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Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
2011-12-11, 02:46
Post: #81
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Hi John, this is the sort of thing you could probably use to ground your cabinets to the stand top plates with.

They should work as well as the original system.

Hope this points you in the right sort of direction

Best Regards Ed.

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2011-12-11, 12:16
Post: #82
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Hi again, thanks a million, Ill report back in due course. I also have to listen to digital, a lot of the bands and musicians I like (early 70s) seem to have a lot of CDs out of gigs from the past, various re-formed attempts I missed in the 80s and 90s, even the early noughties, out takes and solo projects and they just ain't available on vinyl. My 'original' Rega Planet CDP, Nait 5i and MkI IBLs do a great job but going in the front room for vinyl is just pure magic. And Ive got upgrading my LP12 and amps to look forward to.

All the best John
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2011-12-12, 15:57
Post: #83
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Incidentally John, as for the Sara v Majik Isobarik, forget it........MIso's gets KO'd in the first round.
No contest.

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2011-12-12, 16:25
Post: #84
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Yes it's cuppa and a biccy time again folks, get the kettle on, settle in and make some quality time.

Here's the link to the HFR Review of the Sara 1X by Malcolm Steward ( then the Editor ).
Sorry about clipping the RH border on P1 but it is still intelligible.

Bearing in mind that Malcolm's usual system is an Active SBL system, the Sara fares very well in this review and my comments would be to say that by and large it is accurate, although I would add that I do not believe these speakers are flawed in any way, shape or form.

This was a contemporary criticism continually levelled at the Saras by various "camps" at the time.
Their only flaw, if it can be called that is that they are Joe Blunt, they tell no lies, if you have something wrong in your system they will never cover it up. No Siree, you WILL be told in no uncertain terms. If all was well though, and you bothered to get their setup and fussy positioning sorted then you would be well rewarded as John himself testifies above.

Some poor folk never got that far, they bought the speaker on account of its "cult" status, got it home unpacked it, set it up, got told the truth about their TT, amps , or room and sold them on the next week in disgust., never realising what they could have had if they'd only persevered.

There are still loads of decent Saras out there waiting for a good musical home.
If you are fed up with the limitations of the box loudspeaker, before you go down the electrostatic road, you owe it to yourself to try these out first. It could be the last speaker you ever buy.

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2011-12-12, 16:52
Post: #85
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Good information Dr. Eddie, and nice attachments tooCool
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2011-12-22, 14:23 (This post was last modified: 2011-12-22 14:36 by Dr_Eddie.)
Post: #86
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
This is by way of an update to a query I had from gee-pee by PM. He has given me permission to post it here since it does add to the thread and takes it forward.

Re: Saras
To: Dr_Eddie Dr_Eddie Wrote:
[quote='gee pee']
Hi Dr. Eddie,
I trust you don't mind me sending you a PM rather than adding to your Sara post.I'd like to ask you about Sara tweeters.
I've had a pair of Sara 9 Bi-wires for about 18 months now. They are one of the very last ones made & are in great condition.Initially I was over the moon with them but over the course of time I've become disillusioned. They can sound great with some material but the underlying characteristics sometimes make them difficult to listen to. I think they can sound a bit cold or hard, difficult to explain in words.Every now & then I listen to other speakers but they haven't been better then the Saras, just different. I'm loath to part with them despite their shortcomings.They can go against a wall which is a big plus.
Having read your post with great interest I was wondering whether to consider changing the tweeters. You seem very enthusiastic about the later Scanspeaks. Did they really make a big difference & is it something you'd recommend me to do? I suppose it depends on whether you can identify with what I'm trying to say!
I have tried to take my tweeters out to confirm their identity first but they weren't budging & I was reluctant to force them. From your post, are you saying that a screw should be screwed into the tweeter body, as opposed to all the way in and then levered out against a wood block? Perhaps you can clarify that please.
My system is a high spec LP12,Klimax Kontrol/d,Ak2200,Ak CD & Tuner. I have just borrowed the latest Klimax Chakra Twin but it hasn't changed the characteristics of the Saras, in fact it's highlighted them even more really so that's not the direction to take. The guy I bought from was running a similar system but with Solos, that sounded great.It's either a new set of speakers or the tweeter option first.
I'd appreciate your comments. Congratulations on your project too, it's a great story.

Hi Phil, I think I know exactly what you mean when you say they can be hard and diificult to listen to. The good thing is that the biwirable Sara 9 were absolutely the best of the best. You have the potential to get much musical satisfaction but there are a number of things you can do to try to improve the sound.
FIrstly try to tighten up all fixings on their stands. Over the course of time these work loose and tightening them up yields cleaner sound.
Try to have as little thread of the bottom spikes showing and spirit level the top of the stands so that the speakers are level horizontally.

Next try to tighten up the driver fixings with appropriate Allen Keys.
Don't go potty but you'll probably find the fixings are quite loose.

Get the cabinets as close to the wall as you can but only angle them in about 10 degrees. If they shout move them together incrementally until the sound becomes more focussed and cleaner.

Try bracing the back of the cabinet to the wall with a small spike into a piece of hardwood. A quadropod spike is ideal if you have a couple of spares. See this thread,

This helps to control the highs, and beefs up the bottom end too.

The D2008/851200 available from Wilmslow Audio is a superb unit that will remove a lot of your problems at a stroke. At about £130 for a pair they offer a great upgrade for very good value.

To remove the tweeter, unscrew one of the bass driver allen headed bolts and remove all three tweeter fixings.

Screw the allen headed bolt into the tweeter face plate holes. It should bite into the plastic. Get a claw hammer under the head of the bolt and lever gently upwards to remove the tweeter.
You may find it is sealed with either a gasket or black silicone sealer.

Carefully remove any hotmelt glue from the connections and desolder the wires. Note one is red ( positive ) one is black ( negative )

Carefully solder the positive red lead to the new tweeter terminal with the red dot, black to the other.
Seal with hot melt glue and silicone around the baffle rebate if no gaskets were fitted.
Rinse and repeat for the other cabinet and you're done.
The new units will take around 40 hours to burn in.

Final test is to check polarity. I've found that earlier Saras invert phase so check this. Put a 1.5 volt battery across the red and black connections in the back of the cabinet. Red is pos OK
You'll hear a small pop from the bass unit, see if it moves forward as it should. If it moves back then your Saras invert phase. This makes them sound thin. Reverse the black and red connections going into the back of the cabinet to restore correct phase.
By now a lot of your criticisms should be history.

Let me know how you get on, I'm interested to know what happens Phil.
Good luck, here's hoping you capture the goal.

Best Regards Eddie

Hi Eddie,

Couldn't resist getting back to you asap. Well I've been & gone & done it. After weeks of umming & arrhing I bought two of the Scanspeak D2008 tweeters and finally got round to fitting them this afternoon. I had been a little bit sceptical as I've changed to 'upgraded' tweeters a couple of times in the past with little or no difference.The improvement this time was obvious immediately, in fact it took me a little bit by surprise because not only was the treble so much clearer & smoother but the bass became better too. Now it just bounces along & is quite firm & solid with plenty of slam. The whole thing just began to sound much more accurate and that was the first half hour. Now that I've been listening to LP's & CD's for a few hours it's actually getting even better. It is easier to listen to & that is what I wanted, the better soundstage & accuracy is just the icing on the cake.
I had thought that my original tweeters would be the same as yours but in fact they were Hiquphon D20-LP-1. Perhaps not so surprising as the Isobariks were later fitted with a Hiquphon unit. That the new Scanspeaks easily outperform these is even better news.
Clearly Linn changed a few things during the life of the Sara, little things like the screw threads, which on mine were M4 x 18. Other than that it was quite a quick procedure. I'm still puzzled as to why the bass should improve, any ideas?
I had been thinking about buying a new pair of speakers but nothing really floated my boat. Maybe now I can put the money towards a Khan instead!
Anyway, many thanks for your help and good look with your project, I'll keep tuned.


Its great to help someone enjoy their hifi more and I'm pleased Phil took the time and trouble to trust my experience. I'm still on the cusp of going fully Active. I'm just waiting the return of my Sara tweaked Snaxo from Naim.
This is the real goal for this thread, but I ain't finished with the Saras yet. As you'll recall my much loved DMS pair will undergo a similar refurbishment only this time around I'm going to investigate the alternative B200 units that Kef made. I have good reason to believe the Sara can be made to perform even better with these units. Watch this space..........................

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Classic Linn/Naim Six Pack Active Brik System.
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2012-01-03, 19:00 (This post was last modified: 2012-01-04 18:14 by Dr_Eddie.)
Post: #87
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Going Active Sara PMS. Was it worth it ?

On Friday 23rd December, I got a call from Ray at Grahams, telling me my Snaxo 2-4-2 was back from Naim, after it had been sent back for checking out and a conversion to Sara operation. This was really a no brainer since the charge for conversion was only £64.00. However a number of capacitors were also changed as a precaution.

This demonstrates why Naim equipment is so sought after. The after service facility offered to the user is beyond compare, let alone musical considerations.
My 135’s are all fully operational again after 2 being returned for servicing during October/November.

During November, Peter had visited with a Volvo Estate full of Naim Fraim boxes.
The whole system was reinstalled on two Fraims, ( which I will cover in a future thread ) and the way was prepared for the completion of the fully Active system.
This entails a daunting prospect of eleven Fraim levels being required, so that each component has a level to itself.

At this stage of the game, I had no idea ( other than knowing Peter wouldn’t have let me do it, if he thought I was wasting my time ) whether this project was going to be fruitful. Some people that tried this some time ago were of the opinion that the passive version was so good that the improvement wrought by going Active were negligible.

At the same time, I knew that the original Scanspeak tweeter could be much improved by the latest Ferrofluid cooled version. This would be likely to have a large impact on what happens.

As geepee has already noted improving the tweeter also improves the bass end of the spectrum, and for good reasons, which will become clearer later on as I discuss the properties of the Active system.

The crucial thing to be aware of though, and I can’t emphasise this enough is that going Active is the LAST thing you want to do. If you haven’t got a top spec SE deck, then forget it. Similarly if your amps are not top spec, then upgrade those first.

In other words if there is any further room for improvement on your LP12 or subsequently the following amplification, then that is where your budget should be directed. Doing it any other way will be the path to unhappiness. Active Saras are likely to be highly revealing of deficiencies further back in the chain. This is all proven hierarchal protocol.

I stuck to this concept religiously, and so, as I approached the moment when all my expectations will be subjected to the acid test, I duly noted the sweaty palms and the taste of fear. A reflection on the journey was a useful pause to give the nerves a chance to recover. Peter has always told me to enjoy the journey and not rush it.
That is very good advice indeed.

The fact is, that it has taken me a year to get to this point. Each upgrade, starting with the deck/arm/cartridge, has been an enjoyable event, raising my expectations of what I wanted from the system as a whole. Sometimes, it has seemed as though fate itself has taken a hand in the way this has all come about. A disaster that subsequently turned into a major change in direction was a seminal point in this process.

The setback that occurred to one of my Saras bass units, losing its dustcap and then later suffering from cone misalignment after I tried to reglue it back was a turning point. This manifested itself as an annoying buzz on any bass instrument.

Peter, as ever, the cavalry, came to the rescue………. he was expecting an elderly pair of Saras into the shop in the near future, as part of a deceased former customers system being sold as part of the estate, by the son.
These were then offered to me for a very reasonable sum, so I could effect a repair.

This gave me, in the end, not only a spare drive unit to repair my defunct one in the DMS pair, but a complete almost mint pair of cabinets to play around with. The notion of going Active then started to form in my plan for where I was going.

So, another pair of 135’s were acquired and then serviced at Naim to restore full performance.

A few weeks later, a chance drop in at Grahams to order a Hydra and a chat with Paul Janove ( another Sara afficianado still using them with enormous pleasure to boot ),
yielded a chance to purchase a 2006 model 2-4-2 Snaxo2 which had been languishing in the stockroom for 18 months. I jumped at this, I can tell you.
Paul reckoned it must have had my name written on it, all that time…………..

It subsequently went back to Naim to be checked out and converted for use with Saras at a peppercorn price IMO.

The last pieces to fall in place followed shortly. These came about after Peter’s successful exhibition at the Whittlebury show, since when I got the chance to buy a whole ex-dem Fraim that was used at the event, once again, Peter saving me some useful spondulicks.

I also needed another power supply to feed the Snaxo. Since I was already using a Hicap2 to power my Superline phonostage it made more sense to buy a Supercap2 to power this through a Burndy which is, by itself a large upgrade and realises the full and considerable potential of what, I would say, is the world’s best phonostage,… and then employ the Hicap to power the Snaxo.
Peter had a suitable 2nd hand unit in stock, complete with Burndy, all ready and waiting…………..fate again? It seems that way, for sure.

Thus, I now had all the equipment plus somewhere to put it all.

The crunch came on Boxing day morning, when the family left me alone for a few hours.
Within a few minutes of connecting the various cables necessary, I had the system up and running at the first attempt. It all worked, and properly, the correct channels in place. My head was saying “Breakfast”, my heart “ just try this first “ my heart won.
A big mistake there, this system was now intent on taking prisoners.

That started a listenathon that didn’t abate until the girls returned at about 9pm. I hadn’t shaved, or eaten……………and,..I was starving, but I didn’t care a jot. This was better than I dared to hope and then some.

“If music be the food of love” came to mind here. The big question being, was it worth it ? Absolutely! …………..Would I do it again? You bet !!

Trying to get across what has changed, or happened is not so easy though. In many ways, this is the hardest review I’ve ever had to do, and yet fundamentally these are the biggest changes I’ve heard in a hifi system, ever.

For example, it eclipses the Active Sara system I heard back in 1983 at the Audio T Show at the Holiday Inn Swiss Cottage. Trounces it, even, but not, surprisingly, in the areas I was expecting, in fact it was the exact opposite. All will be made clearer later on hopefully.

The first thing you ought to know is that I am, and always have been exposed to a lot of live music. I play the guitar and bass guitar, have been in a number of rock/blues groups, and my daughters are both accomplished musicians, multi-instrumentalists and play in concert orchestras and big bands, regularly. I avoid stadium type venues like the plague. Listening to a huge PA is not my idea of live music. Here is a picture of the complete Active system that is now driving my Active Saras.

The system comprises a Peter Swain Signature LP12 with CH Cocabola Artistic plinth, Radikal Dynamik, Keel, Ekos SE with Dynavector DRT XV-1T cartridge.

This feeds a Naim Superline/Supercap phonostage into a Naim NAC 52 Preamp.
Channel splitting Active crossover is carried out by a 242 Snaxo2/HiCap2 feeding 4 Naim NAP 135 Power Amps. Naim Fraim installed and Speaker cable is NAC A5.

I sat down, pen in hand, jotting down thoughts as they came to mind.

The first thing to be written was the word “clarity”. One thing the Saras were always good at was clarity. This, however was not clarity in the usual sense. It was clarity in a musical sense.

I’ve experienced clarity in many forms in music. In fact, some of them, most of them in one way or another, can be very destructive. That razor sharp, etched and crystalline quality with which some digital sources seem to be afflicted, was totally absent here. This was clarity with no artificial edge to it. It falls easy on the ear.

The only way I can describe it, is natural clarity, the difference between hearing a facsimile and then the real thing. The brain subconsciously registers this, computes it and then tells you “ this is real, matey” You don’t need golden ears to appreciate this at all. If someone claps their hand behind your back, you will instantly know it is real, without seeing it. This is the sort of effect I’m trying to get across that I was being made aware of.

One of the tracks played had a tom tom figure being played. The effect of this was that there wasn’t just the sound of the stick hitting the drumskin, it was, to all intents and purposes, the actual stick hitting the drumskin. The note produced, the force being used, the weight of the instrument, even the way it rended the air. All of these events were being reproduced with such natural clarity the effect was to fool the ear into believing the real instrument was being played.

Every instrument being played showed these sort of improvements. Piano for example was more convincing than I’ve ever heard before. The harmonic richness, stability and pitch of each note being portrayed in such a realistic fashion that it suspended disbelief.

At the end of all this, as a result, is a tunefulness that is quite unmistakeable. A gently strummed guitar being as big a benefactor as a flute or a clarinet. If you were a singer, you would have no trouble pitching at all. Dead easy.

These were the first observations…………….there was more to come, much more.

It is, for example, much more organic and colourful. Able to develop a wide ranging range of tonal colours. Far more dynamic at both ends of the spectrum , the term micro dynamic within macro dynamic. The quiet is quieter and the loud is louder.
Inside that, at one and the same time, is any combination for each instrument separately. All effortlessly portrayed………………………..

I was also aware now of what Chris Frankland and Malcolm Steward ( who both were Active users ) used to call “inner detail” . This is a function of live music, that we somehow, take for granted, we will never hear on a hifi and yet here it was.

The biggest gain for me right now is that the system has allowed me access to some of my albums that I have never fully enjoyed.
Two in particular are Jethro Tull albums……….Benefit and Aqualung. I’d always thought these paled beside “This Was” and “Stand Up”. Not any more. They are masterpieces.

These are both being played a lot, at the moment, and I have to admit that I have, in the past, sorely underrated these. They are, in fact, magnificent examples of Ian Anderson’s true status as a genius. And, I fully intend now, to work my way through their entire catalogue ( which I duly bought and shamefully never listened to before ).

Through the Saras, the band emerge as a powerful statement of rock at its zenith. I really get it now. “Locomotive Breath” being, just one classic example, of rock music’s sheer power to excite, and strip away the years from our ageing bodies.
Feel the adrenalin course through you, and the energy of youth once again.
No need to do dodgy substances, just play some Zep mate. Any album, any track.
This is it, the physical, musical equivalent of being steamrollered.
Try to keep still?............... You’d need to be dead from the neck down, and then you’d still move.

Is it the eternal immortality that man has always seeked? You tell me, all I know is that there are few things in life that can do this magic trick.
As the man once sang…”Play on brother”.

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2012-01-03, 21:00
Post: #88
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
I really enjoyed reading your post Dr. Eddie. Great detail and very informative. That was a lot of work rebuilding the Sara speakers and upgrading the Naim amplifiers. The picture of your system looks great, and I like the Fraim audio rack also...thanks for sharing ! ! !

A very classy system indeedCool
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2012-01-03, 22:28
Post: #89
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Great stuff, well done and congratulations on a very interesting project. Now we know what Christmas is really for.I suppose many will be wondering what they will sound like with various Linn amps but that's a bit academic.
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2012-01-04, 02:05
Post: #90
RE: Linn Sara DMS to PMS Procedure
Does this mean you like it?

1 - LP12 SE, KDS, Lejonklou Boazu, JBL 3677s
3 - Piano Disc'd Steinway, ADS, Karin, Klout, Kabers.
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