Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

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Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by ThomasOK » 2018-09-20 20:33

I figured it was time this had its own topic since it has veered off from the Linn forum down, even though it was one of the reasons for the sabbatical.

So as pretty much everybody knows Linn announced the new Selekt DSM platform, so named because you can select what you want it to incorporate. Initial configurations have the following US prices:

$5200 Selekt DSM
$6825 Selekt DSM with amp modules
$7000 Selekt DSM with Katalyst
$8775 Selekt DSM with Katalyst and amp modules

It should be mentioned that these amp modules are Class D amps with a custom control loop and are rated at 100W/channel 4 Ohms, 50W 8 Ohms. So Linn have taken a further step on the all digital, all the time path. All Selekts have the ability to connect either an MC or an MM cartridge (but reportedly not both at once, even though there are two sets of connectors so marked), one line level input, two each of toslink and SPDIF inputs, a USB input and an HDMI with ARC input (so you can hook up your TV and use the TV for switching the various HDMI sources). Of course Ethernet and two ExaktLink ports are featured as well.

Additional modules coming out sometime in 2019 are an HDMI/surround module with additional channels of amplification (I would guess not all 5 on that module), 4 HDMI in/1 out and Dolby Digital Plus and DTS support. Also a headphone amplifier module and Bluetooth/WiFi (although not clear if that requires a separate module).

From what we have heard you can't have an amplifier module and preamp outputs (RCA and XLR) in the same unit. Somewhat of a shame in terms of being able to do comparisons, maybe not that much of an impact on potential customers.

All modules will be able to be added on later but will cost more than when ordered with the unit (how much more has not been nailed down yet).

You've seen the photos, it is a new and more stylish look for Linn and has some things to impress potential customers like lighting up the dial when you approach it. Linn is mostly aiming this at new customers who like the convenience of an all-in-one unit, so in many ways it is a replacement for the Classik. As such I don't believe this is for the really serious videophile who would be looking to 4K BluRay with the latest codecs, more for those who want stereo or 5.1 with the other features like quality streaming, turntable connection, Tidal, etc.

One feature this unit is made to use is Linns new "Pin" interface which is coming soon to Kazoo. Pins are basically presets but can preset pretty much anything, from a specific input or streaming platform to internet radio stations or playlists. The front panel accommodates six of them through the silver buttons but many more can be handled through Kazoo with any Linn streamer. Also the big knob on the top can control multiple things, like scrolling through a playlist and selecting a track, not just volume.

Overall I think it is a pretty cool device based on photos and what I've read, although I haven't seen one in person yet. We do have a couple demos on order. I'm not quite sure why the headphone amp and Wi-Fi wasn't a built-in but the other options all make sense to me. Musically it is supposed to fall between the Majik and Akurate lines as it does on price. Forgive me if this is somewhat repetitive but I thought it might be helpful to gather most of the information in one place.
Last edited by ThomasOK on 2018-09-20 21:32, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by ThomasOK » 2018-09-20 21:09

The other major part of the announcements is the realignment of the DS product line. No more just plain DS units, the Klimax DS, Akurate DS and Majik DS are gone after a last order date of September 30th. Along with this the pricing structure has changed with the reduction of the Majik DSM from $4100 to $3000! This makes it less than the Majik DS, which I don't imagine was selling all that well, and makes it a really good value as an entry level all in one unit that actually sounds quite good.

A few months back Linn lowered the Klimax DSM price from $27,500 to $23,380 - the same exakt price as the Klimax DS. At the time I figured that the KDS was likely not long for this world. It is too bad as most feel it is more musical as a source than the KDSM. Unusual for a source first company to discontinue its best digital source, I would think it would have been better to at least keep that one around, especially since it is also the first of its type. Then again, you obviously generally would use it with somebody else's preamp or a KK which Linn don't think is as good as the DVC in the KDSM. There is the advantage that you can connect a bunch of other things to it but I'm not sure that outweighs having the most musical unit of its type for the potential customer of a top level product.

As to the ADS I can see that a bit more as you would go Klimax level if you want the best sound so the bit of compromise for the extra functionality (which is also more expansive than on the KDSM) is likely to be less painful. I would guess that fewer of the ADS were sold in relation to ADSM compared to at the Klimax level but I could easily be wrong. Regardless, at least Katalyst upgrades will still be available for the KDS and ADS for the time being.

So the new lineup is (all US prices):

KDSM $23,380
ADSM $10,250
SDSM $7000 with Katalyst DAC
SDSM $5200 standard DAC
MDSM $3000

Plus you can add the SDSM power amp modules for $1775 to $1825 depending on which configuration you add it to. So a wide range of coverage in pricing and capability. I do find it amusing to read in the press that now Linn has four streaming platforms - what were/are the Sneaky/Sekrit DS/DSM, chopped liver? Although Linn does make them rather hard to find on its website, the Sekrit DS and DSM are still on the new pricelist at $1560 and $2275. I think that makes five?

Linn also renamed the Klimax Exakt DSM and Akurate Exakt DSM to the Klimax System Hub and Akurate System Hub, helping to alleviate the confusion the original naming caused from day one. Also more appropriate as they never were really DSM units.

Finally, probably mostly under the radar, Linn has renamed the Majik Exaktbox-I to the Akurate Exaktbox-I further reducing the Majik electronics box count. The case has been changed to the Akurate casework but the internals remain the same, then so does the price at $6320. Katalyst will come to this unit sometime in 2019 and those buying a new Akurate Exaktbox-1 will be able to upgrade for just the price difference between Katalyst and non-Katalyst versions.

So lots of changes at Linn, not the least of which was demonstrating the Selekt with non-Linn speakers (Wilson Audio in the US) and doing direct A/Bs against a Naim Uniti piece (who could have imagined they were going after that line)!
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Moomintroll » 2018-09-20 21:30

Thanks for that Tom. Any indication when the new SO will become available to existing DS(M)s?

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by DelNaja » 2018-09-20 21:30

Thank you, ThomasOK! Informative, as always.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by ThomasOK » 2018-09-20 21:54

Yep, I mainly covered the hardware. Linn also did announce a new and completely revamped Space Optimisation. The new version is said to be a dynamic solution which accounts for pressure changes in a room over time, will model non-rectangular rooms and targets the decay of room modes, as well as the amplitude. At the dealer workshop in response to a question it was said that it didn't yet handle vaulted ceilings optimally but that capability was coming relatively soon as well. It is a new web based user interface and I have heard some mention that it computes on the web allowing it to work even with the earliest DS units regardless of internal computing power. I am a little unsure about how Linn is going about releasing this as it mainly talks about dealers using it to optimize systems for their customers and making it available on the dealer portal.

Anyway, Linn says that the new Space Optimisation and the new pin feature are scheduled to become available on September 25th along with the new Davaar, new Kazoo, new Kazoo server and new Konfig that are required for these capabilities. Interestingly, the SO+ version for Exakt systems with the new capabilities will not be available until "a later date". So initially just for non-Exakt setups. Linn does view SO as a major brand advantage so the new version is part of the big push to attract New to Linn customers, along with the Selekt DSM.
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by mcgillroy » 2018-09-21 09:50

Thx Thomas, very informative! I wonder what happens to the Majik line and if the ExaktBox—1 renaming indicates that Majik is either going to be Exaktless or going away eventually?!

The Selekt strikes me as a great product and clearly they thought this thing through. USB is a welcome addition and important for many customers. Glad to hear WiFi and Bluetooth are coming too.

Last not least Linn will want to have matching speakers for the Selekt. Very curious what is going to be on offer in that department.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by mbabst » 2018-09-21 09:57

As there will be no longer DS's, can I still upgrade my Akurate DS/1 to a current specs Akurate DSM Katalyst?
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-09-21 10:08

mbabst wrote:As there will be no longer DS's, can I still upgrade my Akurate DS/1 to a current specs Akurate DSM Katalyst?
No, that train left end of August :-(

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Moomintroll » 2018-09-21 10:11

ThomasOK wrote:I am a little unsure about how Linn is going about releasing this as it mainly talks about dealers using it to optimize systems for their customers and making it available on the dealer portal.
I’ll be extremely annoyed if something as useful and powerful as this is restricted to dealer access and not publicly available.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by timster » 2018-09-21 10:37

Thanks Thomas, all good and very interesting information.
There are of course still the Exakt-only DSMs. And the Kiko (which never gets any mention).

If the Selekt is between Akurate and Majik, it will be interesting to compare a SDSM (basic) with the Akurate Exakt DSM. Would the extra features justify the £1,500 differential? Probably not. But I like the headphone module idea, and Bluetooth. Interesting too that the Majik Exaktbox-i will become Akurate level - with Katalyst. So my upgrade to Akurate Exaktbox may have been premature. Oh well. It would be similarly interesting to compare the rebadged Akurate EBox-I to the Akurate Exaktbox10 with Majik amps!

Also I read somewhere that one of the SPDiFs can be configured to be a digital output. Is that also true for the TosLinks? Or did I imagine it entirely?

Any change to the Akurate Katalyst upgrade prices?
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Donald » 2018-09-21 10:52

Thanks ThomasOK - very informative.

A couple of additional questions: -

1. The Bridged Class-D amplifier with post-filter feedback - is Class-D the future direction of travel for all Linn power amplifiers?

2. Power supply - one of the What Hi-Fi pages has a picture of a Selekt with the cover off. What's that lurking behind the IEC socket - a new power supply?? Whither Dynamik??

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/linn-selekt-dsm
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by matthias » 2018-09-21 10:52

Thanks Thomas,

according to Dagogo Linn demoed the Selekt vs. a Naim Uniti Star, quite an unfair comparison.
Even the better Uniti Nova is much cheaper than the Selekt.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Matteo » 2018-09-21 10:56

Donald wrote:Thanks ThomasOK - very informative.

A couple of additional questions: -

1. The Bridged Class-D amplifier with post-filter feedback - is Class-D the future direction of travel for all Linn power amplifiers?

2. Power supply - one of the What Hi-Fi pages has a picture of a Selekt with the cover off. What's that lurking behind the IEC socket - a new power supply?? Whither Dynamik??

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/linn-selekt-dsm
Very interesting questions

I'm quite convinced that the weakest part of my system is the A2200.

Interesting also to know if this new technology and power supply can be "added" to old products (AK/1 or A2200, for example).

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Moomintroll » 2018-09-21 11:13

Donald wrote:Thanks ThomasOK - very informative.

A couple of additional questions: -

1. The Bridged Class-D amplifier with post-filter feedback - is Class-D the future direction of travel for all Linn power amplifiers?

2. Power supply - one of the What Hi-Fi pages has a picture of a Selekt with the cover off. What's that lurking behind the IEC socket - a new power supply?? Whither Dynamik??

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/linn-selekt-dsm
It does say in one of the other reports I’ve read, that a “beefier” power supply was required to cater for additional power amp modules. So, I assume, it’s nothing more than a purpose built Dynamik.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Rudi64 » 2018-09-21 11:30

Anyone knows its possible to upgrade the "old" Majik Exaktbox I to Katalyst or do you
have to buy the Akurate Exaktbox I to make that step in the future?
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by mbabst » 2018-09-21 12:54

Tendaberry wrote:
mbabst wrote:As there will be no longer DS's, can I still upgrade my Akurate DS/1 to a current specs Akurate DSM Katalyst?
No, that train left end of August :-(
Really???? Not possible to upgrade a DS to DSM anymore? What the hell Linn???
Last edited by mbabst on 2018-09-21 12:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-21 12:57

My thanks too to Thomas for starting this informative thread.

It's interesting that, while most of what Selekt and the new software offer are very much in line with the direction in which Linn has been moving over the last few years, the new product package as a whole comes as a surprise. Virtually nothing of what has been announced was foreshadowed in all the speculation on the Linn forum before it was suspended. Well done to Linn for that at least.

I suspect that the modularity of Selekt may become a more central feature of Linn's product offer over the coming years (though I suppose LP12 owners would say that it always has been central). Certainly, it distinguishes Linn to some extent from its competitors. While it is obvious from what we know of the demos that Linn is going head to head with Naim, I also see some signs that they are aware of the challenge from Devialet. There has clearly been an effort both to make the price differential with other manufacturers' products less of a challenge than it was, and also to demonstrate that the Linn product justifies its extra cost.

I think we can also conclude from the introduction of Selekt, the price reduction of the MDSM and the repositioning of the Majik Exaktbox-I in the range that Katalyst is not coming to the Majik range any time soon, if ever. The price reduction on the MDSM also makes the Kiko (if it is staying in the catalogue) look even more overpriced than it already was. So, unsurprisingly, and irrespective of the demise of the DS range, the new offering has destabilised other products in the catalogue.

As regards the loss of the DS models, I think we need to be philosophical. If they were selling well, they presumably would not have been discontinued. While I cannot disagree with what Thomas says about the "source first" implications of discontinuing the KDS, the new announcements show signs (price changes, USB and wifi capabilities, as well as the DSD playback that Katalyst already made possible) that Linn is now more prepared to compromise on long held views to respond to the demands of the marketplace. Is that a good or a bad thing? In my view, both, actually.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Jumanji » 2018-09-21 13:07

not quite correct:

the name Selekt was out weeks ago
the fact that it is a DAC/Amplifier type of product was out about 2 weeks ago
and the view was that there is a lot of space between the Majik and Akurate lines of product for new stuff

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-21 13:07

mbabst wrote:Really???? Not possible to upgrade a DS to DSM anymore? What the hell Linn???
This was made known on the Linn forum a couple of months ago after dealers were notified. What is (to me) even more concerning is whether any of the older DS models will continue to be upgradeable (as DSs) once the current DS models are discontinued at the end of the month. If those upgrades are also discontinued, the only way the owner of a non-Katalyst DS will be able to upgrade to Katalyst is by buying a complete DSM. Or by going Exakt, of course.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by mbabst » 2018-09-21 13:16

Upgrade DS to Katalyst DS is still possible? Otherwise the value of every DS without Katalyst literally dropped to 0.
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-21 13:21

Jumanji wrote:the name Selekt was out weeks ago
the fact that it is a DAC/Amplifier type of product was out about 2 weeks ago
and the view was that there is a lot of space between the Majik and Akurate lines of product for new stuff
Thanks for the info; I've been away for part of the time and may have missed something on the Linn forum (which is what I referred to specifically). The fact of the matter is that most of the key features of Selekt were kept pretty much under wraps until the announcement, which in this day and age is no mean feat.

I'd agree with you about the Majik/Akurate "gap", but of course there can be any number of views about the best way to fill it. I find the one chosen by Linn more interesting than any of those I thought of, so I have to give due credit for that as well. Time will tell how Selekt fares, but, if the all-important sound quality justifies its price, I think that it has the potential to do pretty well.

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-21 13:25

mbabst wrote:Upgrade DS to Katalyst DS is still possible? Otherwise the value of every DS without Katalyst literally dropped to 0.
As I understood it, it remained possible after the DS to DSM upgrades were discontinued. What I don't know is whether it will remain possible (at least for a time) once there are no current DS models. And, like you, I see that as a concern. Has there been any information on that point from Linn in the wake of the recent announcements?

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by sunbeamgls » 2018-09-21 14:28

The "forum down" post from Gilad ('s PR people?) suggests that the roll-out of product and upgrade announcements will be through to mid October, so perhaps there is more clarity / confusion to come?
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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Macallan » 2018-09-21 14:34

Thanks for all the interesting information!!

One thing keeps me scratching my head:
ThomasOK wrote:Yep, I mainly covered the hardware. Linn also did announce a new and completely revamped Space Optimisation. The new version is said to be a dynamic solution which accounts for pressure changes in a room over time, will model non-rectangular rooms and targets the decay of room modes, as well as the amplitude. At the dealer workshop in response to a question it was said that it didn't yet handle vaulted ceilings optimally but that capability was coming relatively soon as well. It is a new web based user interface and I have heard some mention that it computes on the web allowing it to work even with the earliest DS units regardless of internal computing power. I am a little unsure about how Linn is going about releasing this as it mainly talks about dealers using it to optimize systems for their customers and making it available on the dealer portal.
IMO there is no real reason to move SO to the cloud (if that's whats going to happen), and I do not like the idea to depend on external internet connection & some remote server to update the SO profile.

Pressure changes over time... OK, so they apparently look up the location & atmospheric pressure in some database and adapt the notch filters accordingly. Could also done in local Konfig on the user's computer (with the option to look up the pressure somewhere)

Computes on the web allowing it to work even with the earliest DS units... I don't get this, the SO filters are never computed on the DS, but in Konfig on the computer. They are then uploaded to the DS which has to apply them real-time (which every DS is apparently able to do, anyway).

Am I missing something?

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Re: Linn announcements 9/2018, Selekt, etc.

Post by Andrew L » 2018-09-21 14:35

The Selekt is reviewed in the October 2018 issue of HIFi+ by Alan Sircom. It has only just arrived so I haven't had a chance to read it.
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