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dcstep
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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We're writing here. Words count, not intent.

Yep, you and I are on different routes!


I totally agree with you, for once.

tomjtx
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

Design, craftmanship and artistry all go into the value of a classical guitar.

The maker taps the wood to determine the best positioning of the braces and to do fine sanding of the thinness of the top. A maker will follow his design but the final adjustments can be slightly altered to produce the best sound from that particular instrument.

It really is an art form and it's a pleasure to follow a maker's career and watch and hear him grow.

RGibran
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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This $20k product simply treads ground other players have yet to reach. That alone makes it a value to someone seeking that territory whether they are a designer, listener or reader. The value of the explorer and the first to arrive is not to be ignored.

Says who? You? Aren

tomjtx
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

X2 RG

There is a Linn dealer here so maybe we should do a comparo?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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Says who? You? Aren
dcstep
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

Funny, I wonder if we read the same review. All I could think of when reading the Linn reveiw was what a wasted opportunity. The digital part isn't hard anymore, the interface isn't hard anymore, the analog isn't that hard any more and the storage isn't hard anymore. What do we get from Linn, a friggin' billet chassis. Woo hoo. For those easily impressed a few will part with their 20-grand. I'm holding onto my cash waiting for a complete solution.

IMHO, I hope nobody buys the damn thing. Linn needs to come down off its tall mountain and listen to the people that might use their products.

Good luck selling it. Yeah, I know there will be buyers, but I'm waiting.

Dave

RGibran
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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There is a Linn dealer here so maybe we should do a comparo?

Oh man, would that be fun!

I think I recall you have your files on a laptop?

I'll bring my Transporter.

You think they would let us?

Never heard a Linn product I didn't like.

Love to hear this baby.

Hmmm, 20K for a DAC with only one external input. Note, that's not a set of inputs, it's one ethernet input! Yea, that's value.

RG

BlackstoneJD
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

Well as someone who currently is feeding a dCS Delius and Purcell upsampler with a $300 squeezebox, I would say that the reign of the expensive digital front end, at least as far as the transport is concerned, is over.

The $300 squeeze box delivers information to the dCS so well that I actually prefer it to a $5,000+ Goldmund transport. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I enjoy it more. The Goldmund may be better in some ways but whatever improvement there was is offset by the pure convenience of hard drive storage. I would never go back to a physical media based system. The hard drive based systems put the focus back where it should be--on your music.

I build custom computers for home theater, music server and cutting edge 3D gaming applications from scratch, and you would be surprised how cheaply you can assemble a quality music server computer, with a secure RAID 1 array of two server grade 750GB hard drives that does substantially the same job as a high-end music server--minus the dac. With that much storage you could put your entire collection on in uncompressed WAV format. Theoretically you could feed a dac with toslink or coax directly from the PC, but I prefer to use wi-fi with the Squeezebox, to ensure that my system does not directly interface with the whirring fans and spinning hard disks of a computer.

Not to mention the fact that you could also USE the computer as your primary household computer if you wanted to. With the new dual core processors that are available, and the low cost of high performance memory, even a midrange off the shelf Dell could function as a full time music server and still have enough processing power left over to simultaneously run your kids (or my) 3D computer games!

Further, there is a new Boulder CD player in the pipe for $25,000. How does it work? It pre-loads the information onto a hard disk or flash memory in the player, and then feeds the dac from there. So it seems there may be something to not streaming directly from a CD in real time.

The biggest irony of the high-end right now is that there are less stand alone dacs on the market than ever, and they are more needed than ever because of new products like the squeezebox. I asked my dealer if they had a good dac for a secondary system and the answer was they have good CD players but no good dacs--short of the new dCS Paganini stack which is, uh, $45k? Even the best Ayre players do not include a digital input. For the first time ever, my dealer cannot meet my needs.

CharlyD
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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I'm holding onto my cash waiting for a complete solution.


I'm very curious what you would consider to be a "complete solution". I'm also completely baffled at how Linn could choose a $20k price point for this box. IMHO the most intriguing feature of the Klimax DS is that it is DLNA-compliant. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a standard for connectivity and communication for consumer electronic devices that I hope will fire a revolution in this stagnant industry. There are many DLNA-compliant devices popping up, but the Linn is the first networked media player that supports hi-rez (at least 24-bit/88.2kHz) audio to comply with that standard. The milestone device I'm waiting for is a DLNA-compliant, 8 channel digital audio player that supports resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz and, of course, offered at a reasonable price. Such a box could access content from any compliant server on the network (there are many currently available), and could be controlled by any device that supports a browser. That browser could also control any other compliant devices on my network.

BlackstoneJD
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

As far as I am concerned, the Linn is a dac, and should be treated as such. How does the Linn stack up against the dCS Elgar plus, for example? I can understand spending $20,000 on a dac if the performance is there--there ARE some digital products that are worth their weight in gold but is this Linn dac one of them?

The new dCS Puccini http://www.dcsltd.co.uk/index2.html plays physical redbook and sacd, is a dac probably at least at the level of the Elgar plus if not much, much better, and upsamples to DSD for $25k or so. It could be more. And it has two digital inputs! Two! Oh, not to mention it is designed to go straight into a power amp, eliminating the need for a preamp all together.

I simply cannot believe that by any stretch of the imagination, anyone can call the Linn worth $20k when you could use a $300 squeezebox as a stopgap until an affordable high-resolution unit transporter device pops up, or use a transporter, and put the remaining $19,700 into a reference dac or all in one player. A second hand Elgar plus only goes for $8k or so.

Not that I can afford any of it, but I call snakeoil on this one. The reviewer touts that the Linn matches his Ayre disc player, but that Ayre c5-xe is only what, $6k? We are talking about a $20k Linn dac with an antennae here! For that money, it better hold its own against a dCS stack and walk your dog for you in bad weather.

This is a confused product. What are you really paying for? The dac? The interface? And in what proportion?

I think the best approach is to keep the processing and the serving separate. That way, you can shop around for the interface and the features you like best, and actually know how much of your money you are allocating to what is basically a wi-fi receiver with a user interface and some serving software.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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There are many DLNA-compliant devices popping up, but the Linn is the first networked media player that supports hi-rez (at least 24-bit/88.2kHz) audio to comply with that standard.

Hmmmm, seems to be treading new ground. But you didn't hear that from me.

dcstep
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


Quote:

Quote:
There are many DLNA-compliant devices popping up, but the Linn is the first networked media player that supports hi-rez (at least 24-bit/88.2kHz) audio to comply with that standard.

Hmmmm, seems to be treading new ground. But you didn't hear that from me.


But that's about all it does, which isn't that much. When you can buy a consumer level 5.6mHz DSD 1-bit hard drive recorder for $1200 at Guitar Center, why is Linn touting a mega-buck device with only 24/88.2???

Dave

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Re: Craftsmanship and value

Sticking with the Craftsmanship and Value thread, I'd bet that complying with a standard protocol resulted in a lower development cost for the software over a proprietary implementation. The media server software Linn recommends is from TwonkyVision and sells for $39.95. I'll bet they purchased at least a good chunk of the client software as a fixed library. The codecs they support are WAV (free) and FLAC (free).

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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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As far as I am concerned, the Linn is a dac, and should be treated as such. How does the Linn stack up against the dCS Elgar plus, for example? I can understand spending $20,000 on a dac if the performance is there--there ARE some digital products that are worth their weight in gold but is this Linn dac one of them?

The new dCS Puccini http://www.dcsltd.co.uk/index2.html plays physical redbook and sacd, is a dac probably at least at the level of the Elgar plus if not much, much better, and upsamples to DSD for $25k or so. It could be more. And it has two digital inputs! Two! Oh, not to mention it is designed to go straight into a power amp, eliminating the need for a preamp all together.

I simply cannot believe that by any stretch of the imagination, anyone can call the Linn worth $20k when you could use a $300 squeezebox as a stopgap until an affordable high-resolution unit transporter device pops up, or use a transporter, and put the remaining $19,700 into a reference dac or all in one player. A second hand Elgar plus only goes for $8k or so.

Not that I can afford any of it, but I call snakeoil on this one. The reviewer touts that the Linn matches his Ayre disc player, but that Ayre c5-xe is only what, $6k? We are talking about a $20k Linn dac with an antennae here! For that money, it better hold its own against a dCS stack and walk your dog for you in bad weather.

This is a confused product. What are you really paying for? The dac? The interface? And in what proportion?

I think the best approach is to keep the processing and the serving separate. That way, you can shop around for the interface and the features you like best, and actually know how much of your money you are allocating to what is basically a wi-fi receiver with a user interface and some serving software.

Excellent points throughout. I couldn't have said it better.

KBK
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

I have a very good friend who went to china last year, to look at a large 'product' purchase for manufacturing. Ie, bring said manufacturing gear back from China.

On his way to the factory he saw a man on a scooter, run over by a car, and watched him die...

Nobody noticed.

When he arrived at another friend's place, who owns a factory for audio equipment he saw binding posts being made completely by hand, with respects to being cut and machined in each individual stage at individual machining stations, by individual people.

He saw a person sitting on the floor sorting washers.

These are $0.50 binding posts.

It's a different value system. It's a different world.

Human rights, and individual human rights and values --- mean different things there.

So Art might be talking about Shanling making others look like asshats, but without the perspective of being there in the country of origin, himself,and then knowing how things are done, he is talking out of his ass, from a position of near TOTAL ignorance.

So Art, we'll remove the capacity of you or any of your children to make a decent wage and live in a decent abode and remove all kinds of other things you like about your North American life.

Then we'll see about the leveling of the playing field.

I realize there is far more to the argument on any given side, but that is a decent part of one notable direction of the 'basics'.

I can't buy any good steel these days. The stuff I do buy, costs me over twice as much as it did 7 years ago. It's all been sold to China, to come back to me as a tube amplifier, or as some POS underbuilt thing from Walmart.

RGibran
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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he is talking out of his ass, from a position of near TOTAL ignorance.

And you sir, would be talking from a position of someone who manufactures $2,000.00 per meter cables. Correct?

RG

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Re: Craftsmanship and value

If you wish to see such as a negative. I was a fan of Listener mag, I bought them when they were on the shelf, and I like Art.

I am also capable of talking out of my ass, like anyone else.

fair enough?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

On this one I agree with KBK. Imposing our values on any company is not easily done in a global economy. As I pointed out in another thread, companies such as Linn have developed and sustained themself by supporting a community of skilled and talented workers and craftspeople who rely on the company for their livelyhood. Whatever you think of Linn's attitude, comparing that to almost any Third World commodity producer or to the established (disposable) computer trade where price, profit and value are ever deflating balloons isn't a fair comparison. Linn isn't comparable to the Cayin nor the Shanling nor the Parasound on a dollar for dollar comparison and certainly not the Squeezebox. Presently Linn isn't comparable to most other high end audio companies due to the value of the USD. Is any product from a small, boutique British company value oriented? No. More so before the dollar tanked but certainly not now. That is the point of a weak dollar after all. That still makes the Linn player pricey but Linn must compete in the same global economy as everyone else.

However, if this thread comes down to whether the Linn unit is of value, then there's little to say for the original proposition of this thread. A more reasonable comparison in this thread would be whether a product such as the Parasound is a value. I think that's a far more difficult target even for someone who believes an Oppo is the best digital front end you can buy.

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Re: Craftsmanship and value

KBK, you bring up some good points. I love Art's commentaries and I agree with his listening desiderata -- does it have life? does it pull you in, refusing to be "background music"? does it ring true in space and time?

However, the man behind the mask always invokes different evaluative criteria. Someday, WE may be the ones sitting on the floor counting washers. The history of the world is a continuous de casibus tragedy -- the Wheel of Fortune turns, favoring some now, damning the same tomorrow.

Art, in his zeal as a listener/music lover, can appear more naive than he, in fact, is. I am sure he is well aware of the current position of the Great Wheel.

The Chinese work hard for little pay. So do the good folks in India. But the Great Wheel is on the move...

As listeners, we must all be grateful for the labor-based deflation that is being exported to us, concerning manufactured "things" -- most peculiar to this thread, things hi-fi. But life remains in flux. And the Great Wheel grinds relentlessly on...

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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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The $300 squeeze box delivers information to the dCS so well that I actually prefer it to a $5,000+ Goldmund transport. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I enjoy it more. The Goldmund may be better in some ways but whatever improvement there was is offset by the pure convenience of hard drive storage.


This is interesting.

What does the Goldmund do better as a transport?

I have always wondered about the SB mod that claims it makes the digital coming out of the SB sound better. Does the mod work?

The idea of a hard drive transport working better than the average transport makes sense when a CD is ripped using EAC or the like. This takes the imperfections of the CD as physical medium out of the picture.

But I have trouble understanding how the digital out of the SB could sound any different from the digital output of any other wireless device - unless one has a problem of some sort.

I also can't fathom why the SB, and all other such devices, do not recognize 24/96 and 24/88.2 as native formats. The typical source for such formats is going to be a computer - so why not recognize these?

This is the one way I am impressed with Linn. Finally a server marketed to audiophiles that recognizes 24/88.2. But I would like them to explain why this feature adds $18,000 to the price.

ELK
(has a music server, really trying to like it better than pulling a CD off of a shelf.

Rating of music servers so far: two hooves.)

RGibran
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


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I have always wondered about the SB mod that claims it makes the digital coming out of the SB sound better. Does the mod work?

I've heard tomjtx answer this one a few times. Always worth a chuckle.


Quote:
I also can't fathom why the SB, and all other such devices, do not recognize 24/96 and 24/88.2 as native formats. The typical source for such formats is going to be a computer - so why not recognize these?

Well up until perhaps the last 6 months or so, where was the consumer going to aquire this material? If we had it on disc how to get it into the computer? No need to design products that have no usefulness. Most of us don't have all that recording software.

And now that it is available for download, one must still admit it is very very limited. Additionally, most of us do not buy our music based on resolution. And lastly, I'm convinced some better engineering or mastering goes a lot further than increasing the sample size and rate.


Quote:
ELK
(has a music server, really trying to like it better than pulling a CD off of a shelf.

This I find puzzling. Must be something in the ritual of it.


Quote:
Rating of music servers so far: two hooves.)

Well I think this is up from one hoof a few months ago so maybe there's still hope you'll come around

RG

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Re: Craftsmanship and value

Got beat to the punch on this, but here's my thoughts...

Quote:
What does the Goldmund do better as a transport?


Besides being able to spin a CD, I'll bet it looks much more impressive on the rack.


Quote:
I have always wondered about the SB mod that claims it makes the digital coming out of the SB sound better.


The only parameter that could be improved would be the word clock jitter. Maybe they just added a more stable clock to the SB.

Quote:
The idea of a hard drive transport working better than the average transport makes sense when a CD is ripped using EAC or the like.


With content stored on a hard drive, the communication interface between the transport (hard drive)and the DAC can include buffering with flow control thus allowing a very stable, non-PLL clock to be used for the word clock resulting in very low jitter.


Quote:
But I have trouble understanding how the digital out of the SB could sound any different from the digital output of any other wireless device - unless one has a problem of some sort.


JA measured the SB jitter to be 321 ps peak-to-peak and the TP jitter to be 268 ps p-p. He perceived the jitter performance of both these devices to be excellent. I also can't see how a mod could add much value to the S/PDIF performance of the SB.

Quote:
I also can't fathom why the SB, and all other such devices, do not recognize 24/96 and 24/88.2 as native formats.


While the increase in costs to add a DACs supporting higher resolution would only be a few bucks, the improvements required for all the supporting circuitry to be able to deliver anything close to the theoretical capabilities of 24-bit audio would be much more expensive.

Quote:
But I would like them to explain why this feature adds $18,000 to the price.


I'm stumped too.

Quote:
Rating of music servers so far: two hooves.


What would it take to get three or four hooves?

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Re: Craftsmanship and value


Quote:

Quote:
I have always wondered about the SB mod that claims it makes the digital coming out of the SB sound better. Does the mod work?

I've heard tomjtx answer this one a few times. Always worth a chuckle.


Quote:
I also can't fathom why the SB, and all other such devices, do not recognize 24/96 and 24/88.2 as native formats. The typical source for such formats is going to be a computer - so why not recognize these?

Well up until perhaps the last 6 months or so, where was the consumer going to aquire this material? If we had it on disc how to get it into the computer? No need to design products that have no usefulness. Most of us don't have all that recording software.

And now that it is available for download, one must still admit it is very very limited. Additionally, most of us do not buy our music based on resolution. And lastly, I'm convinced some better engineering or mastering goes a lot further than increasing the sample size and rate.


Quote:
ELK
(has a music server, really trying to like it better than pulling a CD off of a shelf.

This I find puzzling. Must be something in the ritual of it.


Quote:
Rating of music servers so far: two hooves.)

Well I think this is up from one hoof a few months ago so maybe there's still hope you'll come around

RG

If I answer it again I will probably have even more contracts taken out on me.

I heard no dif. digital out with the moddded SB.
I wouldn't and didn't spend the money on it.

Changing the power supply did help but I think that is because the wallwart spews out a lot of hash. Hold a radio near it to hear that.

However you can get a good PSU for 25.00 or so.

Elk
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

I can imagine replacing the wallwart could help the analog section.

Does anybody find that digital mods to the SB truly make a difference?

Re: music servers as access point:

The sound as good as a transport played through the DAC so it isn't a quality thing.

I've organized my music as well as I can so access is reasonable. I hate the process however. I listen primarily to classical and the on-line cataloging systems are very inconsistent - frustrating.

However somehow knowing what is where on the CD racks is different than looking it up on the server - I have a better idea of what I have contemplating it as physical rather than looking at lists.

I love the server for comparing performances of the same piece of music. This can be great fun.

I don't really care about the album art so this isn't a factor for me - those who are visually oriented must really miss it if their server doesn't display the art.

Servers are great for mindlessly filling a room with sound for a gathering.

So far, lots of work for limited benefit. But I still really enjoy learning about them.

linden518
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Re: Craftsmanship and value


Quote:
I also can't fathom why the SB, and all other such devices, do not recognize 24/96 and 24/88.2 as native formats. The typical source for such formats is going to be a computer - so why not recognize these?

This is the one way I am impressed with Linn. Finally a server marketed to audiophiles that recognizes 24/88.2. But I would like them to explain why this feature adds $18,000 to the price.

Well, the Transporter finally went beta with 24/88.2 recognition, and it'll be official probably within a month or so. Which means Linn's $18,000 price tag looks even worse than it did before, which is a feat in itself.

BlackstoneJD
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

My Squeezebox is totally stock. Note however that I am using a Transparent Audio reference digital cable, which to my ears offered the same improvement to the Squeezebox as it did the Goldmund. I probably would not be so enthusiastic about the Squeezebox if I were using different cable. Experimenting with the Squeezebox reaffirmed in my mind that this cable does have a significant impact on the sound. Why that is the case I don't know.

To tell you the truth, I had to strain to hear the difference between the Squeezebox and the Goldmund when they were connected to the Transparent cable. In some ways I think the Squeezebox is better. I thought the Squeezebox sounded a little blacker between the notes--quieter. I also found the Squeezebox to be smoother and easier to listen to. That doesn't necessarily make it the better reference, but I prefer it.

The Goldmund perhaps was a little crisper. But the two were close enough that the convenience of the Squeezebox tipped the scales. It just made the system fun to use again.

The Goldmund was a pretty arcane device, with its turntable style lid and clamp. It weighed a TON. The Squeezebox, on the other hand, has no moving parts, which perhaps gives it an edge in some areas.

The idea that harddrive or flash based music serving may be superior is supported by rumors of a new $25k Boulder CD player that pre-reads the CD, loads the data onto an on board hard disk or flash drive and then feeds the dac from there. So it seems that there may be some inherent advantage to not streaming from the CD in real time.

By the way, I feel strongly that the Squeezebox is very useful in auditioning other components like speakers, cables, amplifiers, ect, because it allows you to very quickly sample anything in your music library.

I think it is worth the switch just because it allows you to play one track from an album that you would never pull off the shelf and then move onto something else.

BlackstoneJD
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Re: Craftsmanship and value

For classical music or for music where you want to sit down and listen to an entire disc, the disc player is fine. I really like browsing through my jazz collection on the Squeezebox, however, and cherry picking different tunes.

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