Comparison NAD C399 (with MDC2) v Lyngdorf TDAI-1120

gava

Well-known Member
Disclaimers:
  • My ears.
  • My speakers.
  • My subs.
  • My room.
  • My own idiosyncrasies and lack of ability, experience and brainpower where it may matter most.
  • Had the 1120 on 2-week trial only.
YMMV - this is my own opinion only based on my experience.

Price - tie: almost identical £2,100 v £2,000, but Lyndorf remote is £85 so price with remote the same.
Inputs and outputs - C399 wins: a lot more inputs, sub and pre-out, headphone out.
Power output - C399 wins by far: 180W v 60W. The 1120 simply did not have enough power to feel like it was properly in control of my speakers. Out of the box I was immediately in the red zone on the output and the system wasn't even playing particularly loud. By adjusting input gain I was able to stay out of the Red but I always felt the 1120 was underpowered for my speakers.
Amplifier quality - C399 wins: Very subjective and I cannot say with confidence I could pass a blind test, I suspect I could however if the signals could be isolated. I don't think it's simply that the C399 is much more powerful, I think the dynamics and clarity of the Hypex amplifier are absolutely superb.
DAC - C399 wins: Very subjective and I cannot say with confidence I could pass a blind test, I suspect I could however if the signals could be isolated. The DAC seems to have a bigger soundstage and cleaner background. I like this sound more. Seems more detailed. If you prefer a warmer sound then perhaps the 1120 would be more to your taste. I strongly suspect the DAC chip used in the C399 will measure a lot better. This sound signature seems to be there with speakers and headphones alike, which is why I attribute it to the DAC.
Roon - 1120 wins for now: NAD lists the C399 as Roon Ready, but the certification isn't yet complete so it will be Roon compatible at some point but not yet.
Remote Control - 1120 wins: if you accept the system price as equal with remote then the actual quality of the remote and ability to assign presets on the Lyngdorf remote is nicer.
DSP - 1120 clear winner: firstly the 1120 has a full DSP suite on board with parametric EQ, etc. The NAD has nothing comparable - all you can do is set your sub crossover.
Dirac v Roomperfect - tie: I think that Roomperfect is probably superior overall. Certainly at lower volumes RP had an edge. The ability to set multiple focus positions is superb and the multiple voicings are an excellent feature. However I would say that with my speakers and room Dirac live interferes less with the soundstage and imaging than Roomperfect does. On balance the benefit from Dirac is acceptable to me and Roomperfect was not - this was a surprise to me and the opposite of what I was expecting. So although I strongly suspect that for many or even possibly the majority of systems, rooms and listeners Roomperfect would be better, I would leave it turned off much of the time, and with Dirac the reverse is the case. Setting up Roomperfect is certainly easier and less time consuming than Dirac.
BluOS v Lyngdorf - BluOS wins: Just easier all round to use, I think it has more services available too. Matter of preference and not a big deal. I can believe some people would prefer Lyngdorf. As it happens I think I prefer them both to Roon, though Roon has its uses. The fact that there are two ways of controlling the Lyngdorf is rather clunky; some things are done in the app, some things are done in the browser, some things can be done in either place but with different UI design. One thing that I really like about BluOS is that there is a Windows app - so I can control the system from my PC when I want to - don't HAVE to use the mobile app. The only way to control Qobuz on the Lyndorf was with Bubble or MConnect mobile apps. This is the biggest single reason I prefer BluOS.
Display - C399 wins: from the sofa I can see what is playing when streaming and which input is selected. Not so with the 1120. The icons are tiny, there is no associated text. Selecting inputs had to be done via memorising the position of the little lights. My vision with specs isn't bad but I could never read the icons from the sofa.
Power saving - tie: NAD allows you to disable the auto-power off. Not Lyngdorf's fault as they are an EU manufacturer, but letting me turn on the system when I start listening and switching off manually at night when I want to is a big plus for me. I found the 1120 unbearably irritating in its aggressive power saving. [Edit: this has now been fixed on the 1120, can be disabled.]
Size - 1120 wins: Well it's smaller at least. Design is pretty subjective and I don't really have a preference. If you are limited on space however it would be much easier to slot the 1120 onto a sideboard or shelf.
Engineering quality - Lyngdorf wins: The whole mess of the MDC2 module and AC interference I have experienced with Dirac 2.2 engaged has been very troublesome. With the 1120 I never experienced any AC interference with RP engaged or not. If you know or suspect you have noisy mains and want to run Dirac 2.2 then caution is advised. NAD's rush to ship product before it's been adequately tested in the field is not good for their reputation.
Dealer support - tie: both dealers seemed to be backed by the manufacturer and gave exemplary support and assistance. I cannot speak highly enough of SSAV Manchester or @Tom @ Cinehome .

Overall sound quality - C399 clear winner: after all configuration is done listening to Qobuz on the C399 is an experience that seems to be in a completely different class. Simply listening to music my partner (who loves music but has no interest in equipment) thought the C399 was much better and was surprised to hear the two systems cost the same; she based on sound alone she expected the C399 to be much more expensive.

Comment and recommendation for TDAI-1120. If I were getting the 1120 I would certainly get it with the Lyngdorf BW2 boundary woofers (trade in any subs you already have), possibly with their MH speakers too, or perhaps a set of KEF LS50M. That would be a £5,000 system that would be extremely hard to beat. For myself however I was already starting with a set of speakers and subs that I think simply were not a great match for the 1120.

tag: @Jester1066
 
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Jester1066

Well-known Member
Many Thanks @gava Don't know if this means anything with regard to my own decision making process. But I keep finding myself visiting the SSAV website and putting the C399 in my basket 🤣🤣🤣....

I also messaged Tom yesterday (late) about getting a 1120 on trial though! So guess that means I'm somewhat "undecided" still 🤣
 

dedero

Standard Member
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience, I'm actually in my trial period of my Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 and I'm really thinking to give a try to the C399, mainly because I would like to have an USB input which is possible with MDC (not yet with MDC2 though but I guess it will come in any time soon)

BTW, in the latest 1120 firmware version, now you can disable the auto power off, just to let you know if you want to edit your post:
1644416260064.png


EDIT: can you please check whether is possible to use the amp or configure it via web? like writing the IP address in a browser and access the amp?
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. Excellent write up. Good to see a fair recognition of the stuff that's factual and the stuff that's subjective.
However, I would say that with speakers that are easy to drive, like mine, the 1120's got a grip like a vice. I thought they were well powered by my old Elex R, but this gave an instant improvement, even before RP, and in theory it's less powerful at 8ohm. I genuinely can't imagine getting much more out of them than I do now.
 

Gambit1977

Well-known Member
Hi. Excellent write up. Good to see a fair recognition of the stuff that's factual and the stuff that's subjective.
However, I would say that with speakers that are easy to drive, like mine, the 1120's got a grip like a vice. I thought they were well powered by my old Elex R, but this gave an instant improvement, even before RP, and in theory it's less powerful at 8ohm. I genuinely can't imagine getting much more out of them than I do now.
You might have it in your signature but I’m on a phone so can’t see, what speakers do you have?

I’m moving next week and considering getting some Kef R5s and an 1120
 

TheHighFlyingBirds

Distinguished Member
You might have it in your signature but I’m on a phone so can’t see, what speakers do you have?

I’m moving next week and considering getting some Kef R5s and an 1120
Rotate your phone on its side and sigs are viewable.
 

robdmarsh

Active Member
BluOS wins
What's so great about BluOS? The Lyngdorf app must be pretty poor if makes BluOS shine! If I am trying to use Amazon HD in BluOS and Amazon HD with it's native app, there are about a dozen features of the native app which make it vastly better than trying to use BluOS. Not sure but maybe it's Amazon's fault that you can't use their app natively with streamers like you can with Spotify connect or the Tidal equivalent.
 

gava

Well-known Member
The Amazon API is reportedly very restricted, nothing supports it properly (to the level of the other services) because nothing can.

All responsibility lies with Amazon I'm afraid.
 

prosilent

Active Member
I asked my dealer for a demo of this unit about a month ago. Still no stock anywhere? Anyone know when they are due back in?
 

Midolon

Novice Member
The speakers are crucial. You didnt mentioned the sensitivity nor impedance.
With more sensitive speakers the test result could be completely upside down
 

gava

Well-known Member
The speakers are crucial. You didnt mentioned the sensitivity nor impedance.
With more sensitive speakers the test result could be completely upside down

Are you saying that if you have more sensitive speakers the much lower power output and dynamic capacity of the 1120 won't matter as much or even at all in a given living room? I think most people understand that. If you wanted to look up my speakers they are in my sig. and the specs readily available.

I believe that difference in clarity and dynamics were audible in my sample size of 2 listeners. After I listened to them and clearly preferred the C399 I discovered that Soundstage has tested both amplifiers and they seem to be clearly of different generations.

More sensitive speakers won't elevate the SINAD of the 1120 from 69dB to the 94dB of the C399. Jitter on the C399 is 20dB below the 1120, though the 1120 is below audible thresholds, in fact if you go through the measurements the C399 shows superior engineering in almost every test. In other words the objective measurements align with my subjective experience.



There have been rumours for a couple of years that Lyngdorf will be updating their systems to use Hypex or Purifi modules at some point, both Hypex and Purifi headquarters are a fairly short drive away from Lyngdorf, so collaboration would be comfortable. :)

Of course there are a number of other aspects of the amplifiers where I preferred the C399 as well.

I am not a Lyngdorf hater, the 1120 is a great little system, but I personally would only use it with Lyngdorf speakers.
 

Midolon

Novice Member
Disclaimers:
  • My ears.
  • My speakers.
  • My subs.
  • My room.
  • My own idiosyncrasies and lack of ability, experience and brainpower where it may matter most.
  • Had the 1120 on 2-week trial only.
YMMV - this is my own opinion only based on my experience.

Price - tie: almost identical £2,100 v £2,000, but Lyndorf remote is £85 so price with remote the same.
Inputs and outputs - C399 wins: a lot more inputs, sub and pre-out, headphone out.
Power output - C399 wins by far: 180W v 60W. The 1120 simply did not have enough power to feel like it was properly in control of my speakers. Out of the box I was immediately in the red zone on the output and the system wasn't even playing particularly loud. By adjusting input gain I was able to stay out of the Red but I always felt the 1120 was underpowered for my speakers.
Amplifier quality - C399 wins: Very subjective and I cannot say with confidence I could pass a blind test, I suspect I could however if the signals could be isolated. I don't think it's simply that the C399 is much more powerful, I think the dynamics and clarity of the Hypex amplifier are absolutely superb.
DAC - C399 wins: Very subjective and I cannot say with confidence I could pass a blind test, I suspect I could however if the signals could be isolated. The DAC seems to have a bigger soundstage and cleaner background. I like this sound more. Seems more detailed. If you prefer a warmer sound then perhaps the 1120 would be more to your taste. I strongly suspect the DAC chip used in the C399 will measure a lot better. This sound signature seems to be there with speakers and headphones alike, which is why I attribute it to the DAC.
Roon - 1120 wins for now: NAD lists the C399 as Roon Ready, but the certification isn't yet complete so it will be Roon compatible at some point but not yet.
Remote Control - 1120 wins: if you accept the system price as equal with remote then the actual quality of the remote and ability to assign presets on the Lyngdorf remote is nicer.
DSP - 1120 clear winner: firstly the 1120 has a full DSP suite on board with parametric EQ, etc. The NAD has nothing comparable - all you can do is set your sub crossover.
Dirac v Roomperfect - tie: I think that Roomperfect is probably superior overall. Certainly at lower volumes RP had an edge. The ability to set multiple focus positions is superb and the multiple voicings are an excellent feature. However I would say that with my speakers and room Dirac live interferes less with the soundstage and imaging than Roomperfect does. On balance the benefit from Dirac is acceptable to me and Roomperfect was not - this was a surprise to me and the opposite of what I was expecting. So although I strongly suspect that for many or even possibly the majority of systems, rooms and listeners Roomperfect would be better, I would leave it turned off much of the time, and with Dirac the reverse is the case. Setting up Roomperfect is certainly easier and less time consuming than Dirac.
BluOS v Lyngdorf - BluOS wins: Just easier all round to use, I think it has more services available too. Matter of preference and not a big deal. I can believe some people would prefer Lyngdorf. As it happens I think I prefer them both to Roon, though Roon has its uses. The fact that there are two ways of controlling the Lyngdorf is rather clunky; some things are done in the app, some things are done in the browser, some things can be done in either place but with different UI design. One thing that I really like about BluOS is that there is a Windows app - so I can control the system from my PC when I want to - don't HAVE to use the mobile app. The only way to control Qobuz on the Lyndorf was with Bubble or MConnect mobile apps. This is the biggest single reason I prefer BluOS.
Display - C399 wins: from the sofa I can see what is playing when streaming and which input is selected. Not so with the 1120. The icons are tiny, there is no associated text. Selecting inputs had to be done via memorising the position of the little lights. My vision with specs isn't bad but I could never read the icons from the sofa.
Power saving - tie: NAD allows you to disable the auto-power off. Not Lyngdorf's fault as they are an EU manufacturer, but letting me turn on the system when I start listening and switching off manually at night when I want to is a big plus for me. I found the 1120 unbearably irritating in its aggressive power saving. [Edit: this has now been fixed on the 1120, can be disabled.]
Size - 1120 wins: Well it's smaller at least. Design is pretty subjective and I don't really have a preference. If you are limited on space however it would be much easier to slot the 1120 onto a sideboard or shelf.
Engineering quality - Lyngdorf wins: The whole mess of the MDC2 module and AC interference I have experienced with Dirac 2.2 engaged has been very troublesome. With the 1120 I never experienced any AC interference with RP engaged or not. If you know or suspect you have noisy mains and want to run Dirac 2.2 then caution is advised. NAD's rush to ship product before it's been adequately tested in the field is not good for their reputation.
Dealer support - tie: both dealers seemed to be backed by the manufacturer and gave exemplary support and assistance. I cannot speak highly enough of SSAV Manchester or @Tom @ Cinehome .

Overall sound quality - C399 clear winner: after all configuration is done listening to Qobuz on the C399 is an experience that seems to be in a completely different class. Simply listening to music my partner (who loves music but has no interest in equipment) thought the C399 was much better and was surprised to hear the two systems cost the same; she based on sound alone she expected the C399 to be much more expensive.

Comment and recommendation for TDAI-1120. If I were getting the 1120 I would certainly get it with the Lyngdorf BW2 boundary woofers (trade in any subs you already have), possibly with their MH speakers too, or perhaps a set of KEF LS50M. That would be a £5,000 system that would be extremely hard to beat. For myself however I was already starting with a set of speakers and subs that I think simply were not a great match for the 1120.

tag: @Jester1066
I'm not hating NAD nor promoting Lyngdorf, just sayng that the speaker match is crucial. And of course more powerful amplifiers are less picky on speakers. Special category are speakers developed with a certain amplifier brand / model, but again I'm not saying that one brand combos are a perfect match. Cheers
 

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