upgrade path

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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Eli7
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upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

Hello,
I need your help with an upgrade.

My rig currently: MDSM3 / Netgear Switch 108 GS200 / Microconnect LAN / K200 (cut 400 built by Fredrik) / M140 on skeets
Everything is set up as best as possible by me and I am very happy with the result. I like what I hear about it.

Now I have an ADSM / 3 (Katalyst) for testing. I wanted to find out the importance of a better source. Use ADSM as a streamer in MDSM as an integrated amplifier. The result was good.
Then I used the ADSM as a streamer / pre-stage in MDSM as a power amplifier. The result is much better, of course.

My thoughts are as follows:

1. Buy an ADSM / 3, use MDSM as a power amplifier until the finances are ready for Tundra.
Or
2. Buy an ADS / 3, use MDSM as an integrated amplifier until the finances are ready for Boazu.
Or
3. Buy an KDS / 2 continue as 2.

Which is the best way?

My original idea was 2. I think that's the best solution in terms of sound / music.

The problem is that the finances are ready for upgrade Boazu or Tundra will be available in 3 years at the earliest and I "have" to live with the MDSM for this time.

Your thoughts on this are very helpful.
MDSM3 / Netgear GS 108T-200 / BJC Cat 6a / K200 (Lejonklou Cut K400) /
M140
David Neel
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Re: upgrade path

Post by David Neel »

I'll jump in with a few thoughts.

First, you have only one source. If that is correct, why are you looking at an ADSM rather than an ADS? The ADS will probably be better as a pure streamer. My opinion is based on a comparison between KDSM Katalyst and KDS Katalyst at the Linn factory. Certainly at Klimax level, reducing the electronics improves the musicality. It is very likely indeed that the same applies to Akurate level.

Second, a Lejonklou pre-amplifier, or integrated amplifier, will be more musical than using the DVC on an ADS or ADSM. I strongly suspect you will find ADS and Boazu more musical than ADSM and Tundra.

Third, have you considered building a Hakai instead of buying a Linn Akurate streamer? This would save enough money to pay for the Boazu now. I had both an ADS/3 and a Hakai. Now I have only the Hakai.
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Eli7
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

Thanks for your hints.

I don't want a Hakai right now. I am not technically skilled enough to build one.

I also believe that ADS3 with Boazu is best for me.

Is an ADS3 better than KDS1 or KDS2?
Last edited by Eli7 on 2020-09-25 13:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Flatcoat
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Flatcoat »

I would go with the ADS3 and use the power amp in the MDSM3 with the 140s. And then in the future replace the MDSM3 with a Tundra Stereo.

Your MDSM 3 could sell for something like £1700 and that would possibly pay for a Tundra stereo second hand.

As of yesterday, I received a second hand set of 109s to use with my Klimax Renew DS2 and a current spec Tundra stereo. All I can say is that the system is phenomenally good.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

@ First, you have only one source. If that is correct, why are you looking at an ADSM rather than an ADS?

Yeah right, I don't need ADSM.
The ADS also has a volume control. It was a mistake.

@ As of yesterday, I received a second hand set of 109s to use with my Klimax Renew DS2 and a current spec Tundra stereo. All I can say is that the system is phenomenally good.

I'm glad that you like it so much.

I've been listening to MDSM as a power amp for some time now and I noticed that I don't really enjoy it. The M140 setup would probably have to be readjusted?
I have now switched again. MDSM runs again as an integrated amplifier with ADSM fixed as the source. The joy is back. I enjoy listening that way. I notice that the M140 would also have to be readjusted here. Still, I like it that way more.

Is that a hint that I may not like the ADSM's DVC?
MDSM3 / Netgear GS 108T-200 / BJC Cat 6a / K200 (Lejonklou Cut K400) /
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Discodave
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Discodave »

Sounds mint Flatcoat. I love my 109s and cant see them being replaced for quite some time:)
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u252agz
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Re: upgrade path

Post by u252agz »

Whilst you are deciding on the streamer /preamp/ amp combination don’t forget to optimise the digital source ( NAS drive or Musical streaming) and the installation of your digital network ( Network switch, Cat6 cables etc).

The more I listen to digital - the more I realise just how important all the stuff before the streamer is.

My biggest digital upgrade since going from KDS/0 to KDS/1 has been discovering Qobuz.

One of the most notable downgrades was changing the network switch from the recommended one on the Forum.
KDS2/Sagatun Tundra Monos /242s /LP12 Kore-KRad-Ekos SE/Slip 7

MajikLP12/Slip 6.1/ Boazu/ Komp110
Eli7
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

A little summary of what has happened so far.

I moved the M140 a couple of mm to a better position. But they are certainly not ideal yet.

So far I liked ADSM fixed / MDSM Integrated better than ADSM fariabel / MDSM Power.
The music about ADSM fariabel / MDSM Power seemed sober and distant to me in comparison
and not very emotionally appealing. ADSM fixed / MDSM Integrated was much better at these things.

Then I remembered that I had a couple of old, well-played Linn Silver ICs. These are a gift from a good friend. The Linn Blacks were new and in their original packaging. So black exchanged for silver. Silvers are much better than the new Blacks. Incredible. The music made a lot more sense, I was drawn into the music a lot more, especially emotionally. I suppose the Blacks will need a much longer break-in period than I am able to do.

Now switch to ADSM fariabel / MDSM Power again. Much better, but still too sober and distant. The music didn't grab me. In terms of sound it was much better.

Try subscription Qobuz now. Only now did ADSM fariabel / MDSM Power take a big leap in all matters and leave ADSM fixed / MDSM Integrated far behind. The music is very gripping now. I am touched even more emotionally. Back to ADSM fixed / MDSM Integrated. Yes, it is significantly less good with that. Amazing.


I had previously used my Fritzbox Router 7590 with USB-Sicks as a server. With MDSM it was good, I signed off from Qobuz and didn't think about it any more. Only the ADSM in connection with MDSM Power showed me through their sober, distant, emotionless style of play that this solution is worse than I thought.
My TuneDem skills are probably not the best yet because I haven't noticed and / or the MDSM has obscured it a bit with his charming way of playing ...?

Yes, it is very, very important to do your best at the source, as recommended by some members here over and over again. In this case, before ADSM. The ADSM (with MDSM Power) clearly shows me what's going on further up the chain.
Before I think of Boazu or Tundra, I want to be sure that I have done the best with all that comes before ADS / 3. So, for example, replace Microconnect with BlueJeans LAN cable, possibly use a Melco switch, etc.

Many thanks to everyone who helped me!
MDSM3 / Netgear GS 108T-200 / BJC Cat 6a / K200 (Lejonklou Cut K400) /
M140
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

After the experience with the ADSM in my chain, I continued to experiment.
The excursion away from the Netgear switch to a Bonn N8 was - as I wrote in my other post - a clear step in the wrong direction.
I also tried my Cisco switch with a Lejonklou power cord again. I stay with the Netgear because I think it is more musically interesting.

What can I do next? What about the space for the Netgear and the router? I also continued to experiment. In my experience, Netgear and my FritzBox router are also very sensitive to floor space authorizations. In comparison, the experience ranges from musically exciting, emotionally appealing and involving to boring and meaningless. Amazing!

The results from the improvement at the source are so great and serious for me that I am now actually considering buying a KDS / 3.

However, this would entail a temporary downgrade in the amplifier and loudspeaker to finance the purchase. I am thinking of selling my MDSM / 3 and M140 / upgrade stands. As a temporary solution I have a small NAD C 316BEE V2 and a couple of Dynaudios such as: B. Emit 10 or so
in front.
I think. I got a bit carried away. However, I could hear a similar combination. It was ADSM / 3 to a small Rotel amplifier (300 euros) and Emit 10 and I thought, amazingly, I could live with that very well ....

Thoughts from you on this are very welcome.
Last edited by Eli7 on 2020-11-01 18:19, edited 2 times in total.
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beck
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Re: upgrade path

Post by beck »

Eli7 wrote: 2020-11-01 12:15
What can I do next? What about the space for the Netgear and the router? I also continued to experiment. In my experience, Netgear and my FritzBox router are also very sensitive to floor space authorizations. In comparison, the experience ranges from musically exciting, emotionally appealing and involving to boring and meaningless. Amazing!
Your writing shows me that you are on a good path. It is all about what makes you enjoy the music. Nothing more, nothing less.
Listen and learn is all it takes to make this hobby a great one! :-)
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

Hi Beck, I really enjoy listening and learning how things are related. It's already a great journey of discovery.
Who would have thought that Linn Skeets under my router and the Netgear, instead of the M140, would make such a big difference to me. With the new setup, I am sometimes so affected by the music that it almost hurts. For example, I was just listening to the Cocteau Twins' Blue Bell Knoll. My body vibrated all the time, subtle vibrations, it was a mixture of bliss and deepest sadness. I've heard other tracks by this band and the reactions have been similar. I can't have these experiences often, they are too intense.


Maybe I should leave it at that and be satisfied with what I have now. It would certainly be a wise decision.
I'm sure even with a KDS / 3 you can really screw things up. It's the small details that determine whether the experience will be great or completely trivial.
But I'm ready to take care of these immensely important little details. And I'm really excited to find out which (new) doors a KDS / 3 will open for me.
Last edited by Eli7 on 2020-11-01 20:58, edited 2 times in total.
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beck
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Re: upgrade path

Post by beck »

You are spot on focusing on your own reaction to the music you listen to.

Regardless of what I had in mind I would try it out before buying if possible..........
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Re: upgrade path

Post by fatjulio »

Eli7 wrote: 2020-11-01 19:01 Who would have thought that Linn Skeets under my router and the Netgear, instead of the M140, would make such a big difference to me.
Can you expand further on what you found with the placement of the router and switch?
lindsayt
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Re: upgrade path

Post by lindsayt »

Try some better speakers, instead of sticking with those god-awful (relatively speaking for the total price you've paid for your system) Linn M140's.
That's assuming you're happy to house speakers that aren't slimline, ported, low efficiency.

From there you can get more tunelful sounding (inexpensive) amplification, especially if you get speakers that are high efficiency.

All of which you should be able to fund by selling on your existing gear once you've found better alternatives.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

fatjulio wrote: 2020-11-02 01:30 Can you expand further on what you found with the placement of the router and switch?

I hope yes. Do you have any ideas?
MDSM3 / Netgear GS 108T-200 / BJC Cat 6a / K200 (Lejonklou Cut K400) /
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Re: upgrade path

Post by Eli7 »

beck wrote: 2020-11-01 19:07 Regardless of what I had in mind I would try it out before buying if possible..........

It won't be easy. Borrowing a KDS / 3 is difficult. Buying at full price is not feasible for me.
And even if I had him on trial, it probably wouldn't work that fast. Just set it up has never worked for me. For example. For me, the effect of the skeets in the right place for the musical performance is more important than the experience with the ADSM / 3.

Hey beck, how is your NAD CD player project going? I just watched and listened to your video. Very beautiful!
It looks like the LP12 is on top of the NAD. Is that so? It's definitely an optical illusion. Otherwise I would be amazed that it works so well.

I am always amazed at how far you can get with a relatively low budget. To be honest, it was always the small, inexpensive systems that were most convincing musically to me. I am also thinking of my past experiences with my LP12 at the time in connection with my Nait 1, 2 or 3. Strangely, the Naitt 3R worked best for me. I had the most intense experiences with it, similar to the one above. I've heard many, too many "big" systems that were just incredibly bad ...
MDSM3 / Netgear GS 108T-200 / BJC Cat 6a / K200 (Lejonklou Cut K400) /
M140
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Re: upgrade path

Post by fatjulio »

Eli7 wrote: 2020-11-02 06:32
fatjulio wrote: 2020-11-02 01:30 Can you expand further on what you found with the placement of the router and switch?

I hope yes. Do you have any ideas?
I haven't done much with those components, they're sitting on old phone book's on the floor (carpet). I have some skeets I'm not using, maybe I should put them underneath?
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Re: upgrade path

Post by beck »

Eli7: My NAD project is going very well.

Your eyes do not deceive you. It works with my Sondek on top.

I have been able to improve the NAD further by concentrating on the cd tray and its contact with the player itself when closed.

My motto: It is all vibration! :-)
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Re: upgrade path

Post by lindsayt »

Eli7 wrote: 2020-11-02 07:32
beck wrote: 2020-11-01 19:07 Regardless of what I had in mind I would try it out before buying if possible..........
I am always amazed at how far you can get with a relatively low budget. To be honest, it was always the small, inexpensive systems that were most convincing musically to me. I am also thinking of my past experiences with my LP12 at the time in connection with my Nait 1, 2 or 3. Strangely, the Naitt 3R worked best for me. I had the most intense experiences with it, similar to the one above. I've heard many, too many "big" systems that were just incredibly bad ...
Amen to that.

It is relatively easy and inexpensive to get your digital source sorted from a tune dem point of view.

That's because all you need is a well executed simple digital source. One with a simple signal path. Adding a complex analogue section to a digital source will not increase the tunefulness, it will only decrease it.

Even the most highly regarded DAC chips cost a few dollars each. From there, all you need is a reasonable power supply, which will be inexpensive as we're not talking high voltage nor current ratings. And the simplest analogue section you can get away with. Which might even be as minimalistic as taking the signal straight from the DAC chip and passing it into the pre-amp.

And then the same thing applies to pre-amps. Where, as long as the source and power amps are compatible, simplest is the most tuneful.
And therefore the most tuneful pre-amps are amongst the cheapest. With the proviso of matching the source and power amp to a pre-amp with no gain.
Either LDR's or stepped attenuators make for the most tuneful pre-amps (in passive pre-amp friendly systems).

If you then have efficient, amplifier friendly speakers, you can get away with low powered, well executed simple power amps. Again, less in the signal path, when well executed equals more tunefulness.
With examples of such power amps being relatively inexpensive.

Spending thousands of euros or dollars on a Klimax digital source makes no sense whatsoever when you have low efficiency slimline ported speakers like Linn M140's.

It makes far more sense, if you are able to house wideline, high efficiency speakers, to get a pair of them and then to go back through your system simplifying it. High efficiency speakers. Simple low powered power amplifier. Passive resistor based pre-amp. Simple digital source. Job done. Tuneful system. And reasonable total outlay.
On the speaker front, you have to go wideline because the easiest route to tuneful bass from the speakers is to have large to huge woofers. That's because of the simple physics of recreating instruments like bass drums. Ports with small woofers are particular bad from a bass tunefulness point of view.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by lejonklou »

There are lots of things I don't agree with in the latest post.

Passive preamps are not tuneful. Doesn't matter how simple or how fancy you make them, the principle is bad. Why? Because impedance matters.

Minimalism doesn't result in quality. Most well performing circuits are far more complicated than the most minimalistic alternative. That's because minimalistic solutions usually incorporate heavy compromises. To correct for the compromises, complexity will increase.

However, when building systems (not circuits), minimalism results in higher performance and less problems.

It always makes sense going for the best possible source. Because in your system, it's the most important piece. This is called Source First and is mentioned in the rules of this forum.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by beck »

Best possible source is a given for me even though I am experimenting with a lesser one!

The KDS is surely better than the MDSM. If it is worth the extra money only you (Eli7) can decide.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by sktn77a »

lejonklou wrote: 2020-11-02 14:47 minimalistic solutions usually incorporate heavy compromises. To correct for the compromises, complexity will increase.
Peter Walker (of Quad fame) once said "The perfect amplifier would be a straight wire with gain. Well, first it would hum, so we'd have to shield it. That would create capacitance, so we'd have to ................................. " and so on and so forth!

So, yes, sometimes a minimalist system isn't all it's cracked up to be.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by lindsayt »

lejonklou wrote: 2020-11-02 14:47 There are lots of things I don't agree with in the latest post.

Passive preamps are not tuneful. Doesn't matter how simple or how fancy you make them, the principle is bad. Why? Because impedance matters.

Minimalism doesn't result in quality. Most well performing circuits are far more complicated than the most minimalistic alternative. That's because minimalistic solutions usually incorporate heavy compromises. To correct for the compromises, complexity will increase.

However, when building systems (not circuits), minimalism results in higher performance and less problems.

It always makes sense going for the best possible source. Because in your system, it's the most important piece. This is called Source First and is mentioned in the rules of this forum.
All I can say is keep an open mind and put it to the test.

Minimalism in hi-fi systems does result in a more tuneful system. When done right.
With some sources and power amplifiers, resistor based passive pre-amplifiers are a disaster. This is most likely to apply with certain phono stages. With many systems, especially those with digital sources, resistor based passive pre-amps are the most tuneful.
Put it to the test.

The joint best digital sources - in terms of tunefulness - can be bought for very little money.

Linn Klimax KDS's are no better in terms of tunefulness than CD players / DAC's that can be bought for under £100.
Put it to the test. With an open mind.

Linn M140's are relatively untuneful speakers. Especially when playing music that features bass instruments.
It's bonkers preserving the tune with your source and amplification and then chucking it out in the final stage with the speakers.

This statement means nothing without going into the actual supposed heavy compromises of any particular minimalistic amplification system: "minimalistic solutions usually incorporate heavy compromises". And then putting this statement to the test with a comparative listerning session.
My listening tests indicate that the most tuneful amplification systems are relatively simple and have rather "overspecced" power supplies for the output power of the amplifier. Overspecced power supplies are not more complex. They simply have beefier transformers and capacitors.
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Re: upgrade path

Post by u252agz »

lindsayt wrote: 2020-11-02 12:45Spending thousands of euros or dollars on a Klimax digital source makes no sense whatsoever when you have low efficiency slimline ported speakers like Linn M140's.
It made perfect sense when to me I upgraded a Sneaky DS to a KDS with Lejonklou amps and Linn Ninkas-Biggest upgrade I have heard to date.

The Sneaky with a Zoneripper NAS was in turn much more musical than the Linn Ikemi CD player.

I was advised to only change the Ninkas to 242s once the KDS was in place with Silver interconnects and K400 speaker cables and this I did. Much much better, but not in the same league as the streamer upgrade.

I have found the preamp upgrades second only to the source upgrade in terms of musicality.

I am now finding out that the feed to the streamer and the Digital network/installation is as improtant as the streamer itself.
KDS2/Sagatun Tundra Monos /242s /LP12 Kore-KRad-Ekos SE/Slip 7

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Re: upgrade path

Post by Spannko »

That appears to be an interesting turnaround lindsayt! Has something happened or have you discovered something new which has challenged your original feelings about the KDS?
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