Linn katalyst ds3 vs dcs rossini

i heard a shoot out at a linn dealer place between the linn ds3 and dcs rossini streamer/dac.
The speakers were nearly the same as mine but the amp was a 3/ 4 k moon.
In both cases the pre was the integrated pre of the streamers. So different system vs mine and difficult to predict what my nds/ 555 dr would give vs both.
The rossini was better on hifi terms: better scale, details, macro dynamics. But the linn was better textured, refined, softer . more analog like.
In terms of prat, time, involvement, i didn’t heard that both were lacking vs my nds. I listened to 6, 7 tracks on tidal and qobuz that i know well. But it’s difficult to say because the nds was not in the party.
However i feel that i would notice if the prat was diminished.

Globally i enjoyed more the linn, without hesitation. The rossini was more clinical and sterile. However the rossini with a clock would perhaps be different.
The linn ds3 is very nice too, a piece of one block aluminum.


Interesting…but no need to make excuses. If its not up to FR standards , so be honest :+1:

sorry Gazza, i didn’t understood. Which excuses? what is not up to FR standards ?

I just did not get a sense of a black and white outcome. No problem with that, but perhaps expecting an NDS wipe out?

i feel the ds3 was on the same level as the nds/555dr. Just a bit different. The ds3 was a bit leaner , with a bit less bass than the nds on my system. But the ds3 was more refined, better textured. But it’s more a feeling, because i couldn’t compare both.

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Did you have Space Optimisation V2 configured on the KDS3? What sounds best is always subjective, but I’m surprised you only found KDS3 at NDS level.

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i didn’t tried space optimizations. I was focussed on comparing linn vs dcs.
My preamp is probably better vs the inside pre of the streamers, and the moon amp was perhaps not on the same level vs the nap 250 dr. So it’s difficult to say if the linn was really on the same level vs the nds/ 555dr.
But i felt it was. You are surprised because for you the linn ds3 is better ? Perhaps, but the linn was leaner a bit, with less bass and slam ( but not in a negative way, because the sound was a bit more unforced, like a turntable). The linn was generally a bit more well balanced, more refined and textured. The nds , with cisco switch, is more impressive at the first listen.

i am now listening to the same tracks on my system. There is more body in the sound as i said already. But the nds seems faster, more involving although.
However the dealer demo used a cheap switch, with cheap ethernet cables. The cisco gives more involvement to the nds.
The electronics are different too . The first listen was on a supernait 2: all was very slow vs my system. When the dealer connected the moon amp ( around 3k) and the pre of the streamer was involved, the life of the sound was restored. It was a big difference.
So finally, apart my feelings about the differences vs the nds/ 555dr, one thing was sure: i preferred the linn vs the dcs for the type of sound. The linn was more emotionally enjoyable.

Yes I prefer Linn DS to Naim streamers, but this is because I can take full advantage of Space Optimisation (OS). You would still use your pre-amp, but SO would tune out effects from your room in the bass and if Linn has measured your speakers it would tidy up their response.

If you use KDS3 without engaging SO then you may not be hearing it at its best. Of course, you may still prefer the Naim sound.

In a recent event I heard a Linn DS with SO V2 tuned by Linn and preferred it to ND555/552/500 set up by Naim. I think this was because of Space Optimisation (though I do think Linn uses a better DAC). It may be possible to use Roon to emulate SO, but no opportunity to try this, I wasn’t expecting this result, but after home demo. I chose the Linn front end.

I do not use audiophile network kit. I did try a boutique cable, but it wasn’t very good (l made the mistake of doing a software update, which failed, because it dropped bits). My Blue Jeans Cables work every time. Cisco switches are fine, but any decent switch works.

I have never heard any dCS kit.

Still the best way is to listen yourself and hear what you like best. However, I would urge you to try SO V2, it makes a dramatic improvement far more than changing cables, switches, dedicated mains feeds and other tweaks I used to try.

Hope you find a source that works for you. There is no best only preferences.


the dealer is a linn dealer, the most important in France. He is linn importator also. I guess he has optimized the sound for best in his room.
I was very pleased with its sound. But listening to the same tracks today at home, i feel more urgency and prat with the nds. But urgency and prat is not all. The linn is more refined and better overall i feel.
But i feel i would miss the type of presentation of my nds for 60% of my music. It keeps me more awake vs the linn.

i should perhaps retry a listening and come with my cisco switch. I will probably do that if i project to upgrade my streamer.

I am currently evaluating a Klimax DSM and it sounds mighty fine to my ears (different from Naim but I like both). The new Katalyst DAC was apparently a great upgrade (I never heard the old one).

If I understand it correctly the basic Space Optimization mainly deal with room modes and only affect the bass, going above 100-120Hz would affect musicality of voice etc. Still it cleans up the audio quite nicely.

They have a nice idea with Exakt but I have got the impression it needs a bit more mileage and tweaking/understanding.

I used Linn electronics a while in the 80’s (LK1/Dirak with Bryston power) so it was nice to discover the Klimax DSM which seem like a great product.

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I have learnt a couple of things about the Linn KDSM since I got my Katalyst Exakt.
Firstly, Space Optimization V1 (V2 is not available for the Exakt version) gave me a massive boost in SQ. I was able to tweak it even further through manual adjustment with my dealer’s help but only one room mode needed refining.
After selling my 252/300DR, DAC, Fraim and SL2s (after 15 enjoyable years with the latter) it cost me an additional €12k or so to lower the box count while upgrading to active Akubarik Exakt Katalysts.
This system sounds so much better than my previous one. Yes I could no doubt have achieved this by upgrading to ND555/555DR/552/500DR and going full loom for €€€€€€€€€.
Now I don‘t worry about interconnects, I just use AQ Vodka Ethernet cables to connect the Cisco 2960 to the KDSM and on to the Akubariks via the Exakt connection. I say I don‘t worry because the signal is digital until it reaches the speakers so there is less exposure to noise.
One thing I will say is that Linn does not mark the connectors so I needed the dealer‘s help to get the phase the right way round and that brought a further boost in quality.
So @frenchrooster I would definitely recommend a home demo keeping the above in mind and possibly comparing active/passive speakers and listening to a full Katalyst/Exakt system.

I don’t have the desire to change all my system, just the source. I heard by my dealer who sells also moon, that the sound of moon amps are slower vs naim.
So i should borrow the linn or bring my naim amp and cisco switch to have a more real idea.
A lot of aspects pleased me in the ds3, so i will not abandon now with not all the informations needed.

Before committing to Linn, and given the KDS is now only available in DSM form, you might also consider the Vitus RD-101 streamer. Had one on loan recently and it gave my Katalyst KDS a bit of a hiding. Have also heard the Vitus Signature DAC, it is stupidly far ahead of the KDS in terms of the comparability in price. And I’m told it might be available soon in streamer form. I’d be very careful about switching from Naim to Linn source, it’s a decision I have made with not entirely successful results, albeit I started in a very different place.

Best to borrow Linn DS. You need to install Linn Konfig on PC or Mac. As you are not running Exakt, you can use SO V2. You will need to set up Linn account and type information about your listening room, its dimensions (it doesn’t need to be rectangular), wall construction, position of doors and windows, temperature, humidity and information about your speakers what they are, where you’d put them ideally and where you have decided to put them. Linn’s server will calculate your SO profile so you can install it on the DS.

You can easily move between SO and no SO to hear the difference. You can use SO V1 without a Linn account. V1 can easily be tweaked. You can tweak V2, but I found this unnecessary. So you can try both.

I think if you can try it out at home then you’ll know if it is the answer you’re looking for. It may be or may be not, it was for me.

can you say why you had not the best results with a linn source and naim electronics ?

Tiberio, if i don’t use the preamp section of the ds3 katalyst, the room correction is still a possibility ?

i don’t find vitus only dac, but the 025 cd/ dac which has a transport also. I don’t need a transport.
If the only streamer / dac is produced, i will have a look. Thanks for that idea.

what is your system Tiberio, if you can share?