This last could have been made to show off what the Lyngdorf does best. A recent Naxos release, with Elizabeth Farr on Harpsichord and Lute-Harpsichord, this excellent recording is both remarkably detailed and recorded in a natural environment, with a lot of spaces between pizzicato notes, and occasional sustain. The precision of the presentation moves it out of mere ornamentation and a series of trills and into a series of suites worthy of the Sun King. The music had all the space needed (both spatially and temporally) to come to life, without blurring or blunting the performance.
Don’t think that this means the CD-1 fails at delivering the rock goods of the rock gods. It’s powerful, dynamic and exciting sounding, too, nailing the country blues wailings of the late Roy Buchanan’s eponymous album perfectly, cleverly balancing the bright Telecaster tones without squashing the life out of the music. Also, in some respects, the Lyngdorf’s ICC makes this better than almost every player with modern rock discs. Take something really compromised by the Loudness War – Black Holes and Revelations by Muse, for example – and the CD-1 will make this disc sound better than any player irrespective of price, because it pulls it back from overload. It still sounds loud and compressed, but the music stops shouting at you. Depending on what flavour your CD collection takes, this could be a deal-maker for many listeners.
Nevertheless, some have criticised the CD-1 for being unexciting sounding, and this complaint is not wholly groundless. But it needs setting in context. If you place the Lyngdorf in a system where it’s the most expensive product (the classic top-down setting so beloved by ‘flat earthers’), the 48kHz setting works out best, but you will find more exciting-sounding players from the likes of Marantz and Naim at the price. So the criticism is not wrong.
Except that the criticism is wrong. Put this into a system that is looking upwards, possibly where the CD-1 is not the most expensive component in the system, and a very different result quickly proves out. And once again, the settings dictate the performance, but not in the way you might expect. In most cases, 44.1kHz and 46kHz begins to look less exciting, but 96kHz becomes the default choice for those who want an Esoteric and the 192kHz setting is like a set of training wheels for a Wadia. Like most people, it seems, I preferred the 96kHz setting, although you can go quickly crazy trying to work out the idea setting on each disc if you want.
The adaptability, the ‘training wheels’ comment and the relatively low price for a high-end player might make you think the player is merely a placeholder for a better device. Wrong! The Lyngdorf is in no-way compromised, or leaves you waiting for the next upgrade. In fact, it’s the sort of player you could put into a system costing £10,000 and still have it in place if you turned that into a system costing £50,000 or more. Think of it as an adaptable product that will happily see you through the next decade of CD play, no matter how high-end your system becomes. Yes, you will hear better sounds from a true top-line player, especially when playing beautifully recorded discs, but the CD-1 never shows its hand and will never sound like it’s outclassed.
The Lyngdorf CD-1 is true high-end player without the high-end price or the prima donna sensibilities. Better still, that Intersample Clipping Correction makes ‘Wild Orchid’ by the White Stripes sound fan-bloody-tastic, and it’s the first player that makes me want to turn ‘Knights of Cydonia’ by Muse ‘up’ instead of ‘down’. That it does this without compromising more audiophile recordings in the process might just make it one of the best players money can buy, irrespective of price.
Lyngdorf CD-1 CD Player
Type: CD Audio player
Compatible disc types: CD-DA, CD-R
Analogue Outputs: RCA phono single-ended, XLR balanced
Digital Outputs: AES/EBU, S/PDIF coaxial, Toslink
0db analog output level: 3.8 Vrms
Selectable sample rates: 44.1kHz (16-bit), 48/96/192kHz (24-bit)
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz (±0.02dB)
Balanced analog output impedance: 50 ohms
THD+N, A-weighted: 0.00018%
Crosstalk: -114 dB
S/N ratio: 115 dB
Dynamic Range: 100 dB
Power Consumption: 2.5W (standby), 20W (operating)
Finishes: Black, Silver
Dimensions (WxHxD): 450x100x357mm