Hope I can tell the difference. Replacing my Lyngdorf 2200 TDAI RP with their latest offering the similar 3400. Adds more functionality, better DSP, voicing tool and ability to stream. Same power etc.
Spent the early hours listening to the old girl driving my Quads - absolute joy listening to City and Colour, Eric Bibb, Agnes Obel and more. Truly lost in a carpet of music (the scotch helped mind . .. ).
Should have the new toy mid week.
IMac running LMS / Lyngdorf TDAi3400 with RP / SDA 2175 / Lyngdorf W210 corner woofers / Quad 2905 electrostatics. Oppo 103 disc spinner with HDMI de-embedder.
I’ve enjoyed my 2200 for nearly a decade now and it was, and still is to an extent, a revelation to me in amplification. A real ‘Swiss Army’ penknife of an amp, it offered so many features in a single box;
* Healthy power output of 200W / 8 ohms (and quite happy driving difficult loads) * Multiple inputs from both digital and analogue (with optional input board) sources * Inbuilt DAC (a misnomer really as the whole amp is equivalent to a DAC) *Room correction software *Ability to design active crossover for a 2+2 system (additional power amp required) *Sturdy, high quality build and finish *Updateable software and option to load ‘voicings’ to tailor the output to suit different sources or types of music
Couple these with an easy to use remote, included microphone and stand for room calibration and a completely inaudible noise floor and it was hard not to be impressed. In fact it replaced my more expensive Parasound JC1 amps / Plinius Pre and saved a shedload on the electricity bills. Note that it is NOT a Class D amp but a whole different beast based on PWM technology.
Although it sounded a little lean for my first few weeks of ownership, the sound began to blossom after that and, up until now, it has been the most transparent amplification I have had in my slowly evolving system. As a lover of electrostatics it has shrugged off any potential load difficulties and has happily driven Audiostatics, Martin Logans, Quads, Finals and Cadences.
So, it was with some trepidation I finally decided to see if there was anything better after nearly 10 years of technological advances. Having decided I really wanted to retain room correction abilities, needed a good few volts for the ‘stats and reduce the wiring spaghetti inevitable with hifi installations I took a blind leap of faith and stuck with the Lyngdorf brand – opting for a barely used example of their latest TDAi3400.
Same power output (albeit based on a switch mode PSU rather than the linear version of the 2200), inbuilt RoomPerfect correction but with more input choices, and a reflection of changing standards out there in the market (eg HDMI connectivity with the addition of an optional module).
So what are the key differences and how does it sound ? With regard to the latter my system is based around a Mac used as a music server, streaming FLAC files to a Raspberry Pi3 / Allo SPDIF board, feeding the amp via a coaxial SPDIF input. Speakers are Quad 2905 electrostatics. One day soon I will get around to using the 2200 (or 2175 I also have) to drive my Lyngdorf W210 corner woofers in tandem with the Quads . . .
OK, PHYSICAL STUFF FIRST
It is a little smaller. Same width and height but about 50mm shallower. It also weighs just over half the 2200, mostly due I suspect to the change from toroidal to switched mode PSU. It’s still plenty chunky enough to stay sat in one place and is certainly easier to manoeuvre on tight shelves as well as giving a little more room for socketry at the rear.
Front panel you can see in web photos if you look but the screen itself is a lot clearer than on the 2200 (although that was adequate). The display could still do with a little tidying in terms of line spacing on certain menus though. The volume knob remains unchanged other than for colour, which is now black. I actually preferred the silver as it made more of a statement of this very well implemented knob. It gave the 2200 a more stylish appearance in my opinion and lifted it from a rather anodyne black box.
Other than the sockets for microphone and headphones (yes, it has a headphone socket in this iteration, a feature lacking on the 2200) all the connections are at the back with enough for my needs (2 analogue, 2 spdif digital, 3 optical digital, 1 AES digital) and both analogue and digital outputs. Additional boards are available for higher quality Analogue and HDMI connections.
The remote control is sleeker and better balanced – a marked improvement (but where, Lyngdorf; is the backlighting for those of us that listen in the dark ?). It operates both in the infra red and via Blutooth (another standard connection option on the amp). There are several buttons that don’t seem to do anything mind and I wonder whether this is just another generic control (albeit an attractive one) re-branded for Lyngdorf use.
Microphone is per the original but the stand is poorer quality. The old model was aluminium, lighter, folded smaller (so you could store it, ready to use) and did the job perfectly well. This one is mild steel with coarse threaded sections you have to assemble and is, in my case, too tall to easily store assembled. Resembles more of a piece of outdoor furniture, like a bird feeder pole in my opinion. A clear case of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.
What about features
Room Perfect – tick Crossover tailoring – tick Headphone socket – new ! Easy to implement voicings – new ! Software implemented balance and tone controls – new ! Control and configure the amp from tablet or mobile (via wifi/Ethernet) – new ! Same ability to act as a DAC for digital inputs – tick Optional boards for HDMI (new), and higher fidelity analogue inputs Streaming via DLNA / PnP with Spotify, Roon and Tidal support – new ! Direct access to internet radio stations – new !
ICC (Intersample Clipping Correction) – new !
AND OF COURSE, THE SOUND . . .
I’ve not yet explored much of the amps potential with voicings etc. but have run RoomPerfect and achieved 94% room knowledge and 32% correction in five measurements. I’ve left it at that for now. Listening has been done on neutral and focus positions.
From the first few seconds there was an obvious improvement over the 2200. It is a clear and not subtle step up. No, it is not a quantum leap but I can hear improvements in most, if not all, of the important areas. A subjective viewpoint only as I’ve no way of quantifying the differences but I could say the 2200 has, perhaps, 85% of the ability of the 3400.
Low level detail retrieval has gone up another notch. I was really surprised by this as with an already inaudible noise floor with the 2200 what more could there be ? The ability to hear further into the mix, especially when listening for ambient clues, makes the whole experience a little more 3D.
Dynamics too have taken a step forward. Again this was surprising as neither amp is exactly short of power and headroom. But the attack of some instruments seems a little faster and even less constrained (not that I would have even described the 2200 in that fashion). Perhaps this has something to do with the inbuilt ICC which reconstructs clipped waveforms on the fly, thus avoiding distortion arising from this source.
Bass extension too seems to have increased a little and I swear the Quads have discovered a few extra Hz at the bottom end.
And the soundstage seems just a little deeper and more coherent, especially now I can fine tune the balance between the speakers (I always had a small lean to the rhs in the soundstage because of my room which I had no way of correcting until now). Musicians seem a little more locked in place and focused, and even more detached from the loudspeaker panels themselves.
So, overall, these improvements all add up to a clear step forward for Lyngdorf.
Was it worth upgrading ? To an extent it depends on the depth of your pockets. £5k for a brand new one was a little out of reach for me and with the law of diminishing returns value for money does enter the equation. But a hardly used example at a keen discount sealed the deal. And if you need HDMI connectivity, a headphone socket,, basic streaming facilities then the 2200 just cannot deliver those.
Yes, time and technology have moved on and clear improvements have been made. The 2200 remains, in my opinion, a fine machine if you can do without some of the modern day facilities the 3400 offers but if you have the cash to spare the new beast is a no brainer.