Standing apart from Lyngdorf's digital amps, the CD-1 offers superbly refined sound - maybe just too refined for some
Excellently refined sound
Sound can be dispassionate
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Lyngdorf is best known for its range of digital amplifiers and the room correction built into them, but a digital source is a natural enough extension for such a company.
It doesn't do anything but play CDs, but none too surprisingly it is a highly technological device with extras like a choice of oversampling rate at the digital output and digital control of the analogue output level.
The outward appearance of this player is smart and it has a good display. Lyngdorf's decision to use a 'jog dial' for track selection and menu navigation is to be applauded and we found this a fine player to use.
It's flexible, with balanced as well as unbalanced outputs, and it boasts RS232 ports for connection to a computer for remote control or updating of the internal firmware. There are three flavours of digital output: electrical and optical S/PDIF and AES on an XLR connector. It's even possible to disable analogue outputs, because Lyngdorf's amps all have digital inputs.
One interesting feature deserves mention: Intersample Clipping Correction. Lyngdorf points out that all too many CDs are recorded at very high levels with frequent clipping of waveforms, and because this is an oversampling player it is possible to correct to some extent for clipped audio.
There's a limit to how much this can correct, but it will certainly prevent any further nastiness from occurring at the D-A conversion stage.
This is a very well built machine internally, with a 'proper' CD-Audio transport, generous toroidal mains transformer and good quality parts throughout. Looking through the rather varied notes our expert listeners made on this player, the conclusion we are drawn to is that its sound is too dispassionate and uninvolved for some tastes.
But that doesn't necessarily mean it's passionless and uninvolving - it depends on the music and how it's recorded. Taking first the comments on specifics, its bass is warm in tone but restrained in level and extension, a combination that isn't self-contradictory but does lead to differing reactions from listeners. Midrange is okay though, and treble seems open and detailed.
Dynamics attracted a good deal of comment, not all of it favourable. One listener thought the player downright compressed, while another found it at least a little tame in this regard.
But the third felt that the sound had very good integration, which merely seemed to reduce dynamics when in fact it was producing a less aggressive approach to loud passages of music. Another comment seemed to point in a similar direction, suggesting that the player may be too refined for its own good.
Lacking an absolute reference point, it's hard to be sure whether the rawness is being lost from recordings or added by other players, but in a group context like this it's useful to be able to make peer comparisons, and this is certainly a highly civilised player.
All the same, we would add a warning note about its detail, which all listeners (blind and sighted) rated as no better than par for the course. That apart, it has an attractive presentation - just don't expect it to be the most exciting-sounding player in the shop!
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