Demo Feedback - Naim Uniti Atom/Lyngdorf TDAI 1120/Hegel H120

pfaz

Standard Member
Apologies for the length here, the TLDR version is "what's wrong with the lyngdorf!"

Longer version...

So I ventured out to my first hi-fi demo in decades yesterday in search a streaming solution (single box or separates + speakers) after years of good hifi being confined to headphones due to space. Many years ago I had a classic Linn/Naim setup (LP12, 72/HiCap/250, Linn Kan 2’s) which I loved and sorely miss and so I'm really looking forward to getting a new system now I have the space to enjoy it. This is a 7m x 4m room where the speakers will be firing lengthways with seating approx halfway.

Music tastes are varied (doesn't everyone say that?) and the system will also be used for movies.

My initial shortlist/starting after weeks of reading reviews and this forum is made up of the Lyngdorf TDAI 1120, Naim Uniti Atom and Hegel H120 partnered with Kef LS50 Meta/R3's. To repeat, this really is a starting point as I'm going in cold after years in the hifi wilderness. Decisions like bookshelf/stand mounted vs floorstanders, single box vs separates, subwoofers, etc... are all up for debate but I need to start somewhere.

Yesterday I had a demo of the three amps above and tried these all with the LS50 metas, R3's. The dealer also kindly threw on a pair of Sonus Faber Sonetto IIs and a pair of Klipsch Heresy IV's because why not. Yes there's a big diff in price with the latter but my budget is sort of 'flexible' meaning if I don't mind paying more for substantial gains if I can hear it and the Klipsch were sitting next to the demo room so I thought let's give them a try.

My feedback on the above...

First up was the Naim + LS50s. Tried a few well known tracks and they were hugely impressive in the level of scale/weight when you see how small these things are. There was bags of lovely detail coming forth and I thought this is a great start. However after a few tacks I was clearly hearing a hardness in the upper midrange/treble on female vocals, percussion, etc.. which wasn’t very pleasant and quite surprising. Based on reading I have to assume this forwardness was coming from the amp which is reported as exciting, dynamic, etc.. but it wasn’t a sound that I thought I would love to listen to over long period with certain music types. Shock to system though as I really thought I’d find this pairing hard to fault as a packge. Of course there's a shed load of variables here; speaker position, cables, room acoustics, etc... Anyway I moved on and swapped the LS50s for the R3's. Immediately the whole sense of scale went up a notch, the stage seemed to come forward and open up and inevitable personal taste came into play, preferring the the R3's over the LS50. However there remained this same hardness which I’d heard on the LS50’s which was I decided was the ‘naim sound’ which I was finding myself not keen on which was a big surprise. Maybe whipping out an old LP12 with it’s warm balance would have been just the cure.


So ok, getting rid of the Naim for the moment - we put the LS50's back and introduced the Lyngdorf. I had high hopes for the Lyngdorf (if I was being honest my unqualified bias before the demo based on research had the Lyngdorf at the top as I’m a software engineer/tech guy and love the idea of Room Perfect and what it’s trying to do). For the demo we left RP disabled so yes it's at a disadvantage but my view was if it's competitive without it then with RP it should take home the prize. At this point we hit a strange problem which was never resolved through the whole demo which was a lack of volume/power which manifested itself as having the volume control at 95%+ to get what I would consider a good listening level. On the Naim I don’t think I got above 60. I understand the LS50's can be difficult to drive but the difference in output power was just plain baffling. We dove into the settings to check if there was some configured volume limit in place but everything looked good. If this is not a problem then I’d struggle to purchase the 1120 as it would mean running an amp where I’m running at near max volume constantly. At 50% it literally sounded like background noise. Reading the forums this really sounds out of character.

So next up was the Hegel H120. A bluesound Node 2i was broad in to facilitate the streaming duty which I didn't realise would be needed (tidal support on Hegel?) but fair enough. Hands up, the Hegel was my left field choice, given my Naim track record and Lyngdorf with RP I really thought it would come down to these two in this price bracket. How glad I was that I didn’t discount it completely. Immediately there was a sense of scale/weight/size out of the H120 that the Naim wasn’t reproducing. However it wasn’t loose at all, it just seemed to reveal lower frequencies and had a ease of drive and dynamics that I was struggling to pick up in the Naim. Maybe this is a function of output power? However the real kicker was that in addition to these perceived benefits, all of the forward/hardness that I found unpleasant with the Naim was gone and I’d now found a balance that suited my own old ears and tastes. This was starting to really get somewhere.

So off went the LS50's, in came the R3 and everything the R3 did over the LS50 with the Naim was reproduced with the Hegel again with the big increase in scale, weight, bigger stage and to me more detail, space around everything. This is very apparent at higher volumes where I found the LS50 started to struggle to keep composure, the R3 on the other hand seemed much more sensitive and able to play louder with ease which is no surprise given the size. BTW, back on the volume side vs the Lyndorf, the Hegel was pretty much as loud as I would comfortably listen (and probably louder) at 60-65 on the volume so in the same ballpark as the Naim which again underlined my curiosity over potential issues with the Lyngdorf setup.

I then tried a couple of speaker changes, the Sonus Faber's and the Heresy's mentioned above. The SF with the Hegel didn't work to me. Beautiful midrange/vocals but sounded rolled off, lost some excitement/dynamics. Putting the Naim in place here was a much better pairing but I prefered the H120/R3 combo. The Heresy's were then put in as a left field 'ok just go bigger and see what we get'. My expectation here was the R3 would then get blown away and I'd find myself going bigger and bigger but in fact that never happened. If anything the Heresy had more mid bass bunch but didn't see to go down as low as the R3. What I wasn’t expecting was that the stage seemed to fall back to the speakers, they didn’t disappear like the Kefs. One thing they did do though was play loud at ease and we were a few notches back on the volume control. Given the sensitivity we thought, ok let’s see if the Lyngdorf volume issue is resolved with higher sensitivity speakers however tbh it didn’t make much difference. Yes different amps have different volume gain on their controls but at 50% on the Lyngdorf driving Heresy IV’s it was still at background noise level and you need the dial in the red to get to a proper listening level. This just can’t be right, feedback really welcome here.

I left the demo at that point and plan to go back next week and see what the next rung of amplification will bring and try some other speaker options. I'd like to try an H190 vs Uniti Nova (any other suggestions?) and go up a rung on speakers although I've now found myself quite smitten with the R3's. The next speaker shortlist will prob include the Dynaudio Special 40's and a couple of floorstanders, maybe Focal's offering in this next bracket (£2k-£3k) + another one or two options. The choices are endless and you really could be demo’ing forever and I don’t have that much patience. What’s great is the dealer allows 2 week home trials which I plan to take full advantage off.

So to wrap up the long story, it was a great and surprising experience. What I thought would end with a re-ignited love affair with Naim has left me a little cold temporarily and I'm now dangerously reading reviews of H390's. I really want to get to the bottom of the Lyngdorf volume issue and I'm looking forward to trying a mix of higher priced speakers to see what I can improve on the Kef R3 which won the first round.

Any feedback on the above and volume issue with the Lyngdorf would be greatly appreciated and apologies for the paperback novel here.
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
Welcome to the Forums.

Sounds like there is a problem with the 1120 as it should be able to drive those speakers to deafening levels. I've only personally heard the 1120 driving Lyngdorf speakers and the system was capable of very loud playback.

I wasn't totally clear on how you were playing back music tracks. Was it via streaming or CDs? If CDs, how was the CD player connected - via analogue out or Coax digital or Optical Digital? If Streaming only, how was it being streamed?

You might also want to ask on the dedicated Lyngdorf 1120 thread on these Forums as there are a number of users using their 1120s with the speakers you tried and Dynaudios. Also, Rob Sinden, the owner of Gecko (the UK distributor for Lyngdorf) is a very helpful guy, so maybe reach out to him if the dealer can't help.
 

pfaz

Standard Member
Welcome to the Forums.

Sounds like there is a problem with the 1120 as it should be able to drive those speakers to deafening levels. I've only personally heard the 1120 driving Lyngdorf speakers and the system was capable of very loud playback.

I wasn't totally clear on how you were playing back music tracks. Was it via streaming or CDs? If CDs, how was the CD player connected - via analogue out or Coax digital or Optical Digital? If Streaming only, how was it being streamed?

You might also want to ask on the dedicated Lyngdorf 1120 thread on these Forums as there are a number of users using their 1120s with the speakers you tried and Dynaudios. Also, Rob Sinden, the owner of Gecko (the UK distributor for Lyngdorf) is a very helpful guy, so maybe reach out to him if the dealer can't help.

Thanks Steve for the welcome. Sorry I should have clarified, the source for the Lyngdorf was streaming Tidal via Roon. The Roon volume control was directly controlling the Lyngdorf volume, could see it changing in real-time when i adjusted. Your point regarding driving those speakers easily to defening levels matched my own expectation so I'm still very keen on hearing the Lyngdorf at it's best.

Will take up your suggestion and reach out to Rob/forums if the dealer hits a dead end trying to work out the issue.

thx
 

Steve356

Distinguished Member
I wonder if it's a settings issue then. I use Roon with Qobuz on my 3400. Now I know that the 3400 has quite a bit more power output than the 1120, but it really doesn't translate to as many dBs in additional loudness as you might expect. My room is about 6.5m x 3.5m with ATC speakers firing down the length of the room and I really couldn't comfortably listen at even 90% of the volume capabilities of my amp. At least not without risking damage to my hearing. FWIW, I don't use Roon volume control to control my overall volume levels, I just set Roon to Max and let the Lyngdorf control the volume. Note this was the same method I used when I trialled it with Tidal too.

As a matter of interest, I was also a Linn/Naim owner for a number of years, so am familiar with the tonal aspect of that set up. I had a Linn Sondek/Ekos/Arkiv turntable powered by a Naim Armageddon, amps were Naim 82 and twin 135s, driven Naim SBL speakers. Nowadays, it has all been replaced by Pioneer LX500 Universal Player, Lyngdorf TDAi-3400 driving ATC SCM19 speakers and M&K X10 subwoofer.

For movies, I augment the Lyngdorf with an Arcam AVR850 to give surround sound, but I don't use Dirac provided by the Arcam, I only use RoomPerfect for room correction as it's been the only room correction that has successfully worked in my room. The sound quality I get from the Lyngdorf with RP is the best I've ever achieved after being into HiFi for nearly 50 years. Don't write off the 1120 with RoomPerfect yet.
 

phil t

Well-known Member
I left the demo at that point and plan to go back next week and see what the next rung of amplification will bring and try some other speaker options. I'd like to try an H190 vs Uniti Nova (any other suggestions?) and go up a rung on speakers although I've now found myself quite smitten with the R3's. The next speaker shortlist will prob include the Dynaudio Special 40's and a couple of floorstanders, maybe Focal's offering in this next bracket (£2k-£3k) + another one or two options. The choices are endless and you really could be demo’ing forever and I don’t have that much patience. What’s great is the dealer allows 2 week home trials which I plan to take full advantage off.
Hello,

You're lucky to have found a dealer who is so accommodating.

If you can, try Neat SX1 loudspeakers. Plenty of detail but not harsh sounding in the least.

The Atom is a lovely player, but the Unity and Nova are better.
Better still if budget allows, ND 5 XS 2 (streamer) with Nait XS 3.
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
@pfaz It is pointless demoing a Lyngdorf amp that has not been set up properly - lots of options in the software - and RoomPerfect has been set up for the speakers and the room. If you are not going to listen to it with RP then you might as well go with the others - the effect of RP is that much of a revelation - if set up correctly and it is not difficult to do. There was someone on here trying to tell us once that a dealer was swapping speakers without running RP each time on the basis he assured the customer it had been run once and did not need re-running when speakers were changed :facepalm:

TBH you really need to trial a Lyngdorf in your own room to see what a difference RP can make in your environment - every room is different. There are dealers on here that will let you home trial - the reason being is that the majority keep the amp
 

pfaz

Standard Member
TBH you really need to trial a Lyngdorf in your own room to see what a difference RP can make in your environment - every room is different. There are dealers on here that will let you home trial - the reason being is that the majority keep the amp

Thanks @larkone. My dealer is fine with home trial with just a deposit and small postal cost to ship/return so any purchase will involve such a trial and I intend to include the 1120 in the shortlist as there's just too much postitive stuff written about Lyngdorf for my experience to be representative.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You found with the LS50s when compared against the R3s almost exactly what I found when auditioning the original LS50s against the R300s a good few years ago now. I also found Naim to be very disappointing with KEF speakers, almost as if they lacked control, certainly evident in a flabby bass response.

I think Lyngdorf are very difficult amps to audition in a dealer's room and you should push for a home demo with Room Perfect running. I'd also rather audition with a known stable music source from CD certainly. I also take albums that I am very familiar with and ones that will test both speaker and amp combinations to the full.

If you're smitten with the R3s, they are a class act as where their R300 predecessors, then I suggest you try the Rega Elicit-R unless you aren't able to accommodate a pure analogue amp.
 

Hear Here

Active Member
@pfaz It is pointless demoing a Lyngdorf amp that has not been set up properly - lots of options in the software - and RoomPerfect has been set up for the speakers and the room. If you are not going to listen to it with RP then you might as well go with the others - the effect of RP is that much of a revelation - if set up correctly and it is not difficult to do. There was someone on here trying to tell us once that a dealer was swapping speakers without running RP each time on the basis he assured the customer it had been run once and did not need re-running when speakers were changed :facepalm:

TBH you really need to trial a Lyngdorf in your own room to see what a difference RP can make in your environment - every room is different. There are dealers on here that will let you home trial - the reason being is that the majority keep the amp
I'd agree you should try to arrange a home demo as the sound in your own room on your own speakers will be very different from the dealer's setup,. I know from bitter experience with Martin Logan speakers! Great in the showroom, disappointing in my particular room.

I don't agree that one should use any DSP when initially demoing a choice of amps. Test them against one another with no filter. This should indicate the superior amp. Then see if DSP improves matter – it may well not if you carefully furnish your room and set up speakers optimally.

I had the Lyngdorf TRAI-3400 in my system for a week or 10 days last year when I was looking for a new amp to replace SETs that I'd been using for years. It fared poorly compared with several others I bought or borrowed for home demo. The Room Perfect made matters worse though I didn't do more than one careful set of readings. With no filter, it sounded quite good (though others bettered it) but its touch screen was so poor, I came to the conclusion it was best returned to the dealer.

The OP mentions perceived volume comparison - I can't usefully comment as my speakers need very little power and all the amps I tried (20 - 200+ watts) were amply powerful enough.

Sad to see that you didn't try a NAD in your tests. Of the dozen amps or all-in-ones I tried (£3-8K) the best overall turned out to be the NAD M32, although I’ve since bettered this with the M33. At £4000 (ask for a discount) this may be over your budget, but I found it better in every respect than the Lingdorf although the latter may be more suited to home theatre systems. NAD offers less costly alternatives though I don't have first-hand experience of the M10 or latest C series. There's also the Cambridge EVO all-in-ones that have recently been released at very good prices. Too much choice perhaps!
 

pfaz

Standard Member
Sad to see that you didn't try a NAD in your tests. Of the dozen amps or all-in-ones I tried (£3-8K) the best overall turned out to be the NAD M32, although I’ve since bettered this with the M33. At £4000 (ask for a discount) this may be over your budget, but I found it better in every respect than the Lingdorf although the latter may be more suited to home theatre systems. NAD offers less costly alternatives though I don't have first-hand experience of the M10 or latest C series. There's also the Cambridge EVO all-in-ones that have recently been released at very good prices. Too much choice perhaps!

@Hear Here thanks for the feedback, that's some interesting thoughts and I agree with your point re: demo'ing initially without any DSP. I would find it strange if an amazing product with DSP sounded v.poor without. Also I'd be inclined to try and room correct the products that sounded better in the first place (maybe easier said than done). Until I get a proper demo of the Lyngdorf at home though it's still in the running. I've not heard many negative comments regarding the Lyngdorf 3400 so your feedback is surprising but then again if we all had the same perception there would be one amp available at every price point! Oh how simple life would be then 🤔

Don't think the dealer I used does NAD but I'm open to trying anything. Most reviews I've seen on the M10 vs the Uniti Atom favour the Atom. Not seen a good comparison with an M33, will have a hunt around. I'd consider a Uniti Nova so the M33 is within man maths range if the sound justifies the price but these are definitely at the top end. I've got Sevenoaks Hifi not far from me that carry NAD and also carry Naim which I could use as a benchmark. Initial reports of the Cambridge EVO seem to suggest the separates sound better but might be worth a listen. I'm really not fussed whether it's a single or multi box solution.

Do you mind me asking what speakers you're running with the M33 and are these the ones you had originally with the Lyngdorf?
 

rednotdead

Active Member
Just bear in mind that if you need a HT Bypass mode the new Cambridge Audio evos are out, they don't offer it. The naim unitis all do, as does the lyngdorf. Not sure whether the NADs offer HT.
 

pfaz

Standard Member
Just bear in mind that if you need a HT Bypass mode the new Cambridge Audio evos are out, they don't offer it. The naim unitis all do, as does the lyngdorf. Not sure whether the NADs offer HT.

You'll have to help me out here. Is this related to running a sub or something else?
 

rednotdead

Active Member
Sorry- no, it's needed if you want to integrate an AV amp for surround duties but keep your stereo amp driving FL and FR speakers.
 

Hear Here

Active Member
@Hear Here I've not heard many negative comments regarding the Lyngdorf 3400 so your feedback is surprising but then again if we all had the same perception there would be one amp available at every price point! Oh how simple life would be then 🤔

Do you mind me asking what speakers you're running with the M33 and are these the ones you had originally with the Lyngdorf?
Your point above - yes, lots of Lyngfdprf users like them, but just look at the front panel screen compared with M33 - like a 1970 dot-matrix printer vs a photo printer! No problem with the sound, but I found that RoomPerfect sucked so much life out of the music, I decided to look elsewhere.

When I did my amps tests (12 amps over a few months) my speakers were Avantgarde Unos. Since then I've upgraded to Duo XDs. Both very efficient and very revealing speakers that appreciate a first class amp. I should perhaps be looking at a £10K+ amp plus a similar sum for streamer/DAC, but I'm still very content with the modest M33. It bettered many amps at much higher prices (Accuphase. GamuT, etc). It includes Dirac Live DSP and again this sucks a little of the life from the music but nowhere near as much as my experience with RP. I'd agree that ACCURACY may be improved, but if one can get an already accurate speaker (as Avantgardes are) to behave accurately in your own room (by conventional methods of careful furnishing, carpets, speaker setup and maybe room treatment), then there's no point in resorting to the extra signal processing that all DSPs require. I find I enjoy music more with No Fliter selected.

There is a way to truly improve sound with DSP but not the way amps with built-in DSP processing attempt to do it.
 

Hear Here

Active Member
I'm not familiar so did a quick google, holy %$£"$£. I better not demo those!
Sorry to frighten you - it rather frightened me after I'd realised what I'd done!

My old (2002) Unos were also great speakers - if you can find a good used pair, grab 'em - they were chosen as Stereophile's Speaker of the Year 2000 and still sound pretty amazing. In fact I managed to find a pair of near-perfect 2006 Duos at a very good price that I bought last year. They are so good that the big investment step up to latest XD version seems hardly justified.

I mentioned that DSP can be done well but not using a DSP within a single full-range amp. In fact the Duo XDs have a DSP that applies only to its bass amp / driver so the signal carrying upper frequencies (the ones that give life to music) is not subject to any DSP processing whatsoever, so no life is lost.
 

Paul7777x

Member

DT79

Well-known Member
@pfaz i would definitely recommend trialing the Lyngdorf 1120 at home and while I can certainly understand wanting to try it without using RoomPerfect initially if you want to do a comparison with other amps on a level playing field, you should then also definitely run RoomPerfect and try it that way, because ultimately the playing field isn’t level and that’s the way to get the most out of the 1120 (with whatever speakers in whatever room).

When you were controlling the volume of the 1120 via Roon, and you had to turn it way up, what volume level was actually displayed on the front of the 1120?
 

Cribbster

Active Member
I have nothing useful to ad here aside from thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. I am wondering if your tastes are similar to mine. :) My impression from a number of demos is that the LS50s are bright and can get to sound harsh quite quickly. Whereas the R series speakers are a lot better behaved - almost passive, until you get a strong amp to give them a bit of a kicking, at which point they start to sing. Not very impressed with the recent NADs I have listened to. I think I heard the M10 when it was quite new. Did not sound like a 2 grand amp at all to my ears. Thoroughly unimpressed with it. Did hear the Hegel H190 (I think) at last year's Bristol Show and was really impressed with the sound. They were using Amphion speakers. That combination was probably a bit too warm sounding but I could sense that the Hegel was probably a very good amp.
 

pfaz

Standard Member
When you were controlling the volume of the 1120 via Roon, and you had to turn it way up, what volume level was actually displayed on the front of the 1120?

Thanks @DT79 . The volume on the 1120 was in sync so when Room was close to max the front volume was in all the way round in the red zone.
 

pfaz

Standard Member
I have nothing useful to ad here aside from thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. I am wondering if your tastes are similar to mine. :) My impression from a number of demos is that the LS50s are bright and can get to sound harsh quite quickly. Whereas the R series speakers are a lot better behaved - almost passive, until you get a strong amp to give them a bit of a kicking, at which point they start to sing. Not very impressed with the recent NADs I have listened to. I think I heard the M10 when it was quite new. Did not sound like a 2 grand amp at all to my ears. Thoroughly unimpressed with it. Did hear the Hegel H190 (I think) at last year's Bristol Show and was really impressed with the sound. They were using Amphion speakers. That combination was probably a bit too warm sounding but I could sense that the Hegel was probably a very good amp.
Hi @Cribbster. I didn't find the balance of the LS50s wildly different to R3s. To me the R3s just seemed like a bigger more grown up speaker which makes sense given the additional driver/cabinet size. With the Hegel I didn't get any sense of harshness from either.

Maybe all your LS50 demo's to date have been with similar forward sounding amps which doesn't agree with your tastes?
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Thanks @DT79 . The volume on the 1120 was in sync so when Room was close to max the front volume was in all the way round in the red zone.
Very odd, I can only think there was some kind of settings issue between Roon and the 1120.

So on the 1120 there is actually some kind of colour coded indicator on the volume? Does it give a -db value as well?

I’m not necessarily saying this is the case when you tried it, because that does sound weird, but because the volume control on the Lyngdorf is completely linear and you can use all of the range, it can lead to a false sense of having to push the amp ‘harder’ than others, when in reality you’re not. If I turn the volume up to -10db on my 2170 then that ‘seems’ very high, but the range goes up to +12db so in reality it will still go over 4 times louder.
 

Paul7777x

Member
Thanks Steve for the welcome. Sorry I should have clarified, the source for the Lyngdorf was streaming Tidal via Roon. The Roon volume control was directly controlling the Lyngdorf volume, could see it changing in real-time when i adjusted. Your point regarding driving those speakers easily to defening levels matched my own expectation so I'm still very keen on hearing the Lyngdorf at it's best.

Will take up your suggestion and reach out to Rob/forums if the dealer hits a dead end trying to work out the issue.

thx

There can be no possibility of the 1120 not driving the Kefs, or much else besides, to quite hideously loud volume.

I have to assume that the Roon version of Tidal, or the Tidal app volume itself was severely curtailed.

Although that does not explain why the other amps did not suffer the volume problem.

I’m assuming the source (Tidal via Roon) was identical and untouched for the Naim and Hegel?

In any case, the next time you go for a demo I’d suggest you use a CD player, perhaps taking a few of your own cds. Through either the digital inputs or the analogue output of the player will not be able to mess with the 1120s volume control.
 

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