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New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
2012-10-11, 19:49
Post: #1
New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
Hi Guys, I just got a new Akurate DSM on monday and wanted to get some advice on the sound.

Before this I had a weiss dac2 running into a Headroom Desktop Pro (a very good headphone amp that is also a pre) into a Linn Klout driving Harbeth Compact 7 es3's. I was actually very very happy with the sound. I was also running a clearaudio performance tt into a musical phenomenon II phono. (fairly inexpensive but good sounding phono stage)

I've always liked linn gear and the Klout made a huge difference in my system. With the ADSM I saw an opportunity to reduce my box count and get a remote out of it. dac/pre/phono => akurte dsm. Also I wanted to get the computer out of the living room as the weiss dac2 needs firewire so the computer can't be too far away.

I jumped on the Akurate DSM after I read couple people who upgraded from a weiss dac2 to a akurate ds and said it was a big improvement. This ADSM was a new in box unit but previously purchased, so from an individual not a dealer.

Anyways, the gist of it is that I'm quite disappointed with the sound.

At the end of the first night of listening I felt the sound was too lean, too bright in the mid treble, and kind of harsh. Overall I just didn't enjoy listening to it at all. The very first couple of tracks I heard I thought it was more detailed and the bass better controlled but I think that was just the leanness and brightness.

Anyways, I'm really hoping it's burn in, but to be honest I don't really believe in that. I've been running it when I'm at work but so far after 3 days I haven't noticed any change. My fingers are crossed as in another thread someone with a KDS renewal said there was a night and day difference after 50 hrs.

So failing that, do you guys think there's maybe a mismatch with the ADSM and Klout? Is there some setting with the digital volume I can adjust? I didn't really see anything in the konfigure program. I'm just sharing as I can't believe a unit this expensive, almost $10k USD would sound this way. I mean it certainly doesn't sound broken or anything but just not very good. Really hoping it's burn in but why should it not sound amazing from the factory?

Thanks in advance for any advice or thoughts.


mike
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2012-10-11, 20:02 (This post was last modified: 2012-10-11 20:10 by Kubular.)
Post: #2
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
Not sure this will be the response you're after but I used to feel the same way about my Dad's original ADS. Having said that, whenever I sat down and actually just played it I found that either the sound changed or I got used to it and it seemed a lot less harsh and a lot more musical.

I now have his old board in the form of an Akurate Renew and can honestly say that it sounds amazing and not at all the way I found it sounded in his living room. Perhaps my flat just sounds better. Wink

Also, I heard his ADS after upgrade and felt something similar... still bright and harsh but heard it briefly a week or two later and it seemed a lot smoother and much more easy going.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. Sad

Also, one last thing (may not be relevant):

When I first got my Majik DSI I felt something a bit similar... not at all what it sounded like when I heard it dem'd. But I'd been turning it off at the PSU every evening when I went to sleep and then turning it back on every afternoon when I got in from work. I forgot to do this one night and found the next day that it sounded significantly better (after 24 hours of being activated). I started leaving it in standby after that. Every time I've had to turn it off at the mains it's always seemed a little out of sorts.

MDS-I -> ADS/D -> KK/D -> A4200/D -> K110s
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2012-10-11, 20:20
Post: #3
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
So the system you're using now is:

ADSM > Klout > Harbeth Compact 7 ES3s

Is that correct?

What kind of files are you playing through it?

How does it compare with the TT as a source?

What sort of volume levels are you using?
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2012-10-11, 20:25
Post: #4
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
You may need to wait a while...

I bought a used ADS/1 recently, which had been unused for about a year. Sounded okay to begin with, but not the quantum leap over my Ikemi that I had hoped for.

About six weeks in, it noticeably improved, I'm now very happy.

Every silver lining has a cloud
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2012-10-11, 22:18
Post: #5
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
HI Rolandhills,
yes that's my setup now: ADSM > Klout > Harbeth Compact 7 ES3s. I'm playing mostly apple lossless and flac. But a few mp3's here and there. Everything I tried are recordings I know quite well. With the ADSM's default output attenuation of -12db, I'm running the volume between 65-70ish depending on the track. Last night I tried the higher attenuation of -24db in Kontrol, and correspondingly used higher volume settings to get the same output, thinking maybe that way has less digital volume attenuation, but I didn't notice any difference.

Using my TT and old phono stage, and the ADSM as a pre, LP's sound similar to before, but a little bit brighter. It has the same leaner and brighter character as the digital side, but not nearly to that extent. I'd say maybe 15-20%. Smile

I tried the internal MC phono of the ADSM, but it's impedance is not ideal for my cartridge (sumiko celebration) which prefers 1k ohms. The result was smooth but a little muffled and rolled off, and the bass sounded a bit congested. Kind of what I expected with the ADSM's 180 ohm MC loading.

@David and Kubular, thanks for the replies. I'm hoping it'll get better with more burn in. But if not, it would be hard to me to keep the unit I think.. My friend joked that maybe I need a tube amp to balance it out, but the Klout has always been smooth and never harsh in my experience.

One thing I have noticed is that images and soundstage are more solid, distinct, and three dimensional, which is nice. But the harshness is a big problem for me.
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2012-10-11, 22:24
Post: #6
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
At those volume levels you shouldn't be having trouble with the digital volume control. What interconnects and power leads are you using?
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2012-10-11, 22:31
Post: #7
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
Is it earthed?

MDS-I -> ADS/D -> KK/D -> A4200/D -> K110s
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2012-10-11, 22:34
Post: #8
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
I've heard the ADSM, and I would not describe it as harsh! And through a Klout, definately not. I'm not familiar with your speakers, so cannot comment on the tonal balance.
There may be an issue with your digital music files, the ADSM could have an issue, or, you may not yet be used to the new sound over what you had before. I'd give it a few weeks first, then if you are still concerned, try and take it into a Linn dealer and compare it with their dem unit.

The last time I heard an AdSM was with a 2200 amp and a pair of Majik Isobariks. Nice....... Cool
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2012-10-11, 22:37
Post: #9
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
I'm using the power cord that came with the ADSM. And my interconnects are Acoustic Zen Silver Reference. Which are silver. Smile

I'm going to try my weiss through it later tonight to see how that is.
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2012-10-11, 22:44
Post: #10
RE: New Akurate DSM - seeking advice
(2012-10-11 22:37)mikesh Wrote:  I'm using the power cord that came with the ADSM. And my interconnects are Acoustic Zen Silver Reference. Which are silver. Smile

I'm going to try my weiss through it later tonight to see how that is.

Try a pair of Linn interconnects between the ADSM and the Klout.
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