Lyngdorf TDAI 1120

Hardware Review

Lyngdorf TDAI 1120
Thursday, June 11, 2020
integrated amplifier DAC streamer
Chris Kelly

Regular readers of The Ear may recall that some months ago I reviewed the Lyngdorf TDAI 3400 and that I was absolutely smitten with it. In fact I was so enamoured that I have since taken ownership of one and it sits proudly at the heart of my system. It is a source of hours of listening pleasure every day, and even with extended use I have found nothing to criticise. In fact, I keep finding new ways to delve deeper into the TDAI 3400's potential via its web based software control system which can be used to really dig into its capabilities.

It was therefore not tough to agree to review Lyngdorf’s most recently announced amplifier the TDAI 1120, when it was offered by Rob Sinden, the UK Lyngdorf distributor. In due course the courier delivered a new Lyngdorf package, which bore the slogan ‘Technology with purpose’, a mission statement that is both concise and, luckily, accurate.

Unpacking the TDAI 1120 reveals a unit built with the same house style as its bigger brother but in a significantly more compact form factor. Its just over 10cm (4 inches) high but weighs almost as much as the bigger amp. On the front left is a large screen and to its right a small knob for changing source or muting the output, and on the far right a large volume knob, with a small standby button to one side. On the back we find a pair of speaker sockets, coaxial and optical inputs and an HDMI socket (to take the audio return channel from a TV), as well as a pair of analogue inputs and an MM phono input to plug in a turntable with. An ethernet input socket is here also and a USB A connector. There is a pair of analogue outputs to support a subwoofer or an external power amplifier and last but certainly not least, there is an XLR microphone socket for setting up the all-important Room Perfect software. I rummaged in the box looking for a remote control, but there is no remote supplied – the TDAI 1120 is designed to be controlled exclusively via the same app which runs the TDAI 3400. I shall return to that later.

TDAI-1120-Back.jpg

The TDAI 1120 is, like its big brother, an all in one unit, sporting a streaming media player, DAC and but has a less powerful 60 Watt digital amplifier. Built into the media player we find vTuner (for internet radio) and Spotify Connect, and the device has built in Chromecast support, Apply Airplay 2, DLNA/UPnP streaming and Bluetooth. If you want to add Qobuz or Tidal there are third party apps available such as Roon or MconnectHD, which I run on my iPad alongside the Lyngdorf native app. The Lyngdorf can be connected wirelessly or hardwired to your broadband network. I always choose hard wiring when I can so a cable from the switch to the unit was inserted.

Having sited the TDAI 1120 on the system rack I plugged in my Harbeth P3ESR loudspeakers and phono stage, the Lyngdorf CD2 and my REL subwoofer. The TV was plugged in via one of the optical inputs. We were now ready to run Room Perfect. The procedure is straightforward, assemble the supplied microphone stand, attach the supplied cable to the microphone at one end and plug it into the socket on the rear panel. This is slightly more awkward than using the front socket on the bigger Lyngdorf, but given that this is typically a one-off operation it’s hardly more than a minor inconvenience.

As with its big brother, this Lyngdorf is an astonishingly versatile device. Each input can be assigned its own ‘voice’ (sound shaping by DSP) and via the web interface it is also possible to tweak these to suit your own tastes. Similarly there are bass, treble and balance controls available through the interface should you wish to adjust any of those parameters.

The Room Perfect set up is controlled via the web browser on your tablet, phone or laptop. First the microphone is placed exactly at the main listening position and then moved to random positions around the room. Room Perfect ‘learns’ the room via a series of test tones at each microphone position, and after eight different readings it was showing a 95% understanding of the room. Distances from the main listening position to the speakers and subwoofer are entered, and a crossover frequency selected. Room Perfect then makes its final calculations and the job is done. Unplug the microphone and sit down and start to listen. You can select ‘Focus’ (concentrating the sound at that first measured position) or ‘Global’ settings. The differences are quite subtle and for the most part I ran the TDAI 1120 in the Global setting. See our feature on Room Perfect for more on this technology.

TDAI-1120-Lifestyle.jpg

Listening
Unsurprisingly, the TDAI 1120 bears a close sonic resemblance to its bigger sibling. I started by streaming from my Naim UnitiServe via the Lyngdorf app, and found myself moving swiftly through the usual demo tracks. A mixture of Pink Floyd, JJ Cale, Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan, Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, along with some rich classical recordings, all of which sang out through the little Harbeths. To get to similar volume levels to those I enjoy with the TDAI 3400 I had to crank the setting quite high on the 1120. The joy of the Lyngdorf amplifiers however is that increasing volume does not lead to any change in sound quality. There is no hint of the hardening to the sound that can happen with an analogue amplifier as you push it, and no sense of strain at all. This little guy just gives the same delightful musical performance, but louder.

I know that my Harbeth P3ESRs are not easy to drive, at 83.5dB, although they do present a steady 6 ohm load to the amplifier across the frequency range. My advice would be to match the 1120 with more efficient loudspeakers if you regularly listen at higher volume levels. A good dealer will help with that.

For the next listening session I switched to CD replay and once again the 1120 sounded incredibly ‘right’ with Lyngdorf CD2 connected to one of the coaxial digital inputs. I have a wallet of CDs which I take to the Bristol hi-fi show every year to use in one of the Harbeth rooms which I host there, and from that I selected some of my favourite demo discs. Gary Karr and Harmon Lewis (Adagio D'Albinoni, Impex) on double bass and church organ sounded very fine indeed through this system. The acoustic of the church in which the music was recorded being reproduced really well, and deep notes really lingering, as they should. Switching to Trilok Gurtu’s wonderful God is a Drummer, the intricacies and dynamic swings of the music absolutely shone through. Toes were tapping and I rather fear air drums were being beaten too (thank heavens reviewing is a solitary pursuit). The Peter Frampton Band’s All Blues had real rhythm and drive. In fact every album I played filled the room with glorious sound.

Finally, I listened to vinyl played on my modified Linn Sondek LP12 and its Gold Note Machiavelli MC cartridge through a guest phono stage which was also here for review. The analogue signal is converted to a 24/96 digital stream in the Lyngdorf but emerges from the loudspeakers sounding like vinyl. I know this is counter-intuitive, but it’s true. To make sure I wasn’t imagining it, I switched back to my own reference phono stage, the Gold Note PH10, and could clearly hear that it was different to the visiting unit. I lost none of the distinctive warmth and richness of the vinyl sound from either phono stage despite the fact it was digitised as soon as it reached the ADC in the Lyngdorf.

TDAI-1120-Side.jpg

Conclusion
Was there anything I didn’t like about the TDAI 1120? I found that being reliant on an app is absolutely fine as far as it goes, but I did miss having a remote control to instantly mute the sound when the phone rang during a listening session. Inevitably the iPad had often gone to sleep, I’d opened another app, or it was not immediately to hand. Maybe it’s an age thing – younger users may find that app control is more intuitive. However, after a phone call to Rob Sinden I learnt that the there is a remote control receiver built in to the 1120 and that it is fully compatible with the remote control for the CD2, so now I had a volume control to hand all the time. I am pleased to say that a remote control can be purchased if you decide that you would like one.

I think that as an all-in-one unit, that does pretty much everything most users could want, with small form factor, good looks and overall ease of use, this baby Lyngdorf should win a lot of hearts. It is well made, it sounds fantastic and I think deserves to be at the top of any shortlist for audition because I actually think it will show a clean pair of heels to some of its more celebrated, and widely available, competitors. Make no mistake, this little device gives a real taste of high end audio at a very attractive price point. I hope it enjoys the success to which it is entitled for its many strengths, its audio performance and the integrity of its construction. Another winner from the House of Lyngdorf.

Specifications: 

Type: Integrated digital amplifier with streamer, DAC and room correction
Power rating: 120W RMS @ 4 Ohm, 60W RMS @ 8 Ohm
Digital inputs (asynchronous): (Asynchronous): 2 x Coaxial (≤192kHz/24bit) 2 x Optical (≤96 kHz/24bit) 1 x HDMI (TV ARC)
Analogue inputs: 1 x Phono Single Ended RCA (RIAA / 47kOhm 100pF), 1 x Analog Single Ended RCA (Max level: 4.0V = 0dBFS) 1 x Microphone input (XLR) for RoomPerfect™ calibration
Analogue outputs: stereo RCA
Frequency Response: ±0,5dB from 20 to 20,000 Hz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.05% max from 20 to 20,000 Hz, THD-N 1W/8 Ohm 0.04% / THD-N 1W/4 Ohm 0.04%
Mediaplayer: Roon Ready, Spotify Connect, DLNA Support (UPnP) Airplay, Local file playback (USB), Internet Radio (vTuner)
Wireless connections: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11 n/ac)
Trigger (12V):  Input & output
Control interfaces: Front panel input selector, web-interface for setup and media player, remote application for IOS and Android, IP control
Accessories included: RoomPerfect microphone, microphone stand, cable & mini-jack connector, optional remote control
Dimensions (HxWxD): 101 x 300 x 260mm (including connectors) 
Weight: 8 kg
Finish: matte black
Warranty: 2 years

Price: 
£1,995
Optional remote: £80
Manufacturer Details: 

Lyngdorf
T +45 9614 5600
lyngdorf.com

Distributor Details: 

Gecko Home Cinema
T 01635 268114
www.geckohomecinema.com

Comments

Greetings from Nashville, Tennessee.

I am writing Chris Kelly in hopes of getting some additional feedback about Lyngdorf's new TDAI 1120 integrated amplifier.

Chris, your June 11 review of the unit was excellent. Covered all the bases. I just have a few questions.

At 87 dB, my Elac Carina floorstanders are just a bit more efficient than your Harbeths. Do you think the 1120 is robust enough to drive my Elacs?

I listen mostly to jazz, classical and Latin music and occasionally like my music loud but not for extended periods.

BTW, I'm also a huge J.J. Cale fan. Massively underrated singer/song writer. "Magnolia" ranks as one of the greatest love songs of the rock-pop era.

Lastly, how would you rate the built-in phono stage in the 1120? I do listen to vinyl now and then.

I own a Lyngdorf CD-2 player and have its remote. Will I be able to use that with the 1120? Odd no remote is included.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Tom

By mully

Hi Tom

Thank you for your kind words!

I think the 1120 will drive your Elac loudspeakers just fine.

The built-in phono stage is a more than adequate Moving Magnet device. For occasional listening I think it will serve you well.If you ever got the urge to improve your vinyl replay system you can always plug an external phono stage into the analogue inputs.

And the good news is that the CD2 remote control will work the 1120, so no need to buy a second one!

The engineering behind the 1120 is first rate and I think it will give you years of good service.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Very best to you

Chris

By ck55

Greetings from Winter Haven,Fl USA

I too am writing Chris Kelly in hopes of getting some advice regarding this potential speaker match. I was looking at the new P3ESR XDs or even one of the Graham audio LS3/5 versions to match up with the 1120. Both have sensitivities in the 83 range and I took some pause with Chris's comment about perhaps not being able to play his Harbeth P3s loud with the 1120. I don't plan on blasting the music and my primary interest is clear, detailed sound and perhaps most importantly of all, my speakers will be true book shelf speakers. They will go on shelves and be about a foot or so off the back wall and so a sealed design as the above two would work well I thought. The jump up in price to the next Lyngdorf integrated is substantial. I'm willing to pay a premium in certain cases as I already own the Lyngdorf MP-60 processor which is fabulous but I wanted to stay within a reasonable budget for this particular room. All advice is welcomed!

Tank you so much and hope all of you stay safe,

Rod

Hi Rod
Many thanks for reading the review and for your question. What I was trying to convey that someone who likes to listen at window rattling (And to me, uncomfortable) levels might need to keep the 1120 cranked up to close to maximum gain. For ordinary or “normal” listening levels it worked very well with my pre-40th Anniversary and XD P3ESRs. Any loudspeaker which conforms to the BBC LS3/5A form factor is going to be a bit less efficient than larger designs. I have heard both the Graham and the Harbeth, and you know which way I spent my money! The P3s are as uncoloured as any thin-walled wooden cabinet design loudspeaker can be and are, I think, uncannily accurate purveyors of whatever is captured in a recording. For the application you describe, I think a pair of P3s and a TDAI1120 will work really well. You already know what Lyngdorf can do - the 1120 is very good indeed.
I hope you enjoy whatever you decide to buy! Stay safe and enjoy the music!
Chris

By ck55

You mentioned coax and optical digital inputs. I also see a USB jack on the back of the cabinet. Can I input digitally via USB as well?

By itsfred

The TDAi3400 has a front USB type A connector for media playback, a rear USB type B connector for streaming inputs and a rear USB type a connector for s/w updates and playback of music files.

Manuals etc. for the TDAi3400 can be downloaded directly from the website.

Sorry, I missed you were asking about the 1120. Yes, you can access your library of music through the DLNA/ UPnP enabled player. All can be controlled with your smart phone, tablet, or computer.

On the TDAi1120, your USB must be formatted as FAT32

You can also use other phone applications to operate the media-player, as these handles DLNA/upnp equipment

Hello, I was thinking about buying a TDAI 2170 and met this little thing, which is much more into my budget capacity. My fear is that it would be short for my Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII and my 60 sq m room. My other idea was going for the power amp but I understand it has no roomperfect itself... I wuld appreciate your help.

In a room of that size a 120W amplifier like the Lyngdorf 1120 should be sufficient with a high sensitivity speaker like the Sonus Faber Sonetto VIII, but that does depend on how loud you like to play and how reflective the room is. I think you would need to try this combination to find out if it would work.

I read of a US owner of the L 2170 who made very successful upgrades with Duelund CAST tinned copper capacitors. This begs the Q.. maybe Lyngdorf can produce a hot-rod version maybe at 500$ extra.. much like the 300B folk getting WA tubes? Most would surely buy that.. I would, on the market for 2 of these.

By ThomasT