Arcam D33 vs Linn Akurate DS w Mac Mini

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by NickTom, Jun 8, 2013.

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  1. NickTom

    NickTom
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    Hi all

    I presently listen to music on CDs through an Arcam BDP100, or from iTunes and Airplay to an Apple TV then optically into an rDac and then an AVR600.

    I have started re-ripping all my CDs from iTunes Plus to Apple Lossless and downloading hi-res from the Linn Records and HD Tracks sites (anyone have any guesses when Apple will start selling 'Mastered for iTunes' as actual 24/96 masters? :D ) I have been experimenting with hi-res and standard-res lossless music on my laptop with iTunes and Audirvana over USB into the rDac and the sound is clearly and audibly better than Airplay and optical, pretty much the same as I can tell with CDs and standard-res (as expected - the BDP 100 and rDac have the same DAC chipset) and audibly better with high-res.

    So I have bought a Mac Mini to run headless just for music and to sit in the lounge in the stereo rack, rather than over wifi from the mac in the study.

    I was planning to set up with iTunes and Audirvana and to control with an iPad Mini using Apple Remote software, and to audition and then buy the D33 to run over USB.

    My local Linn dealer has a used (but still under warranty) Akurate DS which he will sell me for the same price effectively as a new D33 would cost me.

    So I would welcome views please on sound quality and ease of operation and interface between iTunes & Audirvana on Mac + D33 Dac vs Mac + Akurate DS + Linn iOS apps.

    Future upgrade paths for me may include the AVR750 if the sound quality is as good as Arcam claims and 804 Ds. I fundamentally enjoy the Arcam + B&W sound. I have previously owned a Linn all-in-one, which sound I also enjoyed, but the reliability was pretty suspect - it went back to the dealer three times.

    The other options that keep coming up in reviews and on forums are the Naim DAC and the NAD M51. Has anyone auditioned the D33 against those 2 products?

    Nick
     
  2. sounddog

    sounddog
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    One thing to consider re Naim DAC is that you will need to add a USB to SPDIF converter to get the best from your MacMini.

    Eloise
     
  3. spinaltap

    spinaltap
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  4. sounddog

    sounddog
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    Or Audirvana or Sonic Studio: Amarra or BitPerfect or Decibel

    There's lots of alternatives I might choose over the Halide Bridge such as (amongst othets) from Musical Fidelity, M2Tech, BelCanto and Audiophillio... The performance of the Halide is beaten or matched for less by many of the newer offerings. USB direct to many DACs is as a better option.

    Eloise
     
  5. Roadwarrior

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    I can't offer an opinion on the linn but I did try the arcam and the naim as my dealer recommended. I thought both were absolutely excellent but in the end I went down the arcam road , you really need to test both at home and in my experience the arcam took quite some time to "warm up" but once it did the contest was over , A clean, open and detailed sound. hard to explain but it doesn't ever seem to influence the systems "sound" just does the job properly with zero fuss. , btw I'm using jRiver for hi res.

    Best of luck
     
  6. BackToBasics

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    I've not heard the Arcam D33, but currently have a Linn Majik DSI that I'm using purely for it's DAC and streaming capability (sending it through a Classe CAP-2100 to Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grands). Though I've yet to hear an Akurate, I trust all the opinions and reviews I've read that it's a significant step up.

    Right now, because of the ridiculous amount of money I've spent on this I've been considering whether I can eliminate the Majik and stream from the Oppo BDP-105 I just purchased. In my setup, the sound quality from it's Sabre DACs (through balanced interconnects to the Classe) is on a par with the Majik.

    However I've been running into (for me) a huge roadblock - the iPad app for the Linn systems is pretty hard to beat. The Kinsky app just works, and it allows me to stream from my Twonky NAS server beautifully, including being able to create and edit playlists.

    The Oppo ios app is barely functional. You get a file system view - period. I've tried Twonky Beam for ios, and it strangely takes a long time between tracks, and clips the first second or two from each one. PS Audio sells their eLyric app which worked once with the Oppo but now crashes every time I start it.

    Listen to the Arcam and whatever streamer/DAC options you can find, but give the interface experience consideration as well. Running Kinsky on an iPad Mini sitting on the coffee table, with an attractive and fuss free interface is not something to be ignored, though certainly not as critical as the sound quality.
     

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