Linn Majik DS-I D/A integrated amplifier Manufacturers' Comment #1

Manufacturers' Comment #1

Editor: When Stereophile published the first-ever review of the Klimax DS, in March 2008, it was heralded as "the stuff that dreams are made of"; the only real criticism leveled was that the user interface was "stupid." At the time, we maintained that Linn's unique, open approach to the home network would prove fertile soil for software programmers to plant their own ideas and grow their own interface solutions on whatever platform they chose.

Today, Linn boasts the widest range of networked control solutions on the market for any hi-fi product, including multiple different apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android. Some are programmed and supported by Linn, but most are written by enthusiastic independent programmers, some of whom have made a small fortune via the app stores.

In 2007, CD players accounted for around 30% of Linn's total sales, whereas DS sales were just beginning. In 2009, convinced that digital streaming over a home network offered the only secure future to our customers, and convinced that the performance and convenience of the Linn DS superseded anything that CD could offer, Linn became the first specialist to pull out of CD-player manufacture altogether—to much criticism and perplexity from some quarters, I might add.

But today, Linn DS players account for almost 40% of total sales. Three years on from the Klimax DS, Linn boasts DS networked music players throughout its range at various price/performance levels. In our nearly 40-year history, never has such a switchover from one product and technology to another taken place so rapidly. There is something important going on.

The growth of the home network is a global megatrend that cannot be stopped or ignored. Over the next three to five years, multi-billion-dollar industries will grow off the back of open-networked applications in the areas of home security, energy management, medical monitoring, and, of course, home entertainment. All will need to interoperate seamlessly on a plug-and-play basis, and be controllable from any networked device.

And so, when considering new hi-fi or other electronic purchases for the home in 2011 and beyond, you need ask yourself two important questions: Is it networkable? Is it open?

Reader comments welcome.

Gilad Tiefenbrun, Managing Director, Linn Products

Linn Products Limited
US distributor: TC Group Americas
335 gage Avenue #1
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2M 5E1
(519) 745-1158

deckeda's picture

1) Linn says Ethernet sounds better but doesn't explain why.
2) AD concurs.
3) JA apparently theorizes about jitter and goes looking but doesn't find meaningful differences.
4) Linn says yes, it's lower jitter that makes RJ-45 et al better but JA's test equipment can't reveal it.
5) JA says actually, yes it can.


I didn't get a sense at all that the "stupidness" software issue has been overcome. And Linn---"open" software more often than not means everyone is free to design by committee, with predicable results. Don't tout that too strongly.

There are other facets not covered here, like why iTunes isn't a great ripper (it has a selectable error correction, giving the software more time for example) or why something that incorporates CD Paranoia while ripping wouldn't suffice.

This review is a good example of the perils of subjecting single components to scrutiny that demands investigation beyond the norm---so much more interaction occurs with computer-based music replay.