Buffered or unbuffered Lina AMP input

Which should you use?

Hi Anthony,

You have asked this before, and got this reply:

The technical explanation is:

From: https://dcsaudio.com/edit/lina_amp_linearity

Thank you, sorry for the repeat. As I change some equipment I keep reading and forgot. While on this just to clarify . I have been using my Lina DAC connected to the HiFiman amp that was made to pair specific with my Susvara’s.

First if you know is the Lina DAC fully balanced circuitry all through?
Second I can’t find if that same answer for the HiFiman. just trying to get the connections right and not fuss over things that don’t make a difference etc???

Which Hifiman amp you have now?

Yes, it is. Generated balanced right from the Ring DAC and run balanced all the way through to the balanced outputs, with the unbalanced being generated with separate circuitry.

As Erno has linked above, the Unbuffered input is the one to use provided you are using a source device with a suitably low output impedance. This will provide higher quality than the buffered input, provided your source device can drive it properly.

James, thank you. I very much appreciate your taking the time to respond to my questions. To answer your question. Please excuse me if I’m a bit too wordy but here is the crux of my findings. I started with Bartok. Had and the AB1266 HP and was feeling good, great piece. I bought the Susvara’s after hearing them at a friends. I fell in love with the sound from an overall prospective. The Bartok just did not, to my ears bring them to their capabilities. I then moved on to the Lina stack. Again the AB 1266’s were even better as were the Susvara’s. But still not at the level I had heard them off a much more powerful amp. I heard “Electrostats were the Susvars on steroids??? I tried that, no cigar. I then tried the HIFIMAN EF1000 which is said to be specific in tuning to Susvars. Well, honestly it was. It was the best sounding music I have ever heard off headphones period. A real honest to goodness WOW. That was until the amp malfunctioned and its balanced outputs went dead, Along the way I reconfirmed a couple of things. DCS products are in a class of their own quality wise, the Lina DAC is beyond the most incredible piece of gear for headphones ever. I cannot see a time for the foreseeable future that the Lina DAC will not be part of my system. Now as I await HiFiman to address the bad amp I set up my Lina system in the interim . The AB 1266 great again lots of fun. As for the Susvara’s I literally but them away as they just don’t reach the level I had reached with the more powerful amp. So that is why Im trying to build my Lina pieces around a more powerful amp to enjoy with the Susvara. Now i get this is all subjective, but to my ears I really got hooked on wanting to experience Susvara at that level.
BTW I floated the Lina system on the sale forums for a bit in thinking I would go all in on the electrostatic if the stack sold. I have since held off selling the stack as I just can’t part with the DAC after lots or reading and discussions. FYI lots and lots of interest in the Dac and I sold the clock in auction( too late to call it off) but not a single bite on the Lina AMP. Maybe it’s the chat on the forums but the word is out there that there are much much more powerful amps at much less cost. So that’s where I am. In search of more power from an amp to Keep my Lina Dac and will probably will re-buy the Lina clock so as to have two Lina pieces with a third more powerful amp to drive Susvara…….weird maybe but i enjoyed Susarla that much do amp shop!

Just tried the unbuffered connection. I noticed I had to toggle the front on off switch to the “pink” button to get sound? Sound about right?

White: Unbuffered Balanced XLR. Recommended when connecting the unit to the LINA Network
Blue: Buffered, balanced XLR
Magenta (Pink): Unbuffered Unbalanced RCA

So the Lina Dac is low impedance connected to Lina amp also low with Headphones 40ohms and higher like AB 1266 and Susvara translates into using the unbuffered input correct?
Then the DAC set in Mosaic at 6Volt output based on the high impedance headphones? The amp gain set to high.

Sound about right? Any suggested changes? 100% streaming through Mosaic and Roon

These clarifying questions came about from some of the DCS tech materials which confused me a bit on this score.


Lina amp with AB 1266 and Susvara: 6V from Lina DAC XLR out, set its Volume out to max 0.0dB, and lock it, into Lina amp unbuffered XLR in (white LED), Lina amp on high gain.

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One small correction: Abyss AB 1266 and HifiMan Susvara both are low impedance headphones. They are both low sensitivity headphones, meaning they will require more than the average amplifier power to drive it to peak performance. Hence they need the Lina amp to be set at high gain.