The name Lindemann Audiotechnik
doesn't necessarily say very much to the audiophile living outside
Germany, at least the brand is new to the Finnish market.
Lindemann was founded around 10 years ago and its first product
was an integrated amplifier. The brand's name is derived from its
founder, Norbert Lindemann. In addition to the D680 Lindemann also
makes a cheaper CD-player, the CD1SE (3500€), an integrated
amplifier AMP4 (3000€), damping feet made of graphite, the B60
and B90 speakers and two different models of speaker cable. Only
the electronics are included in the imports for Finland.
The housing is made of 6mm thick
brushed aluminum. The top plate is dampened with felt on the
inside and isolated from the rest of the chassis with sealing
tape. The d/a board is attached to an inner wall dampened with
rubber. The transport mechanism, Sony's top of the line OM4, is
attached to a separate sub-chassis made from cast aluminum
resting on polymeric damping feet. The chassis itself rests on
2-layer damping feet made of graphite (a composite damping
material is located between the layers).
The electrical topology is as
follows: The incoming data (CD/HDCD/SACD) is recognized by a
micro-controller before being transmitted to either the Pacific
Microsonics PMD-200 digital filter (CD/SACD) or directly (SACD) to
the Burr-Brown PCM1738 d/a-converter (used in mono-mode to achieve
an even higher level of performance than when running in stereo).
The CD and HDCD-data is transferred
from the digital filter to an Analog Devices AD1896-upsampling
circuit. The PDM-200 filter runs on its own clock circuit
(11,2896MHz), while the AD1896 and PCM1738 run on the same clock
circuit (24,576 MHz). Both clock circuits rest on separate boards
separated from the "motherboard" and are controlled by
the "master clock", which keeps them synchronized in
order to minimize jitter. To achieve a true 20-bit resolution the
clock error can be 200 Pico seconds(=0,0000000002 s) at the most.
From the d/a conversion the signal
is transferred in current-mode. The analog stage consists of the
following components; An analog filter with a turn over frequency of
50kHz and a slope of 12db/octave, with a paired AD823 op-amp. The
player uses a singular AD825 op-circuit as integrator. The output
stage consists of a "high current" buffer made of
separate transistors. The signal leaving the d/a-converter is
symmetrical and stays as such all the way to the outputs. The
single-ended signal isn't summed at any point either, so in theory
the D680 should work as well balanced or unbalanced.
In addition the separate stages on
the motherboard are supplied with separate grounds in a "star
grounding"-pattern. As a result of this, each stage gets a
noise-reducing low-impedance ground which further reduces stray
The layout of the motherboard
follows a modern design that's been noted effective for the
processing of high-level signals, so one could imagine that the
high-quality parts used by Lindemann really work at their
full potential. The electrical components are mainly
surface-mounted in nature.
The power supply is separated into
two parts. One is located within the chassis and has two separate
transformers and its own power cord. Additionally each voltage has
its own rectifiers and filter capacitors. The other power supply
is placed in its own "Power Brick"-enclosure and is also
supplied by a separate power cord. The Power Brick contains the
transformer, rectifier, filter capacitors and regulators
separately for the analog and digital domains. The Power Brick is
connected to the main system by an USB-cord.
The final stabilization of the
supply voltage for the different stages are handled by local
regulation through the use of 317/337 regulators instead of the
commonly used 78xx/79xx-models. Additionally high-quality
capacitors (Os-Con) and Silver Mica are used where
The remote control is
machined from a solid block of aluminum and contains all the
functions necessary for normal operation, with the exception of an
open/close-function. The buttons are spaced widely enough apart to
be used by someone with bigger fingers and the remote works well
without being aimed directly at the player.
The listening impressions were so
alike with both reference systems
that I won't delve more deeply into the differences between the
systems. The test period was about 1,5 months. The player was
brand new when I received it, so I performed the burn-in over a
period of approximately 200 hours, while listening to the
differences during that time. I felt that the D680 sounded quite
like "itself" when pulled right out of the box, the
biggest difference was in the lower registers and the true
potential in this area became evident only after 200 hours. Even
after the burn-in period the player required several hours of
warm-up after being unplugged from the wall outlet to sound its
best. When started from standby-mode, the required time for
warm-up was considerably shorter.
We used the Ringmat Statmat with
the D680 in both listening systems and felt it brought some additional
transparency to the sound. This player does sound excellent
without any tweaks however, but for the final adjustments I'd
recommend a high-quality power cord, an excellent equipment rack,
and the Statmat. Without forgetting a high-quality interconnect,
Of all the interconnects I tried,
the best result in my own system was achieved with the Transparent
MusicLink Ultra MM. The only small flaw with this combination was
a slight peak in the upper bass. On the other hand, with one
interconnect that had previously been held as very good the human
voice got something of an excess metallic tinge without any peaks
in the bass whatsoever.
Both systems were fed from the same
fuse, through an ungrounded socket. This might explain why our own
DIY mains filter worked so well, especially when connected to the
transport mechanism. The Transparent XL 15 power cord had the
something of a similar effect when placed in the same position.
I've noticed the same phenomenon earlier with the Ensemble Dicrono
transport, among others. With the Ensemble the sound was also
significantly cleaner in combination with the mains filter or with
the XL 15. This might be explained by the fact that the transport
emits some electrical noise into the mains line, thus prompting
reactions from the other components in the chain. On the other
hand the filter mentioned above has worked well in systems with
purely analog sources, but the biggest advantage is to be had when
the system has a digital front end. Obviously Lindemann is aware
of this, as the transport section and the Power Brick have
different power cords.
I achieved a slightly tighter bass
when using my "DIY" lead feet under the damping feet of
the D680. I also tried the Finite Elemente Ceraballs, but I felt
that the other combination worked slightly better.
The unit worked flawlessly
throughout the test period and all CD-R-discs were played without
errors. I didn't try to play CDRW´s on the unit.
The first thing that caught my
attention with the D680 was its exceptionally clear and
transparent sound, which in some way reminded me of a top-notch
vinyl player. To my great enjoyment, I noticed that the closed-in
midrange and treble so typical for CD-players was missing
completely, and all traces of "mechanical" sound were
absent. The overall balance was very pleasing to the listener, but
not through the omission or commission of any certain parts of the
register. The resolution of the D680 was among the best I've ever
heard from a bit-crunching machine and the owner of reference
system 2 remarked (among other things) that "he'd never heard
such resolution and natural reproduction like that presented by
the Lindemann". I couldn't but agree with him.
A typical characteristic of the
D680 is that it makes the listener concentrating more on the music
than on "technical parameters". This doesn't happen to
me very often when listening to a CD-player, with a vinyl rig the
possibility of this happening is a lot bigger. To some extent this
might be a result of the D680´s precise timing and correct pace.
This is especially apparent with older jazz recordings where the
musicians do a lot of improvising around the basic rhythm. This
phenomenon was clearest with the ML Ultra interconnect.
Unfortunately many of these records aren't especially
clean-sounding, but even with them the Lindemann does its job
correctly. It doesn't add any artifacts of its own, but presents
the music in a manner faithful to the original recording. Not even
this machine can't make bad music sound good, though. A prime
example of this is the Opus3 SACD The Swedish Jazz Kings "A
Tribute to Young Louis".
The lower register is an area which
hasn't really had that many weaknesses with earlier top-notch
players or d/a-converters. The D680 isn't really able to offer me
anything I haven't heard before in one form or another. The lower
register is simply high-class and seamlessly integrated with the
rest of the register. The recording itself seems to play a
significant role in the analysis of bass reproduction. A comment
made by a listener when listening to Yo-Yo Ma´s SACD solo album
on reference system 2 serves as a prime example; "The lower
register and the lower midrange of Yo-Yo Ma´s cello is by far the
most natural-sounding I've yet heard with any format".
According to the listener mentioned above the cello is one of the
most difficult instruments to reproduce correctly. Even though the
sound of Yo-Yo Ma´s cello is very natural, the same cannot
unfortunately be said about the soundstage where the restless
wandering of the instrument image between the speakers is a good
example of modern recording technique abuse..
When comparing SACD to the more
traditional CD format one has to admit that the new format works
well in practice. On the other hand I couldn't disregard the
feeling that SACD´s are more carefully mastered and equalized in
a different matter than regular CD´s. During the test period I
used both hybrid and one-layer discs. Unfortunately SACD´s are
still considerably more expensive, have fewer titles and are
harder to find than CD´s. Airiness, resolution of low-level
detail and a more natural reproduction are all SACD strengths with
this player. But is still solely due to the format? As of this
moment my SACD collection is so small that I won't swear to the
superiority of the format, even though the samples used during the
test do point that way.
Personally I intend to acquire a SACD
version of my favorite recordings when possible. In no way does
this mean that Red Book CD´s are a hopeless format, as this
player enables me to enjoy my present collection to the fullest.
Actually it's quite amazing how many new things the D680 helped me
find on my "old" recordings.
With a top-notch SACD recording the
D680 begs comparison with a high-end vinyl rig. Even the D680 is
unable to reproduce that last bit of naturalness, airiness and
treble cleanness of a vinyl player, but it gets very close. One
must also remember that not all analog front ends are exceptional,
so the format in itself doesn't automatically mean superior
reproduction of recorded music. It should also be noted that all
the analog front ends I compare the D680 to were significantly
more expensive than the CD-player.
Balance: The unit represents
the absolute top of neutrality. The different tonal registers are
exceptionally well integrated and no part of the register rises
above the others. Also, the player doesn't seem to have a sonic
character of its own.
Resolution: Among the best
I've ever heard from a CD-player. Not even the most massive
orchestral works can congest the sound. The unit also has a
first-class reproduction of harmonic structures and rhythmic
Transparency: Another of the
unit's strengths. In a slightly exaggerated way the sound could be
described as watching the music through a very clear glass, with
SACD´s sounding like the glass being removed altogether.
Treble: The treble
reproduction follows the same standard as the other areas; very
neutral and completely devoid of annoying artifacts. With SACD´s
the treble is even cleaner and more open than with traditional CD´s.
detailed and neutral with both formats.
Lower register: Once again
superbly detailed with correct nuances. Reproduces the lower
frequencies with plenty of power if the recording allows it.
Dynamics: Both micro- and
macro dynamics are reproduced in a convincing manner. Rhythmic
details are exceptionally clear, giving the overall sound a very
lifelike character. The transient response is also very impressive
throughout the whole range.
Soundstage: The unit
supplies the listener with very convincing soundstaging in all
three dimensions, with dead-silent backdrops and exceptional
accuracy. Compared to my earlier reference the D680 offers a
significantly better sound with multi-layered music.
Congratulations to Norbert
Lindemann and his design team. The D680 belongs to a very select
company of CD-players. In my opinion, the special strength of the
player is its way of making the listener concentrate on the music
and not anything else. Thanks to its neutral and brisk nature the
player works well with all types of music.
The D680 is no budget-level player,
but I feel that the asking price is well justified. In addition to
top-notch sound the player offers a stylish, expertly finished
exterior and and well thought-out electronic solutions using the
best components available today. It also offers the possibility of
SACD playback. This player is highly recommended as the digital
source in a highend system.
Importer: Santtu Engineering
- Avantgarde Acoustic DUO 225
- Passive preamp with Holco H4
- DIY 2x75w power amp
- Transparent Music Link Ultra MM
interconnect, Transparent PowerLink XL 15 mains lead
- DIY speaker cable
- DIY mains cables and
- DIY "heavy duty" mains
- DIY damping feet, Acapella
Fondato Silenzio equipment bases.
- Audio Physic Avanti 3 speakers
- Goldmund Mimesis 28 power amp
- Passive preamp with Vishay S102
- DIY mains-speaker and
- DIY "heavy duty" mains
- Muuntosähkö Oy isolation transformer
- Acapella Fondato Silenzio