Lyngdorf 1120 Vs seperates

Sollybob

Member
Long-time lurker, first time poster.

I thought I would share my experience with the lyngdorf tdai-1120. My previous setup was a Rega elex-r amp with kef ls50 speakers and SVS SB-12 NSD fed by a bluesound node 2 streamer via a chord 2qute. I had steadily built up the system and generally very happy with sound and reliability for streaming Tidal files - I have long since given up on buggy Spotify connect and pi based streamers. However, I felt at times the sound was a bit soupy due to the speakers running at full range alongside a sub and very unfriendly room dynamics (kitchen diner with almost entirely hard surfaces and speakers mounted in top corners safely away from toddler hands).

I came across room EQ in a blog post by Darko, which piqued my interest about neutralising my room and boosting performance. Initially I looked at Dirac through DSPmini 2x4hd and adding another seperate but dismissed on the grounds of cost once customs duties and the seperate mic are factored in, and wariness of techhy audio kit with limited user support - the Allo Digione streamer experience scarred me. Furthermore, with glowing reviews of moderately priced all-in-one boxes with room correction such as arcam sa30, Nad M10 and lyngdorf tdai-1120, it seemed I could gain room eq and crossover, maintain performance and be cost neutral once selling my old kit. An open-box deal on the lyngdorf swayed it as I figured I could sell if it didn't work out with taking too much pain. After an hour of setup with room perfect, a side by side comparison using tidal followed and I was immediately struck by the general openess and cohesiveness of the sound from the lyngdorf compared to the seperates. Flicking the roomperfect on/off showed this was due to more than just the crossover. I should have stopped my analysis here and been happy. Instead I thought I should see how the bluesound streamer and chord DAC into the lyngdorf analog input sounded and it was absolutely stunning - a new hi for my hifi for sure. Crisp highs, round lively base, good timing and great soundstage. I have now decided that with the kef ls50s, assuming room perfect was effective, the lyngdorf is quite harsh and somewhat tinny in the treble. I played around with the relaxed and soft voicings to tame this but there is just a persistent harsh flatness in the upper range that I don't like. If I am missing something in the lyngdorf settings then do please let me know.

In summary, I am super pleased with the lyngdorf + external chord DAC + bluesound and would wholeheartedly recommend something similar to anyone considering it but I would struggle to get behind the lyngdorf alone based on my experience. Sadly, I now have a big hole my cost neutral budget as I would struggle to go back to either the seperates or the lyngdorf alone. I may see if a CCA can replace the bluesound without impacting performance too much and claw back a few pounds.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
In a compramised room (nearly all of them) room eq makes a massive difference.
Intergating Room eq nearly always trips me up when I look at new hifi.
The best I have seen for seperates is minidsp shd (studio).
 

Sollybob

Member
Definitely. There is no way a few soft furnishings or panels can beat science when it comes to making a room hifi friendly. It's amazing these devices have only beginning to become popular for stereo listening.

Good to know about minidsp shd studio, cheers.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
You can't really eq bass with traps in a domestic environment.

You can't really eq mid/treb of a bad speaker with eq or panels, but you can a well designed speaker.

Although most of the difference is achieved in the bass.
 

Dave-Gray

Active Member
It may well be worth posting on the 1120 thread as you'll get a number of replies there:
New Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 Streaming amp

I don't find the 1120 harsh in anyway. It's very clean and neutral which I guess doesn't suit everyone. I moved from using a Node 2i, Chord Qutest and Naim Nait 3 amp. To my ears the combination of the 1120 and Room Perfect bettered the Chord and Naim Combo.

I did wonder about trying the Chord in the analog input but I needed to sell it to fund the 1120. Also I wasn't sure about the 1120 converting the analog output from the DAC back into digital. It seemed to me an extra step that wasn't needed.

Do you still have the harsh elements to the sound if you remove the Node and the DAC from the chain and use the 1120 to stream?
 

Going Grey Now

Active Member
@Sollybob
Really interested to read your summary.
I have a RPi into a Schiit DAC, then Rega Brio. Terrible bass thumps/resonance at around 45Hz which I have partly solved by PEQ on the RPi. Doesn’t help with analogue though.
The Lyngdorf with its room correction is on my “long term” radar but not in a position to do anything for quite some time.
 

Russ_64

Well-known Member
@Sollybob really interesting that you are still using the Node 2 when the 1120 has streaming built-in, any particular reason?

Also have you tried going from Node 2 direct to 1120 using digital coax cable, instead of using the DAC? I find that digital from my Oppo into Lyngdorf amp is cleaner sound vs analogue.

BTW I am considering a Node 2i as my 2170 does not have streaming.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
@Sollybob really interesting that you are still using the Node 2 when the 1120 has streaming built-in, any particular reason?

Also have you tried going from Node 2 direct to 1120 using digital coax cable, instead of using the DAC? I find that digital from my Oppo into Lyngdorf amp is cleaner sound vs analogue.

BTW I am considering a Node 2i as my 2170 does not have streaming.
You can use your Oppo as a Roon end point to stream into the 2170. Have you ever tried Roon? The cost of a Node 2i will get you most of the way to a Roon lifetime sub. I’d do the free trial using the 203 as your streaming device and see how you get on (If you haven’t already).
 

Sollybob

Member
It may well be worth posting on the 1120 thread as you'll get a number of replies there:
New Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 Streaming amp

I don't find the 1120 harsh in anyway. It's very clean and neutral which I guess doesn't suit everyone. I moved from using a Node 2i, Chord Qutest and Naim Nait 3 amp. To my ears the combination of the 1120 and Room Perfect bettered the Chord and Naim Combo.

I did wonder about trying the Chord in the analog input but I needed to sell it to fund the 1120. Also I wasn't sure about the 1120 converting the analog output from the DAC back into digital. It seemed to me an extra step that wasn't needed.

Do you still have the harsh elements to the sound if you remove the Node and the DAC from the chain and use the 1120 to stream?
 

Sollybob

Member
It may well be worth posting on the 1120 thread as you'll get a number of replies there:
New Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 Streaming amp

I don't find the 1120 harsh in anyway. It's very clean and neutral which I guess doesn't suit everyone. I moved from using a Node 2i, Chord Qutest and Naim Nait 3 amp. To my ears the combination of the 1120 and Room Perfect bettered the Chord and Naim Combo.

I did wonder about trying the Chord in the analog input but I needed to sell it to fund the 1120. Also I wasn't sure about the 1120 converting the analog output from the DAC back into digital. It seemed to me an extra step that wasn't needed.

Do you still have the harsh elements to the sound if you remove the Node and the DAC from the chain and use the 1120 to stream?
It sounds like you were coming from a similar starting point to me. I definitely felt the lyngdorf alone bettered the seperates combo.

I wanted to test to see how the node 2 and chord DAC compared with the lydngdorfs DAC and streamer by bypassing them and going straight into the analog input (although I believe there is some processing taking place on the analog inputs as well). I played around with different combinations and found that the node > DAC > lyngdorf sounded the best by some distance. It makes sense that the lyngdorf internal DAC is inferior to the chord given the relative price points between them.

The harsh elements are gone with the chord DAC in the chain. It could be the pairing with the kef ls50s that doesn't work well in my system. It's not
It may well be worth posting on the 1120 thread as you'll get a number of replies there:
New Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 Streaming amp

I don't find the 1120 harsh in anyway. It's very clean and neutral which I guess doesn't suit everyone. I moved from using a Node 2i, Chord Qutest and Naim Nait 3 amp. To my ears the combination of the 1120 and Room Perfect bettered the Chord and Naim Combo.

I did wonder about trying the Chord in the analog input but I needed to sell it to fund the 1120. Also I wasn't sure about the 1120 converting the analog output from the DAC back into digital. It seemed to me an extra step that wasn't needed.

Do you still have the harsh elements to the sound if you remove the Node and the DAC from the chain and use the 1120 to stream?
Yes, it was only by keeping the chord DAC in chain that these harsh elements were removed. The node 2 had less impact when tested alongside a CCA. It makes sense that the chord DAC should outperform the internal lyngdorf DAC given their relative price points.

possibly the lyngdorf amp alone and kef ls50 is just not a great combo. I probably lean towards preferring a softer presentation so there is likely some bias within my conclusions.
 

Sollybob

Member
@Sollybob really interesting that you are still using the Node 2 when the 1120 has streaming built-in, any particular reason?

Also have you tried going from Node 2 direct to 1120 using digital coax cable, instead of using the DAC? I find that digital from my Oppo into Lyngdorf amp is cleaner sound vs analogue.

BTW I am considering a Node 2i as my 2170 does not have streaming.
I was just curious to see the results when bypassing the lyngdorf DAC and streamer. To me the sound was much better. Even my wife, who views the hifi as little more than a financial burden, was quick to criticise a 'tinny' sound of the lyngdorf alone. I tried the node 2 without the DAC and results were similar to the lyngdorf alone, so the chord DAC is making a huge contribution.

I forget the difference between node 2 and 2i but worth checking you are not paying up for a better DAC in 2i that will ultimately be bypassed for the lyngdorf DAC.
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
@Sollybob You are never bypassing the Lyngdorf's digital processing because all analogue input signals are converted back to digital in the 1120 - it has to to do the crossovers and RP processing. So you are converting digital to analogue outside of the amp and then processing the analogue back to digital before the final analogue output to the speakers and sub.
 

karlsushi

Active Member
Yes, what @larkone says. I find it interesting that the Chord Qutest improves the sound, because the signal is being processed by the DAC in the Lyngdorf anyway after having been digitised by the internal ADC.

I guess this is a reflection of just how transparent the Lyngdorf's conversions are and they are just handing over to the speakers exactly what the Chord provides. Maybe.

I also find it interesting that you have found the Qutest to be the link in the chain that is taming the harsh treble. I have been exploring a similar set-up using a Qutest and found that this is one of the main criticisms of the Chord sound. Wonderful detail, but the oversampling in the chips that Chord uses causes too much digital harshness.

I'm going to make a suggestion that may be frowned upon, but if you want to tame that top end and add a bit of analogue warmth, one way to do this is to add a tube buffer in the chain.

I get all the arguments about 'colouration' and unnecessary additional circuitry, but I love what they add to digital.

Pop a Musical Fidelity X10-D in the chain (between the Qutest and the amp) and you'll never go back! But beware, the path into tubes (valves) is a dangerous road!

Just my two penneth.
 

Dave-Gray

Active Member
Yes, what @larkone says. I find it interesting that the Chord Qutest improves the sound, because the signal is being processed by the DAC in the Lyngdorf anyway after having been digitised by the internal ADC.

I guess this is a reflection of just how transparent the Lyngdorf's conversions are and they are just handing over to the speakers exactly what the Chord provides. Maybe.

I also find it interesting that you have found the Qutest to be the link in the chain that is taming the harsh treble. I have been exploring a similar set-up using a Qutest and found that this is one of the main criticisms of the Chord sound. Wonderful detail, but the oversampling in the chips that Chord uses causes too much digital harshness.

I'm going to make a suggestion that may be frowned upon, but if you want to tame that top end and add a bit of analogue warmth, one way to do this is to add a tube buffer in the chain.

I get all the arguments about 'colouration' and unnecessary additional circuitry, but I love what they add to digital.

Pop a Musical Fidelity X10-D in the chain (between the Qutest and the amp) and you'll never go back! But beware, the path into tubes (valves) is a dangerous road!

Just my two penneth.
That was very much my experience with the Chord. The level of detail it dug up was amazing but in combo with the Naim Nait the sound of treble in particular was just to 'etched' for my liking.
 

Sollybob

Member
@Sollybob You are never bypassing the Lyngdorf's digital processing because all analogue input signals are converted back to digital in the 1120 - it has to to do the crossovers and RP processing. So you are converting digital to analogue outside of the amp and then processing the analogue back to digital before the final analogue output to the speakers and sub.
Understood, thanks for confirming. It seems like I am taking a convoluted approach but it is yielding good results.
Yes, what @larkone says. I find it interesting that the Chord Qutest improves the sound, because the signal is being processed by the DAC in the Lyngdorf anyway after having been digitised by the internal ADC.

I guess this is a reflection of just how transparent the Lyngdorf's conversions are and they are just handing over to the speakers exactly what the Chord provides. Maybe.

I also find it interesting that you have found the Qutest to be the link in the chain that is taming the harsh treble. I have been exploring a similar set-up using a Qutest and found that this is one of the main criticisms of the Chord sound. Wonderful detail, but the oversampling in the chips that Chord uses causes too much digital harshness.

I'm going to make a suggestion that may be frowned upon, but if you want to tame that top end and add a bit of analogue warmth, one way to do this is to add a tube buffer in the chain.

I get all the arguments about 'colouration' and unnecessary additional circuitry, but I love what they add to digital.

Pop a Musical Fidelity X10-D in the chain (between the Qutest and the amp) and you'll never go back! But beware, the path into tubes (valves) is a dangerous road!

Just my two penneth.
Yes, I was skeptical of my findings at first as surely the lyngdorf processors cap the Chord's performance but after a few blind tests this is the best combination to my ears. I am relatively new to the hobby and have only worked with digital sources so my perception of smooth vs harsh may be skewed.

Thank you for the suggestion of a tube buffer - i didn't even know this was a thing! I had previously excluded tube amps from my considerations on price grounds but this could work... Sadly, I have exhausted my goodwill with wifey for now but this will be high on my list for future improvements. I'm already knee deep in additional circuitry so no bias against adding more if it gets me closer to a sound I like.
 

karlsushi

Active Member
The thing that's fun about a tube buffer such as the X-10D is that, for a system such as yours, it is a relatively inexpensive toy to allow you to see what all the valve fuss is about.

Yes o.k, you could argue its expensive given it is probably a 15+ year old bit of kit, but there is a really strong following with them such that you could pretty much guarantee being able to sell it on for as much as you bought it for.

So just tell the wife you are just trying it out as a demo and sending it back and so it's not costing a penny ;)

I think they're a great experiment for what they're worth.
 

AudioJosh

Active Member
It would be interesting if you could try out the KEF LS 50 Meta's. The reviews I've read/watched consistently say the top end is smoother than the original LS50's. Perhaps they would pair better with the Lyngdorf. Just a thought.
 

craigd

Well-known Member
...possibly the lyngdorf amp alone and kef ls50 is just not a great combo. I probably lean towards preferring a softer presentation so there is likely some bias within my conclusions.
I have a Lyngdorf TDAI-2200 with KEF LS50 in a well furnished room - curtains, carpet, sofa. Would not describe it as harsh or bright. Very clean and resolving. However, this is using Lyngdorf boundary woofers crosses over at 300Hz so takes a lot of strain off the KEFs.
 

Paul7777x

Member
It sounds like you were coming from a similar starting point to me. I definitely felt the lyngdorf alone bettered the seperates combo.

I wanted to test to see how the node 2 and chord DAC compared with the lydngdorfs DAC and streamer by bypassing them and going straight into the analog input (although I believe there is some processing taking place on the analog inputs as well). I played around with different combinations and found that the node > DAC > lyngdorf sounded the best by some distance. It makes sense that the lyngdorf internal DAC is inferior to the chord given the relative price points between them.

The harsh elements are gone with the chord DAC in the chain. It could be the pairing with the kef ls50s that doesn't work well in my system. It's not

Yes, it was only by keeping the chord DAC in chain that these harsh elements were removed. The node 2 had less impact when tested alongside a CCA. It makes sense that the chord DAC should outperform the internal lyngdorf DAC given their relative price points.

possibly the lyngdorf amp alone and kef ls50 is just not a great combo. I probably lean towards preferring a softer presentation so there is likely some bias within my conclusions.

Lobbing the Chords analogue input into the 1120 means an ADC conversion in the 1120 for the room Perfect to function (even if you don’t use it) and then a reconversion (though not through an ordinary dac), back to an analogue signal at the speaker outputs.

I’m not sure how this can be better than a straight digital feed to the Lyngdorf.

Though should I ever get my hands on a top class dac I’ll be trying it out.
 

Sollybob

Member
The thing that's fun about a tube buffer such as the X-10D is that, for a system such as yours, it is a relatively inexpensive toy to allow you to see what all the valve fuss is about.

Yes o.k, you could argue its expensive given it is probably a 15+ year old bit of kit, but there is a really strong following with them such that you could pretty much guarantee being able to sell it on for as much as you bought it for.

So just tell the wife you are just trying it out as a demo and sending it back and so it's not costing a penny ;)

I think they're a great experiment for what they're worth.

It would be interesting if you could try out the KEF LS 50 Meta's. The reviews I've read/watched consistently say the top end is smoother than the original LS50's. Perhaps they would pair better with the Lyngdorf. Just a thought.
It's a good shout and is the next obvious stop on my major upgrade path. I've been very excited to hear that the meta's performance has closed the gap with the wireless version so considerably so I suspect there are big gains to be had in my setup. My priority on this occasion was neutralising the bad acoustics in my room and the lyngdorf has certainly been successful at that.
 

Sollybob

Member
Lobbing the Chords analogue input into the 1120 means an ADC conversion in the 1120 for the room Perfect to function (even if you don’t use it) and then a reconversion (though not through an ordinary dac), back to an analogue signal at the speaker outputs.

I’m not sure how this can be better than a straight digital feed to the Lyngdorf.

Though should I ever get my hands on a top class dac I’ll be trying it out.
When you put like that I admit it sounds nonsensical but the improvement is quite clear. Having a read around it seems that others have found the similar benefit of using an external DAC with lyngdorf all-in-one systems. I am glad this is the case, as should lyngdorf, because gaining roomperfect but losing the chord would probably have me looking for an alternative solution.
 

harkpabst

Active Member
Where did you find any reports about LS50 Meta closing any kind of gap with the wireless version? Technically, LS50 and LS50 Wireless are identical as far as the speaker part goes. Same for LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II. The main difference is that one is a speaker while the other is an integrated music system. The difference in sound signature is mainly down to the fact that the wireless versions are using quite a lot of bass EQ (something the TDAI-1120 can easily provide for the non-wireless versions).

The Lyngdorf performs distinct digital to analog conversion for its analog output, only (all integrated with the DSP). For everything else the power amplifier section itself is the DAC. Peter Lyngdorf speaks of it as a PowerDAC. By using the analoge input you are adding another (Lyngdorf) ADC, no matter how you put it.

In the end all that matters is how you like the sound best. Trouble is you might be up for an endless chain of "upgrades" when you are working your way along pseudo-objective parameters like "the more expensive DAC must be the better one". Maybe (and just maybe) the setup with Node 2 and Chord is just masking something else you are not exactly happy with?

You didn't write anything about how you are integrating your SB12 with the KEFs using the TDAI-1120. Just hope you are not paying any attention to all that blurb about having to run them full range.You don't. If you haven't done already try crossing both, sub and mains at 80 Hz LR4 for a start. If your sub is positioned between the speakers (and close to the front wall) as recommended by Lyngdorf you can go higher like 100 or even 120 Hz with very good results. Run RoomPerfect again (no way around this) and see if what you perceived as harshness is still there.

If you still prefer the setup with the external streamer and DAC, so be it.
 
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Sollybob

Member
Where did you find any reports about LS50 Meta closing any kind of gap with the wireless version? Technically, LS50 and LS50 Wireless are identical as far as the speaker part goes. Same for LS50 Meta and LS50 Wireless II. The main difference is that one is a speaker while the other is an integrated music system. The difference in sound signature is mainly down to the fact that the wireless versions are using quite a lot of bass EQ (something the TDAI-1120 can easily provide for the non-wireless versions).

The Lyngdorf performs distinct digital to analog conversion for its analog output, only (all integrated with the DSP). For everything else the power amplifier section itself is the DAC. Peter Lyngdorf speaks of it as a PowerDAC. By using the analoge input you are adding another (Lyngdorf) ADC, no matter how you put it.

In the end all that matters is how you like the sound best. Trouble is you might be up for an endless chain of "upgrades" when you are working your way along pseudo-objective parameters like "the more expensive DAC must be the better one". Maybe (and just maybe) the setup with Node 2 and Chord is just masking something else you are not exactly happy with?

You didn't write anything about how you are integrating your SB12 with the KEFs using the TDAI-1120. Just hope you are not paying any attention to all that blurb about having to run them full range.You don't. If you haven't done already try crossing both, sub and mains at 80 Hz LR4 for a start. If your sub is positioned between the speakers (and close to the front wall) as recommended by Lyngdorf you can go higher like 100 or even 120 Hz with very good results. Run RoomPerfect again (no way around this) and see if what you perceived as harshness is still there.

If you still prefer the setup with the external streamer and DAC, do be it.
For a meta Vs wireless ii comparison, darko did a side-by-side using a budget and mid-range amp. Results were that both were superior to the original ls50 but the gap between meta and wireless ii was close and ultimately came down to listening preferences. Huge difference to the ls50 Vs wireless 1 comparison where it seems widely accepted that you need to spend big money on a partnering amp to get the ls50 close to the wireless 1's performance.

You're exactly right about the endless quest for better components and this is what motivated me to look at the lyngdorf as my intention was to replace all my seperates. But the 1120 is just simply not quite good enough.

Yes, using 80hz and lr4 with placement broadly in-line with guidance. I have only ran the 1120 using the crossover for the speakers - I didn't see any point trying the speakers at full range.This will be the source of much improvement I am hearing as even with roomperfect being bypassed it sounds much better than my original setup.
 

karlsushi

Active Member
Always interested to hear people who are into this hobby recommending an all in one device or suggesting it is such a bad thing to be continually on the search for perfection.

For me, the main attraction of this hobby is exactly that. Trying out different kit and seeing what it does to the sound.

For that reason, I have always preferred separates to all in one systems.

Obviously that route isn't the best advice for someone looking for a system on a tight budget or perceived 'best value', but flexibility for tweaking and upgrades is what the hobby is all about for me.

The day I sit back and say I have my end-game system is the day the hobby is over.
 

harkpabst

Active Member
For a meta Vs wireless ii comparison, darko did a side-by-side using a budget and mid-range amp. Results were that both were superior to the original ls50 but the gap between meta and wireless ii was close and ultimately came down to listening preferences. Huge difference to the ls50 Vs wireless 1 comparison where it seems widely accepted that you need to spend big money on a partnering amp to get the ls50 close to the wireless 1's performance.

You're exactly right about the endless quest for better components and this is what motivated me to look at the lyngdorf as my intention was to replace all my seperates. But the 1120 is just simply not quite good enough.

Yes, using 80hz and lr4 with placement broadly in-line with guidance. I have only ran the 1120 using the crossover for the speakers - I didn't see any point trying the speakers at full range.This will be the source of much improvement I am hearing as even with roomperfect being bypassed it sounds much better than my original setup.
Thanks for the reference to John Darko. I respect he's making a living from things as pleasant as listening to music and dealing with hifi gear. Apart from that the LS50 needing expensive amps to compete with the Wireless is just as much widely accepted as them being impossible to integrate with subs (unless you let them run full range). In other words: I wholeheartedly disagree. From my personal experience all they need are quality amps (of course) that can deal easily with 4 ohms load (as the LS50 is not really an 8 ohms speaker, despite KEF's claim).

So far it looks like your sonic problem is theoretically solved, leaving you behind with the budget problem of not being able to sell your previous gear. So, where to go from here?

Shelving out more money on new speakers might or might not help. I have no doubt the Metas are even better than the already excellent LS50 (my dealer describes the Meta as a "small improvement", but I didn't have the chance to listen to them for myself). But this move will certainly not lower the burden on your wallet. The outgoing LS50 has been available so dead cheap, 2nd hand prices are probably completely spoiled, still.

Maybe the TDAI-3400 would have been a more suitable replacement for your separates, but the invest would have been noticeably higher, definitely not cost neutral. A 2nd hand TDAI-2170 (which is out of production now according to many sources) with its plethora of input modules and outputs could have been another option, keeping the streamer at least. But selling the 1120 now will surely result in further monetary loss (plus Lyngdorf claims it to sound exactly the same as the 1120 from the amplifier perspective).

Go figure.

@karlsushi, everyone as he likes. :)
 

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