INTRODUCTION AND DISCLAIMER:
The Ambient Dynamics AD-006 “Lyndale” is a hybrid in-ear monitor (IEM) using a 1 dynamic driver + 1 balanced armature configuration. The Lyndale retails for $200. I received the Lyndale directly from Ambient Dynamics in exchange for my impressions.
I have used the Ambient Dynamics Lyndale with the following sources:
- Qudelix 5K
- Hidizs S9
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to:
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale comes in a square black cardboard box with a clear plastic slipcover. The Ambient Dynamics logo is prominently displayed on the top lid of the box. In addition to the IEMs, the package includes a detachable 2-pin cable, a large square rigid cloth zippered carry case, six silicone eartips (S, M, L), six foam eartips (S, M, L), a plastic clamshell case for the eartips, and a cleaning tool. Enclosed in a cardstock envelope is a fold-out user manual which also contains the Lyndale’s warranty information. I appreciate the consolidation of documentation in comparison to the three or four different sheets or cards one typically gets with an IEM.
The carry case has an oversized hard plastic loop attached to the zipper to aid with ease of opening the case. A circular metal stamp embossed with the Ambient Dynamics logo is riveted and glued to the top lid of the case. The case has a pre-cut foam liner to keep the IEMs from rattling around inside the case. The case also has a semi-elastic mesh pocket on the back of the top lid for carrying accessories. The carry case has great build quality and a versatile form factor. I was able to fit the Lyndale’s stock cable and eartip case into the mesh pocket of the case while using the Lyndale with an aftermarket 2.5mm balanced cable.
BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN:
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale has moderately sized black acrylic housings with a pseudo-custom fit. The faceplates are embossed with the Ambient Dynamics logo in gold, and the unit serial number is printed in yellow on the top of each shell. I would have preferred a more muted shade for this text. The 2-pin connectors are flush with the surface of the housing. There is a single vent adjacent to the 2-pin connector on each shell. The nozzles have a very slim lip for securing eartips, but I have had aftermarket eartips come loose in my ears while removing the IEMs once or twice during my review process.
The included cable is the biggest letdown of the Lyndale’s tangibles. While the black metal Y-split and 3.5mm jack hardware is adequate, the cable strands are very thin and are coated with a matte finish that I find very unpleasant to handle. The cable is also very microphonic. There is strain relief above the 3.5mm jack, but none at the Y-split. The 2-pin connectors have blue and red rings set into them to indicate left and right. The cable has black heat-shrink ear guides. There is a chin adjustment slider, but using it requires overcoming an uncomfortable amount of resistance. It makes you feel as though you are having to force the slider over each loop of the cable.
COMFORT, FIT, AND ISOLATION:
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale is intended to be worn cable-up. The earpieces have a moderate insertion depth. The angle of the nozzles is not ideal for my ears. With the stock foam eartips, the left earpiece became uncomfortable to wear for more than an hour or two. Spinfits helped tremendously with long-term comfort. Secureness of fit is above average, but isolation is below average. I could clearly hear the dialogue on a TV show being played in the same room as me while wearing the Lyndale. There is moderate driver flex, especially with silicone eartips.
My measurements of the Ambient Dynamics Lyndale can be found on my expanding squig.link database:
My measurements are conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. There is a resonant peak at 8k. Measurements above 10 kHz are not reliable.
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale is a warm, relaxed sounding IEM. It has an elevated, well-extended sub-bass region, a linear slope from the sub-bass down through the lower midrange rather than a sculpted sub-bass shelf, a tonally correct if understated upper midrange, and a tame treble response with little air, at least with the stock eartips.
The Lyndale’s perceived technical performance is also very eartip dependent. With the stock eartips, the upper treble roll-off severely limits perceived resolution. Notes sounded rounded-off and indistinct compared to what I would expect at this price point. While a broad boost to the upper treble region through parametric equalization is one way of alleviating this issue, aftermarket tips go a long way towards bringing the Lyndale’s technical performance in line with its price point. I had the best results with Spinfit CP-100s, which also helped to bring the vocal region more in line with my preferences (i.e. more forward).
The Lyndale’s bass response is the most prominent element of its sound signature. The Lyndale has organic, textured bass that, while a bit boomy and cavernous sounding for my tastes, surprisingly does not impair the clarity of the midrange nearly as much as I would have expected from the way it graphs. The bass has great dynamics and note weight, with copious rumble and slam.
The Lyndale has a less forward midrange than the Harman-ish targets I typically prefer, but does include proper pinna compensation (centered around 2.5 kHz) and omits the kind of creative liberties many more budget-minded manufacturers take with academic target responses, such as piercing presence region peaks. Midrange clarity is very good overall. Vocal intelligibility is good, but vocals are less emphasized than I’d prefer, especially with the stock eartips. Instead, midrange instrumentation is given greater weight. Both vocals and instruments have ample body and warmth. Male and female vocals are roughly even in their prominence. There is no sibilance. Timbre is excellent if a hair on the dry side.
The Lyndale’s treble response is well-controlled, without any harsh peaks. However, as someone who prefers a more aggressive treble response, I can’t help but feel the Lyndale plays it too safe in the treble, even setting aside the upper treble extension issues. There is some sparkle but overall the Lyndale’s treble is not very engaging for me. Transient delivery is realistic if unexciting. Instrument separation is very good, and the soundstage is surprisingly expansive with respect to both width and height given the limited number of drivers. Imaging is good as well.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale is very easy to drive. I did not notice hiss with either of my sources.
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale is not the kind of IEM I would seek out for myself given my preference for more treble-heavy tunings, but I am willing to to give it a cautious recommendation to anyone looking for an IEM with a laid-back sound signature, so long as they are willing to do some tip-rolling. The technical performance is questionable for a $200 IEM, but I would be excited to see what the Ambient Dynamics team could do with a higher driver count IEM at a similar price.
The Ambient Dynamics Lyndale can be purchased at the link below: