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Linn Exakt and Space Optimisation

Linn Exakt and Space Optimisation

 

The Exakt revolution

Exakt technology delivers a breakthrough in audio performance; the most direct connection ever made between you and the artist. It extends the lossless digital signal path further than ever before — eliminating sources of noise and distortion.

So what’s so wrong with the traditional analogue signal path?

Even the best analogue hi-fi systems suffer from loss at each stage of the signal’s journey. Analogue components introduce loss in two forms: noise and distortion. Loss is inevitable at each analogue stage of the traditional hi-fi system

 

Then how is the Exakt signal path different?

Exakt keeps the signal in the digital domain for longer and removes several lossy analogue stages. The sources of distortion and noise that were previously present in the player, pre-amp, crossover and analogue cables have now all been eliminated. Exakt keeps the signal digital right up until the last possible stage

 

Exakt preserves the lossless digital signal perfectly all the way from the player, right through the crossover and volume controls. The signal is only converted to analogue at the final amplification stage, where separate amplifiers are given the maximum amount of musical information to feed each drive unit. This can be achieved using an integrated Exakt speaker (illustrated above) or using a separate Exaktbox and external amplification.

Exakt Link – Why so special?

In order to deliver the digital signal losslessly to the speaker, Linn developed a new protocol — Exakt Link — achieving what no existing standard could:

Accuracy of data

Accuracy of data transmission is fundamental to any data link as errors lead to inaccuracies in playback. Exakt Link has the ability to losslessly transmit 8 channels of 24-bit 192 kHz Studio Master.

Exceptionally low jitter

Jitter has long been the enemy of pitch-accurate digital music reproduction because it impacts on musical timing. Exakt eclipses even our own market-leading DS performance by delivering a level of jitter almost half that of the Klimax DS. This ensures the timing of the music as it reaches your ears is better than ever.

Extreme precision synchronisation between speakers

Linn has led the field in high precision multi-room synchronisation through the development of our Songcast protocol. Synchronising speakers in the same room requires even greater precision. Exakt Link delivers digital synchronisation so precise that the variation in timing between speakers has been measured at just 25.4 pico-seconds, the time it takes for sound to travel less than 9 millionths of a millimeter or the equivalent of your watch losing 1 second in 5000 years!. This extreme precision ensures you hear perfect timing from your speakers.

Eliminating loss in design

Exakt eliminates the ‘magnitude’ and ‘phase’ distortion inherent in traditional crossover and drive unit design. By splitting the signal digitally, and incorporating the characteristics of each drive unit, Exakt has made truly phase-linear speakers a reality. So what you hear is a far more faithful reproduction of the music as it was recorded.

Distortion in analogue crossovers

Loudspeakers use a crossover to split the analogue signal into the parts each drive unit can reproduce.

 


 

A typical crossover design

However, in the analogue world, it is impossible to implement this crossover design with absolute precision. This is due to the introduction of two types of distortion: magnitude and phase.

Magnitude distortion

Due to manufacturing tolerances, every analogue component is slightly different. This means that every analogue crossover in every speaker performs differently. This leads to variance in the crossover point, resulting in certain frequencies being louder or quieter than intended. This difference from design to reality is magnitude distortion and it occurs in all analogue crossovers.

Magnitude distortion in analogue crossovers

Passive crossovers suffer from the most significant variation at the crossover point. Small variations in each component add together, leading to a wide variation in performance.  Magnitude distortion occurs in a passive crossover and is shown below.

 

Aktiv Crossovers

Active crossovers improve the accuracy of the crossover as they operate at lower voltage and current levels, reducing the tolerances of the analogue components. This reduces the amount of magnitude error, but magnitude distortion still occurs.  There is still magnitude distortion in an aktiv crossover but it is much smaller than the passive crossover.

Exakt eliminates magnitude distortion

Exakt crossovers split the signal in the digital domain. This guarantees accuracy, as there are no analogue components in the signal path, and therefore no variation between parts to distort the signal, an Exakt system has precisely 0 dB of magnitude distortion, guaranteeing that the crossover always performs just as the designer intended.  This crossover design is implemented perfectly by Exakt with zero variance.

Phase distortion

If you play a 'Concert A' on a piano and also on an oboe, both will play the same fundamental frequency of 440 Hz. What distinguishes these sounds is the different harmonics — the mixture of other frequencies above the fundamental. The more accurately a system reproduces the delicate mixture of fundamental and harmonics, the more realistic each instrument will sound.

Analogue crossovers distort the true signal by delaying the relative timings of the fundamental and harmonics of all the notes you hear. This leads to frequencies recombining slightly out of phase at your ear, blurring the true sound of each musical instrument.

In all analogue crossovers the high frequencies always lead the low frequencies — delivered to the drive unit and in turn to the listener’s ears at different times.

Exakt eliminates phase distortion

Exakt delays the higher frequencies so they line up with the lower frequencies. When the music is recombined at your ear, the fundamental of each note and its harmonics arrive perfectly in time, preserving the true character of each instrument.

Analogue crossovers introduce phase distortion

Exakt eliminates phase distortion

 

Exakt corrects every drive unit

Physical variation between parts exists in even the most accurate manufacturing processes. Exakt corrects for the tiniest variation between drive units meaning that every speaker is tailored to perform exactly as intended.

A degree of tolerance in the manufacturing process is a factor acoustic engineers normally have to accept when designing loudspeakers.

Even when two drive units are manufactured to the same specification, using the same process, there are always variations between them. Until now, there has been no way of correcting for these differences.

Linn’s integrated Exakt speakers are different. We measure the electrical characteristics and response of every single drive unit before it is installed in the speaker. Exakt corrects these inevitable variations within its digital crossover to ensure that your speaker performs exactly as our acoustic engineers intended.

Every Exakt speaker’s unique drive unit measurements are stored in the cloud so that future improvements can be delivered directly to your speaker in your home.

Exakt corrects for any variation from the ideal driver output

 

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