Lindemann Musicbook Source V4

General Information

The following descriptions have been sourced from Lindemann product page.

The circuitry of the Musicbook SOURCE has been designed around the high-performance streaming platform and fine-tuned for optimum sound quality.

In the digital-analog converter of the Musicbook SOURCE we use one of the best-sounding converter elements of all times, the AK4493 from the Japanese digital specialist AKM. This converter excels metrologically by extremely low distortion figures and musically by natural timbres, a perfect timing and a totally relaxed pace. The converter blocks are run in mono mode, i.e. each channel has its own D/A converter. But there is more! Prior to the actual conversion, all digital input signals are submitted to an ultra-precise re-sampling by means of an MEMS femto-clock. The thus generated data are absolutely jitter-free: the basic prerequisite for perfect sound with digital music! An additional improvement offers the possibility to convert all data into a 1-bit signal (DSD). From a musical point of view, this operation mode is the icing on the cake and opens up an all new sonic dimension.

The analog preamp of the SOURCE uses a purely analog volume control around the MUSES 72320. This element is used in components which cost many times as much and is beyond any doubt regarding sound quality. The built-in phono MM preamp delivers an outstanding musical reproduction and is technically identical to the highly acclaimed Limetree Phono. The headphone amplifier of the Musicbook also delivers finest sound and has sufficient output power reserves for demanding headphones like e.g. magnetostats.

The power supply of the Musicbook sets new benchmarks for an interference- and noise-free performance. All functional areas are equipped with proprietary, ultra low-noise voltage regulators with less than 10 µV of noise voltage. Therefore a mutual influence between the Musicbook’s individual elements can be ruled out.

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Main connection: 90 – 240 V, 50 – 60 Hz
Power consumption: 0,2 W Stand-by, 8 W Betrieb, 18 W maximal
Dimensions (W x D x H): 280 x 220 x 63 mm (11,02 x 8,66 x 2,48 in.)
Weight: 3 kg (6,61 lbs)

D/A converter

Resolution: 768 kHz/32 bit and DSD 512
Dynamic range: > 125 dB
THD & Noise: < 0,001% (@ 0 dB FS)
Master Clock: ultra-low jitter MEMS femto-clock
Re-Sampling: with 180 dB dynamics and 32-bit resolution, bit-perfect or DSD
Jitter suppression by re-sampling: > 60 dB
Converter architecture: two AK4493 DACs in dual different mono mode, AK4137 re-sampler
Output voltage: 2,5 V @ 0 dBFS RCA, 5 V @ 0 dBFS XLR

Network player

Ethernet: 100 Mbit/s
WLAN: dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, WPS support
Bluetooth: 4.2, A2DP
USB 2.0: high-speed host interface hor hard discs, USB sticks, DVD-ROM drives
Supported codecs: WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, DSD
UPnP and DLNA support
PCM resolution:
44.1 kHz up to 384 kHz, 24 bit. (WLAN up to 192 kHz)
DSD resolution: DSD 64 up to DSD 256. (WLAN up to DSD 128)
Gapless playback
Streaming services:
TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer, HighResAudio, Spotify
Internet radio and podcast
Roon Ready


Analog preamp

Line inputs: three analog line inputs with 20 kOhms of input impendance. Input sensitivity adjustable via app.
Phono MM input: gain 40 dB. Input impendance 47 kOhm/150 pF. Input sensitivity adjustable via app. Also suitable for high-output MC systems.
Outputs: one balanced and one unbalanced output. The outputs can be used independently. Max. output voltage: 2.5 V unbalanced, 5 V balanced.
Volume control range: 0 to 99 with the following characteristic: 0 to 20 in 2-dB steps, 21 to 60 in 1-dB steps, 61 to 99 in 0.5-dB steps.
Balance control: + / - 6 dB in 1 dB steps.
Frequency response: 1 – 200 kHz (-3 dB)
Gain: 0 dB / 6 dB / 12 dB adjustable
THD & Noise: < 0,001% @ 2,5 V output

Headphone amplifier

Headphone connector: 6,35 mm jack socket
Headphone gain: 0 dB / 12 dB (adjustable via app)
Recommended headphone impedance: 16 - 200 Ohm
Damping factor headphone output: >100.

Latest reviews

Pros: Design, Connectivity, Performance, Detailed and Transparent Sound.
Cons: Software (Android), Value, Headphone output power and Axed features from previous models.
Preface

Hello again, hope you're all well in these uncertain times. I would like to thank Kevin from Signature Systems for giving me the opportunity to review the Musicbook Source. This is only my 4th component review, so bear with me and don’t forget to compare my thoughts with other reviews for a more rounded view.

Recently I’ve looked at the Matrix Audio Element i, Burson Audio Playmate and iFi Zen dac, a comparison video of which can be found on my
YouTube Channel. And currently I have a pro DSD. Along with my Pi + HPA2C. Unfortunately I don’t have a power amplifier to test with speakers but do have an assortment of IEMs, Headphones and an audio interface to provide some comparative measurements.

Video

Along with my written review, I’ll soon be posting my video review.

Summary

Now for those of you who want to see just the major points please find them below, for more detailed thoughts please continue on.

Highlights:

  • Beautifully machined seamless aluminum chassis.
  • High quality materials and finish.
  • CD Drive Support. Apple USB SuperDrive matches nicely.
  • Strong Wireless and Ethernet support.
  • Internal low noise power supply (Multi Voltage)
  • Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, Radio and Roon Capable
  • OLED display, bonded to glass (Good for viewing angles - like a phone)
  • Rich in connectivity
  • DSD upsampling
  • Dual Mono Digital-to-analog convertors (DACs) - AKM4493
  • Class A Headphone Amplifier
Cons:
  • Poor Android App
  • Recessed WPS button
  • No included remote
  • Presentation
  • Value
  • Low headphone output power when compared


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What's in the Box

When you receive the Musicbook Source it will come in a rather large box, with a printed sleeve. I would rather this be a printed box, as these sleeves are easy to damage and annoying to take off. The box adornes alot of marketing on the sides.

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Opening the box up you will see the unit surrounded by high density foam. Which appears to provide a good deal of protection for shipping. Along with another box for included accessories. This includes a basic multi language manual, power cable, flat ethernet and an optical adapter. No remote is included unfortunately, though it’s mostly controlled from the app. Previous models did include an IR remote and looking at the front panel it appears there is a receiver. Also no usb cable for a host computer. The focus is clearly on the App and streaming support.

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The Lindemann Musicbook Source is well packaged but lacks a premium unboxing experience. I would like to see a bit more focus on this such as a more detailed manual/product book, design and included accessories.

Build, Design and IO

Milled from a single block of aluminum the unibody chassis is a thing of beauty, subtle curves and leading lines giving a distinct industrial design. You could be mistaken for thinking this is the new Mac Mini. And so the product should fit in with other devices and the Apple USB super drive is a nice addition for CD playback. Materials and design are amongst the best I have seen but I was a little disappointed to find some sharp and rough edges, along with some albeit very small tooling marks. However this is rather nitpicking and difficult to spot. Measuring the weight, it comes in at just over 2.5Kg and so should not be a problem for any shelf or cabinet.

There's only the 1 control input that being the multifunction rotary encoder, it's of great quality and throughout my use I saw no mis-steps. Bonded to the front glass is a monochrome OLED display. I like this alot, it's got adjustable brightness and superb viewing angles. No panel gaps here. I just wish manufacturers would display more information and use the screen space more effectively. On a streamer I want to see current track information, source and volume at one glance not open an app.


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Moving onto the inputs and outputs, at the back of the unit we see a plethora of ports with not much space to spare. We have 3 analog inputs, including the one phono input with a ground plug for turntables. The unit does not have any functionality to record and save to USB for digitizing your collection in case you were wondering. The built in phono preamp supports Moving Magnet cartridges. For analog outputs we have unbalanced and balanced variable outputs in the form of standard RCAs and XLR connections. Both can be used at the same time.

For digital inputs we have SPDIF optical and coax, this is the only input you can use for connecting to directly a computer. Previous models did include a USB interface and controller for this functionality. This limits you to using the USB for dsf/dsd playback. I have not tested but would doubt due to copy protection and firmware of the drive used that SACD playback over a USB Optical Drive would work. There’s no mqa decoder either so don't expect to play UHQ-CDs either.

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Testing the playback from my Kingston datatraveler 16GB USB drive. I transferred across a SACD ISO (Disk Image) and also some DSF files. Opening the application and navigating to the appropriate folders, I was successful at playing DSFs but not the disk image. So for native DSD you could have them stored locally to the device, likewise common PCM formats.


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Now for the network and streaming inputs, here we have a 100MB/s Ethernet though dated it's important to realise this is more than enough for audio streaming. We also have wireless connectivity which is paired using WPS. I did find the recessed button annoying and pointless having to find a suitable pin to push it in with. There's also bluetooth for a simpler but less reliable connection. The unit is quick to connect on startup and stores the settings, likewise the volume and last selected input.

And lastly we have a sight to behold, a standard IEC plug for it's internal low noise multi voltage power supply, making full use of the internal space and not wasting the opportunity.

Measurements

As a first attempt at doing some basic measurements, I’ve produced some graphs using ARTA and my Audient Evo 4 interface. I used a 64K FFT, Hann Window, averaged for 16 cycles and level matched the devices. Obviously this is no audio precision analyzer.

Lindemann :


lindemann.PNG


iFi Pro DSD Solid State Mode :

proDSD.PNG


So according to my measurements we see the Lindemann has a lower THD+N, but the performance of the iFi is more linear across the range. However, at these levels this should all be inaudible anyway. For those interested, yes the iFi THD+N did increase (worse) when used in tube hybrid and tube modes.

Sound and Comparisons

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The Lindemann Musicbook Source is the close second best dac I have heard, the best still remains the Matrix Audio Element i. However for particular users it may remain the better choice.

It's sound signature is for the most part neutral, with slightly rolled off high frequencies taking the edge off harsher tracks and presenting a relaxing experience. Minimal distortion and high dynamic range brings out the smaller details. Testing with sensitive IEMs the noise floor is very minimal. This is a high performance DAC but not class leading, as unfortunately there's a lot of good competition from the likes of Mytek and Matrix Audio.
The DSD upsampling does not retrieve anymore detail over the PCM modes but did futher the experience, with a percieved widening of sound on certain tracks and increasing dynamic range. The effect would be more prevalent on loud speakers and could work well with vinyls compressed dynamic range.

Compared to the iFi Pro DSD, I much prefer the sound from the Lindemann. The iFi lacks the same level of detail retrieval and can sound veiled. However one advantage for the iFi is it's many different modes to present different experiences which may pair better with particular headphones and speakers.

DLNA Streaming, App and Roon

I know some users will be interested in DLNA streaming or Roon integration. DLNA streaming provides an additional way to stream music to the device. Such as from a Windows computer or Linux machine without the app. On Android I once again used BubbleUPnP, the process is very simple: just download the app login to the supported services and you will see the device, since it acts as a DLNA renderer.

This worked a treat, finding and recognising the Lindemann very quickly and providing an alternative to the unpolished android application. I then wondered would Qobuz work with the experimental feature for DLNA? No, it only acts as a renderer and you need a controller in the loop I believe. There's no airplay support unfortunately. The device can act as a Roon endpoint and is 'roon ready' again with this you would require a dedicated controller/server.


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With regards to the Lindemann application, using the android variant I was less than impressed. Upon initial setup I was confused as all inputs had broken names (unsupported characters) and the UI does not make this easy to understand and determine which input you are trying to rename. The UI is very dated and looks like a template. However to give credit where credit is due, it is very functional and at least they have taken the time to develop the application.

Final Remarks and Value

Overall I am very impressed with the Musicbook Source from Lindemann. It offers an excellent feature set and highly respectable performance. For users with an interest in both digital streaming and analog playback this should be worth considering as an all in one solution. The phono pre-amp, design and build are the unique selling points.

However it is let down in some aspects of it's presentation such as the application and packaging. And in terms of its competitors it does not offer very good value unless the phono preamp and design are important factors to your purchase decision.

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dadracer2
dadracer2
Nice review but I wondered if you used any hires files during your testing? I think that Lindemann products seem to like working with DSD files but I couldn't tell if you had used any or not.I note that you didn't like the control app when using Android and so what did you compare that to?
Gowla
Gowla
@dadracer2 Thank you, hope your safe and well. Yes I used high res pcm as well as the dsd streamed from Qobuz or played back from my computer over toslink. The app is better on IOS, but compared to the Matrix audio app however it's not as well polished or feature rich.

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