To Linn and Theta listeners...

I've recently upgraded my CD source from a Rotel 975 (as transport) and Theta Progeny (as D to A) to a Linn Ikemi. Rest of system is: Linn Majik, N805 biwired, PS Audio Power Plant, and Audio Quest Midnight Cables, room is heavily treated.

Now to the issue - I've lost some of the immediacy of my music. For example, female vocals have lost the goosebump factor (the breathyness, the crispness, the tension) in exchange for a greater smoothness. Also, some of the details of the insturments have been masked somewhat (the guitar plucking, etc). And while hardly unpleasent, the laid back nature of the Ikemi just doesn't pull me in the way the cheaper playback did.

So, to those of you who have heard both Linn and Theta, am I hearing the difference between two D/A approaches or could it be something else?

Thanks for your thoughts/time in advance.

I worked for a Linn dealer up until a couple of years ago so I know their stuff pretty well. You are describing pretty accurately what I heard from the Ikemi. Frankly I think all the Linn cd players are overpriced underachievers. You might say the same thing about pretty much all of the Linn lineup. Just way overpriced for the performance you get.
I've heard the Ikemi in a number of systems and think it is a great player. The Majik is definately a weak link in the system, the CD and speakers are much more revealing than this little integrated is up to. Chances are your original digital combo was a tad bright but was tamed by the Majik's rolled-off nature and now that you have a much more natural front end you are hearing the shortcomings of th Majik.
I'm a Theta geek, I use to run a DaViD into a Classe Dac-1 then through some ARC tube gear to a pair of martin logan electostats. I tried a few other cd players and transports but always went back to this combo for my bedroom system. I use all Theta gear in my H/T system too, Great stuff!
When I purchased my Theta Miles I auditoned quite a few other CD players, the Linn among them. I am not trying to bash Linn but the sound from the Theta was soooooo much better, beat the Linn in every respect. The Linn stuff feels cheap too.... I'm not into plastic, especially when it has a $3,000 price tag attatched.
While I agree that the Majik is a bit overmatched with the N805, it is nonetheless a good performer (and a killer at its price - BTW, IMHO, the Linn underacheivers tend to be the top of the line units, not the Majik, Ninka, or LK140). My Majik benefitted from a Sonic Horizon PC, and if you have yours plugged into the PowerPlant, you might try it straight to the wall, as it could be overdrawing the PowerPlant. Since your question is what happened when you changed the CD, nevermind the Majik. One point is to be patient to allow the Ikemi to break in. Opening up on top is the primary change that a Linn cdp goes through, in my experience (cartridges, too). Also, you should try stripping off some of the room treatment and add it back only as needed to tame ringing and smearing. Liveliness and immediacy are often the first casualty of (over)damping, and the Ikemi is certainly capable of being both smooth and immediate. Third, try the Ikemi straight to the wall. Linn's switching "Brilliant" power supply may not be benefitting from the PowerPlant. Fourth, try Audiopoints or Mapleshade brass cones. They were an obvious winner with my Karik. Keep after it; Linn and B&W have a cultural affinity that can produce the holy grail of audio: long term happiness. The "polite" UK sound that draws you in rather than jumps out at you is a bit different than the more muscular US sound most of us know. You may find yourself really listening to the tunes more and more and less to the sounds of plucked strings and breath. This is a good thing.

Although very skeptical, I tried a version of the rollerblock under the Ikemi (golf balls :-). There it is, the nuance which gives me the goosebumps, smoother and more refined than the old Theta rig. Amazing.

So now I'm going to find the _proper_ isolation device. Thanks for the input from all. It's deeply appreciated.

Please post a follow up when you've settled on a solution. FWIW, I tried a Seismic Sink (pneumatic) under the Karik and thought it robbed some pace from the player. Too much of a good thing in the smoothness department. Audiopoints were better, for me, and the Seismic ended up under my preamp. I've never tried the Bright Star sandbox or the Roller Block, and the Aurios always intrigued me...
Lee, your saying that the Ikemi went from being worse than your old digital setup to goosebumps with golfballs? I have the Genki and have settled on homemade rollerblocks. I used very thick measuring spoons from target with ball bearings sitting on electrical putty sitting on acrylic coasters. It's a pretty cheap solution with much less fuzzy sound. The black diamond racing cones do a little bit better in the bass region but not the mid to highs.

Well, goosebump territory was an overstatement :) Just got excited and could see how coupling/isolation/dampening _can_ make a difference (something I was closed to before the golfball experiment).

Since that post, I've experimented with many different approaches and am still in that phase. I love your homemade rollerblock solution! I've purchased the grade 25 tungsen balls from McMaster Carr and have been trying to figure out keep them in place; your spoon idea is inspired.

So, I guess this thread has evolved into something else - what to rest the Ikemi on (it's clear it's a superior player).

Once again, thanks to all for being so helpful.


Lee (now an audiogon member)