It took us effort and time to
persuade Linn to let us have an Akurate DSM preamplifier for review, but it
was worth it – see p12 for our report. This is a preamp like no other: who
else makes one that has an HDMI input for Blu-ray alongside a Moving Coil
cartridge input? You can switch from LP to Blu-ray and back again using a
Kinsky App on your iPhone or iPad. Granted, you’ll need an auto-changer for
LP to stop playing automatically at the same time, and these are a little rare
As Adam Smith notes on p92 however, an auto-changer is the only turntable type
Pro-ject have yet to make, so perhaps the Akurate DSM preamp will get such a
partner in due course. Or perhaps Linn will decide to automate the LP12 so it
can be controlled from an iPad. This might be a step too far even for their
ingenuity I suspect. Never mind, the Akurate system was quite a blast, showing
just how far Linn’s expertise extends.
Linn are not alone in having a Wi-Fi controlled preamp that also acts as a
network player. Cambridge Audio recently released the Stream Magic 6 and this
gives even the DSM something to think about. OK, the Stream Magic 6 lacks an
MC cartridge input and HDMI inputs for Blu-ray, but it also costs less and
still manages to have a few tricks up its sleeve, such as playing music from
iPhone or iPad via a Bluetooth radio link.
Both these network players / preamps use balanced connections. And so does the
new Avid Pulsare II phono stage. Balanced working has been used by the
recording business for a long time, to avoid hum problems in long cables. Now
it is slowly being adopted by hi-fi manufacturers. Even though this means
extra silicon chips are necessary, a sender and a receiver, sound quality
usually benefits. A clearer, more focused sound is the result. But as the head
of Avid, Conrad Mas, notes, pickup cartridges suit balanced working and gain
most from it. With the Pulsare II phono preamp he exploits this to great
effect, Paul Rigby finds - see p96.
High fidelity moves ahead on many fronts we find in this issue; progress is
all around us. I hope you enjoy reading about it.
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