The past months we spent a great deal of time in company with the latest TDAI-1120 streaming digital amplifier from Lyngdorf Audio, which we reviewed here. This little device stands on the shoulders of giants and packs a remarkable amount of Lyngdorf DNA into its small form-factor. The history of Lyngdorf Audio goes back more than two decades and during these years Lyngdorf produced a number of interesting products that continue to have a strong presence in the used market.
In the following we will account for the history of Lyngdorf Audio and relate their portfolio of past and present products to the current second hand market. The focus will be on Lyngdorf Audio and we will omit the super high-end products developed within the Steinway-Lyngdorf collaboration from consideration.
History of Lyngdorf Audio
The first encodings of messages into electrical signals probably came with the electrical telegraph in the first part of the 19th century. Since then such electrical encodings of signals has pervaded all aspects of our everyday lives including the capture and reproduction of musical recordings. Once a signal is electrical the concept of amplification becomes conceptually simple: Just let a small flow of electric current control the flow of a much bigger current, and you are in business. This is simple, but doing it efficiently while preserving all qualities of the original signal is more difficult.
For audiophiles the preservation of signal quality is paramount. Therefore, class A amplification, which completely sacrifices efficiency in favour of quality, has historically dominated the field of High Fidelity audio. Menwhile, more efficient approaches like class D amplification, which came out of an efficiency first approach, seemed to be forever banished to a corner of shame. This all started changing in the mid 1990s when research and funding started pouring into a true commercialization of class D amplification.
The Danish audio manufacturer Lyngdorf Audio is very much a child or, depending on viewpoint, a father of this development. In particular Lyngdorf Audio has been one of the earliest and most strong-voiced proponents of both digital room correction and class D power amplification. These technologies have permeated their entire portfolio of audio electronics since the very beginning.
It all started with Peter Lyngdorf. He was a pioneer of the Danish HiFi industry where he had been trying to turn quality HiFi into a mass market commodity since the late 1970s. The primary fruit of this endeavour was HiFi Klubben (the HiFi Club), a still strong, and now international, chain of shops selling HiFi and AV equipment at reasonable prices. In order to ensure this vision he bought and owned a number of suppliers, like NAD Electronics and Snell Acoustics, during the early 1990s.
But affordable quality HiFi was not enough. It also had to become qualitatively better, and Peter saw cutting edge technology as the best way. In particular, his tenure at Snell Acoustics brought him into contact with some of the first commercial applications of advanced room correction technologies, and he knew that this was to be part of his efforts.
In the mid 90s he fertilized a collaboration with Lars Risbo (now of Purifi Audio), who was pioneering the concept of direct switching PCM-PWM audio amplification at the Technical University of Denmark. This technology integrates DA conversion and all following amplification stages into a single chip that essentially accepts a digital signal and a current flow at one end, and then emits a PWM signal ready to be sent directly to the loudspeakers through a low-pass filter at the other end. When Lars left academia In 1997 to found Toccata Technology, Peter provided the funding. Toccata commercialized the direct switching PCM-PWM technology under the name Equibit and was subsequently acquired by Texas Instruments in 2000.
In order to bring Equibit products to market Peter entered a joint venture with Radomir Bozovic under the trade name TacT Audio Inc. (now defunct). A perpetual license for the Equibit technology was secured and the first product, the renowned TacT Millennium, was released in 1999. This was a fully digital (only) statement product that immediately established the direct switching amplification technology as a viable choice for high-end audio. Meanwhile Radomir Bozovic developed a room correction technology meant to accompany the direct switching amplifiers. As a result of those efforts TacT Audio launched the TacT RCS2.2, a 2+2 channel room correcting preamp, the TacT S2150, a direct switching power amplifier, and the TacT M2150 integrated variant. In the following years TacT revised these products a number of times, resulting in models like TacT Millennium mk 2, TacT RCS 2.0, and the TacT TCS room correction preamp (mk 1 with 10 channels to mk 3 with 12 channels). Some loudspeaker models were also developed.
In 2003 the partnership ended and they went their separate ways. Radomir remained in control of TacT Audio Inc. and the room correction technology. Peter formed TacT Audio Denmark and took the loudspeaker technology with him. The companies agreed on a territorial division of the TacT brand and were both allowed perpetual use of the Equibit license. TacT Audio Denmark brought only a few models to market using the TacT brand before they decided to rebrand themselves as Lyngdorf Audio as we know it today.
While still operating as TacT Audio Denmark the company brought Millennium mk III, as well as the more moderately priced semi-digital (analogue pwm control) SDA-2175 power amplifier, and the semi-digital SDAI-2175 integrated amplifier to market. The fully digital integrated TDA-2200 with modular extension options (allowing for future addition of room correction and analogue inputs) soon followed. At the same time the company was working on a new room correction system to replace the one lost in the split from TacT. The resulting technology was finished in collaboration with Jan Abildgaard Pedersen in 2006 and brought to market as RoomPerfect. It is a whole-room optimization technology where the entire listening room is taken into account for the correction. Alternative techniques focus explicitly on the frequency response in the listening position at the expense of other positions in the room.
The first generation of products with RoomPerfect were soon brought to market. The RP-1 was a standalone RoomPerfect processor, the DPA-1 was a fully digital preamplifier with integrated RoomPerfect, and the TDAI-2200 revision of the TDA-2200 was the first integrated amplifier to actually ship with integrated RoomPerfect. These amplification products were accompanied by the CD-1 - a no-nonsense high quality CD-player. At the same time Lyngdorf managed to impress and enter into a partnership with Steinway and Sons. The resulting Steinway Lyngdorf collaboration has been a successful outlet for super high-end products ever since.
In the beginning of 2009 Lyngdorf Audio concluded the TacT legacy by releasing the Millennium mk 4 together with the matching Millennium ADC, an advanced A/D converter for those insisting on analog sources. Afterwards they started working on a completely new line of mainstream equipment releasing the first products, the integrated amplifier TDAI-2170 and cd-player CD-2 in 2014. The SDA-2400 power amp followed in 2015 and the high-end integrated TDAI-3400 in 2018. The core technology, i.e. Equibit and RoomPerfect, remained the same, but the design was vastly different and has since remained essentially unchanged as witnessed by the recently reviewed TDA-1120.
Since the split from TacT the weight of the Lyngdorf Audio product portfolio has shifted increasingly towards integrated units. This makes sense if you want to become a mass-market commodity - an integrated amplifier is ergonomically simpler and cheaper than separates and also saves both conversion/transport steps and space. Nowadays, Lyngdorf will only sell you separates when integrated units make less sense, e.g. in home theater multichannel setups where you combine one of the MP-40, Mp-50, or MP-60 surround sound processors with (enough) SDA-2400 stereo power amplifiers to ensure amplification for all used channels. The recommendation for stereo users is to choose between the TDAI-1120 and one of its older, more powerful (but not more flexible), siblings TDAI-2170 or TDAI-3400 depending on your needs. The matching CD player, should you need one, is the CD-2.
Used market Recommendations
The core technology of the Lyngdorf offerings has remained quite stable over the years. What has mainly changed is the exterior design, the connectivity / flexibility, and the ergonomics. If you are on a limited budget and primarily after extraordinary sound, then you can make good deals on the used market if e.g. you can live without Chromecast (only in TDAI-1120) or Airplay etc. (in all current generation TDAI models). The following table shows some metrics from the Hifishark database for various past and present Lyngdorf models:
|Model name||Year||Searches the last year||Number of known historical offers||Current price level EU||Current price level US|
|Millennium||2000-2009||1370||83||€2000 (mk2) - €6000 (mk iv)||N/A|
It is evident that some models are much more common in the used market than others. First of all the Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 (and the MP-40) are very new products and not really present in the used market. Interest, however, is already picking up so the first units will be easy to sell.
If we look at the bigger older siblings we see that the Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 is still relatively rare in the market but is quite sought after - prices for this one are likely to be high for some time yet. The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 on the other hand is much more accessible and one would expect more of a buyers market for that model. The same goes, although at smaller scale, for the Lyngdorf TDAI-2200 (and in particular the old Lyngdorf TDA-2200) and due to its age one may find even better offers here.
If we take a look at the models without RoomPerfect then the market seems to be even more favourable for those interested in the Lyngdorf SDAI-2175 integrated and, in particular the Lyngdorf SDA-2175 power amplifier. When it comes to the Lyngdorf SDA-2400 power amplifier the scales tip a bit the other way as supply is comparably smaller than demand for that one. In the absolute luxury segment the Lyngdorf Millennium ADC seems to be extremely rare and relatively unknown, or maybe it just filled a non-existing gap in the market. The other Lyngdorf Millennium models still have a reasonable interest among buyers and seems to command high prices due to their relative rarity - the recorded offers include all offers for mk 2, 3, and 4 tagged with the lyngdorf name during the last 7 or so years.
If you are looking for a home theater solution then you seem to be slightly out of luck on the used market, because the Lyngdorf MP-40, Lyngdorf MP-50, and Lyngdorf MP-60 processors are all rare and priced almost like new. Surprisingly, the Lyngdorf CD-1 and Lyngdorf CD-2 CD players also seem to command fairly high prices although their demand looks relatively unspectacular relative to the supply (and the fact that CD has become a niche format). If you just want to room correct in stereo, with or without preamp, then the Lyngdorf RP-1 and Lyngdorf DPA-1 are more accessible than their MP counterparts, but still demand a fair bit of cash.
Basically, the second hand market for Lyndorf products favours those looking for integrated amplifiers with or without integrated RoomPerfect. If you can live without the very latest in connectivity, then the TDAI-2170 is an obvious candidate. If you are even a bit more old-school then the TDAI-2200 is also an excellent prospect. And if RoomPerfect does not matter to you, then the SDAI-2175 can be had for very good prices. In every case, Lyngdorf products seem to be quite stable and uphold their resale value well - traits to appreciate if you own one.
Be sure to read our review of the TDAI-1120 just launched in September 2020 before you make up your mind. The least expensive Lyngdorf amplifier yet may be a great alternative to previous models. Also if you are interested in learning more about the history of Lyngdorf they created a beautiful 5 minute video about their history.