Upgrading Linn DS units

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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u252agz
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Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by u252agz » 2018-09-29 18:58

Now that the Lejonklou streamer is definitely on the back burner and Linn have sadly declined to offer future upgrades to DS units , or upgrade existing DS units to DSM, owners of KDS /2 or the non katalyst ADS have difficult choices to make.

Should they upgrade to Katalyst , whilst Linn are still allowing this, and accept that they can go no further and that the resale value may plummet once the next DSM upgrade occurs.

Or should they not invest any more finances with Linn DS, sell their current unit and look to either buy a katalyst DSM ( currently worse than existing katalyst DS units) or forget Linn streamers and look to other companies.

Is anyone aware of streamers which are at least as musical as Linn DS katalyst , and not taking up huge amounts of space with monstrous power supplies etc for reasonable money.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by anthony » 2018-09-29 19:45

u252agz wrote:Now that the Lejonklou streamer is definitely on the back burner and Linn have sadly declined to offer future upgrades to DS units , or upgrade existing DS units to DSM, owners of KDS /2 or the non katalyst ADS have difficult choices to make.

Should they upgrade to Katalyst , whilst Linn are still allowing this, and accept that they can go no further and that the resale value may plummet once the next DSM upgrade occurs.

Or should they not invest any more finances with Linn DS, sell their current unit and look to either buy a katalyst DSM ( currently worse than existing katalyst DS units) or forget Linn streamers and look to other companies.

Is anyone aware of streamers which are at least as musical as Linn DS katalyst , and not taking up huge amounts of space with monstrous power supplies etc for reasonable money.
It appears you have been happy until now without katalyst. It would be a big upgrade and I am sure fulfill your enjoyment for many further years.
The Linn is still one of the best streamers.
The kdsm with HDMI turned off is very minimally worse, and significantly better than your current ds. The difference wouldn't concern me, but if you do not require the extra inputs, is pointless.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by David Neel » 2018-09-29 19:50

I upgraded ADS/1 to ADS/3, I didn't need the DSM functionality AND wanted the best-sounding option. It also gives me the option of Urika II to replace my Urika I. I will retain it until I have compared Urika II with Fredrik's imminent(?) MC stage. If at that point I choose Urika II I will keep it. If not, I have my Hakai and will sell the ADS/3 to help fund Fredrik's new box.

Resale value is on the floor anyway. If you look at it like that, the upgrade should pay for itself?
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Wolfie » 2018-09-30 10:26

I upgraded my KDS to Katalyst when it was first available. The comparative dem took moments! If the upgrade and cash is available I'd say go for it. Linn discontinuing the model doesn't make it a worse performer. I intend enjoying my DS indefinitely, and don't look to its future value.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Starman » 2018-09-30 12:28

Hi All,
I have been reading with interest the recent developments. I also now have a dilemma. I have the KDS/1 and a recently upgraded LP12. When I had the Urika 1 and Krystal fitted, Peter Swain came to my home. Whilst the LP12 sounded great, Peter commented that the speakers (Adams Artist 6 - Aktiv) let the system down. I live in a Victorian terrace, the main feature of the downstairs rooms are the fireplaces. My speakers are in the lounge either side of the chimney breast. The proximity of the sofa to the speakers means the speakers need to be on the smaller side hence the Adams.
When I was last down at Cymbiosis I did hear the Kudos X2 and it was these that Peter suggested. Obviously I would also required an amplifier which is another issue. No Linn dealer near to me in Lancashire or Cheshire stocks Lejonklou and Kudos X2 speakers
I had planned to upgrade my DS at a later stage.
So now I am having a home demo with a Klimax Katalyst DS, and Kudos X2 speakers connected to a Sugden FP A4 amp.
The choice will be : upgrade the KDS and leave the speakers and amp to a later date.
Or forget about the KDS upgrade, buy the speakers and then demo the different amps.
In my house, the KDS sounds brilliant. At this moment it is one or the other

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-30 13:19

u252agz wrote:Now that the Lejonklou streamer is definitely on the back burner and Linn have sadly declined to offer future upgrades to DS units , or upgrade existing DS units to DSM, owners of KDS /2 or the non katalyst ADS have difficult choices to make.

Should they upgrade to Katalyst , whilst Linn are still allowing this, and accept that they can go no further and that the resale value may plummet once the next DSM upgrade occurs.

Or should they not invest any more finances with Linn DS, sell their current unit and look to either buy a katalyst DSM ( currently worse than existing katalyst DS units) or forget Linn streamers and look to other companies.

Is anyone aware of streamers which are at least as musical as Linn DS katalyst , and not taking up huge amounts of space with monstrous power supplies etc for reasonable money.
As far as I’m aware, there’s no evidence to support this, only conjecture.

I’d give Linn a call before you make any decisions, otherwise you could make a very expensive mistake.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Wolfie » 2018-09-30 13:31

Spannko wrote:
u252agz wrote:Now that the Lejonklou streamer is definitely on the back burner and Linn have sadly declined to offer future upgrades to DS units , or upgrade existing DS units to DSM, owners of KDS /2 or the non katalyst ADS have difficult choices to make.

Should they upgrade to Katalyst , whilst Linn are still allowing this, and accept that they can go no further and that the resale value may plummet once the next DSM upgrade occurs.

Or should they not invest any more finances with Linn DS, sell their current unit and look to either buy a katalyst DSM ( currently worse than existing katalyst DS units) or forget Linn streamers and look to other companies.

Is anyone aware of streamers which are at least as musical as Linn DS katalyst , and not taking up huge amounts of space with monstrous power supplies etc for reasonable money.
As far as I’m aware, there’s no evidence to support this, only conjecture.

I’d give Linn a call before you make any decisions, otherwise you could make a very expensive mistake.
I agree. As I understand things the only upgrade they're stopping is DS to DSM. Katalyst update is still to be available.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-30 14:01

Wolfie wrote:I agree. As I understand things the only upgrade they're stopping is DS to DSM. Katalyst update is still to be available.
That's my understanding too. Mind you, if I owned a KDS I'd want to get it upgraded as soon as possible. There seems to be a strong consensus that the upgrade is very well worthwhile, and it seems unlikely that Linn will be offering indefinitely an upgrade to a discontinued product.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by matthias » 2018-09-30 14:56

@both posters:
Source first. I would upgrade the KDS to Katalyst. Then you have one of the best if not the best streamer on the market.

@Starman:
In Lisburn and Windsor you should be able to listen to your dream combination.......

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Last edited by matthias on 2018-09-30 15:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Jumanji » 2018-09-30 15:08

@Starman

I wouldn’t invest into a discontinued product but either keep it as is or sell it as soon as possible.

One advantage of Linn as I have seen it so far was the option to keep old products current by being able to upgrade as for the LP12. With the sunset of the KK and now the DS that promise is gone or very questionable. What is concerning that this even applies to the top Klimax line.

So no, Linn has lost some USP, at least for me.

J.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-30 15:44

Jumanji wrote:I wouldn’t invest into a discontinued product but either keep it as is or sell it as soon as possible.
Why not, if that gets you the product you want, at a price you find acceptable? Of course, one would want the product to have a sensible support life, but Linn's track record on that is pretty good on the whole, and better than that of many other manufacturers.
Jumanji wrote:One advantage of Linn as I have seen it so far was the option to keep old products current by being able to upgrade as for the LP12. With the sunset of the KK and now the DS that promise is gone or very questionable. What is concerning that this even applies to the top Klimax line.
AFAIK, Linn have tended to offer upgrades for discontinues products for a period after they are removed from the catalogue, but not indefinitely. That seems to me to be a sensible policy. And the most recent (but pre-Selekt) issue of the price list indicates that, even without considering the LP12 (which I agree is a separate case) the range of upgrades on offer (25 in all) is still pretty extensive.

I understand, and to a degree share, the concerns about the discontinuation of the KDS. They remind me of the similar dismay when the Komri was discontinued some years ago. But no company that wants to stay in business cannot afford to hang on to products that no longer make sense in marketing or manufacturing terms, and I guess that's what's happened with the KK and now the KDS.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by u252agz » 2018-09-30 17:15

Thanks Everyone

I got the definite impression from Colin at the Linn help desk that whilst the KDS katalyst is definitely available and will be throughout October it is unlikely to remain so indefinitely and may be not beyond December this year.

He did say that there would be a formal announcement from Linn before the date is set.

I can’t really see it is commercially viable for Linn to produce both KDSM and KDS upgrades in the future when they have decided to pull the KDS.

I can understand this commercial decision, but am disappointed that KDS can no longer be upgraded to KDSM and future proofed- this would have given KDS customers choice and helped to keep loyal customers happy.

One of my reasons for going down the KDS route was the prospect of future upgrades, and even if I go for the Katalyst upgrade - I suspect it will be my last Linn Streamer.

I think I will look elsewhere when it is time to upgrade my three Sneakys - a shame as Selekt looks like a fantastic product.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Music Lover » 2018-09-30 17:32

u252agz wrote:Thanks Everyone

I got the definite impression from Colin at the Linn help desk that whilst the KDS katalyst is definitely available and will be throughout October it is unlikely to remain so indefinitely and may be not beyond December this year.

He did say that there would be a formal announcement from Linn before the date is set.
Linn really acts strange these days.
It's the same chassis as the KDSM and Exakt DSM (network hub) = should be deadly easy to upgrade older units also in the future.

I urge all with KDS to upgrade to Katalyst. It's a fantastic player.
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-30 19:50

Music Lover wrote:
u252agz wrote:Thanks Everyone

I got the definite impression from Colin at the Linn help desk that whilst the KDS katalyst is definitely available and will be throughout October it is unlikely to remain so indefinitely and may be not beyond December this year.

He did say that there would be a formal announcement from Linn before the date is set.
Linn really acts strange these days.
It's the same chassis as the KDSM and Exakt DSM (network hub) = should be deadly easy to upgrade older units also in the future.

I urge all with KDS to upgrade to Katalyst. It's a fantastic player.
Some time ago, you said that you found an expensive digital player which you preferred to the KDS/2. Would you still say the other player is better than a Katalysed KDS?

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by cortina » 2018-09-30 23:27

In short, KDS with Katalyst will be the ultimate Renew. In an Al casing for the first time.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Music Lover » 2018-10-01 01:17

Spannko wrote:
Music Lover wrote:
u252agz wrote:Thanks Everyone

I got the definite impression from Colin at the Linn help desk that whilst the KDS katalyst is definitely available and will be throughout October it is unlikely to remain so indefinitely and may be not beyond December this year.

He did say that there would be a formal announcement from Linn before the date is set.
Linn really acts strange these days.
It's the same chassis as the KDSM and Exakt DSM (network hub) = should be deadly easy to upgrade older units also in the future.

I urge all with KDS to upgrade to Katalyst. It's a fantastic player.
Some time ago, you said that you found an expensive digital player which you preferred to the KDS/2. Would you still say the other player is better than a Katalysed KDS?
I compared it with KDS Katalyst !
But it was 70-80k Euro + rack and cables. (4 big boxes dCS )
Yes it was a lot better.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Spannko » 2018-10-01 05:00

:(

I was hoping the KDS with Katalyst would be as good. Oh well, such is life!

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by matthias » 2018-10-01 05:54

Music Lover wrote: I compared it with KDS Katalyst !
But it was 70-80k Euro + rack and cables. (4 big boxes dCS )
Yes it was a lot better.
ML, did you evaluate further?
When dCS Vivaldi is A LOT better, what about dCS Rossini?
And I suppose that dCS Network Bridge plus the new dCS Bartok outperforms dCS Rossini for less money.
Maybe an alternative to KDS?

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by u252agz » 2018-10-01 13:22

At the Windsor HiFi show ( ?2017) the only musical digital system I heard other than Chris's Klimax Katalyst (using Boazu and Totem speakers) was a dCS Vivaldi front end with lots of large, beautifully made boxes. I think the master Clock unit alone was the height of all my four Monos stacked on top of each other, with a larger footprint!.

I remember mentioning this to Fredrik who was not surprised and said that dCS knew a thing or two about digital front ends.

If Linn do not offer KDS Katalyst owners the chance to upgrade to Katalyst/2 in the future , either in the same casing or offering a switch to KDSM; then dCS may be an option for some. They have one or two models with a lower box count and ticket price than their flagship Vivaldi.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by DavidHB » 2018-10-01 14:27

Spannko wrote:I was hoping the KDS with Katalyst would be as good. Oh well, such is life!
Based on one comparison, and not your own ears making it?

And it's not as if price is irrelevant. The KDS upgrade to /3 (Katalyst) standard is £3,850 in the UK price list. That, together with the price of a second hand KDS if relevant, sets the price point for comparison. IMO, the best option for all current KDS owners is to get the upgrade before it disappears from the catalogue, either for future proofing if you want to sell it on, or for more enjoyable listening if you want to keep it.

Incidentally, among the expressions of surprise and regret at the discontinuation of the KDS is the statement that the KDS and KDSM have the same case. IIRC, this is not correct. THe KDSM and the KEDSM (now the Klimax Exakt Hub) have a single compartment housing the main PCB and a a separate HDMI board, while the KDS case is machined internally to provide separate compartments for the single PCB and the power supply. These differences may in part explain the performance differences noted both here and on the Linn forum.

Of course, one option for frustrated would-be KDS owners is to go Exakt. Those good folk hereabouts who shudder at the thought may be interested in the recent article on SunbeamGLS' Audiophile Musings website, describing the use of Lejonklou amplifiers in an Exakt system.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by u252agz » 2018-10-02 08:55

Music Lover wrote:
u252agz wrote:Thanks Everyone

I got the definite impression from Colin at the Linn help desk that whilst the KDS katalyst is definitely available and will be throughout October it is unlikely to remain so indefinitely and may be not beyond December this year.

He did say that there would be a formal announcement from Linn before the date is set.
Linn really acts strange these days.
It's the same chassis as the KDSM and Exakt DSM (network hub) = should be deadly easy to upgrade older units also in the future.

I urge all with KDS to upgrade to Katalyst. It's a fantastic player.

Apart from the commercial benefits to Linn from switching to KDSM only, it will also mean that in the future (Katalyst/2 and beyond) the best Linn streamer will mainly be used only by people who are signed up to the Linn philosophy of 'DVC is better than an analogue Preamp' and in many instances also signed up to Exakt, 'Space Optimisation and the digitisation of the LP12 signal.

So in the future you will either be 'in with ' Linn' , or outside 'looking in'.

From that perspective I can fully understand why Linn has made this decision with their Digital line up.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by matthias » 2018-10-02 10:01

u252agz wrote: Apart from the commercial benefits to Linn from switching to KDSM only, it will also mean that in the future (Katalyst/2 and beyond) the best Linn streamer will mainly be used only by people who are signed up to the Linn philosophy of 'DVC is better than an analogue Preamp' and in many instances also signed up to Exakt, 'Space Optimisation and the digitisation of the LP12 signal.
So in the future you will either be 'in with ' Linn' , or outside 'looking in'.
From that perspective I can fully understand why Linn has made this decision with their Digital line up.
Maybe the best solution for both Linn and the customers would be something like a Klimax Selekt.
So we could "select" the module options. There could be something like an input module for all who want a preamp function, the others go without it and have a "pure" DS.

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Music Lover » 2018-10-02 11:15

matthias wrote:
u252agz wrote: Apart from the commercial benefits to Linn from switching to KDSM only, it will also mean that in the future (Katalyst/2 and beyond) the best Linn streamer will mainly be used only by people who are signed up to the Linn philosophy of 'DVC is better than an analogue Preamp' and in many instances also signed up to Exakt, 'Space Optimisation and the digitisation of the LP12 signal.
So in the future you will either be 'in with ' Linn' , or outside 'looking in'.
From that perspective I can fully understand why Linn has made this decision with their Digital line up.
Maybe the best solution for both Linn and the customers would be something like a Klimax Selekt.
So we could "select" the module options. There could be something like an input module for all who want a preamp function, the others go without it and have a "pure" DS.

Matt
Modules decrease performance, so I hope Linn not going to use that in the Klimax range.
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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by Music Lover » 2018-10-02 11:34

u252agz wrote:
Music Lover wrote:
u252agz wrote:Thanks Everyone

I got the definite impression from Colin at the Linn help desk that whilst the KDS katalyst is definitely available and will be throughout October it is unlikely to remain so indefinitely and may be not beyond December this year.

He did say that there would be a formal announcement from Linn before the date is set.
Linn really acts strange these days.
It's the same chassis as the KDSM and Exakt DSM (network hub) = should be deadly easy to upgrade older units also in the future.

I urge all with KDS to upgrade to Katalyst. It's a fantastic player.

Apart from the commercial benefits to Linn from switching to KDSM only, it will also mean that in the future (Katalyst/2 and beyond) the best Linn streamer will mainly be used only by people who are signed up to the Linn philosophy of 'DVC is better than an analogue Preamp' and in many instances also signed up to Exakt, 'Space Optimisation and the digitisation of the LP12 signal.

So in the future you will either be 'in with ' Linn' , or outside 'looking in'.

From that perspective I can fully understand why Linn has made this decision with their Digital line up.
Commercial benefits, and these are?
For me it's the opposite as Linn turns the back to a big part of their existing and new customers market - these looking for a stand alone top streamer with analogue output, used together with a pre/poweramp from Linn or other brand.
If you read other hifi-forums, Linn DS models (mostly KDS but also MDS/ADS) are extremely well regarded. Often as the number one streamer. Even on Naim forum! They dislike the Linn amplifiers but love the DS.

As Linn build on order and the circuit boards are made in machines, it would not be THAT difficult to keep the products on sale.
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: Upgrading Linn DS units

Post by u252agz » 2018-10-02 11:54

I only guessing, but in the future I suspect that Linn would hope that those wanting the best streamer for 'analogue out' , go for the KDSM and switch off its DVC- something one can do with the current KDSM/katalyst.

Once the new KDSM with version 2 Katalyst is out it is likely to be better than the existing KDS Katalyst, much in the same way as the current KDSM/Katalyst is currently better than my KDS/2.

By doing this, all Research Development and perhaps Tooling costs, can be used for the single motherboard and going forward this will maybe save Linn money: as long as those wanting analogue out don't switch loyalties to companies like dCS - that's the risk.
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