KATALYST OR NOT

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Scott
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KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Scott » 2018-10-01 18:12

Hi all,

I was wondering what the general opinion is of katalyst upgrade on a ADSM?

Many thanks Scott...

anthony
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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by anthony » 2018-10-01 19:00

Scott wrote:Hi all,

I was wondering what the general opinion is of katalyst upgrade on a ADSM?

Many thanks Scott...
Excellent.

Scott
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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Scott » 2018-10-01 23:33

Good stuff.
Thanks

maffe
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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by maffe » 2018-10-02 09:58

anthony wrote:
Scott wrote:Hi all,

I was wondering what the general opinion is of katalyst upgrade on a ADSM?

Many thanks Scott...
Excellent.
Tell me more, what improvments can I expect?
Analog inputs, esp the internat riia, better/worse with the DVC vs the old AVC?
LP12 is my main source and I’m little put off by the analog to digital back to analog path using a DVC...

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Scott » 2018-10-02 21:45

Technical stuff.
I was in a quandary,change amp or source first.
My 2100 is happy enough driving my Art speakers.
Scott

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Gussy » 2018-10-03 07:29

I upgraded my Akudoriks last year - enormous improvement in sound - like having the warmth of analogue combined with the accuracy of digital.
Discussions regarding DVC are now irrelevant.

Do not hesitate is my adivice...

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Scott » 2018-10-03 10:19

Much appreciated
Pity I missed the promo!

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Briain
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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Briain » 2018-10-03 15:28

Hi

In short, yes; it's a huge improvement and really, you need not read any further, but just in case you do wish a far more detailed version (including my thoughts on the latest incarnation of DVC) my findings - thus far - are as detailed below:

I did two of them; one was an ADS/0 to ADSM/3 and the other was an ADSM to ADSM/3. Prior to all that, I was using a KDS/0 Renew and Lejonklou Kikkin in my bedroom system (2250/D, 212 and Sizmik sub) and taking a gamble that the ADSM/3 would be better than the KDS/0 Renew, so before the Akurate Katalyst upgrade was even released, I swapped my KDS/0 Renew for an ADS/0 (the previous owner was happy to get the smaller box and had no intention of further upgrades, so that worked out very well for both of us).

Interestingly, when I first got the KDS/0 Renew a few years back, I did try the digital volume control and the test lasted for about 10 milliseconds (okay, slight exaggeration, but it wasn't even an entire tune) then I dived into my dungeons and built an 18 dB attenuator. That made DVC almost tolerable (by pulling it into a less lossy zone), though the later addition of a Kikkin was an improvement over the attenuated DVC (simply more musical). As the bedroom system was so infrequently used, I eventually swapped the Kikkin for a software defined radio transceiver (needed for my microwave radio plans) and reverted to the attenuator and DVC (which was okay, but not quite as musical) but with the new 32 bit DVC of the Katalyst, I am very happy with the sound without the need for an attenuator.

In the lounge, I used an ADSM (set to fixed output) into my KK/1's XLR input and a KDS/1 into the KK/1's RCA input. The ADSM was for AV sound (the lounge system - 350A and a miniDSP fed rear sub - is now mostly used for TV sound) and the KDS/1 for playing tunes. When the ADSM came back as an ADSM/3, one of my friends (who has Exakt Akubariks with external Akurate amps) and I compared the ADSM/3 to the KDS/1 (both set to fixed output and both feeding RCA inputs of the KK/1) and in most areas, we preferred the sound of the ADSM/3 (the KDS/1 did have an alluring warmth and weight, but the ADSM/3 had loads more definition and tonnes of musicality) and to our surprise, removing the KK/1 and using the ADSM/3 on its own restored some of the things we'd missed from the KDS/1, so that is what I am now running.

I have since tried reverting to the ADSM+KK and there are a lot of nice things about that, but now that I have co-located them, it means I have major IR remote control conflicts (it was a nightmare as not only did inputs conflict, but they got out of sync in terms of one being on standby and the other not, then when pressing the standby button on the IR, the situation reversed) so purely for those control reasons (and remember the system is almost exclusively for AV sound) I now definitely plan to just sell both the KK/1 and KDS/1 (if not for all that IR remote hassle, I'd have updated the KDS to Katalyst and kept the lot).

Anyhow, to get back to your question and yes, the Katalyst ADSM blows the socks of a pre-Katalyst ADS or ADSM, and in fact, I prefer it to the sound of a KDS/1+KK/1, so though it's not a cheap upgrade, it's one of the biggest I've ever heard in terms of sound per £k.

Bri
Last edited by Briain on 2018-10-03 19:07, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by maffe » 2018-10-03 17:49

Thanks!
Now to the most interesting question for me, how about the analog input and esp the internal riaa?
I’m convinced that with a digital signal, NAS or Tidal, that katalyst out performs the analog version of adsm.

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Briain » 2018-10-03 19:23

maffe wrote:Thanks!
Now to the most interesting question for me, how about the analog input and esp the internal riaa?
I’m convinced that with a digital signal, NAS or Tidal, that katalyst out performs the analog version of adsm.
One of my friends (an ex-Linn dealer) 'composed' a top LP12 comprising Keel, Ekos SE and Lingo 4. As it had been residing in my store room (and as I have an ancient LP12 jig sitting up here) it was all fettled into place upon my lounge table (after I'd first removed the hundreds of empty Bordeaux bottles to make space for the necessary engineering events, of course). When 'twas all done, we slapped it on my wobbly (and squint) tripod AV rack (laden with heavy stuff) and connected it into the MC inputs of my original ADSM (which fed into a KK/1, 350A and DSP controlled 345) and it sounded pretty darned astonishing, to put it mildly (it blew my KDS out of the water in terms of foot tapping tunefulness) but what surprised me the most was just how much better it sounded when then using the ADSM's 'digital features' to facilitate the application of SO (I had suspected the digitisation process would crucify the tunes, but no, it sounded very nice indeed). Of course, with 350s and a rear sub, there's a fair old amount of low frequency energy pumped into my room, so it's not entirely surprising that SO is super-necessary for my own 'PA grade' system (without 'SOing' that little lot, it sounds more like a worn out diesel engine with water in the fuel than a half-decent HiFI system)!

As far as I know (and I have no information on this) the ADC aspect of an ADSM has not been changed for the new Katalyst variant (and it seems to me that it was always very good, so that would make sense) but clearly the Katalyst and new DAC aspect of the recent product is far, far better (so when using an LP12, the resultant output will be a lot better than that of an original ADSM was with 'digital features' enabled) so although I've not [yet] hooked up an LP12 to my ADSM/3, I'm pretty (actually very) confident it would knock out a half-decent tune. As to the location of the RIAA equalisation, I would think that's still done within the analogue input stages, but I have no evidence either way (other than that I know digital RIAA is done in the Urika II, but I think that might as yet be the only instance of digital RIAA in Linn's current range). Anyone knows any better; do feel free to shoot me down in flames, of course (again)!

Bri

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Defender » 2018-10-04 11:21

Briain wrote: In the lounge, I used an ADSM (set to fixed output) into my KK/1's XLR input and a KDS/1 into the KK/1's RCA input. The ADSM was for AV sound (the lounge system - 350A and a miniDSP fed rear sub - is now mostly used for TV sound) and the KDS/1 for playing tunes. When the ADSM came back as an ADSM/3, one of my friends (who has Exakt Akubariks with external Akurate amps) and I compared the ADSM/3 to the KDS/1 (both set to fixed output and both feeding RCA inputs of the KK/1) and in most areas, we preferred the sound of the ADSM/3 (the KDS/1 did have an alluring warmth and weight, but the ADSM/3 had loads more definition and tonnes of musicality) and to our surprise, removing the KK/1 and using the ADSM/3 on its own restored some of the things we'd missed from the KDS/1, so that is what I am now running.
Hi Bri,

do I understand you right with everything equal you both liked the ADSM/Katalyst overall more than your KDS/1 but the KDS/1 had some parts you where still missing with the ADSM/Katalyst.
When you connected the ADSM/Katalyst direct to your amp those missing parts have been even less so sound improved even more over the KDS/1 with using the ADSM/Katalyst with DVC.

If thats right it sounds very promising - even more so for an ADS/Katalyst assuming the DVC in ADS is the same like in ADSM as I see some layout differences in the output stage between ADS and ADSM

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by Scott » 2018-10-04 20:11

Bri
Great post. Thanks for the insight.
It basically sounds like a know brainier!
I’m sitting at the mo listening to what’s already is a terrific sound. So unlocking more is really exciting.

Scott...

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Re: KATALYST OR NOT

Post by DavidHB » 2018-10-04 22:27

Briain wrote:As far as I know (and I have no information on this) the ADC aspect of an ADSM has not been changed for the new Katalyst variant (and it seems to me that it was always very good, so that would make sense) but clearly the Katalyst and new DAC aspect of the recent product is far, far better (so when using an LP12, the resultant output will be a lot better than that of an original ADSM was with 'digital features' enabled) so although I've not [yet] hooked up an LP12 to my ADSM/3, I'm pretty (actually very) confident it would knock out a half-decent tune. As to the location of the RIAA equalisation, I would think that's still done within the analogue input stages, but I have no evidence either way (other than that I know digital RIAA is done in the Urika II, but I think that might as yet be the only instance of digital RIAA in Linn's current range). Anyone knows any better; do feel free to shoot me down in flames, of course (again)!
As always, I love reading your stories, Brian. As, apart from my KEDSM (sorry, Klimax Exakt Hub), I have (an am unlikely ever to have) any Klimax kit, I find the comparisons between the pre-Katalyst Klimax and Katalyst Akurate most illuminating.

To the best of my belief, the Urika II is the only Linn product that does RIAA equalisation in the digital domain; the grounds for thinking that are that it was presented as very much a new think when the Urika II was launched. Furthermore, even the Urika II does not do the whole job digitally. Linn could not find a an ADC chip that could handle the tiny voltages produced by an MC cartridge, so the analogue signal is amplified and has initial compensation applied before being fed to the ADC (which, incidentally does not have its own clock but uses the clock from the 'host' DSM). All of this clearly implies that the phono stages fitted to ADSM and MDSM models are fully analogue. The KDSM and KEDSM have always only had line level analogue inputs, of course.

My experience with the LP12 somewhat parallels yours. As Linn forum members will know, after sticking with my Basik TT for over 20 years, this summer I finally took the plunge and had Chris of Hidden Systems build me a fairly modestly specified LP12 (Cirkus, Lingo 4, Kore, Trampolin II, my old Basik+ arm and K5 cartridge with a Paratrace stylus). A Gaio phono stage connects the LP12 to the KEDSM. Previously, vinyl was very much my secondary source, but I am now listening to LPs almost as much as to streamed music, and regularly patronising my local Oxfam shop for LPs, the prices of which easily leave room in the budget for them to be taken to the nearby (non-Linn) Hi-Fi dealer who cleans them on his RCM. Through the Katalyst Exakt system, both LPs and streamed music sound really good; I wouldn't actually want to choose between them. If I had a higher specification LP12 (say Radikal, Keel, Urika II, Ekos SE and Krystal), would that sound better than the streamer? Possibly, but I did listen to a couple of LP12s with that kind of specification at Hidden Systems, and those tests suggested to me that it would be quite a close run thing ...

David

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