Lindemann D680 CD/SACD Player

Review by Petri Mutanen
Translated into English by Robin Lybeck

Original article published in Finnish June 4th, 2003

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.

Technical Details

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 parameters.

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 deemed necessary.

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 course.

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 variances.

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.

Midrange: Exceptionally 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.

Manufacturer: Lindemann Audiotechnik

Importer: Santtu Engineering

Price: €8490

Reference Systems

System 1

  • Avantgarde Acoustic DUO 225 speakers
  • Passive preamp with Holco H4 precision resistors
  • DIY 2x75w power amp
  • Transparent Music Link Ultra MM interconnect, Transparent PowerLink XL 15 mains lead
  • DIY speaker cable
  • DIY mains cables and interconnects
  • DIY "heavy duty" mains filter
  • DIY damping feet, Acapella Fondato Silenzio equipment bases.

System 2

  • Audio Physic Avanti 3 speakers
  • Goldmund Mimesis 28 power amp
  • Passive preamp with Vishay S102 resistors
  • DIY mains-speaker and interconnect cables
  • DIY "heavy duty" mains filter
  • Muuntosähkö Oy isolation transformer
  • Acapella Fondato Silenzio equipment bases





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