If you ever wanted proof that the digital music revolution is well under way, here it is: Linn, one of the most highly respected names in traditional hi-fi, has come up with its very own digital media player, the Sneaky Music DS.

It’s a flexible little beast, and not just because it can be orientated vertically or horizontally. Thanks to its built-in 20W power amplification, it can be used as a compact hi-fi system.

Alternatively, thanks to fitted analogue and digital outputs, it can be treated as a source for your hi-fi system.

Source-y business

All you need, then, is a music source. This can be your PC or a Network Attached Storage box (NAS): we tried our review sample with a Dell laptop, and also with the AVA RS3 music server with equally impressive results.

It’ll support WAV, FLAC and MP3 file formats of up to 24-bit/192kHz quality, and also accepts the SHOUTcast internet radio system as long as it’s hooked-up to the net.

Most importantly, it uses its own upsampling engine plus powerful digital-to-analogue conversion to maximise sound quality.

Fantastic quality

And that really is the big deal with the Linn. Connected via its preouts into our reference system, it’s genuinely fantastic to listen to – especially when you play one of Linn’s own downloadable 24-bit/96kHz Flac recordings.

Even if you switch to Linn’s Komponent speakers and treat the Sneaky as a local hi-fi fed by ‘plain’ old Flac files from the AVA RS3, it still has a musical edge on rivals.



Downsides? The Linn isn’t Wi-Fi enabled, so a multiroom installation is a little more convoluted (but still possible).

Plus, it doesn’t come with a control interface – although it can be controlled by any offboard UPnP (Universal Plug’n’Play) third-party device, such as the HP iPAQ PDA.

Otherwise, consider this a brilliantly accomplished music player.


Stuff says... 

Linn Sneaky Music DS review

Stunning sound quality and, for the deep-pocketed, a genuine alternative to a CD player