dCS Goes Direct Sales with the Headphone-Focused Lina System

UK’s dCS, makers of some of the finest digital gear I’ve had the pleasure to hear, have shifted sales model gears with their new Lina System, aimed squarely at the headphone Buy It Now crowd.

The Lina System is broken down in typical dCS fashion into the Lina Network DAC, Master Clock, and Headphone Amplifier. And here’s a bit of good news for non-headfi people—each piece of the Lina puzzle is available on its own, so the other real news here is aspiring digital mountain climbers can jump into the dCS sound world at a friendlier price point.


dCS Lina Network DAC: 12,750
dCS Master Clock: $7300
dCS Headphone Amp: $9100
dCS Lina System: $29,150

the Lina DAC sports a touchscreen display

The Lina DAC is based on the company’s now storied Ring DAC technology, note this is not the new APEX platform that was recently rolled out for the higher end separates (more info), and the streaming functionality brings along the dCS Mosaic platform which supports hi-res streaming via Roon, Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz, TIDAL, Internet Radio and Apple AirPlay.

The Lina DAC has a host of digital inputs as well as single-ended and balanced output. Those WorkClock ports allow the separate Master Clock to take over timing duties when connected.

The Master Clock houses oven-controlled dual crystal oscillators to deliver a precise and stable clocking reference to the Lina DAC.

While I’m not a headphone listener, I can certainly see the appeal especially with a full dCS stack. That said, the company’s single box Bartok DAC Headphone Amplifier, that comes in at $19,950, packs a streaming DAC and headphone amp into one chassis but I have to wonder how the Lina DAC + Headphone Amp stacks up for a few grand more…

The Lina System is set to begin shipping after June 27th and is available now for pre-order.

Company Website: dCS

Lina DAC Specifications

Product Dimensions / Weight

121.5mm (H) x 220mm (W) x 339mm (D)  / 7.4kg

Analogue Ouputs

• 1 x stereo pair 3 pin balanced XLR
• 1 x stereo pair unbalanced RCA

L-R Crosstalk

Better than –115dB0, 20Hz-20kHz

Streaming Compatibility

Supports the following platforms and services:

• UPnP
• Qobuz
• Deezer
• Tidal
• Internet Radio
• Spotify
• Apple AirPlay 2 (support at 44.1 or 48kS/s)
• RoonReady

Digital Inputs

• 2 x AES/EBU on 3 pin XLR 44.1-384kS/s
• 1 x S/PDIF BNC Coax 44.1-192kS/s
• 1 x S/PDIF on RCA 44.1-192kS/s
• 1 x Toslink 44.1-96kS/s
• 1 x USB Type B 44.1-384kS/s, PCM and DSD, DSDx2 in Async Mode
• 1 x USB Type A connector for mass storage devices (navigated using Mosaic)

Frequency Response (set to filter 1)

• Fs = 44.1 or 48kS/s +/-0.1dB, 10Hz-20kHz
• Fs = 88.2 or 96kS/s +/-0.1dB, 10Hz-20kHz -3dB @ >38kHz
• Fs = 176.4 or 192kS/s +/-0.1dB, 10Hz-20kHz -3dB @ >67kHz
• Fs = 352.8 or 384kS/s +/-0.1dB, 10Hz-20kHz -3dB @ >100kHz
• DSD64 +/-0.1dB, 10Hz-20kHz -3dB @ >90kHz
• DSD128 +/-0.1dB, 10Hz-20kHz -3dB @ >100kHz

Residual Noise (6v output setting)

• 16-bit data: Better than –96dB0, 20Hz-20kHz unweighted
• 24-bit data: Better than –113dB0, 20Hz-20kHz unweighted

Sample frequencies and formats

Supports the following audio formats and sample rates:

• 44.1-384kHz
• DSD 64, 128
• Native DSD + DoP (input dependent)

Lina Headphone Amp Specifications

Dimensions / Weight

121.5mm (H) x 220mm (W) x 356mm (D) / 7.5kg

Headphone Outputs

• 1 x dual 3-pin balanced XLR, right and left channel
• 1 x single 4-pin balanced XLR
• 1 x single 1⁄4” (6.35mm) headphone jack

Signal to Noise Ratio

110dB 20Hz-20kHz A-weighted (referenced to 6V rms balanced input and output)

Analogue Inputs

• 1 x stereo pair unbalanced RCA, input impedance 48kΩ
• 1 x stereo pair unbuffered balanced XLR, input impedance 16kΩ
• 1 x stereo pair buffered balanced XLR, input impedance 96kΩ


<0.005% @ 1kHz 6V rms balanced output into 30Ω (80kHz bandwidth)

Frequency Response

1Hz-100kHz Better than +0/-3dB