LYNGDORF Millennium MkIV

MJ24.05.2009

Integrated amplifiers

The Lyngdorf Millennium is a truly transparent, natural and dynamic amplifier with an the integrated DSP and definitely one of the best ones ever produced by a man. After auditioning it going back to your usual audio gear will be difficult if not impossible. The absence of the Millennium will ruin your personality like the absence of loved person. Without The Millennium you’ll be day by day weaker and weaker until the amplifier finds its way back.

Funkce a forma

95%
Ergonomie
95%
Zvuk
100%
Zpracování

The Lyngdorf Millennium is a fully digital amplifier (more precisely said a ´Class D digitally controlled amplifier´). The amplifier works on a Pulse Width Modulation principle. Practically it means that its output voltage is not continuously adjusted according to the varying voltage on its input as with conventional analogue amplifiers but it is rather described by two switching cycles (like CD format, for example). Simply said, zeros mean that there is voltage on the output stage, ones that there is not. The Pulse Width Modulation tells the circuits how long they should be on or off in their respective status.
Such a solution brings a lot of issues along. First, such a switching behaviour happens in extremely fast manner with sampling frequency of 352,8kHz which is approximately 8x faster than sampling frequency of red-book CD format. You naturally cannot hear such high frequencies but they generate a radiation which has to be screened off not to create unwanted distortions. The Millennium tackles this with a low-pass filter of 2nd order that is set at 60kHz with 12dB roll-off per octave. The filter transforms zeros and ones back to analogue signal for the Millennium’s loudspeaker terminals and represents the end of a fully digital path.
The other trouble is the PWM method itself – it varies the signal on the output but such a signal yields steady voltage and it is not usable for loudness control. A clever solution has been found by varying the voltage of Milennnium’s power supply. In such a set up the amplifier is not really amplifying but only adjusting the loudness of a source (e.g. CD player), so technically it cannot be driven into clipping. The clipping is indeed not known in the world of the Millennium and you can enjoy only the purest signal coming to your loudspeakers. There is one theoretical disadvantage and that is the dependancy on the relative loudness level of the source program material. With the CDs recorded at low volumes you may not (theoretically) get the music loud enough. However, during the part of my life I spent with the Milennium I never encountered such a situation, even with problematic CD’s from 80’s. If your equipment is not placed outdoors or in an empty barn you will never suffer from the ´not loud enough´ effect. Lyngdorf does not recommend to get over 89dB anyway (which is the full output of CD, usually referenced to as 0dB). On the contrary - today’s recording industry is cutting really hot CD’s so one has to be careful not to blow one’s speakers.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
86
Výbušnost
92
Artikulace
90

Despite its transparency and speed the Millennium provides a firm and warm bass fundament and absolutely unconstrained dynamics. Well, maybe the dynamic range is limited – by the CD recording quality – but the Millennium provides to the sound an absolute freedom. Without knowing the Lyngdorf is between the CD player and the loudspeakers I would swear that the music flows directly from the disc to the speakers. There were no traces of coloration at the violin parts of Kyung Wha Chung neither I hear any digital artifacts normally present on red-book recordings. The D/A conversion is jitter-free in the Millennium which results into the liquid and smooth sound which resembles that of SACD or DVD-A. The moral of the story is that there is much more information on silver CD discs than we are able to admit to ourselves and extract through our audio equipment.

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
91
Vzduch
90
Transparentnost
91

Without using its advanced DSP options the Millennium was hardwired through an optical cable to my CD transport and submitted to the crucial test of playback of the excellent CD of Saint-Saens‘ symphonic poems which were recorded in June 1970 at Kingsway Hall by London’s Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit (Decca). Danse Macabre is the disc’s opener and by far the most attractive piece on the CD – a spectacular showcase of instruments in a symphonic orchestra with lively and realistic sound. I have heard the track thousand times on at least thousand machines, there was no room for suprise. But ooops - the very first notes immediately gave away the biggest strength of the Millennium: crystal clear transparency and cleanliness. The sound was delicately clean and fragile like air in a TV fabric conditioner commercial. It was as if the recording has been successfully remastered and someone cleaned your house on top of that. The plucked strings of violins at 1´44 mark were delicately outlined with warm resonance of strings and a triangle at 2´40 rang with such a vibrancy that I was caught by surprise. It is not that I hadn’t heard those elements before but they had never been so focused and so alive. Horns were simply astounding – lightning fast, brilliant, portrayed with a precise photographic quality and thrown in space with pinpoint accuracy. The classic music made excellent match with the Millennium and the amplifier cherished every single detail to leave you fascinated and mesmerized.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
88
Dynamika
95
Časování
94

The opener We Will Rock You (The News of The World, Queen) played through the Lyngdorf Millennium turned into a love affair with its hypnotizing rhythm of clapping hands and stopming feet, Mercury’s phrasing and studio’s atmosphere being effortlessly reconstructed in my own listening room. The Millenium ignored the set up of my loudspeakers and filled the room with sound far behind them, in front of them and basically everywhere with such an energy and realism that I got the goose-bumps. This is how the real hifi should be like. The Millenium was not wasting the time by trying to reproduce the music and moved the whole band into the room instead. To make it absolutely clear I will repeat it once more: the Millennium is the most transparent piece of equipment I’ve had to date at mu house and anything else sounds noisy and veiled in comparison. There is so much natural detail and unlimited resolution that you can start to play your CD collection again and again to explore all the information that had been hidden from you before. Well, is it a digital detail? No way! Listening to track #9 – Who Needs You - with an acoustic guitar, drumsticks riding the rim of a drum and the warm plasticity of a kickdrum – I want to heretically say it is better than a turntable. In a certain sense yes because the Millennium has one clear asset: an ultimately quiet and deep black background. It’s not your usual CD silence but the total silence against which you can hear any droplet of the sound exploding like a droplet of water in a dark cave. Even small disturbations are clearly delineated and sent to loudspeakers. No existing turntable can handle the 140dB of dynamic range and the 113dB of signal-to-noise ratio. Neither the CD medium – the Millennium works behind its theoretical limitations.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
93
Šířka scény
95
Hloubka scény
92

Not Ready To Make Nice (Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way) starts acoustically – a vocal and a background guitar are relaxed and velvety, clean and without any coloration. The intimate drumset that joins later speaks with plasticity and rich warmness, the decay of piano lasts for ever. The violin, mandolin and background vocals are all rendered with breathtaking immediacy. The bass, though maybe not that deep as with Mark Levinson No.432 or Audio Research Reference 300, is full and contoured and when you rotate the volume control further clockwise it is almost frighteningly penetrating your insides. Moving up to highs the Millennium is rather on a sweet side and will caress you instead of piercing your eardrums. Quite an analogue feeling it is. On top of that we are confronted with an excellent depth of its soundstage and pin-point imaging. Taking The Long Way is rich with many instruments and the Millennium was able to precisely separate individual players with huge resolution and yet managed to present the music with organical cohesiveness. There is nothing like listening fatigue present and my listening sessions usually ended long after midnight. It is the first amplifier that aligns hyperdetail with pure enjoyment and as such should be cherished.

Cena v době recenze:300 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

Hifi studio MeLissa, Brno, tel. +420 777 041 313

Připojené komponenty

Well, reading the hereabove text again it looks like I described a perfect amplifier. It isn’t. The first problem of connecting an analogue source of signal can be fixed with the help of rather substantial sum of money and the Millennium ADC. The second problem lies in incompatibility with an SACD format that does not offer corresponding digital output in DSD.

What I have to mention is the DSP processor, probably the most outstanding feature of the Millennium. The module enables to correct acoustic parameters of your listening environment by adjusting the frequency response of the amplifier similarly to what Lyngdorf’s other device Room Perfect RP-1 does. Unlike the Room Perfect the process is not automated with the Millennium and you have to use your PC or laptop to get measurements and through an advanced graphic interface and provided software pack (uploadable from Lyngdorf’s homesite) set desired values of the frequency response. Once done you will just upload everything back to the amplifier. The tool is much more powerful than the one in the Room Perfect and you may not only equalize the total output but also set each channel individually as well as set a crossover frequency of a subwoofer, time alignment of speakers or to control all Lyngdorf components with a PC mouse.

Note.: The overall sound has been rated with respect to the Lyngdorf's DSP capabilities - the sound can be virtually set up to your preferences.

 

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