How To

Get Linn Exakt into a B&W 802D


Linn is rolling out its Space Optimisation software for a range of third party loudspeakers. This room optimisation tech was released with the Exakt system last year and is now incorporated in Linn’s full range of DS and DSM streamers. The speaker brands that Linn’s engineers have worked on are Bowers & Wilkins, KEF, Spendor, Monitor Audio, ProAc and Quad with profiles available for 40 models so far. This is not however a collaboration but a feature of Linn streamers that can be used with certain speaker models.
Linn’s Exakt active DSP is also being rolled out to include third party loudspeaker brands. We saw this with the Kudos Titan 808 last month and now the company has to profiled two models from Bowers & Wilkins so that they can be Exakted.

AKDS Blk front 300dpi

The Majik, Akurate and Klimax streamers have also been upgraded with new clock architecture and improvements in audio circuitry layouts. Upgrades that can be applied to DS and DSM units already in the field. All the DSM players now have the facility to be upgraded to Exakt spec (Exaklink RJ45 connectors on the back panel below).
Space Optimisation is Linn’s approach to room optimisation, one that adapts the characteristics of the respone without recourse to measuring both room and loudspeaker simultaneously with a mic. Usefully it can be applied to speakers without modification so long as they have been profiled by Linn. Space Optimisation+ is an enhanced version of this technology that is integrated into Exakt DSM streamers and goes further by allowing the materials in the room to be taken into account. For instance what the walls and floors are made of and how much glazing it has. This is an attempt at predicting how much reflection/absorption there will be so that the loudspeaker’s output can be tailored to deliver a more even tonal response.



Because no-one else does anything quite like Exakt it takes a bit of understanding but essentially it is a DSP crossover that also attempts to iron out the flaws in the ultimately quite crude technology of transducing an electrical signal into sound by compensating for distortions in the drivers themselves. Converting any speaker to Exakt operation therefore requires that its crossover be bypassed so that the DSP handles all aspects of signal processing and crossover points before handing the signal over to a channel of amplification per speaker way – a pair of three-way speakers requires six channels of power amplification. So far Space Optimisation+ is only available on speakers which have Exakt support.


802 Diamond Cherrywood Period


Linn has made an Exakt profile for the Nautilus but chose the B&W 802 Diamond (above, at home) to demonstrate Exakt and its Space Optimisation+ system because it’s one of the best selling high end speakers on the market. However when I asked Bowers & Wilkins whether it would be modifying this model for Exakt operation, essentially removing or bypassing the crossover, they said that this had not been discussed. Further investigation revealed that the work would be done by a Linn dealer.

Prices for the upgraded Klimax DS and Akurate DS streamers “will increase slightly” while Majik DS price changes will vary with country of sale. No price has been given for converting an 802 Diamond to Exakt operation.

Jason Kennedy

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