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Katalyst - tech question to Linn
2016-09-24, 16:09 (This post was last modified: 2016-09-24 17:38 by Music Lover.)
Post: #1
Katalyst - tech question to Linn
Hi Linn!
Appreciate if you can elaborate on these five key areas of improvement.

Reference Level
Now completely isolated from noise to produce a high-stability Reference Level voltage that generates the signal’s amplitude without variation.

Independent Power Supplies
Independent, isolated power supplies are tailored for each process, so feedback from one process cannot influence the performance of another, resulting in far lower distortion.

Data Optimisation
Linn-designed data optimisation stage that prepares the digital signal for conversion with greater accuracy, minimising errors right at the start of the process.

Master Clock
A single high precision clock with its own independent power supply ensures greater timing accuracy throughout.

Output Driver
The new ultra-low distortion analogue output driver prepares the delicate analogue signal for transmission out of the device, making it less susceptible to noise and degradation.

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2016-09-25, 11:47
Post: #2
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-24 16:09)Music Lover Wrote:  Hi Linn!
Appreciate if you can elaborate on these five key areas of improvement.

I'll try:

Quote:Reference Level
Now completely isolated from noise to produce a high-stability Reference Level voltage that generates the signal’s amplitude without variation.

All digital-to-analog conversion processes require some sort of reference level to determine the scaling of the analog signal. The analog output signal is the product (literally a multiplication) of the reference level and the digital input signal, so there is a direct link between the quality of the reference level and the quality of the analog output signal. An optical analogy would be the light source in a projector - any variation in the brightness or colour of the projector lamp will have a direct effect on the quality of the projected image.

The Katalyst DAC uses a switched-capacitor conversion process, so the reference level in our case is a voltage source. Commonly, this reference voltage is derived from a shared analog power supply, but this can lead to increased distortion as the analog output signal modulates the power supply voltage. The Katalyst architecture enables us to completely isolate the reference level from all external influences, creating the best possible starting point for the conversion process.

Quote:Independent Power Supplies
Independent, isolated power supplies are tailored for each process, so feedback from one process cannot influence the performance of another, resulting in far lower distortion.

There are many different processes involved in digital-to-analog conversion, and each one has it's own particular power requirements. Digital processes, for example, require high levels of current for very short periods of time, whilst analog processes require very low levels of noise and disturbance.

The Katalyst DAC architecture allows each process within the conversion chain to have its own dedicated power supply. By tailoring each power supply to meet the specific requirements of each individual process we can both isolate the noisy processes (e.g. modulation), and improve the performance of sensitive processes (e.g. clock distribution).

Quote:Data Optimisation
Linn-designed data optimisation stage that prepares the digital signal for conversion with greater accuracy, minimising errors right at the start of the process.

Data optimisation is a marketing-friendly term for upsampling and digital volume control. In the Katalyst DAC we upsample to 768kHz/32-bits before sending the data to the conversion process. Upsampling to 768kHz allows us to take control of the audio spectrum all the way up to 384kHz, eliminating the conversion artefacts that may otherwise be generated by more resource-limited upsampling processes. Delivering the data at 32-bit resolution means that the digital volume control is now essentially lossless for volume settings above 38.

Quote:Master Clock
A single high precision clock with its own independent power supply ensures greater timing accuracy throughout.

As described earlier, the reference level defines the amplitude accuracy of each converted sample, but it is the Master Clock that defines the timing accuracy. Any variation in the timing of each clock edge will translate directly into timing errors in the analog output signal. The Katalyst DAC uses the same ultra-low jitter clock as our previous generation DAC, and as before, it has its own dedicated power supply to isolate it from external influences.

Quote:Output Driver
The new ultra-low distortion analogue output driver prepares the delicate analogue signal for transmission out of the device, making it less susceptible to noise and degradation.

All the care taken in the conversion process would be for naught if we didn't also take the same care when delivering our hard won analog signal into the outside world. The Katalyst DAC in the Klimax DS/DSM uses the same low-distortion transformer-isolated output stage as previous designs, but we have improved the transformer drive amplifier to achieve even higher levels of performance.
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2016-09-25, 12:05 (This post was last modified: 2016-09-25 12:18 by Briain.)
Post: #3
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-25 11:47)murrays Wrote:  Data optimisation is a marketing-friendly term for upsampling and digital volume control. In the Katalyst DAC we upsample to 768kHz/32-bits before sending the data to the conversion process. Upsampling to 768kHz allows us to take control of the audio spectrum all the way up to 384kHz, eliminating the conversion artefacts that may otherwise be generated by more resource-limited upsampling processes. ~

Thank you for the excellent break-down of these topics (and thus for translating the 'marketing-friendly terms' into the marketing-hostile ones that some of us prefer)! Big Grin

(2016-09-25 11:47)murrays Wrote:  ~ Delivering the data at 32-bit resolution means that the digital volume control is now essentially lossless for volume settings above 38.

As a staunch KK fanatic, I must admit to being very interested in hearing the results achieved by the above change (as well as hearing the results achieved from all of the other changes, of course)!

Bri Smile

KDS/1 (music) + ADSM (AV) -> KK/1 -> 350A + miniDSP time & phase aligned 345 rear sub
KDS Renew -> Homebrew fixed attenuator -> 2250/D -> 212 and Sizmik front sub (bedroom)
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2016-09-25, 12:14
Post: #4
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-25 11:47)murrays Wrote:  Delivering the data at 32-bit resolution means that the digital volume control is now essentially lossless for volume settings above 38.
Is it true for previous generation of Linn DS?
And why you chose DAC AK4497 for Katalyst? You consider it the best?

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2016-09-25, 13:42
Post: #5
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
God I love Linn's openness - it's a breath of fresh air compared with many others in the industry.

Rik

http://www.rikwatson.com
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2016-09-25, 15:22
Post: #6
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-25 13:42)Rik Wrote:  God I love Linn's openness - it's a breath of fresh air compared with many others in the industry.

Rik

AgreedSmile when they say it sounds better, it usually is.

Thanks Murrays for your candour .

Avalon

Akurate Exakt DSM,2 Akurate Exaktbox 6two Akurate 4200 power amps, klimax chakra twin(Dk), Akubarik High Gloss Rosewood speakers,nordost Tyr, ipad 2 & KazooServer Minimserver and Asset server running on a Qnap 251, backed up to remote Qnap 231. Sonos for multiroom. SPACED OUT
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2016-09-25, 15:37
Post: #7
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-25 13:42)Rik Wrote:  God I love Linn's openness - it's a breath of fresh air compared with many others in the industry.

Rik

So true...Smile
Respect!

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2016-09-25, 15:39
Post: #8
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
Thanks a lot for these details, Murrays!

Given all these improvements, should I sell my Akurate Exakt system and buy a Klimax DSM (converting my Akubariks back to passive)? Or should I wait until there is a Katalyst upgrade available for my AExaktbox10?

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2016-09-25, 16:03 (This post was last modified: 2016-09-25 16:06 by Briain.)
Post: #9
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-25 15:39)Macallan Wrote:  Thanks a lot for these details, Murrays!

Given all these improvements, should I sell my Akurate Exakt system and buy a Klimax DSM (converting my Akubariks back to passive)? Or should I wait until there is a Katalyst upgrade available for my AExaktbox10?

Phil answered a similar question in another thread, and from memory, I think that the gist of it was that the Akurate Exakt's removal of drive unit and crossover phase anomalies provides such a fundamental improvement that it would still make for a far better sounding system than any passive alternatives, even if that passive system's source was a KDS/3. So basically, that would mean keep your Akurate Exakt system as it is, then see what the future brings to the party, I guess?

Synchronousere apologies to Phil if that's not precisely what he said (hence my use of the word 'gist') but at the moment, I don't have time to dredge the forum to find, re-read and link to that post (though it was very recent and I'm sure a search will swiftly find it).

Bri Smile

KDS/1 (music) + ADSM (AV) -> KK/1 -> 350A + miniDSP time & phase aligned 345 rear sub
KDS Renew -> Homebrew fixed attenuator -> 2250/D -> 212 and Sizmik front sub (bedroom)
MDSI -> 104C (awaiting installation in my kitchen)
MDSI -> Shahinian Arc (installed at my mum's house)
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2016-09-25, 16:04
Post: #10
RE: Katalyst - tech question to Linn
(2016-09-25 11:47)murrays Wrote:  
Quote:Master Clock
A single high precision clock with its own independent power supply ensures greater timing accuracy throughout.

As described earlier, the reference level defines the amplitude accuracy of each converted sample, but it is the Master Clock that defines the timing accuracy. Any variation in the timing of each clock edge will translate directly into timing errors in the analog output signal. The Katalyst DAC uses the same ultra-low jitter clock as our previous generation DAC, and as before, it has its own dedicated power supply to isolate it from external influences.

Hi Murrays,

I haven't understood what the improvement in regards to the Master Clock is. It seems you are using the same as before and the power supply is isolates as well as before?
Thanks
BY
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