Linn Selekt DSM with Integrated Power Amp and Katalyst Arrives

Growing up in a home where the hi-fi system was a central part of daily life and access to music was primarily through the 2,000+ LP collection my father gave safe harbour to even through the rise of CDs, I’m not unfamiliar with turntables.

My dad was a Technics turntable man himself, but as I got back into music in a big way in my 30s, it was Linn that I eventually aligned myself with for analog playback: the LP12 Majik to be specific. There’s something about its sonic presentation with the right cartridge that puts me instantly at ease.

Same thing happened to me more than decade ago when I would visit my old friend whose system was based around a Linn Majik integrated amplifier (and still is): I clocked that there was something that vibrated just right for me with the frequency of the Linn sound.

Time travel forward to today and we see the arrival of one of the company’s latest offerings – the Selekt DSM with Integrated Power Amp and Katalyst DAC architecture upgrade option. An all-in-one network streamer/DAC (no wireless, PCM 24-bit/192kHz support – DSD64 and DSD128 capabilities with the Katalyst upgrade) a dedicated MM and MC phono stage and digital preamplifier section, a Class D amplifier section capable of 50 Watts/8 Ohms and 100 Watts/4 Ohms is Roon Tested, features Internet Radio via TuneIn and Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify streaming services support built-in and Apple Airplay.

It’s a solution for those individuals whose box count could be on the rise and are looking to streamline operations, or for the person who is looking to get into (or back into) high-fidelity and wants something that can do-it-all and has a long shelf life with plenty of future-proof built in or that possesses a logical and budget-friendly upgrade path to accommodate the ceaseless technological march forward. As far as Linn’s product tiers are concerned the Select DSM fills the gap between upscale Akurate and entry-level Majik offerings. Current MSRP is $8,625 USD.

Digital inputs consist of an Ethernet/LAN port, HDMI ARC (70-inch LED TV anyone?), Toslink, SPDIF and USB2 with one line level input along with the two aforementioned phono inputs on the analog side.

The unit is heavy, solid and has superb fit and finish in its construction and visual chassis details – something about it makes you want to touch and use it tactilely. Linn brand ambassador Michael O’Rourke from the UK visited me to set up the Selekt DSM on Friday with their proprietary Space Optimisation DSP system so that I can get the most out of it. Linn says “Space Optimisation uses sophisticated acoustic modelling to build up a complete picture of how your speakers, their placement, and the unique characteristics of your room interact to affect the sound you hear. Whatever speakers you use, and however you’ve designed your room, you’ll hear a performance that’s optimised uniquely for you.”

After hooking up the unit and letting it play while O’Rourke meticulously measured most of the interior of our home over the next few hours, I was able to do an initial A/B comparison of the Select DSM with and without a simplified implementation of Space Optimisation (the full implementation will be forthcoming once the data is analyzed by the Linn mothership and the other speakers I have on hand for reviewing are added to Linn’s DSP database) and I can say that even with the simplified Optimisation enabled the difference in sound quality, sound-staging, timbre and overall air and decay to notes was an order of magnitude improved.

Michael O'Rourke of Linn.

I’ll be interviewing engineering staff at Linn regarding Space Optimization further for the full Selekt DSM review.

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volvic's picture

I was 24 at the time and wanted nothing but Linn in my hi-fi system. Thirty-two years later and the same holds true, my hi-fi is made up of a newer LP-12, and all Linn electronics including speakers. No, it is not the best, accurate or razor detailed music producer, but it does allow me to enjoy my music; critically or as background. I own an SME 10 and while it displays all the attributes of a superior sounding turntable to the Linn, the LP12 is more musical and enjoyable. While I have no interest in this product and have not been enthused with Linn's direction the last few years. I still am interested to hear a detailed review and do hope the company under Gilad has a successful future.

Topher's picture

Has Audiostream ever reviewed any of the Linn DSMs, like the Majik, the Akurate or the Exakt?

Rafe Arnott's picture
I did a search and didn't see any previous reviews of Linn streamers or digital-based components.
Topher's picture

Yes, I did a search too and came up with nothing, but website searches are never perfect so I thought I'd write a message. It seems a bit odd to me, since Linn were one of the first big 'heritage' companies to really embrace computer-based audio. Perhaps ML was not much of a fan. Or maybe it's a US distribution thing. Or that they sell themselves as more of a lifestyle brand than a nerdy hobbyist one–as suggested by all the bougie dinner parties in their promotional photos, where you can only see the products if you look past the canapes. (This isn't really a dig at them–after all, the golden age of hi-fi was all about lifestyle!) In any case, I'm looking forward to your Selekt review.