Review: Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 (DAC and HDMI stereo amplifier)

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This week we will be reviewing the Lyngdorf TDAI-2170, a 2×170 W integrated digital stereo hi-fi amplifier featuring a sophisticated auto-calibration system and high end D/A converter. The TDAI-2170 exists in three versions, all equipped with a 24 bits / 192 kHz DAC. The entry model offers analog as well as digital S/PDIF inputs, the mid-range version features a type B USB input compatible with PCM and DSD stream from a computer, while the top of the range model offers a CEC and ARC compatible HDMI port. We tested the latter for this review.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170

Lyngdorf is a Danish brand created in 2000 by Peter Lyngdorf. This discreet man, highly passionate about music and sound, is the founder and owner of Dali Loudspeakers, a brand he created after being at the helm of NAD. Lyngdorf?s catalog is made up of only six products so far (amplifier, CD player and speakers) and each model has been meticulously designed. Peter Lyngdorf created the high end brand Steinway Lyngdorf in partnership with Steinway.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170
The amp?s display is easy to read

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170: RoomPerfect technology

The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 is one of the few hi-fi amplifiers to feature an acoustic calibration system using a microphone. The manufacturer?s goal is to correct the acoustic flaws of the room by treating the signal before it is amplified. Is it truly useful’ It definitely is and if we think about it, it is also absolutely essential. It is important to note that only 30% of the sound perceived by the listener comes from the speakers. The other 70% reach our ears after ?bouncing? off the walls, furniture and other surfaces in the room. This arbitrary circulation of sound waves leads to the attenuation, amplification and delay of frequencies, ranging from bass to treble. Unless the room is fully covered by a thick carpet (wall, ceiling, windows and floor) in order to avoid sound reflexion, an amplifier able to measure and modify the audio signal before amplification in order to correct the acoustics of a room is an excellent idea.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170
The calibration microphone comes with a dedicated stand and a long XLR cable to connect to the back of the amp.

The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 comes with a microphone, a stand and a long cable. The calibration process is well documented in the user?s guide and all there is to do is to follow the instructions displayed on the amp?s LED screen. Once the operation is over, it is possible to activate or deactivate the RoomPerfect correction, or to use enhancement settings according to the type of listening experience (music, concert or home cinema for instance).

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170: overview

The design of the Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 is, of course, very Scandinavian with a moderate amount of buttons, which is a real plus for a device with so many inputs. The amplifier features a power button, a source selector and a very wide potentiometer. The latter is a joy to use. Set on a ball bearing and offering strong inertia (the potentiometer is very heavy), it enables the user to adjust the sound level extremely precisely by increments of 0.1 dB.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170
The volume can be adjusted by increments of 1/10 of a decibel

The back panel offers a wide array of connectors. The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 version with USB, HDMI and XLR cards offers the possibility to connect up to six stereo sources (including one XLR), a computer via USB, four audio sources via HDMI, as well as six digital S/PDIF digital sources. A type A USB port gives the user the possibility to update the amplifier?s firmware, while an RJ-11 RS-232 port and trigger connectors are used for remote control. The screw terminals are gold plated and banana plug compatible.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170
The clever organisation of the connectors and terminals allows the user to carry out any connection with ease.

If the entry level version can handle digital stereo streams up to 24 bits and 192 kHz, the model with USB input is 32 bit and 384 kHz compatible and DSD 2.8 MHz and DSD 5.6 MHz compatible. For the latter, it is necessary to use a software capable of transferring this type of stream to the amplifier via USB.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 : testing conditions
We mainly paired up the Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 with a pair of Jamo Concert C109 speakers, as well as a pair of Klipsch RP-280F and Focal Aria 906 all connected with Viard Audio Silver HD 12 HP and AudioQuest StarQuad Type 4 cables. Our main audio source was a laptop via its HDMI and USB output (Audioquest Carbon USB cable). After downloading the ASIO driver for Windows from the Lyngdorf website, we used JRiver Media Center. In addition, we also used a Sonos Connect player (Audioquest Cinnamon optical cable) while listening to Deezer Elite (FLAC streaming).

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170
Right next to the potentiometer is the the Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 power button.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170: listening impressions

Rarely have we heard a class D amplifier with such a great tone. The TDA-2170 offers a tasteful, well-balanced delivery between softness and dynamism with an outstanding tranquillity. It goes without saying that the listening experience is even more pleasant after carrying out calibration, yet the qualities of this amplifier can be easily heard even with no correction.

Concert Public, Concert privé, France Gall, FLAC 16/44
This album was remastered a few years ago. The quality of the MTV unplugged style sound take is extraordinary. An excellent test to try an amplifier?s tone. With no exaggeration, we can say that the TDAI-2170 masters every range. Listening to Ella, elle l’a, we really enjoyed the bass, which goes down extremely low. The strings are both smooth and sharp, the chorus sounds just like it should, the voice of the artist is full of details and even the applause sounds melodious. When turning the volume up loud, the TDAI-2170 doesn’t lose any coherence and we could observe it while listening to La Déclaration or La Mamma with Charles Aznavour. A fantastic moment offered by Lyngdorf.

Ike & Tina Turner, I idolize you, FLAC 16/44
The vintage and warm recording is delivered with a wonderful sense of timing. We follow the bass guitar and the bass drum wholeheartedly, while the guitar plays hovering melodies in the background. Tina Turner?s raspy voice is full of energy and sends shivers down our spine. We are astonished that a said digital amplifier can be so cautious in its delivery. The Lyngdorf is almost the star here.

The Lovin’ Spoonful, Daydream, FLAC 16/44
An old sound take with a lot of distortion and instruments known for being ?hard to tame?. Harmonica, strings, whistling, the TDAI-2170 extracts every bit of information with incredible ability and never delivers a bland result. It is more than sound we hear, it is music.

Chanson sur ma drôle de vie, Véronique Sanson, FLAC 16/44
We were curious about what the Lyngdorf would do with Veronique Sanson’s wide range of vocal modulations. The listening experience is cheerful and the orchestration leaves room for the artist. It rolls and spins and we listen to the artist express herself freely.

Minnie The Moocher (live), Cab Calloway, FLAC 16/44
An extraordinary atmosphere. The size of the soundstage is absolutely surprising, especially its depth. The voice of the singer fills the venue, the dynamic range is nothing short of fantastic, especially the drums and muted trumpet.

Top of The Lake (TV show), Dolby Digital 5.1 in PCM 2.0 (using an OpenElec Mediacenter via HDMI)
Peter Mullan’s Scottish accent is a real pleasure and so is the delicate sound atmosphere. Even the sound of the wind blowing is incredible.

Just like all top of the range amplifiers, it is the small details, skillfully delivered which grab the listener?s attention. For home cinema use, the Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 is a great model.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170
We hardly used the included remote control because it was so enjoyable to use the potentiometer.

Lyngdorf TDAI-2170: Conclusion

The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 integrated stereo amplifier shines due to its capacity to adapt to the listening room and speakers. Its class D architecture and its solid power supply give it the capacity to drive floor-standing speakers (Jamo C109) and compact models (Focal Aria 906) with the same talent. The amplifier always seemed in control of the message, be it at low level or really loud. Using the amplifier along with a pair of Klipsch Heresy III was a great pairing and confirmed the delicacy of the sound at low level. We like the auto-calibration system (which works better than most similar type systems offered by home cinema amplifiers) as well as the wide array of inputs. A particular strong point is the ARC,CEC compatible HDMI port, which enables the user to switch the amplifier on and off when turning on the television. A highly musical and highly recommended amplifier.

 

 

 

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