Linn Majik vs Kairn/LK85

Did someone have any experience with Kairns/LK85 combination or Wakonda/LK 85 relative to Maijik?
Is it critical to have Linn Kairns or Wakonda instead connecting Genki CD-player directly to LK85-amp?
I was faced with the same decision as you, but instead of going with LK85/Wakonda, I went with the LK140/Kolector. I could not hear a great enough difference between the Kolector and the Wakonda, but could between the LK85/LK140. The Kairn was more than I wanted to spend and I am expecting a refresh on it soon.

I upgraded the above from a Majik and heard a huge improvement in sound quality. Even the 85 will be a big improvement over the Majik. I tried running a LK100 and using the Majik as a preamp which was an improvement, but still found the Kolector better.

I have ran my Genki with and without the Kolector and, to me, it always sounds better through it. It sounds much fuller, more dynamic, and simply more fun. You loose quite a bit of volume too. My wife thought the same when I A/B it for her. To answer your question, it is not critial, but you will get a lot more enjoyment out of the Genki if you do.

Good luck.

On several occasions I have compared the Kolektor to the Wakonda(which I use) and the Kolector has always sounded rough by comparison - almost as rough as the variable pre-out of the Genki. Has anyone ever looked inside a Kolector? Linn has certainly shortened the signal path there, "as simple as possible"...perhaps a little too simple in this case. The Wakonda is incredibly revealing and smooth by comparison and has the additional benefit of incorporating the Kudos tuner - which I consider a great benefit for the sake of simplicity and fewer boxes.
I used to own a waconda and a Lk285 w/spark-- out board power supply. It was very good for the money. The kairn is a considerable better pre so if you can I would get it. My LK285 and Spark are still at my dealers for sale. Dude they where the best linn had to offer for a long time and will kill anything you are considering now IMHO. Call my dealer they will make you a great deal. The Sound Environment 402-423-3737 ask for Gayle. I sold them and changed to tubes, but the linn is a great set, go for it.
I have a Majek with kudos{radio] with tukans and a karik its the best thing I've ever had , Then this stuff bit me and I went '"active" ,Kollector and lk85's..Litle bit of Volume and it's a new ballgame.........Both are really fine.Good luck.....
Having used a Majik as a preamp for some time, the change to a Wakonda has been a significant upgrade. The Wakonda has a much lower noise floor, less grain, significantly more music!