Any DAC comparable to my Linn Akurate CD ?

Hi All,
my question is simple and can be for everyone knows the sound of Linn gear, in my case is the Akurate CD.

I'm looking to a DAC with USB input that can have the same musicality as Linn Akurate CD, I love it.

At the same time I'm not interested in DS products because I want to use my existing macmini/audirvana/dsf files too, but no matter if the DAC can play DSD.

I'm thinking to listen Weiss 202 and MSB Analog, but if someone did some comparison with other DACs and Linn sources, I need your opinion and listening impressions.
My budget is not more than 7000$.

My system: Spectral 200S S2 + 15SS , Sonus Elipsa Red.

Thanks in advance !
PS Audio DS DAC should be on your auditioning list IMO.
My question is: is there a way to open up the Linn and install a digital input? The unit has a dac for the internal cd player, no?
If you like the way your system sounds with Akurate CD I would recommend you to get new Linn Akurate DS. It sounds significantly better than Akurate CD. But, yes, it does not play DSD...

If you will use any DAC connected to MacMini you will probably loose this "musicality".

As concerns DACs, you have to audition MSB Analog. It is a very musical DAC. I had an opportunity to listen to it with Aurender X100. If you want to keep this "musicality" you should think about Aurender.

By the way, there is Akurate DSM - it is streamer and preamp. In addition, it has several digital inputs and it can play DSD through HDMI. It costs a bit more than DS, but taking into account it's additional functions it is a bargain.
Empirical Audio Overdrive SE DAC recently won a shootout with several top-end DACs on Audiogon, including EMM Labs, Lampizator and PSAudio. It is an extraordinary DAC:

Product info:

Reviews and customer feedbacks:

A new review on Dagogo is about to come out, comparing it to other DACs, including Bricasti.

I just happen to have the review sample discounted to $5400, which is $1350 off. This leaves some money for a set of Final Drives and a Short-Block, which will improve SQ even more:

I'm confident that the Overdrive will match or more likely beat the Linn.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
BTW, the Overdrive SE has previously won other shootouts with Weiss 202 and MSB analog.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I use a 2009 Mac mini and it beats any transport on the planet at any cost. It is powered by a modded Hynes power supply and has SSD. Playback software is Amarra and there are other OS tweaks. The only server that comes close is the Antipodes server from New Zealand. I have heard them all at trade shows.

There are a lot of crappy computer sources out there, but this one is excellent. I have modded a lot of transports in the past and this beats my best modded transport.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
@all, thanks for every answer, folks !

@Srwooten: I will try to make an audition of PS Audio DS...

@B_limo: I asked this question to myself: is there a way to intercept the I2S path inside my Akurate CD/SACD and install an Amanero USB card, just for an example? Maybe yes, but I have not found any company or artisan to do so. So for the moment the idea is abandoned.

@Audioengr: Empirical Audio Overdrive... I evaluated also this option, because it seems a wonderful DAC. The problem is I cannot try it at home in Italy (like Lampi and others).

@Igator: Be sure the Akurate DS will be my option if I cannot find a DAC with the same sound as my Akurate CD. I don't say I want a DAC that perform better, because it depends on every customer's setup. At least I can convert my 40 SACD .iso obtained by ps3 with Saracon from DSD to 24/176.
My problem is the investment made in MacMini and other stuff, to be converted to a storage NAS.
Akurate DSM afaik is a preamp too, right ?

MSB Analog can be a good choice, I will try to listen it at home.

Just for let you focus on my musical taste: in this moment I'm listening a DCS Debussy. Not very good in my setup. Mid-bass too preeminent and overall not so much emotional, too prim, compared to Akurate CD.
Very good for jazz and some Classical, but with Rock/Electronica it is far from Akurate.
I'll send back to the shop asap ;-)
I have a Tascam DA3000 that has a USB input.
If you like the Linn, they why not just add an Off-Ramp 5 and use this to get USB input to S/DIF coax to your Linn?

The OR5 will sound better than 99% of USB interfaces on other DACs anyway.

You can further improve the SQ of the OR5 by replacing the AC adapter with the Dynamo power supply option. the best coax cable is my BNC-BNC coax with RCA adapters, also an option.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
@Steve: unfortunately the Linn Akurate CD does not have any SP/Dif input...

It´s a bit tiresome -I´m being extremely polite here- to see you trying to promote/sell your stuff in these forums.

Why don´t you go to the Audiogon marketplace to sell your stuff?


Ciao Maz65,

I am pretty sure you can test drive the Lampi in Italy.

Contact Lukasz and see what he can arrange. A Big5 may be your kinda sound...
@Jesusa0 : no problem for me Daniel if someone try to promote his stuff in many threads: the effect to me is the opposite as the seller hopes ;-)

@Wisnon : thanks for the tip

No news until now. Debussy is on the way back to the shop. I will try to listen an Akurate DS next week, and contact other dealers.