Analog upgrade: Luxman EQ-500 Phono preamp + Hana Umami Red Cartridge + REED 2A Tonearm

As the resident analogue system is being restructured, I am thinking of joining these 3 components:

Luxman EQ-500 Phono preamp + Hana Umami Red Cartridge + REED 2A Tonearm

I would like to know if anyone here knows and recommends them and if, by any chance, have already heard some of these components together (or not).

I have a Portuguese handcrafted turntable "Rui Borges UNO MKII", a Luxman class integrated amplifier (L-590AXMKII) and KEF R11 speakers.

On the phono issue I didn't even hesitate, as I knew the brand very well before, and it was in the top of my preferences. As for the cell, my doubt lies the most. Given her price level, can I choose better?

I've been knowing for yers the other versions of the brand and I'm a fan of the sound characteristics. But on this one, the top of the range, I never heard before and I don't know it at all. And of course, it will be impossible to demo it. 

Anyone knows how could be the relationship between Hana cartridge's with the REED tonearm? That also worries me a little as I'm not a technical expert in this matter.

Someone who knows Hana Umami (since she is recent)?
What are the pros and cons of this cell?

I listen to everything from heavy rock to jazz, acoustics, voices, blues, classical.

Thankyou for your best advice

The Reed arms are medium to medium/high mass and will match well with the medium compliance Umami. There should be no problem matching these components.
 I have been a very happy Luxman EQ 500 owner for about the past eight months and it matches very well with my Kiseki P.H. NS. The Luxman sounds wonderful, especially with NOS tubes!

The Hana cart has an internal impedance of 6 ohms. The EQ 500 has two impedance levels of MC: high 40Ω, MC: low 2.5Ω, so 2.5 ohms may be a bit low and the 40 ohms too high. I would  therefore recommend contacting Luxman USA and ask them about the Hana cart matching their phono stage.
Thank you very much grk. 

I certainly will. Didn´t know that possible issue between Hana cartridge and the EQ-500, due to the fact that I thought that this phono stage would be versatile enough to it... 

Anyone who can tell me about this important possible issue, I'll be truly gratefull
You are welcome lcarpediem.  I should add that some people think impedance matching may be over rated. I had that experience myself when I owned a Herron VTPH 2A phono stage. I frankly had a difficult time hearing much of a difference when using different loading plugs. I also ran it "wide open" @47k and it sounded quite good. I think Keith even recommended that setting for most MC carts.
However, loading may be more critical when using SUTs, which the EQ 500 has, hence my recommendation to contact Luxman.
Thank you very much grk,

I will do. And try to find the contact of them in Europe. 

What are the possible consequences, sonically, of this possible incompatibility?

According to you, this possible lack of 100% compatibility may be inconvenient enough?

Will the versatility of adjustments on the EQ-500 not be enough to overcome this possible inadequacy?

Please see this short excerpt I took from the measurements of the Luxman EQ-500, from Stereophile magazine:

"but these measured gains were affected by the interaction of the EQ-500's input impedance of 56 ohms (High) and 7 ohms (Low) with the Audio Precision's output impedance of 20 ohms..."

You can see it in here:

It gives the feeling that, in the measurements made by them, the lag is not that big (7 ohms Low) for the values of the cell (6 ohms), right? Or am I seeing this wrong?

Sorry for the bodder and many thanks for the help


"What are the possible consequences, sonically, of this possible incompatibility?"
"The audible effects of using an overly high load impedance setting can typically be a lack of low frequencies, a slightly hard or ”unmusical”  sound with poor imaging. If the sound quality is somewhat veiled and lifeless, the impedance loading may be too low."
 I don't think the Stereophile measurements address the issue of whether or not the Hana is a good match.
You should also check with Luxman dealers as to what cartridges they think are a good match.  

grk, that opinion article you mentioned above (very well written by the way), does not apply at all to the possible differences between the impedances of the phono EQ-500 and the Hana Umami cartridge. 


These differences (as I was almost sure) are entirely irrelevant and do not apply to the one mentioned by the opinion article author. 

I had already informed myself from knowledgeable people in the field that there would be no problem at all, which was confirmed by Luxman themselves.

Here you can see the answer that luxman sent me:

"The HANA-Umami quoted output of 0.4mV will be accommodated by the Luxman EQ-500 “low” MC input (0.18mV minimum sensitivity) required to drive EQ-500 to full output while preserving S/N ratio. 

HANA-Umami’s quoted internal impedance of 6 Ohms would be best partnered via the EQ-500’s “low” input impedance. (i.e. 2.5 Ohms) 

In this case, the 6 Ohm matching of HANA-Umami coil output impedance to “low” EQ-500 input impedance is within acceptable operational parameters.


While the HANA-Umami’s published specs calls for “recommended loading” of > 60 Ohms, this would not always apply. The 60+ Ohm recommendation would likely refer to “semiconductor/ fixed resistor based phono loading”. Along with its unique vacuum tube based circuitry, the EQ-500 features independent L+R channel “transformer based loading”, having unique electrical behaviors. The Luxman EQ-500 (internal) transformers can present ideal loading when they are at OR near the MC cartridge’s actual internal coil(s) impedance. In this case, 2.5 Ohms and 6 Ohms are very close and compatible.


The employed tonearm cabling and connectors will also provide slight/ additional series Ohms loading. (before signals reach the EQ-500 input, making the Ohms match even closer.) The various other front panel settings (Capacity, Impedance, etc.) on the EQ-500 are for use with Moving Magnet, Moving Iron, or Induced Magnet phono cartridge types. These do not factor into Moving Coil cartridge performance. 

While many things can be written on the Internet, what is provided to you here are direct comments/answers from the Luxman engineering staff in Japan."

Thanks any way. 

Well if i was to drop 4 grand on a  umami red  i would want to hear it with every possible ohm load from 60 to 100. Proper ohm load will get the best out of any given Moving coil since it goes to synergy of associated phono cables. I have been reading many reviews and that cartridge is dialed in @  2 grams, not 2.1 or 1.9. Order a Mint LP protractor for your arm and table, the umami when aligned dead nuts on is a killer cartridge. I just ordered one for my Phantom 2 / Oracle Delphi Mark Vl with 2nd generation mods.
Protrator for cartridge alignment supplied with every Reed tonearm, more than enough to adjust any cartridge on Reed. This is excellent tonearm, I have 3p "12 inch cocobolo.

I’m pretty sure you can find many cartridges at $4k or cheaper, I believe Hana is your choice not because some reviewer claimed this is the best.

You can look for top LOMC models from Shelter, Dynavector, Audio-Technica, Phasemation ...

At 5k you should look for AT ART-1000 because this is unique design.

That’s great news about the Hana and thanks for the information! I may look into the Hana myself.
Hmm...I wonder how high an impedance above 2.5 ohms would no longer be considered "compatible"? Or how low or high above the 40 ohm SUT rating?
I've heard the Umami Red not just read reviews. I think it will fit my  Whest Titan Pro admirally. 
I've got an EQ-500 too, and am also saving for the Unami Red. My deck is a Luxman PD-171 with a Jelco 850 arm. Currently it's paired with an Ortofon Cadenza Black and it has really been a thrilling combination. I was happy with it UNTIL I installed a Hana MH on my secondary 'table. I must say, the hype regarding the Hana carts really seems justified. I've been really enjoying the detailed, accurate, dynamic and musical Hana. Now I just have to have an Unami Red. So now I have to cull what I can of my stereo gear and put it up for sale....

So I'm sold on the Hana without ever hearing one, but I can really recommend the EQ-500. I've had several phono stages before, including a Parasound JC3+. The Parasound was touted by many reviewers for its extreme quietness but I wasn't impressed. I don't think my unit was faulty, it just wasn't super quiet like many claimed. The Lux, tubes and all, is just supremely quiet. Turning up the volume ALL the way (without a record playing) on my Accuphase E-470 DOES reveal its noise. And the sound is a pleasing shhhhhhh of a brilliantly designed circuit. 

I'm confident that the Lux and the Hana Unami will be a match made in heaven. 
I strongly advise that the Umami Red is sought out and Auditioned.
The Name Umami is suggesting it is a Opposite to another.
The term Umami is from a Culinary Perspective about opposites in taste,
i.e, Sweet and Sour.

Have Hana produced a Cartridge that is a opposite to a Sound Signature they are feeling is the Hana Sound ?
I don't believe at all that having the brand itself provided a high-segment cartridge it would deviate from its sonic signature in what matters most.

In this matter it is something I am sure I will not have any problems
Umami means missing  element in food, something that when added to a culinary dish brings all other ingredients together. Think of it as the missing piece or spice in a dish. 
ago,it is the best cartridge I have ever owned. A wealth of detail,extended highs without grain or etching, bass is extended but a clear seperation of instruments between bass and drums. My analog front end is finally complete and I set my Whest Titan Pro @ .06 > .04mv (60db) since when this cartridge was tested the .04mv was very generous,more like.046mv and I did not want to clip it.
Since I was gonna spend the money I wanted to make sure it was set up properly and I had been reading reviews of the Mint LP Protractor and everyone was blown away I ordered one and had Brian Berdan at Audio Element mount everything. Brian has been working on Oracles along side his father Brooks since he was 10 and he nailed the installation.
The Mint protractor is a computer generated protractor which sets the swing angle of your tonearm from beginning to end and it's just 4 your arm/ table combination. Great cartridge,glad I bought one.
thankyou for your feedback qdrone991, I realy apreciste it.

Still waiting for mine. Next month I think, I will have it here. I wish for it. 

best auditions and keep updating us. So I will do it too later

Just to clarify, the optional loading offered on the Luxman, 2.5 ohms vs 40 ohms , or whatever, does not refer to the net input impedance of the phono stage. I think the values derive from the turns ratio of the built-in SUT. And the values refer to the internal resistance of the cartridge. So, a low output cartridge will usually have a low internal resistance and will also need more phono gain, which means it needs a higher voltage gain from the SUT, which requires a higher turns ratio. So, as Luxman said, connect to the 2.5 ohm inputs. I hate when companies do this. It is very uninformative for the end-user.