I would not go to a Classik from what you have. Look at upgrading your CD player. If you want to stick with Linn a Genki would be a nice step up.
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My Linn Aktiv system (Keilidh's, 2-LK100's) cost less than $1500 used. I had a Genki for about a year but didn't use it much since I've been vinyl based for close to 40 years. It was a nice analog sounding player. I recently inserted a tube preamp into this modest system and I'll share the secret with you. It's killer. It will destroy systems costing multiples of it's price point. No kidding.
The vast majority of audiophiles don't like Linn gear so that works to your advantage on the used market. Linn dealers by and large are insufferable snobs.
I second the preamp advice. I sort of hate to, because I think the Pretek, Powertek and Intek were three of Linn's best value amplifiers, but your system looks fairly well balanced now. I don't think a Mimik would be any improvement at all over your Arcam. (I really think you should forget the Classik.) I thought the Genki was pretty good, but when I heard the Ikemi I forgot the Genki and started thinking about spending money I didn't have.
IMHO take as big a step up as you can on a preamp, like Lugnut says. If you must stay Linn you might get lucky on a Kairn in the next 6 months, but if Lugnut's right about the preamp being next, there's a good chance he's right about a Syrah too.
_Then_ look for a new CDP.
Be of good cheer, super preamps can be found. I can also recommend a Klyne SK-5A like mine. This would cost a respectable amount under a grand, used, if you could find one. However the real glory of the Klyne is its phono stage and there's not much point if you don't play vinyl.
The Syrah also has a phono stage. One without is about $500 less. One of the better attributes of Supratek is the bottom end. I simply could not believe the depth, detail and slam in the bottom end. It really lets the amps show just how good they are. The stage gets deep and wide beyond anything you would expect. Detail everywhere to die for. It's a great combination.
There are other tube preamps that would be nearly as good for much less money on the used market. The reason I like the Syrah so much is the quality of the phono section. You can use any cartridge and set it up right in no time. Rather maintenance free too.
I'm not telling you what to buy first but saying simply that going Aktiv is the real deal and affordable. The tube preamp just takes it several notches up from there. I could live with this sound for the rest of my life.
Again great advice from Lugnut IMO. I agree that Aktiv is the way to go eventually, and I agree preamp first. When I listened to various combinations of Linn components, active and passive, that really stood out. The active setup let me hear all too well if the preamplification was ordinary. I ended up deciding that before going active I'd get a Kairn. (Although I ended up not getting the Linn system, I still remember the sound... ).
One nice thing about a Linn active system is that you don't have to use Linn amplification. An external box ( Tunebox, yes ? Thanks Lugnut. ) will hold the cards.
OK now Joolz, thanks for asking about sources. I like Naim players a lot and you might well find one of them fit very well between Genki and Ikemi. I would listen for depth, timbres, presence and purity, as the Genki has drive down pretty well and you'll get even more of this as you upgrade to active. There are lots of other players too, though, and if you haven't started listening to them yet, you have fun fun fun ahead!
One last thought on all this stuff. If your current CDP is 24 bit then I would recommend keeping it for awhile. My reasoning is sound. The difference between a Genki and Ikemi is very small in the scope of things. For that matter a $150 DVD player as compared to one of state of the art CDP's ($5000+) will be small too. Before you can appreciate those differences the rest of your system must be up to the task.
The difference between your current preamp and a good tube unit will be so profound you will wonder if you are listening to your own system any longer. It will bring you the most benefits for the money spent.
Going Aktiv will be the next biggest bang for the buck upgrade.
Spending even huge amounts of money on a digital source now is not the way I would go. There simply won't be that big a difference.
When speaking of vinyl I would turn these recommendations upside down with the source first. Big dollar investments in analog will reap big returns. The difference between a $1000 turntable combo versus a $5000 combo is huge. Not so within the digital realm.
Keep in mind also the new digital format wars. Waiting may be a very wise thing to do. My guess is that a year or two down the road will be the sweet spot in buying a digital source to keep. Lots of reasons for this and they are covered well in previous threads.
I'm no tube expert. Discovering the joys of the Supratek came by accident. It has a very high output voltage, which I think is somewhat rare for a tube preamp, and keeps the noise floor very, very low. Dead quiet. If you decide to go this direction I recommend posting another thread to get some sound advice from the tube gurus about what to look for in a good match with your solid state gear.
Pick your rut carefully. You'll be in it a long time.
Interesting reflection by Lugnut on digital source purchase at this time. I myself am wondering about low end digital, now that I'm looking for a player for a friend. I want to hear some cheap DVD players with CD outs. Good comments I've heard about these recently may be a sign that the digital playing field is leveling.
OTOH my biggest surprise recently was my Apogee DAC. My goodness that was a step up in liveliness and immediacy, a veil torn away.
But to sum up, yes, Joolz, I concur with Lugnut, look into preamps now. When you find one, enjoy, then when ready, glance at the digital source question just in case there are clear signs by then that you should go that way. If there are not, then go right on to Aktiv.
ive been looking around the site for preamps and there seems to be a couple of other preamps other than the kairn.....they are the wakonda and the kolector and they seem to be cheaper($400-$600used) how do these fair??? or is just worth spending the $900 for a used kairn?
also is it worth adding a audio alchmy DAC to the arcam,it seems to be a fairly cheap upgrade and a maybe a fairly noticable one too($200ish used)
You need a TUBE preamp. Seriously. I own a Wakonda and like I said before, it's okay. Sonically, the Linn preamps haven't come far since the days of the LK1. What they are now is feature rich. If you want to whole-house your system then the Linn preamps make it a snap but if you want to take the performance up several notches go with a tube unit.
Joolz, it's great playing backup to Lugnut. He's right, you know. Look at what I said up above: one nice thing about Linn active systems is you don't have to use Linn amps. That goes for preamps too. You can have a wonderful Aktiv system eventually, and with careful shopping it will sound better than anything Linn can sell for the same money... or maybe even for a bit more.
Your Linn dealer will not agree.
Upgrades are expensive. Don't fool around; get the very best preamp you can afford. Do you absolutely, positively feel you must go Linn? Then in Linn-relative terms, the Majik is a lot better than the Classik, the Wakonda is a nice step up from the Majik, and the Kairn is a real upgrade from the Wakonda. In high-end relative terms, though, the Kairn is good; the Wakonda is OK; the Classik will do nicely in a bedroom. If you want REALLY musical, oh-darn-I-hate-to-turn-my-system-off sound for similar money, look elsewhere is good advice.
P.S. you asked about an AA DAC, and again my advice is to get the very best you can squeeze out of your wallet. IMHO you need to do more research on DACs before you choose one. You may do better with a two-box upgrade, but OTOH you may not. (A tip: if you do go for a DAC, try to find an Apogee DA1000E if you can.) However, if I were you, I would not let the appearance of a deal on a possibly-interesting DAC distract me from my main search now, which is for a preamp. You will not recognize your system once you have found that.
tobias......you said i may want to look where else if i want a better system for the sort of money i have....
i hate to be nieve but could you lead me in a direction there.
obviously i could spend my money wiser elsewhere as it takes a lot of money to fuel a linn system.
could you maybe recomend a cd player,intergrated amp and stand mount speakers in the mid price range....
lot of help
Well, take Lugnut's advice and try to find a Supratek Syrah. That's the elsewhere I was thinking of.
As for an integrated... if it were me looking, I'd want to hear an Audiomat (French), or for less money, a Cayin or HIT Audio (Chinese). These are tube machines with around 30 wpc depending on the model. If I preferred solid state and maybe more watts I'd want to hear Vecteur, YBA (both French), a SimAudio (Canadian like me) or a Shanling SLM-40 (Chinese). But I don't know... the Pretek / Powertek is good equipment and replacing your Pretek with a Syrah might cost no more than any of these options and give yousound just as good, with an easy upgrade to the amp later on.
It's hard to be asked to recommend a whole system. I don't know what kind of sound you like. I had a Shanling CD-T100 player (about $2G) that I liked a lot, and in Canada you can get two other Shanlings which are equally good value for money at lower price points. As for monitors, I'm listening to an Aurum Cantus Leisure 2 pair at the moment and they're very nice. I would also be interested in Harbeth's current LS 3/5A-type, and a long time ago I heard the Totem Model 1 and enjoyed it, but it needs lots of power.
It's a pleasure and a compliment to be asked for advice and I respect any naive person who has the courage to say so.
that canadian hifi is very good stuff.
when i went home to the uk in 2002 i went to an audio show in london,they had a Sim Audio Moon set up....a cd player into a intergrated running into an expensive pair of tannoys (believe it or not)...
the sound was unreal!! the speakers absolutly dissapeared,it sounded like the sound was coming from the walls or was it the air? it was just around me...Weird!!!!!
beutifull sounding and very good looking kit.
Yes, I've heard that effect from Moon equipment before. You feel that you are in a room with invisible musicians. Reminds me of a passage in, I think, the Morte d'Arthur: Galahad or Percival, in the Grail castle, hears celestial music from an unknown source.
It's certainly very pleasant not to be distracted from the music by the audio gear. My own system is getting that way now too, I'm happy to say, so the Holy Grail of great music from invisible artists can be achieved with stuff from other manufacturers too.
I think you would be extremely happy with the Classik and Tukans. The additional cost of purchasing a used Classik-T or K after selling your other gear (and interconnects) should be nominal -- if any.
There is something so simple and complete about just one box and one pair of speakers. Forget the audiophile descriptions -- the sound will simply be more integrated than what you have now. You will also be adding a tuner and the convenience of one remote to control it all.
Also -- if you ever decide to go multichannel, you could keep the Classik/Tukan combination in you office or bedroom.
Linn is moving away from Classic series and the movie version is being discounted, the Di should be next. Now on to my opinion; I believe the unidisk-sc will inherit the classics role. At 5 to 6 thousand dollars (from Linn help line in Jax) the sc will be much cheaper than the 2.1 or 1.1 (8-12k) but still includes a truly universal player(sacd,cd,dvda,etc). Unlike the other unidisks the sc also includes a multi channel preamp with digital, analog and tos-link inputs with DD, DTS and DPLII processing(no hall,jazz club,action or deep vacuume of spacee modes though). Preamp is active but the power amps are BYO.