Monday, 23 September 2013

Linn's Future Approach to Exakt - an Audiophile Musings Interpretation

I've been thinking about the Exakt strap line - the source is in the speaker.  As in the digital data file gets all the way to the speaker (the file being the source) without being corrupted or distorted, then the Exakt module does its stuff to turn this into analogue and amplifying it before this signal goes to the drive units.  Of course this doesn't make quite as much sense with a turntable as a source, but lets just think about purely digital systems for the moment.

So, "the source is in the speaker" could be a great way of justifying why upgrading the speaker end of things is going to make sense in an Exakt system, and allows Linn to keep to its "source first" message at the same time.

I suspect, after November, it will make sense for the next product to be released to be for the Akubarik.  Its their latest design, will have been in design and development in parallel with Exakt and has a very conveniently shaped electronics module to sit on the back.  So what will be in that module?  An Exakt engine, DACs and power amps, just like the Exakt 350 module.  Also given how recent the Akubarik is, there needs to be an heavy discount for those trading in their Akubark Active module.

However, what range "level" will those DACs and power amps be?  Will they be Klimax level or Akurate level?  This is where I think we will see range differentiators in the future.  And it would make sense, with the first Exakt module for the Akubarik to be at Klimax level (because the work is largely done already for the 350).  So KEDSM and Klimax Exakt Akubarik and a very attractive trade-in deal.  Then the next release could be the first Akurate Exakt module for the Akubarik so your system would be KEDSM, and Akurate Exakt Akubarik, also needs to have a great trade-in deal. 

Given that many of the speakers will need refreshing over the coming years, this is how I see that modules and speakers can be upgradable in the future, without changing the EDSM along the way.

109 replacement passive
109 replacement with Majik Exakt module
109 replacement with Akurate Exakt module
140 replacement passive
140 replacement with Majik Exakt module
140 replacement with Akurate Exakt module
MIso replacement passive
MIso replacement with Majik Exakt module
MIso replacement with Akurate Exakt module
MIso replacement withKlimax Exakt module
Akubarik passive
Akubarik Akurate Exakt module
Akubarik Klimax Exakt module

So you want to upgrade your source (Linn's long term philosophy) then you upgrade your speaker components.  As all of the current speakers are replaced over time I can see that they will follow the Akubarik design path.  The aluminium rear module for the Akubarik is just an extrusion cut to length. It has very flexible mounting points for the electronics inside.  So various lengths of this module are easy - to suit the cabinet heights of future speakers.

Same thinking for the Tunebox of course too, but applied to the older speakers and really only consisting of software variations through Konfig.  The idea that this is upgrading your source doesn't fit so well here, but it does work very well with the commitment to support customers in upgrading and extending the lifetime of their products. So:

Majik Exakt Tunebox in versions for 109, 140, MIso, Ninka, Keilidh, Katan, Kan, Tuakan etc
Akurate Exakt Tunebox in versions for 109, 140, MIso, Ninka, Keilidh, Katan, Kan, Tukan, 5140, Kaber, Keltik, Sara, Akubarik etc
Klimax Exakt Tunebox in versions for 5140, Kaber, Keltik, Sara, Isobarik, Akubarik, 350, 320, etc

All of this can be very modular indeed, from an hardware design perspective, keeping flexibility up but cost down.

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