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Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

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ConcreteFloater's picture
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Hello.

I currently have a pair of Tannoy Revolution Signature DC6Ts and a Rega Brio-R amp. I want to add a streamer, to play high res files from my Synology NAS.

I am very tempted by the Linn Sneaky Music DS. I would be very grateful if anyone has had any experiences with this DS through the Rega amp. More importantly though, I'd be very grateful if you have any first-hand opinions of the day-to-day usability of it; control aps, how it manages large NAS collections, any frustrations, etc.

Audio quality is very important although to me, in the case of a streamer, usability is even more important. I have searched the forums but can't find any true user opinions formed over month of living with it.

I'm new to the concept of streaming music to my HiFi and would be grateful for any thoughts or experiences.

Many thanks,

CF

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jamesh764's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

I've used the Linn Sneaky DS for four years now.  To begin with, the usability was a bit shaky, but it has really improved, especially over the last couple of years.  The firmware can be updated (for free) over the internet as and when upgrades are available.  When I first got a DS, it would just play songs from a media server and that was it.  Over the years, Tune-in internet radio was added, followed by Songcast which allows you to stream music from other Linn systems in your house, then Apple airplay support was added, and then a better version of Songcast which works like a computer soundcard, so the sounds from your computer (e.g. Youtube, iPlayer etc) can be streamed directly to the DS.

The free Kinsky control point software works on Android and iOS devices as well as traditional computers.  It is reasonably quick navigating my music collection (around 1000 albums).  I used to use the Plugplayer control app on my phone, and it was much slower.

Unlike Sonos/Logitech, the Linn is not wireless - it needs a physical connection to your router.  I used a wireless bridge for a while, but it dropped out quite a bit, especially with high resolution files.

I also have a Majik DS-I, which has a lot more flexibility than the Sneaky, e.g it has analogue inputs, a phono stage, Toslink and SP-DIF inputs etc.  It can also digitally stream my record player to the Sneaky DS.

The best thing about the DS players is the sound quality.  It's the most natural sound I have heard from a digital source. The fact that extra features have been added since I bought the DS are a bonus that I wasn't expecting.

ConcreteFloater's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

jamesh,

Thank you very much for your detailed reply. That was just the kind of information I was looking for. It has removed some of the concerns I had about its usability.

I especially like your report that it has a very natural sound. That is very important to me.

Time to audition one I think!

CF

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

Another vote for the Sneaky which is a very good piece of kit - try and get a listen through your own kit.

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CnoEvil's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

jamesh764 wrote:

I've used the Linn Sneaky DS for four years now.  To begin with, the usability was a bit shaky, but it has really improved, especially over the last couple of years.  The firmware can be updated (for free) over the internet as and when upgrades are available.  When I first got a DS, it would just play songs from a media server and that was it.  Over the years, Tune-in internet radio was added, followed by Songcast which allows you to stream music from other Linn systems in your house, then Apple airplay support was added, and then a better version of Songcast which works like a computer soundcard, so the sounds from your computer (e.g. Youtube, iPlayer etc) can be streamed directly to the DS.

The free Kinsky control point software works on Android and iOS devices as well as traditional computers.  It is reasonably quick navigating my music collection (around 1000 albums).  I used to use the Plugplayer control app on my phone, and it was much slower.

Unlike Sonos/Logitech, the Linn is not wireless - it needs a physical connection to your router.  I used a wireless bridge for a while, but it dropped out quite a bit, especially with high resolution files.

I also have a Majik DS-I, which has a lot more flexibility than the Sneaky, e.g it has analogue inputs, a phono stage, Toslink and SP-DIF inputs etc.  It can also digitally stream my record player to the Sneaky DS.

The best thing about the DS players is the sound quality.  It's the most natural sound I have heard from a digital source. The fact that extra features have been added since I bought the DS are a bonus that I wasn't expecting.

Hi James, if it's not too cheaky, I would love your contribution on my Linn DS thread here:
http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/the-linn-ds-dsm-thread?page=1

In particular I would like to hear your thoughts on how the Sneaky compared to comparable products, and how close (percentage wise) it gets to the Majik DS, as a source.

Many thanks Cno

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Neuphonix's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

Hi CF,

I can't comment on the sneaky myself, but have recently become an owner of an AkurateDS.

Given some of the feedback that I'd found online I did have a few reservations about the ease of use. To be honest with you though, having lived with it for a couple of months now, it has been great.

Few things to keep in mind:

1) As mentioned, you will ideally have a wired ethernet connection. Wireless is possible via airplay, but some of the feedback on the Linn site seems to indicate that it still has some wrinkles to be ironed out.

2) How will you store your music? You might have to consider the added expense of buying a NAS drive. Linn seem to recommend the QNAP brand, but others will work.

3) There is some time & thought to be given to how you will manage your digital library. If you have massive amounts of music like I do it's worth putting in some effort as how best to store & manage this.

But all in all, I can highly recommend the Linn DS. I love browsing music on my ipad & using tunein/spotify is also fun. 

ConcreteFloater's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

All very useful replies. Thank you.

I will definitely do my best to have a listen at home. The beast way to be certain I know.

Neuphonix, I have both a NAS and a wired connection ready to go, but you have an interesting point about how to organise it all.

I have to admit though, I'm starting to consider the Majik DSM. I can see a few benefits; I could sell my Rega Brio amp and connect my RP3 turntable directly to it. It would mean one less box and I could route my AV front channels directly through it to my DC6Ts. They are shared with my Pioneer SC-LX81 amp.

It will be interesting to hear what the phono stage is like on it compared to the Brio. From what I have heard it is a notable step up from the Sneaky as far as streaming is concerned, I wander where the phono stage and amp stand? It could be a neat solution.

Has anyone tried an RP3 through the Majik DSM?

CF

 

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Neuphonix's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

Sounds like you are half way there already.

If you have already upgraded in your head from a sneaky to a majik just make sure you don't even consider listening to the Akurate! That's what I did doh!

Not totally sold on the DSM solution, you do read a varying range of opinions about the Linn amplifier sound, not for everyone.

Certainly works from the one less box point of view & the added flexibility of additional inputs, but you would absolutely want to do some side by side listening before you commited in that direction.

Good luck, let us know how the listening goes.

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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

Neuphonix wrote:

Sounds like you are half way there already.

If you have already upgraded in your head from a sneaky to a majik just make sure you don't even consider listening to the Akurate! That's what I did doh!

Not totally sold on the DSM solution, you do read a varying range of opinions about the Linn amplifier sound, not for everyone.

Certainly works from the one less box point of view & the added flexibility of additional inputs, but you would absolutely want to do some side by side listening before you commited in that direction.

Good luck, let us know how the listening goes.

It's reassuring to know that there is someone who is the other side of the world, that thinks like I do....it means we have the planet covered! shifty

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ConcreteFloater's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

I horrify myself at how easily I justify allowing my budget to grow the more a read and listen! My problem, like many I'm sure, is that once I've heard 'incredible' it's extremely difficult to live with 'very good'. I therefore have absolutely no intention of listening to the Akurate!

An interesting point about the Linn amp in the DSM. I'm curious to hear the DS through my Rega Brio amp and compare that to the DSM direct. That may be my first side-by-side. I'll let you know...

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gregvet's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

I think if I had the choice I would keep the Rega amp and disable the amp in the Linn, as I dont think you will find the Linn amp as good as the rega. 

 

I am very happy for you to find the opposite tho!

 

That doesnt help the budget tho, does it  doh!

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Neuphonix's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

[/quote]

It's reassuring to know that there is someone who is the other side of the world, that thinks like I do....it means we have the planet covered! shifty[/quote]

 

I keep waiting for you to fess up & admit that you are a board memeber at MF & Linn! Wink

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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

Neuphonix wrote:

I keep waiting for you to fess up & admit that you are a board memeber at MF & Linn! Wink

So many boards....so little time! ohhh sure

Ps When you're right...you're right!! shifty

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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

gregvet wrote:

I think if I had the choice I would keep the Rega amp and disable the amp in the Linn, as I dont think you will find the Linn amp as good as the rega. 

That too would be my worry, but not because the Rega is necessarily "better", but because its presentation may suit more....could of course be completely wrong.

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Neuphonix's picture
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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

CnoEvil wrote:

Neuphonix wrote:

I keep waiting for you to fess up & admit that you are a board memeber at MF & Linn! Wink

So many boards....so little time! ohhh sure Ps When you're right...you're right!! shifty

Sorry, totally forgot about your committments for KEF as well!!! Cool

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RE: Linn Sneaky - Hands-on experiences

Neuphonix wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

Neuphonix wrote:

I keep waiting for you to fess up & admit that you are a board memeber at MF & Linn! Wink

So many boards....so little time! ohhh sure Ps When you're right...you're right!! shifty

Sorry, totally forgot about your committments for KEF as well!!! Cool

silenced

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