In this article we preview the new dCS Lina headphone setup and we give you our first impressions.
Disclaimer: The dCS Lina was sent to us on loan by dCS. dCS is in no way related to Headfonia.com.
A month ago or so, we got an unexpected message from dCS, asking if we would be interested in joining a highly secretive new project. Knowing dCS and the high-end quality they provide, I didn’t have to think very long to say “yes, please”. Even though I had no clue what it would be about, I took the change and boy am I glad I did. Thank you dCS for the opportunity!
Today is the day that dCS is revealing the new Lina headphone system to the world. It has been a very well-kept secret in the community and googling “dCS Lina” up to today, simply gave zero hits.
I just got back from High End Munich where dCS told me the launch would be today, so in this mini article we are previewing the new dCS Lina DAC, AMP and Clock. I will try to get the High-End Munich show report online in a week or so.
Let’s check out the new dCS Lina setup!
If you’re familiar with dCS, then you know that they engineer high end products for the top end of the market. dCS has mainly been focusing on the hi-fi market, but with the Bartok they also have a very good headphone product. For those of you that aren’t familiar with dCS yet, here’s a quick intro to the company.
We’ve been shaping the future of digital audio for over 30 years, developing unique products and technologies that have revolutionised music recording and playback. Founded in 1987, we started out developing digital converters for aviation and aerospace companies, before shifting our focus to digital audio. Over the past 35 years, we have developed a succession of pioneering products and proprietary technologies for music lovers and recording professionals – from the first ever high-resolution DACs and ADCs to the multi-award winning dCS Bartok Headphone DAC.
Our products are renowned for their outstanding technical performance, exquisite craftsmanship and profound musicality. Through continuous innovation, and an obsessive attention to detail, we create products that uncover the true depth and essence of recorded sound, and bring people closer to the music and the artists they love.
You can find out all about dCS here on their website.
dCS – Lina
So, what is the dCS Lina? In short it is a brand new dCS system, purpose built for headphone listeners.
With Lina, dCS set out to create the definitive system for headphone playback – one that drives a huge range of headphones to their full potential and reproduces sound with every nuance intact.
The dCS Lina system consists out of 3 components: a dedicated Network DAC, a Class AB Headphone
Amplifier, and a Grade 1 Master Clock. It according to dCS “offers the ultimate sonic escape for music and head-fi connoisseurs”.
The Lina system is DCs’ smallest product series yet, and it is designed for use in a wide range of environments. Its state-of the-art circuitry, electronics and digital processing allow dCS to deliver a huge range of features in a compact format with zero compromise on sound and performance. The dCS Lina system is designed and hand-assembled in the UK and manufactured using the finest materials – including solid aluminium casing for enhanced performance with minimal vibration and noise. The dCS Lina system is created using proprietary hardware and software developed by dCS, such as their FPGA-based firmware.
Lina is an exciting new step in a journey that began over 30 years ago. At dCS, we’ve always strived to create products that bring people closer to the music and artists they love. Inspired by the rise of headphone listening, and the head-fi community’s tremendous passion and enthusiasm, we have developed our first product range designed specifically for the dedicated headphone listener – a product that we believe sets a new standard for headphone playback. After over 2 years of intensive development and testing, we’re delighted to be launching dCS Lina.
The Lina product range benefits from a suite of technologies that are unique to dCS, including the dCS Ring DAC™ and headphone processing platform, dCS Expanse. These technologies are the culmination of intensive research and development, and you can find out all about dCS’ technical developments and achievements here.
The total price of this high-end system is €32.850 Euro including VAT. This clearly is a high-end product with a corresponding price tag, one we’re not really used to in our headphone world. dCS is really targeting the top end market with this setup, a market that is used to seeing these kind prices (and more) from the high end HiFi world. At the same time, it’s “easy” nowadays to attain such budgets. A high end amplifier like the Envy 300B (with upgrades), with the Musician Aquarius DAC and Abyss headphone with upgrade cable (just to give an example), also easily pushes you above the $20-25K mark.
dCS – Lina – Components
As said, the Lina stack is composed of 3 full size desktop components: a DAC, a clock and an amp. You can link up the units for power control and there are multiple connection options with the DAC and clock. You can place the units next to each other or on top of each other (DAC -> Clock -> AMP top down).
The design is simple yet classy. The build quality is perfect as you would expect. I love the choice dCS made for the materials used, though the design is not really my thing. I for one prefer the Bartok type of design more, but these units are a lot smaller, fitting more in a desktop (headphone) setup. Do not that this is a heavy setup with all units weighing over 7kg. Make sure your desk is up to the task.
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