Lyngdorf MP-40 AV Processor Review

Smaller package, massive punch!

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £8,495.00

What is the Lyngdorf MP40?

The MP-40 could be described as the entry point for the Danish company’s AV Processors, sporting the same sound and performance of its bigger brother, the MP-60, but in a pared down form factor for smaller installations and systems.

It has a 12-channel decoder with 16 balanced XLR audio outputs and it supports all the current immersive audio formats from Dolby Atmos  to DTS:X and Auro 3D, as well as every legacy surround codec. 

The build quality is high-end, as you would expect at this price point, but the connections and systems integration is slightly reduced when compared to the MP-60. However, Lyngdorf itself states that the MP-40 has exactly the same sonic qualities and performance as the flagship processor, making it a perfect choice for most AVForums members who don’t have space for a massive dedicated room. The MP-40 retails for around £8,495 at the time of this review in November 2020.

Related: Lyngdorf MP-60 Review

One feature that has been gaining attention in the industry is Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect EQ system which is incredibly intuitive to use and results in superb room equalisation which respects the sound signature of your loudspeaker system. For the full details on how RoomPerfect works and the philosophy behind it, you can read Steve Withers' full in-depth review of the MP-60 where he covers this in some detail. Much like the MP-40 compared to the MP-60, my review compared to Steve’s will be the pared down version focussing on performance.

Related: Full RoomPerfect details

I have been using the MP-40 in my system on and off for the last six months, so just how well does it perform over a long period of time in a dedicated system? This review will focus on the actual use of the processor and its performance, so let’s find out just how good it is.

Design, Connections and Control

The design of the MP-40 closely follows the entire line-up of Lyngdorf products with the matte grey aluminium and gloss black body broken up into sections. It almost looks identical to the MP-60, minus the full gloss black strip between the menu dial and the volume knob. On the MP-40 there is a small upper gloss black window instead. Otherwise, the front panels look incredibly similar with a large display to the left, a menu jog wheel, small window, large volume knob and a small standby button to the bottom right. The minimalist industrial design works a treat and adds to the high-end feel of the product.

Lyngdorf MP-40

The display is easy to read from across the room if required and it will also display the audio format via red light symbols for Atmos, Auro 3D and DTS:X, as well as High-Resolution audio signals. The RoomPerfect logo is to the bottom left of the display and lights up when switched on for Focus or Global settings. 

 

The minimalist industrial design works a treat and adds to the high-end feel of the product.

The aluminium chassis is sturdy with heat extractor vents to the top front plate and both sides of the unit are patterned to suit the overall design. The connections are placed at the rear of the unit as expected. The MP-40 measures in at 140 x 450 x 359 mm (H x W x D) and weighs 6.7 kg. There is no hiding the high-end materials and rigidity of the well-built chassis and design.

Lyngdorf MP-40

Around the back, we have the connections and these are pared back when compared to the MP-60, but still offer everything you will need for the smaller room system. The vast majority of the space on the rear is taken up by the 16 balanced XLR audio outputs which are for use with the 12-channel decoder to your power amps, as well as assignable outputs for additional subwoofers and zones. 

Video inputs consist of three HDMI 2.0b inputs with HDCP2.2 that accept full-bandwidth 18Gbps 4:4:4 4K 60p video with HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) compatibility, but no HDR10+ pass-thru. There is one HDMI 2.0b output that also supports eARC. Audio inputs include one AES/EBU input (192kHz/24bit), three digital coaxial inputs (192kHz/24bit), four optical inputs (96Hz/24bit) and one USB audio input (192kHz/32bit). There is also an XLR connector for the RoomPerfect microphone. 

 

Lyngdorf itself states that the MP-40 has exactly the same sonic qualities and performance as the flagship processor

The MP-40 is also designed to be part of a full control system with connections for one RS232 connector, two IR sensor inputs, one IR output (loop from one of the sensor inputs), one trigger input, four trigger outputs, one RJ45 Ethernet LAN connector, two USB A connectors and one SD card slot that contains a card already and is used for settings backup and RoomPerfect settings.

The supplied remote control with the MP-40 is the same RC50 model that ships with the MP-60. It’s a nicely designed unit that is sleek and slender and fits with the design and build quality of the MP-40. The layout is intuitive and simple with just the right amount of buttons for direct access to the most used option controls. You will however need to utilise muscle memory when using the unit in a dark room as there is no backlight. 

Lyngdorf MP-40

Of course with all of the control features provided with the MP-40, it is likely to be used with control systems and different remote options for controlling the processor. Plus, when connected to a network you can also use the Lyngdorf remote app on your mobile or tablet device.

How was the MP-40 Tested?

I found the setup and operation of the Lyngdorf MP-40 to be intuitive thanks to an easy to follow menu system and well laid out rear panel. I didn’t use any of the control systems within my testing room and went for a straight forward small room set up of 7.2.2 for Atmos and DTS:X. Since the MP-40 is aimed at such sized systems, I partnered it with two 8-channel ADA PTM-8150 power amps, as well as the 11-channel Yamaha MX-A5200 when it was here for review. Speakers were our reference MK MP300 LCR, S300T surrounds and two X12 Subwoofers. Rear surrounds and height channels were JBL Control 1s. The projector is a JVC DLA-N5 native 4K unit with Sky Q, a 4K UHD Blu-ray player and Apple TV 4K as sources. 

 

... the better EQ systems have managed to eek even more performance out of my system and that is true for RoomPerfect

I used the RoomPerfect EQ system to obtain a focus point and then took enough random measurements to obtain a 100% Room Knowledge result and did this a number of times to make sure results were consistent over a period of time. For the full details on how RoomPerfect works check out Steve’s in-depth review of the system in his MP-60 review.

I have used our cinema room for well over 17 years now for review use, and in that time I have gathered a good understanding of the room and its issues. Even so, the better EQ systems have managed to eek even more performance out of my system and that is true for RoomPerfect. It is an exceptionally easy and intuitive system to use and the end results have been consistent over months of use and re-measurement. I found RoomPerfect to be the easiest system to use, with the most consistent end results when compared to Dirac and other systems I have tested over the years. 

Performance

I have been using the Lyngdorf MP-40 on and off for quite a number of months now and in various roles within the cinema room. Mostly, I have been using it for background music while doing other tasks, which seems like a step down for an AV Processor that costs the best part of £8,500. But it’s a Lyngdorf and even in the background music playing role, the musicality and performance are excellent. If you are looking for one processor to do both Hi-Fi and Home Cinema, the MP-40 is one of those high-end products that can do both with ease.

Another thing that stood out right from the start of using the Lyngdorf MP-40 was just how well RoomPerfect manages the acoustical space of my room and the speaker crossovers to create an encompassing and cohesive sound. Using sub/sats like our MK MP300’s and the X12 subs can be tricky to get perfectly balanced, but the MP-40 manages to tighten up the system so it felt like one large full-range speaker system in use. Only a Dirac set up has done something similar and as noticeable in this room. As such the performance on offer is superb with stunning musicality for two-channel listening, and some of the best multichannel processing experienced on this system.

 

 The effect is a system that blends together, feels tighter and creates a more believable sound stage

The Master version of John Williams: In Vienna via Tidal is fast becoming a favourite with me for testing and I have listened to the album a few times on the Lyngdorf. Real instruments sound as they should and the MP-40 is capable of creating a large and wide soundstage across the front of the room. The creation of space is the first thing that you notice, with the orchestra laid out in front of you. The sensation is perhaps cliched but the walls of the room do seem to disappear with a sense of scale and venue. The swelling rise of the Close Encounters suite has tremendous weight and dynamics, with a clarity that allows placement of individual instruments where they should be sat within the orchestra. Everything sounds genuine and ‘as recorded’ without any unwanted colour or warmth being added to the experience. Turning on the post-processing for Dolby Surround or upmixing from Auro also has genuine usefulness within a multichannel system, giving you options other than stereo, that also doesn’t feel forced or fake. 

Moving to other genres, from rock and pop to deep trance, nothing phased the MP-40 or caused it any issues in providing a faithful reproduction of the recorded works. This is a musical processor with a strong Hi-Fi heritage to call upon and I have genuinely found myself on occasion sitting down in front of the speakers and listening to whole albums, something I haven’t done in a long time. What you put in, you get back with the MP-40, there's no embellishment and that works well with our MK speaker set up. With such great neutrality to music, content is played back as it was recorded, warts and all. 

 

There is also a genuine height element that is fluid and doesn’t feel forced

Dolby Atmos music is also a treat to listen too, although you do need to up the volume by around 10dB via Tidal. The MP-40 is able to create expansive spaces around the listening position and removing the constraints of the available space. It feels large and involving, as if you are sitting within a larger cinema room. Vocals are clear and free from sibilance at high volumes, while transients are fast and precise and dynamics are superb. The integration of the subs and sats is excellent with a feeling of a full-range sound without any holes in the frequency range or any obvious gaps between the two speakers; they are as one. There is also a superb feeling of cohesion between all the speakers and the placement of sounds and instruments within the sound stage. There is also a genuine height element that is fluid and doesn’t feel forced or obvious enough to draw you out of the experience. Instruments are placed around the listening position with most of the Dolby Atmos music mixes on Tidal, which makes for a fun experience, with drums hanging in the air or vocals travelling around the room. The MP-40 wasn’t really breaking a sweat with everything being thrown at it. 

So with music covered, I have also spent a lot of time watching TV and film content with the MP-40. My sources ranged from HD Blu-ray, TV and streaming services to 4K HDR Blu-ray and streaming. My system is set up for a 7.2.2 configuration.

I stayed with the musical theme to start with and watched my favourite clips from The Greatest Showman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman on 4K UHD disc. The opening number of The Greatest Showman has an excellent deep bassline mixed with hard-hitting beats as feet stamp on the ground and this is played back with real power and weight. The vocal is incredibly rich and detailed and positioned directly on the screen, while other effects are placed with precision around the room. We have fire breathers, knife juggling and more, with sound constantly moving around the sound stage in a balanced and cohesive manner. 

 

 ... the Lyngdorf manages to separate out the effects with superb placement and intelligibility

The Live Aid section on Bohemian Rhapsody allows for excellent use of spatial effects, echoes and a feeling of live music in a huge open-aired venue. Thanks to the precision of the processing in the MP40, you feel like you are in amongst the crowds at Wembley, witnessing the band performing live. Any competent AV Receiver should be able to produce a convincing performance with this Atmos mix, but here the Lyngdorf just adds that little bit more spaciousness and brings out the crowd effects to create more detail and sense of scale to the event. It is just that little bit more refined in its execution, with a speed and precise placement of effects that are not buried amongst everything else going on in the mix. 

And we get more of the same in the fantasy worlds of Rocketman with musical numbers full of superb vocals, punchy bass and a detailed crispness that creates a 3D world within your cinema room. Full stop/start transients are also delivered with no loss of detail or speed to the sound mix. The Lyngdorf handles music and musicals with superb confidence and musicality. 

Action and sci-fi movies are also bread and butter for the MP-40 with superb effects placement and precision throughout. Where busy action set pieces can turn into a wall of sound, the Lyngdorf manages to separate out the effects with superb placement and intelligibility so you always feel like you are within the scene and aware of what is going on around you. 

Dialogue is always intelligible with excellent panning across the front sound stage and effects never get in the way of following what is going on. There’s power and weight to every action sequence and the MP-40 replays exactly what the recorded soundtrack contains and does so without creating an unintelligible wall of noise. There is a believability to what you are listening to without anything distracting or drawing you out of the experience. 

 

... the performance on offer is superb with stunning musicality for two-channel listening, and some of the best multichannel processing experienced

The MP-40 is a home cinema masterpiece for the smaller room set up. It sounds amazing and, yes, while you are talking about diminishing returns at this market level, the performance is there to warrant the outlay. I could waffle on for thousands of more words, but I think you get the point at this stage.

Verdict

The Good

  • Stunning sound quality with movies and music
  • RoomPerfect is an excellent EQ system and intuitive to use
  • Plenty of control options for system integration
  • 16 Balanced XLR channels
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro 3D
  • 4K HDR, Dolby Vision and HLG pass-thru
  • eARC on HDMI output
  • Superb build quality and design

The Bad

  • No backlight on remote
  • No HDR10+ pass-thru
  • 3 HDMI in and 1 out may limit some use cases

Lyngdorf MP-40 AV Processor Review

Describing a product that retails for £8,495 as entry-level may sound odd, but that is precisely what the Lyngdorf MP-40 is. Lyngdorf claims it retains the performance of its bigger brother the MP-60 and we would have to agree with that after our long review period with the unit. So the differences are in the connections, features and design, with the MP-40 designed for the smaller home cinema system. 

You still get 16-channels of balanced XLR outputs, but the processing is cut down to ‘just’ 12 channels and the rear panel loses a number of connections, with only three HDMI 2.0b inputs and one HDMI output with eARC compatibility. But for most smaller systems, that is probably just enough to work fine. I certainly didn’t need any more in my testing room.

RoomPerfect is the proprietary EQ system developed and used by Lyngdorf and it is present and correct on the MP-40. It is a truly effective solution that is incredibly easy to use for most end users without any knowledge required to tamper with filters or graphs like other systems on the market. 

The RoomPerfect approach is easy to follow and the end results are quite simply stunning, even in well-designed rooms. I found the cohesion between the satellite speakers and subwoofers was superb with no obvious crossover between the two. The effect is a system that blends together, feels tighter and creates a more believable sound stage. And this is true of music and movies. The MP-40 is an incredibly musical processor with a rich heritage in high-end Hi-Fi and it is just as happy with two-channel sources as it is with immersive movie soundtracks.

It is obvious that the laws of diminishing returns are present here, but the MP-40 offers up an incredibly assured performance with every source you throw at it. It sounds incredibly detailed and spacious with an ability to produce music and movie soundtracks where you feel like you are in a larger space than your cinema room. Details are crisp and clear with incredibly precise steering and effects placement, where you can hear everything going on with the mix and there is no unintelligible wall of noise in the most intense action sequences. It’s this level of detail and control, mixed with the RoomPerfect EQ that enables such a compelling performance level. 

There are a number of options available on the market for those looking at separate processor and power amp setups, and the Lyngdorf is a compelling choice. While it has fewer decoder channels, inputs and connections than the MP-60, it doesn’t skimp on performance, offering the same as the MP-60 but in a smaller package. 

The Lyngdorf MP-40 is a superb AV Processor that offers incredibly good performance at a reasonable price point in the market and I think it deserves a Best in Class accolade. 

Best In Class

Scores

Sound Quality

10

Features

.
9

Connectivity

.
.
8

Build Quality

10

Value For Money

.
9

Verdict

10
10
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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