear Källa for yourself.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by David Neel »

tokenbrit wrote: 2021-10-13 15:09 Did you compare LSNAS w/ KDS vs Kalla? I'd be interested to know if Kalla got more from your LSNAS than the KDS, even if it wasn't as musical as with Spotify...
Yes, and yes. Spannko may care to elaborate...
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by Spannko »

David Neel wrote: 2021-10-13 16:57
tokenbrit wrote: 2021-10-13 15:09 Did you compare LSNAS w/ KDS vs Kalla? I'd be interested to know if Kalla got more from your LSNAS than the KDS, even if it wasn't as musical as with Spotify...
Yes, and yes. Spannko may care to elaborate...
Yes, and yes!
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by tokenbrit »

Spannko wrote: 2021-10-13 23:09
David Neel wrote: 2021-10-13 16:57
tokenbrit wrote: 2021-10-13 15:09 Did you compare LSNAS w/ KDS vs Kalla? I'd be interested to know if Kalla got more from your LSNAS than the KDS, even if it wasn't as musical as with Spotify...
Yes, and yes. Spannko may care to elaborate...
Yes, and yes!
Thanks for elaborating: the ! really got the point across ;) :D
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by sunbeamgls »

Listening to Kalla in a couple of different systems.

First, thanks to John at Kantata Audio (my "usual" Lejonklou dealer) for allowing his Kalla to go on a UK tour before it lands in Lisburn at some point, eventually. Secondly thanks to David Neel for his hospitality and the chance to listen to Kalla in his system. Finally, my partner and I went to watch No Time To Die on Friday, so it was appropriate to have Kalla 007 in the house this week. I will try and avoid any puns...

Cards on the table too (no, not THAT table), I've been listening to 99% digital for the best part of 9 years now, since streaming became clearly more capable than the CDP and the LP12 I had at the time I made a concious decision on where to invest. I'm OK with the fact that there are non-engaging digital systems and non-engaging vinyl systems, in addition to the opposite - that both are capable of being musically engaging. I chose a singular path so that I could get the very best out of one source, rather than spreading the money too thinly. There are others that have done a similar thing, but have focussed on vinyl. All good.

David's System

Most of you will be aware, but David's usual system comprises:
LP12 in almost Klimax Spec:
Booplinth
Karousel
Keel
Ekos SE/1
Kandid
Akurate Radikal/1
Lejonklou Entity
2x Sagatun Mono
2x Tundra Mono
LSNAS
Hakai (not in action today)
Quadraspire Sumiko Vent on QX
Graham Audio LS5/9 on their dedicated stands, also on QX
Silver interconnects
I forget the speaker cables

I had just over an hour after a dash from North Wales across to Cheshire before I had to head back for another appointment, so it was good of David to squeeze me in to his schedule. I managed to fit in a cup of tea (suitably served in a Lejonklou charity mug!) but the cake I brought along never made it past the kitchen worktop.
We started with the LP12 and a couple of tracks from (checks Shazam library) June Tabor & Oysterband. First up being their cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart.

At this point I should mention that David's system and my system are very different in flavour, even though they do share some family tree. David is very keen to remind me that on a previous visit, when asked for my thoughts, I'd said "I wouldn't want to play Yello on it" which David takes as been a very good sign indeed :) This system is, of course, musical. Its very mellifluous, sweet, gentle yet not soporific. Imagine, if you will, a very well dressed gentleman on a perfectly manicured lawn surrounded by meticulously curated flower beds. Sometimes this type of sound signature might be associated with valve electronics, often accompanied (but not always) by criticisms of wooliness, vagueness, muddiness go along with this, but not here, not at all. I noted somewhat more drive, stability, rhythm and depth to bass lines compared to my last visit - David attributes this improvement to the Entity phono stage, but Karousel is new too. I know this forum is all about musicality, but I mention the character here because it takes a little time to adjust to these things - to get over those differences so that they no longer distract from the musical message, for me at least.

So, back to that track - Love Will Tear Us Apart (available here as a live version rather than the one we listened to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-pWSHTQOFs. I'll cut to the chase - I'd not heard this cover version before, and asked the question, why they'd interpreted it as a sweet song, why did the feel not match the lyrics? Mr Neel gave me a wry, but unexplained little smile. We went to the first track on the same album, another one new to me, Bonny Bunch of Roses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI7MrS3jgyE). A more pacey song and foot tappingly infectious, I think it's the kind of tune that could be used to drum up support for whatever war was felt necessary for some cause or other. That feeling was there, but perhaps the recruiting team were getting a bit exhausted?

So then we swapped to Kalla (with fixed IP address) fed from an iPhone 6 CP / Airplay feed. And something very interesting happened. The recruitment team must've been straight out of the refreshment tent because their enthusiasm had taken a new turn - they were out to win, not just recruit. Tabor's voice carried more passion. Were the drummers drumming a bit harder, perhaps with more anger? Fascinating. But the biggest shock came when we returned to Love Will Tear Us Apart on the Kalla, from Spotify. There are some of the presentation aspects that are different to the LP12 - the imaging is far more stable, but instruments are a little more difficult to make out when multi-layered, but these are relatively minor attributes compared to the main event, and here we find the explanation for Mr Neel's wry little smile. This song made far more sense through Kalla - it had become melancholy. I'd said to David that I'd expected it to be more angry, more upset that it sounded on the LP12, but here Kalla demonstrated the band's take on the song - they think its sad, a little tragic, not a cause for anger.

We made one more direct comparison, using Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg by Tord Gustavsen Quartet. A very long intro of gentle strings and percussion, eventually leading to a sax / piano lead (available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGfqm1CHXaoas a live version, not the one we listened to). On the LSNAS it was OK, but because its not my kind of music, it didn't grab my attention. But over on the Kalla, again from Spotify, the rumbling underpinnings became a double bass played with some passion and the sax and piano were now heard to be an engaging interplay, not just instruments playing along together. Impressive.
We tried some tracks streamed from the LSNAS - they were rather flat in comparison to either Kalla or LP12.

IN AN EXAKT SYSTEM


Again, time has been tight. I brought 007 home from David's to make the best of an opportunity of a day in my own system before it whizzes off to its next UK destination.

System
GS-108T and Friiwo PSU
Melco N1ZH "NAS" running MinimServer - FLAC files
Linn Klimax System Hub (2018 variant with the latest boards)
Linn Akurate Exaktbox 6/1 (Kat)
3x Lejonklou Tundra Stereo 2.5
PMC Twenty.26 (custom Exaktfilters by SpeakerFilters) on IsoAcoustics Gaia feet
Quadraspire Evo with Cyrus Isoplats
Silver interconnects
Naim SuperLumina speaker cables

I left Kalla plugged into the mains and powered up for approx 20 hours before doing any listening - sleeping and the day job kind of made this necessary, but it was good to give it time to settle in electronically and environmentally. I also played the system for about 30 mins before listening to allow the Tundras to warm themselves through. The Kalla was placed on an Isoplat on the Evo stands, as is the KSH, Melco and all the other electronics. If there'd been time, I suspect support options would be worth playing with - but with so little time, its unclear if Isoplats favour one device over the another. I had a few hours of borrowing time to use the only Apple device in the house - my daughter's iPhone 6S, so thanks to her for her sacrifice!

When the system was playing to itsself for 30 mins, this was achieved using some FLAC files on my Samsung Galaxy Tab Android device. An app called DoubleTwist translated the files into AirPlay and over to the Kalla. Worked fine. Although I did play around for a while trying to get Spotify, mConnect and a few other tools to stream something from NAS or the internet to the Kalla, I didn't succeed in making that happen - time limitations made the experimentation limited. But with DoubleTwist doing the last bit of translation to Airplay, perhaps there's a way to be found.

Back to Spotify and NAS streaming (using mConnect) with the Kalla, and the listening was done pretty quickly. In this combination KSH from Melco is more musical than Kalla from Melco is more musical than Kalla from Spotify. The difference between Spotify and NAS on the Kalla is reasonably subtle, but the change to KSH is not. I suspect a couple of things at play - the Melco / MinimServer is very good indeed and it would be interesting to compare to David's LSNAS, but I think the main challenge will be with the ADC in the KSH, perhaps. I used music by Malia with Boris Blank, Chris Jones, Ray LaMontagne, Christine and the Queens and Rag And Bone Man.

So I don't really think that using Kalla in an Exakt system is working well here, as others suggested might be the case. But its clear to me that this is absolutely NOT a reflection on Kalla itsself, as noted in the listening to David's system. It is, as ever, about system building and getting the mix right.

Kalla is quite some product - an intriguingly different approach that works very well indeed. Roll on Spotify full fat!

Thanks again to all who helped make these listening sessions possible.
Last edited by sunbeamgls on 2021-10-14 20:48, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by FairPlayMotty »

Many thanks Neil. Erudite and balanced as always.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by matthias »

Thanks for sharing.

The result:

Källa into an analogue preamp seems to be the way to go, no Exakt please :-)

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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by jajo »

matthias wrote: 2021-10-14 09:07Källa into an analogue preamp seems to be the way to go, no Exakt please :-)
Of course.

Always build a system around the most important piece (the source). If the plan is to use Källa then I see no reason to burn money on Exakt.

The slogan of Exakt is (or at least was) "The source is in the speaker" and that clearly would not be the case when Källa is creating the signal. It is just a very expensive way to destroy the signal that Källa generates.

My recommendation is to go simple - invest in high quality preamp(s) and power amp(s) and do a careful tuning of the speakers (really no need for space optimisation when done properly). That will result in the best performance from Källa.

A killer setup (at a very reasonable price) would be Källa -> Sagatun (Mono/Stereo) -> JBL 308P/708P (possibly with some cash saved comparing with the higher performing Exakt setups),
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by matthias »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 09:43 [A killer setup (at a very reasonable price) would be Källa -> Sagatun (Mono/Stereo) -> JBL 308P/708P (possibly with some cash saved comparing with the higher performing Exakt setups),
Agree,
or with Giella PI as preamp :-)

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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by springwood64 »

I'm thinking Källa Boazu Espeks would be pretty amazing :)
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by sunbeamgls »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 09:43
matthias wrote: 2021-10-14 09:07Källa into an analogue preamp seems to be the way to go, no Exakt please :-)
The slogan of Exakt is (or at least was) "The source is in the speaker"
That slogan was marketing nonsense, as we all know, and is irrelevant to any considered discussion about Exakt.
Last edited by sunbeamgls on 2021-10-14 11:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by sunbeamgls »

matthias wrote: 2021-10-14 09:07 Thanks for sharing.

The result:

Källa into an analogue preamp seems to be the way to go, no Exakt please :-)

Matt
For Kalla as the source, yes. Or the full alternative. It would be interesting to compare the full end to end alternatives (using the same speakers), but that's a logistical challenge!
Last edited by sunbeamgls on 2021-10-14 11:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

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sunbeamgls wrote: 2021-10-14 09:55 That slogan was utter marketing nonsense, as we all know, and is irrelevant to any sensible discussion about Exakt.
Marketing nonsense or not - it describes perfectly well how Exakt works and why it is a bad match with an external source like Källa or LP12.

Exakt is built on the belief that data can be transported "as 1s and 0s" without loss or degradation and therefor it makes sense to keep as big part as possible of the signal chain in the digital domain. From my testing I have learned that this is a false statement and that lots of care must be taken to test which parts of the signal chain that should be digital and analogue for maximum musical performance. It is really not simple in reality and Linn has simplified it too much unfortunately.

I am not interested in starting a war regarding Exakt - it is fine that we have different opinions about the performance of this solution. For me personally, it is a big step in the wrong direction and it simply does not perform good. It sounds nice/impressive with great clarity but lacks emotion/nerve/fluidness. From my experience with streaming technology, this is exactly what happens when the signal chain is not properly designed/tuned.

I guess this is all OT, sorry if this post belongs to another thread.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by sunbeamgls »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 11:37
sunbeamgls wrote: 2021-10-14 09:55 That slogan was utter marketing nonsense, as we all know, and is irrelevant to any sensible discussion about Exakt.
Marketing nonsense or not - it describes perfectly well how Exakt works and why it is a bad match with an external source like Källa or LP12.

Exakt is built on the belief that data can be transported "as 1s and 0s" without loss or degradation and therefor it makes sense to keep as big part as possible of the signal chain in the digital domain. From my testing I have learned that this is a false statement and that lots of care must be taken to test which parts of the signal chain that should be digital and analogue for maximum musical performance. It is really not simple in reality and Linn has simplified it too much unfortunately.

I am not interested in starting a war regarding Exakt - it is fine that we have different opinions about the performance of this solution. For me personally, it is a big step in the wrong direction and it simply does not perform good. It sounds nice/impressive with great clarity but lacks emotion/nerve/fluidness. From my experience with streaming technology, this is exactly what happens when the signal chain is not properly designed/tuned.

I guess this is all OT, sorry if this post belongs to another thread.
Me neither, which is covered in my listening conclusions and in a follow up post. My enthusiasm for Exakt is as a digital end to end solution, as that's what I listen to. As a system to support an analogue source, well, that's not the way I use it. These 2 things should be separated, not amalgamated into a single conclusion, IMO.

It is clear that Kalla as a source into an Exakt system doesn't do the Kalla justice. A comparison of the full end to end options (rather than mix and match) would be very interesting indeed, and a valid comparison that no one has yet done, or at least yet to publish.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by sunbeamgls »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 11:37
sunbeamgls wrote: 2021-10-14 09:55 That slogan was utter marketing nonsense, as we all know, and is irrelevant to any sensible discussion about Exakt.
I am not interested in starting a war regarding Exakt - it is fine that we have different opinions about the performance of this solution. For me personally, it is a big step in the wrong direction and it simply does not perform good. It sounds nice/impressive with great clarity but lacks emotion/nerve/fluidness. From my experience with streaming technology, this is exactly what happens when the signal chain is not properly designed/tuned.
Like all systems, things need to be optimised, its why I mentioned the role of Melco / Minimserver - all part of the optimisation, amongst other things that have been done along the way. The same applies to Kalla - such as fixing IP address, choosing the right streaming service, choosing the best iOS device etc. No different to any other system.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by matthias »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 11:37 Exakt is built on the belief that data can be transported "as 1s and 0s" without loss or degradation and therefor it makes sense to keep as big part as possible of the signal chain in the digital domain. From my testing I have learned that this is a false statement and that lots of care must be taken to test which parts of the signal chain that should be digital and analogue for maximum musical performance. It is really not simple in reality and Linn has simplified it too much unfortunately.
Exaktly :-)
AFAIK, in contrast Fredrik found that digital signals are quite fragile and he keeps the digital signal path short.

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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by jajo »

matthias wrote: 2021-10-14 15:26 Exaktly :-)
AFAIK, in contrast Fredrik found that digital signals are quite fragile and he keeps the digital signal path short.
They are very fragile when it comes to transferring music and less fragile when it comes to transferring data.

Yes, music is data, but when the final step is music reproduction, as humans we can easily detect the effect of the signal transfer that is completely unrelated to the successful transfer of the actual data.

This fact is critical when designing digital products for music reproduction. We really don't know much about why, but as long as this is always in the back of the mind, it is perfectly possible to "work around it" by listening and evaluating every step on the way.

AoE (Exakt) is in my opinion a poor protocol for transferring emotions, musical understanding and mood. But a great protocol for transferring non-time-critical data (because the word clock is being sent via broadcast and not encoded with the data). AES3 is more compelling for music data transfer because of the "differential manchester encoding" that allows clock signal and data to be sent in the same stream.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by springwood64 »

Is it accurate to say the music is data with timing, and while data is robust, timing is fragile?
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by sunbeamgls »

jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 15:41
matthias wrote: 2021-10-14 15:26 Exaktly :-)
AFAIK, in contrast Fredrik found that digital signals are quite fragile and he keeps the digital signal path short.
They are very fragile when it comes to transferring music and less fragile when it comes to transferring data.

Yes, music is data, but when the final step is music reproduction, as humans we can easily detect the effect of the signal transfer that is completely unrelated to the successful transfer of the actual data.

This fact is critical when designing digital products for music reproduction. We really don't know much about why, but as long as this is always in the back of the mind, it is perfectly possible to "work around it" by listening and evaluating every step on the way.

AoE (Exakt) is in my opinion a poor protocol for transferring emotions, musical understanding and mood. But a great protocol for transferring non-time-critical data (because the word clock is being sent via broadcast and not encoded with the data). AES3 is more compelling for music data transfer because of the "differential manchester encoding" that allows clock signal and data to be sent in the same stream.
This looks like an interesting topic to take further - perhaps into the Inside Hifi subforum?
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by jajo »

springwood64 wrote: 2021-10-14 15:55 Is it accurate to say the music is data with timing, and while data is robust, timing is fragile?
Yes, that is correct. Data without timing cannot become music.
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

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jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 15:41 AES3 is more compelling for music data transfer because of the "differential manchester encoding" that allows clock signal and data to be sent in the same stream.
I understand that AirPlay uses UDP to transport RTSP. But it doesn't use AES3 or differential Manchester encoding, does it? That applies at Layer 1 (physical) of the transport stack, well below the AirPlay protocol. Music timing is transported in the RTSP protocol. Or was your reference to AES3 not relevant to Källa?
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Re: General Discussion about Källa

Post by Spannko »

springwood64 wrote: 2021-10-14 16:30
jajo wrote: 2021-10-14 15:41 AES3 is more compelling for music data transfer because of the "differential manchester encoding" that allows clock signal and data to be sent in the same stream.
I understand that AirPlay uses UDP to transport RTSP. But it doesn't use AES3 or differential Manchester encoding, does it? That applies at Layer 1 (physical) of the transport stack, well below the AirPlay protocol. Music timing is transported in the RTSP protocol. Or was your reference to AES3 not relevant to Källa?
Don’t the forum rules state that all posts should be written in English? 😂
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