Back in the good old days, the Linn range was made up of sources, amps, and speakers. You built a system of balance around these components – from the source downwards –often carefully guided by the hand of a good dealer. Then came the interwebs, and the potential for putting together an unbalanced system became a very real threat, as those advisers moved from ‘experts’ to ‘some outspoken guy’. To its credit, Linn Products effectively sidestepped the potential for unbalanced systems by creating a series of subsets or tiers of Linn performance; Majik, Akurate and Klimax. Majik is the core and traditional entry point to the whole Linn concept (although its Selekt, System 3 and System 5 active systems might argue that statement). The range comprises a variant of the classic LP12 turntable, a pair of stand-mount and a pair of floorstanding loudspeakers, and an integrated amplifier/streamer known as the Majik DSM. The previous Majik DSM was Linn’s best selling product, so its replacement was viewed with some trepidation. Fortunately, the new Majik DSM sounds every bit of its £2,950 asking price.
It’s been over a decade since Linn launched its first Majik DS-I all-in-one network player – and the previous Majik DSM had been in production since 2013 – but the Majik DSM is a rather different proposition to the identically-named product it replaces. It’s more wide-ranging in its functionality, more up-market and up-to-date in the technologies it deploys. It wants to be the engine, the heart and the brain of your entire audio/visual home entertainment system. Add speakers (and possibly a Majik LP12) and you’ll be good to go. There are no fewer than four HDMI 2.0 inputs, all of which are 4K-compatible – so audio information from games consoles, Blu-ray players, TVs or anything else with an HDMI output can be stripped from the signal by the Majik DSM before the video information is passed to a display by the Linn’s HDMI output.
There are further physical connections in the shape of an Ethernet socket (though Wi-Fi is, naturally, integrated), a USB-B input and a Toslink input. The digital coaxial socket is assignable as an input or an output, and the stereo RCA input can similarly be defined as either line-level or moving-magnet phono stage. A pair of line-level stereo RCA outputs, binding posts for a single pair of speakers and a big ‘power on/off’ switch complete the line-up on the DSM’s rear panel.
As well as the physical socket array, there’s Bluetooth connectivity on board too, while Wi-Fi brings Apple AirPlay and Roon into the Majik DSM orbit. The Kazoo-powered Android control app allows for integration of internet radio (for TuneIn or CalmRadio subscribers), as well as Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal accounts. Not Tidal Masters, though, oh goodness me, no; Linn is ‘chilly’ on the subject... make that liquid nitrogen-grade ‘chilly’.