Image: Hugh Threlfall
March 03 2012
I’ve been looking at audio products by Steinway Lyngdorf for five years or so. They sound magnificent and the idea of fusing American pianos with Danish audio is clever, but there’s a whiff of gimmickry – from the Steinway & Sons logos etched on to amplifiers to the Rugby-forward scale of the speakers. Then there’s the upmarket brothel look. The amps are handsome but the speakers are the worst Danish design since, I’d say, the pastry – though I’d prefer a huge sticky bun in my living room to the 6ft 9in, black D-Series speakers.
Lyngdorf has accepted that to western eyes (though possibly not American) its Steinway stuff may be a bit OTT by releasing the M series, which retains the fine sound while concealing the entire system in walls.
Given all my reservations, you may be surprised to learn that were I to install a home cinema tomorrow, the surround-sound system I’d choose would be by Steinway Lyngdorf – the reason being that they’ve just launched a compact speaker, the S-15, which doesn’t offend the eye, dominate a room or require builders.
Five wall-mountable S-15s, two S-210 corner woofers and some Steinway Lyngdorf amps, and you’ll have surround sound that will astonish you with its immersive gorgeousness, for £45,000 or so.
The S system is better at surround than ordinary stereo, so feed it, ideally, with Blu-ray and DVD films and concerts. For music alone, it’s also superb with rare 5.1 surround-sound CDs, which can be found on Amazon. There are still some design issues with the S-15 – its sides are made from string, in a reference to pianos – but they won’t bring you shame.
The clincher, though, is Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect “tuning” method, which lets an installer tweak the system’s all-digital processing to get the optimum sound in any setting. With an S-series system and a decent-sized TV, you can enjoy fantastic home cinema without a special room or a projector/screen setup.