Demoing linn DSM + naim nap 250 dr vs superuniti/nac n272 +nap 250dr system

Hi all,

Have a superuniti, nap 250dr, b&w 804d3 system. Had posted an earlier topic on upgrading from a superuniti to a nac n272 to meAningfully improve sound yet keep a 2 box solution.
Recently went to my naim dealer who also carries linn. After we compared the nova to the nac n272, they suggested pairing a linn DSM to the nap 250dr. It was nice to see a dealer being so open minded and clearly looking to find the right (I purposely didn’t say best) solution for me.
We started with the Selekt DSM without katalyst, then the Akurate DSM without katalyst and finally the Akurate DSM with Katalyst. Firstly, would say that if you can, this is a great combination to listen to. It confirms just how amazing the Naim NAP 250DR is.
For me, things really changed once we put on the Linn Akurate DSM. I was blown away by that combo vs the nac n272/nap250dr. The katalyst version took things one step further. Very musical, still tons of PRaT, and just there.

I did expect to hear an improvement since the Akurate DSM is almost two times more expensive. Still fell in love with this combo. I wish there was something in the naim line to compare. But for a simple 2 box solution, this is a must demo IMO.

Would be great to hear your thoughts.

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I don’t know the Linn streamers well enough to make any judgement, but for me, the 272 only really starts to shine when you add a PSU to it. So 3 boxes, and more than double the price if you add an XPS. When I was thinking of buying one, I preferred the sound of the NDX/Supernait2 to 272/250, so if I was looking for a 2 box Naim system now, it would almost certainly be NDX2/Supernait2. This also gives you better functionality and future proofing, as the 272 is based on rather old streaming tech, fine for local streams from a NAS over a wired network, but not ideal if you want to do more with it.

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Like Chris, I’ve tried a few possible alternatives to my NDX/Supernait - 272, 252/250, NDX2, ND555 etc - but I’ve come to a conclusion I’m struggling to improve without more boxes & I really do not want more boxes. I’m now waiting to find what (IF) Naim are planning to update 272 (& hopefully a family of them) & go to a streamer/pre-amp driving active speakers.

To this end I have also been listening to what Linn have to offer as they already have what I’m looking for with streamer/pre-amps. I have short listed (& underscored) the Akurate DSM, it is an impressive player. I’m not moving anything for another year at least, but I do intend to go over it again when I’m ready to make the move.

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Reading this with interest as I went from 6 boxes to 1 Linn KDSM plus active Akubariks and the upgraditis has rescinded.

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Hi Summitag

I’m not entirely surprised by your findings. Linn have been pursuing the pre/streamer route for some time. However, I agree with Mike that for a fair comparison you really need to add a PSU to the 272. You might also compare the Linn with the Auralic VEGA G2.

Incidentally, did you investigate the Linn’s space optimisation?

Roger

That may we’ll be true. However, my goal is to keep the box count at 2 and keep the 250dr.

I didn’t listen to the space optimization. But the dealer said that it does make a difference

A Linn pre is not known to be a great partner with Naim power amps. But as you can demo, you can determine this yourself.

I’d also listen to the 272 and then a Linn power amp into the Akurate DSM. Willing to bet either if the house sounds beats the mongrel.

Longer term Linn don’t do recapping, so if this is an end system to last 20 years, bear that in mind. On the other hand, as long as the Linn is a current model in the same case, they do offer a lot of updates as the spec changes.

I used to love the Linn sound and not the Naim. Tastes change and now I can’t hear what it was that attracted me originally.

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There is a lot of personal preference in play here. A while ago I considered a Linn Klimax DSM and some active speakers. I asked for objective advice from a Naim and Linn dealer, who said that I shouldn’t bother with the Linn. Given that they would have done rather well out of such a switch, I found it an interesting response.

And a weird response. Didn’t they even suggest listening, or do they do all the choosing for you? I’d interpret their response as, at best, unhelpful and, at worst, negligent.

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Yes, the space optimisation does make a large difference.

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I agree, the VEGA G2 is a very interesting piece of kit, even if I‘ve never heard it myself. Definitely worth an audition.

After almost ten years of Naim, I recently moved to active speakers and Linn ADSM (Katalyst). I used to have same ATC speakers as passive version with nDAC + SN2 with PSU upgrades on both.

I must say that my current system is on another level completely. My first demo with actives was 272 as I wanted to stay with Naim but that just didn’t impress me, not even with upgrade PSU. Not on the same level as nDAC. So after multiple demos with different dac/pre’s, I ended up with ADSM. Space optimisation was the final word for me since it was needed in my space.

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Thank you for reporting your findings Sumitagg, I owe it to my self to carry out a similar demo in the near future. I had a quick listen to the Selekt + it’s DAC upgrade earlier this year and I thought it sounded rather good, I really should do a home demo to compare it to my present front end.

I think using the Linn Akurate (with Katalyst) as a pre-amp is “not” optimal because its digital volume does not work very well, it will degrade the analogue sound output, Linn fix it for the Klimax DSM, but you need to pay twice the $$$.

I would recommend a separate pre-amp to anyone using the Linn ADSM unless you use the Linn active speakers,

I have been comparing the latest Linn Klimax DSM with my Naim alternative NDX2, XPSDR, 252, SCDR. I would be upgrading so for me the price is the same. New the Naim price is much higher.

It is Naims feelgood algorithm against Tunedem. It is 4 big black boxes against 1 smaller box.

Sometimes the Naim loses clearly. I like contemporary classic/artmusic and Linn does a better job with the complex harmonies in Berg or Xenakis.

Most other times it is just Naim vs. Linn and I would be very happy with both. I have not compared with Naim 500-series - it is more than I am prepared to pay.

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Wrong, Akurate DSM Katalyst use the same method for volume control than Klimax and it won’t degrade the signal in the process. You can read more about it here (last page):

I use Akurate DSM Katalyst and actually contacted Linn some time ago to confirm this. The paper only mentions Klimax. This is how they replied:

”This White paper would also be the same for the Akurate DSM. The Akurate DSM digital volume control works in the same way as the Klimax DSM digital volume control.”

A mixed linn preamp with naim Power amp doesn’t work well to my ears (I did the test)

Something gained but also something lost

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:small_blue_diamond:Quinn_MIT,.Patu,…The digital volume will degrade the signal in the process for both Akurate and Klimax DSM.

This that Linn says may be true in theory,…BUT not in practice.

Our group in Sweden,.says as Linn themselves usually express themselves.
“Just listen”…so you have the answer.

As an example,…Linn Klimax DS with Linn Klimax Kontrol plays better than Linn’s Klimax DSM.
It’s just to compare,.so you will hear it.
Yet Linn stopped to manufacture the Klimax DS and Klimax Kontrol,.and chose to focus on Linn’s Klimax DSM.

Linn does not focus on absolute “peak performance” anymore as Naim does,.you must understand this.
Linn has become a “Good Enough” company with “Life Style” influences.,.you must also understand that.
It plays well…But certainly not at the utmost “top notch” level.
Would they have liked to get there,.So would they for example continued to develop Klimax DS and Klimax Kontrol.

And no,.I’m absolutely not “anti Linn”,.as
TiberioMagadino tried to fantasize it up to…I have many Linn-products.
Just notes how it has developed itself.

Have a nice continuation of the weekend…
/Peder🌼

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Well I haven’t heard the Kontrol so I can’t comment on that. Now there’s quite comprehensive white paper telling why and how Linn’s implementation of digital volume control won’t degrade signal but you say it does just because you feel so… what can I say. I haven’t heard any degrade myself, it plays great with low and high volume.

Also saying that Linn wouldn’t pursue absolute best audio quality these days is pure nonsense. There’s a reason they quit manufacturing separate pre-amps and they’ve told that there’s no need for one with Linn gear. Pre-amp always adds something and some people might prefer what it adds, some don’t. In the end, all of this is purely subjective as always.

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