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New Electronics for my Model 1C's

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My Linn Majik electronics were aging. My Majik Kontrol Preamp display was getting dimmer and dimmer, very difficult to read. I thought about replacing the display, but thought twice. I played vinyl for some friends quite a while back and noticed a hum at higher volumes. I also compared my vinyl setup to my digital setup. With the Linn, the highs and midrange were better than my PS Audio NuWave DSD DAC. The NuWave was better at bass.

I decided to try a brand I haven't owned, Parasound. I ordered and received the P6 Preamp DAC. Jim Curl designs their electronics. They are manufactured and quality controlled in Taiwan. I was still breaking it in, but noticed compared to the Linn, the Parasound was dead quiet, no sound bleed through while selecting on input and turning up volume while other sources were connected and playing. Usually this is an acid test for phono. The bass from the Parasound's phono section was much better than the Linn. Digital and Vinyl were much closer. I noticed at more livelier volume the sound quality started to sound stressed and hard. I wasn't convinced that this was the new Preamp DAC. I suspected it was more of an amplifier preamp compatibility issue. The Linn pieces played well together, including at higher volume. I hadn't heard this. Overall the Linn still sounds faster and more articulate. The Parasound is a bit more forward in the sound stage and stark quiet. How the two makes present the sound is very different. The DAC is similar to my NuWave DSD. Neither of them do all that well with PCM. I did some listening tests and decided resampling PCM to 2xDSD sounds best. I use JRiver MC28 to do this. DSD files aren't resampled and DSD is played through DoP.

The P6 needs a new USB driver. The plug and play driver that's Windows Compatible is restricted to 2xDSD via DoP. I downloaded the ASIO driver available from Parasound's website. It played 4xDSD, but I couldn't get it to work with redbook CD rips. It also had the annoying pop/tick sound when I clicked stop while playing DSD. I decided the WASAPI windows driver sounded better. I use Windows 11 in my HTPCs these days. Parasound doesn't advertise Windows 11 compatibility for their USB drivers.

I decided to try the new Preamp DAC with the companion amp, the A23+. It was about the size and weight of my old Acoustat TNT120 that my Linn 4100 replaced. I burned it in for about 72 hours with either interstation FM noise or the Ayre Irrational but Efficious CD rip on repeat. This is a very satisfying combination. I set the adjustable gain settings set to max. The sound doesn't get hard, it gets loud and brings out more nuances. The setup easily allows my 1Cs to throw a stage beyond where the speakers are located and that's in my small bedroom. It's about 11'x8'8".

I  brought out more 3-dimensionality buy using vibrapods underneath. To couple the pods to the chassis, I cut card board squares to use as shims to lift the units' feet off the shelf.

Vinyl vs. Digital sounds: Vinyl has smoother more natural treble and midrange integration. Digital separates out sounds but vinyl blends them more musically. I didn't realize how good my Project RM-10 and Blackbird vinyl setup sounded until now.  But, with my wireless desktop and HP windows 11 HTPCs, it's far more convenient to play music as well as play other video and programming.

Unfortunately throughout this, My Classe preamp in the living room lost it's phono section. So that's the next replacement. It's about as old as the Linn Preamp. I've also convinced myself, it's the weakest link in my reference system. Time to start shopping for a replacement.

Parasound Installed.jpg


A23+ Installed.jpg

Edited by Boom Boom
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