Linn DS open design or Naim HDX close design?
Linn has a pretty open approach to the digital stream player design. The DS player only reads the music file from the NAS server and converts it to analogue signal. You need to spend some extra money to get a NAS server, hard drivers, network switch and some network cables($500 for me). You also need some cd ripping software and computer to rip your cd to wav/flac files. Without dealer’s help or if you don’t know about computer/network setup, it is pretty hard for you to make the DS working just by following the installation guide from Linn. People have so many problems to set up the DS player/Play the music that there is a dedicated DS trouble shooting forum on Linn Forum.
Naim HDX has a more seamless design from what I read. It comes with a cd tray, cd ripping software, 500GB Raid-1 hard drives, so it can read a cd, rip it to files, read them and convert to analogue signals all within the unit itself. So it is almost like a plug and play.
Linn DS is far from plug and play. Most of problems people have are from the third party software/hardware Linn DS rely on but has no control of it. The good thing about the Linn DS design is that it is more open, people can choose whatever the best/cheapest ripping software, hard drive, nas server and user interface for them. Linn will only focus on the part that make music sounds good. Naim HDX is easy to set up, but Naim will charge you arm and leg for cd load tray, ripping software, hard drive and other stuff that has nothing to do with the music quality. What if you don’t like naim’s user interface or you don’t like the Raid-1 or 500GB is not big for you? Maybe Linn is capable of making seamless close design like Naim but choose not to do it because they want to focus on the core part that make music sounds good.
I don’t know which design will be adopted by other companies or neither will do in the end. Other members are welcome to share their ideas.