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Going Linn Aktiv but need some help please

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Hawklord, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    I currently have a Naim CD5i CDP, Arcam A75+ Integrated amp and Arcam P80 power amp driving my Linn Ninka's for music duties. I'm using the A75+/P80 to bi-amp the Ninka's but I'm in two minds as to which is the best way to go aktiv. The easiest (and cheapest) option would be to use the A75+ as a pre-amp only, buy another P80 power amp and a Linn aktiv tune box. Would going this way give me good results as I'm not entirely sure whether the A75+ is up to the job acting as just a pre-amp. Would it be more beneficial to replace it with a designated pre-amp and give me better results in the long run. I'm assuming that two P80's are more than adequate too as the A75+/P80 combo appear to drive the Ninka's effortlessly but I'm open to suggestions either way.
    Would a Naim cdp, Arcam/Linn amplification/Aktiv tune box system be a marked improvement over bi-amping as per my current set up or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely :confused: I'm looking to spend in the order of around £1000 but may go slightly higher. I just want to go up a few more steps on the ladder to HiFi nirvana and use the Ninka's to their full potential:devil:

    Any thoughts and advice would be appreciated :lease:
     
  2. Knightshade

    Knightshade
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    Hi Hawklord,
    It may sound a little different! I wouldn't have considered going avtive with that configuration but hey, who knows? I doubt many people would've tried that particular combo but only advice I can offer is try it with the A75. It may great. Be interested to hear how it sounds. You may find the whole setup a little forward with the Naim CDP. I don't know much about Arcam but if it doesn't sound all that good look to Linn for a Pre Amp. Second hand 5103 has a superb Pre Amp stage and can be picked up for around the £1000 mark.
    Bear in mind to get the best out of them you'd probably need all Linn amps. I've played around with various Linn based systems and found that Densen, Exposure and Rega are the only ones out of about 15 or so manufacturers that sound 'right' with Linn. Naim IMHO sounded a bit harsh.
    HTH
     
  3. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    Thanks for your thoughts Knighshade:)
    The last piece of my set up I bought was the Naim CD5i after auditioning the usual suspects around the same price range (Arcam cd82/CD93,Cyrus cd8+psu,Rega Jupiter and few others I can't remember) the reason why I bought it over the others was due to it's superior pacing and the fact that it seem to give a more emotional, detailed and toe tapping feeling to my cd's (imo) (except for the cyrus which only sounded better with the psu which put it out of my price range). The CD5i seems to complement the type of music I prefer (Indie, heavy rock/metal, Goth, prog rock etc) too and I'd be hard pressed to replace the cdp.
    I'm very happy with the Ninka's with regard to how the source is presented and the upgradability they offer (bi-wiring, bi-amping, Aktiv) and it would cost a lot of money to better them imo.
    The only reasonable way I can see to improve things is to look at the amplification stage since this is the weakest link imo.
    I'm willing to wait a while longer getting to Aktiv if replacing the A75+/P80 combo with a better pre-amp and power amp initially. Where I'm struggling is which way to go. Should I look to a Naim pre-power (nac112/nap 150) combination or go Linn (not sure on makes and model or if they exist in my price range :blush:)) or are there other manufactures that will complement my Naim cdp and Linn speakers.

    decisions, decisions. :rotfl:
     
  4. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Hi Hawklord...as you know,I also had a Linn active system(Keltiks triamped with Krells),using one of Linn's Tunebox active crossovers.
    All that the Tunebox comprises is a power supply for the crossover cards,taking the place of an onboard supply when they're fitted in Linn amps,so there really isn't an issue in terms of quality there.

    I've no doubt that the Arcam amps should be fine in terms of driving the speakers,but in my opinion,a preamp upgrade would be useful in terms of sound quality,and older Linn Kairns can be had for very decent prices,and will match your system very well,and should provide a good upgrade,although there are lots of others to choose from.

    Upgrading to a full active system can provide very obvious gains in terms of dynamic range,attack,and headroom,as a lot of the amp's power isn't lost in the crossover,and being directly linked to each drive unit,gives each amp a lot more control over the speakers.
    Highly recommended.
     
  5. Hawklord

    Hawklord
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    Thanks for your comments:)
    I know this is a hifi no no but i'm afraid I do not like the styling of the older Linn Kit and most of the newer range too which are well over my price range:( Would I get good results buying a nac112 and two nap150's and a Linn Tune box (over a period of time) and going aktiv that way. What are peoples thoughts of pairing a Naim source, pre-amp, amplification with Linn speakers? I'm happy with Arcam filling that side for the moments but just need to work out what my options are.

    thanks
     
  6. alexs2

    alexs2
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    No probs re the old Linn preamps etc....thats a styling thing.

    There are plenty of good alternatives,incl Naim,but do beware of it all beginning to sound a bit bright,so be sure to find a friendly dealer and try the Naim pre with the Linn speakers,even if not fully active,it should give an idea of what to expect.
     
  7. roydonaldson

    roydonaldson
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    Hawklord,

    Have you considered just going for a Naim 112x/150x perhaps ? If you liked the drive of the CD5i, then the newer Naim pre/powers have that, plus some of the subtley they have not been previously reknown for :)

    I would suggest that getting a better pre and or a better single power amp and not bi-amping, or bi-wiring may be of more benefit than trying to go active. A lot of Naim users find that they only get the best differences going active at the *very* top of the Naim ladder.

    You may like the Naim amp / Linn speaker combination. I'm running Naim 140 amps into Linn Keildhs and love the combination.

    Roy.
     
  8. alexs2

    alexs2
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    FWIW,I think the Keilidhs benefit more than a number of the Linns from going down the active route.
    Prior to the Keltiks I had a set of Keilidhs,and went from single amped,via biwired,biamped,and finally active,and that's when the biggest benefit by far was found....they really do become a completely different speaker...faster,better imaging,the whole lot.....that was using initially a set of Tube Technology Genesis 100W monoblocs,followed by Krells,and with Naim 250's tried along the way.
     
  9. miket

    miket
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    Hawklord,
    I'm in a similar position as you about the decision to go activ with Linn Katan speakers - I have already Rotel Pre and two Powers doing BiAmping. May I ask what you could expect to spend for Linn Tunebox and 'aktiv' cards? It seems the best option for flexibility as you can change power amps and not have to buy Linn. Anyways I am interested to hear what you decide - good luck!
    By the way Biamping katans is already a great sound, but people tell me I am using 90% of the speakers capabilities, I think with Ninkas it may be the same case.

    Miket
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If I remember,the cost of the Tunebox is in the region of a few hundred pounds plus the active crossover cards,and they do sometimes appear on Ebay etc,so it's worth looking aorund if you want to save money.

    There is also sometimes a delay in receiving things like the Tunebox,which are made to order,and usually done when there are a few to be made.
     
  11. miket

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    I was also wondering if anybody has considered going activ without linn xovers, or with linn speakers do you have to use the linn cards? If i understand correctly, the aktiv cards do some sort of bass extension to compensate for the natural rolloff of the linn speaker being driven, whilst using a non-linn xover (e.g. marchand) you wouldn't be able to do this so easily. Are there any other issues, like xover freq matching etc?

    just curious ...
    Miket
     
  12. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Linn xovers do time alignement (imperative for decent sound) as well as level adjustment (imperative for decent sound). The BIG speakers also have roll off adjustments. Linn Xovers outperform any others 've heard with their speakers. Linn Xovers fitted in their amps outperform ones fitted in tunebox and used with other manufacturers products IMHO.....I am sure others will disagree but there you go...

    Gordon
     
  13. alexs2

    alexs2
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    As Gordon says,there is no doubt that Linn speakers work best with the Linn X-overs that are designed for them specifically.
    My only experiences with Linn amps fitted with X-over cards internally would not be a fair comparison,as it would be comparing a set of Keltiks quad amped using LK100s,with my then system which used a Tunebox,triamped with Krells.....simply not fair!

    The Linn X-overs are beautifully made,and easily adjustable,and allow the really big speakers(like the Keltiks etc)to perform at their best(obviously these will only work in an active system)and when properly set up,the bass extension and power will easily outperform most dedicated subs,given suitably powerful amplification.
     
  14. miket

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    Thanks Guys,
    this is what I figured, following the 'if you do something do it right' rule going aktiv with Linn favours using linn Xovers. What interests me is that performance is different whether you use Linn amps or seperate Tunebox:- I would have guessed that with equivalent quality non-Linn amps that performance difference would be miniscule compared to the improvement from leaving Passive to go Aktiv in the first place.

    anyways if I can find a good deal on the Tunebox and Cards I'll give it a go!

    thanks again ....
    Miket
     
  15. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Obviously the Linn X-overs are designed for their speakers,and this is a very important factor when considering active systems,and especially so if thinking of aftermarket X-over boxes(something I wouldn't have done with the Keltiks).
    Some of the Linn amps are truly excellent(thinking of the Klouts and above),but IMHO the LK models are a bit lacking when it comes to overall grunt,and more so with the larger speakers.
    That was my reason for sticking with the Krells I already had,and using a Tunebox for the X-over power supply.
     
  16. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I use a tunebox and a pair of Linn LK100's driving some Aktic Keilidhs.

    I tried the aktiv cards installed in the amps, with a view to shortening line-level cabling and selling it on, but there was something I didn't like about the sound, so I retuned to using the cards in the tunebox.

    Perhaps it was because I used a pair of one-to-two phono line-level splitter cables to get signals to both HF and LF channels of each amp. Perhaps something to do with the output impedence of the Tag AV32R bp192 processor I use as a dac/pre-amp.

    Anyone know a line-level signal should be passed to LK100's containing LF and HF mono AKTIV cards?

    Rob.
     
  17. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Its possible,although the input impedance of the LK100 active X-over combination should be sufficient to rule out any frequncy response and loading problems.

    Asking on the TAG forum may produce some help re the AV32R
     

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