CD players - Luxman vs. Esoteric?

I am considering a stereo system with either a Luxman (D-06 or DU-08) or Esoteric X-05 CD player.

Any thoughts on how Luxman compares to Esoteric?


You need a loan unit of each to put them in your system for a real time compare, all else is pure speculation. Since these are high price point units, find a dealer who will let you live with each for least two weeks. Borrow the floor demo's, all burned in. I've heard the Esoteric and was not impressed in that it did not sound better in my system which has a sony 777. All that it proves is in 'my' system the Esoteric is bettered, according to my ears.
"find a dealer who will let you live with each for least two weeks. Borrow the floor demo's, all burned in"

Well, that certainly sounds simple enough. Where would one find such a dealer? I'd like to set up a couple of 2-week home demos myself.
It is not possible to demo any Luxman cd players in my city, nor is it possible to compare Luxman to Esoteric.

Like many people, I would have to make a special order and buy a Luxman cdp sight unseen.

I have seen and played with the Esoteric X-05, but I am wondering how performance, build quality, and transport compares to the similarly priced Luxman D-06.



The Esoteric X-05 has received a lot of good critical press, but Luxman cd players seem to be less well known.

How do these two brands compare?


I have an Esoteric UX-1 that I had Esoteric upgrade to a UX-1pi, while retaining the original transport. It has their best transport. Esoteric is a pleasure to deal with and seems to me to be path of least resistance in your case. Build quality of Esoteric products is also excellent.
Additionally, I believe Luxman products need to go to Japan for repairs, whereas Esoteric does it in California.

In my city there are three Esoteric dealers and only one Luxman dealer (but no Luxman cdp on display).

I have seen, touched, and listened to the Esoteric X-05 and admired its excellent transport. I have only been able to see Luxman cdp on the web. How does the transport sound and feel when you open the drawer, and how does it compare to Esoteric? That is not a question I can answer, nor can I hear it play music.

As you say, Esoteric is the path of least resistance. I could do worse.


I didn't even know Luxman made cd players...
There are seven different models imported into North America:

Luxman even makes the transport for the three newest models (D-05, D-06, D-08).

I imagine that in the Japanese market they compete head-to-head with Esoteric, offering several models at similar price points.


i have a luxman d-105-u in perfect cosmetic condition but tends to skip occasionally with most cd's. could be an easy fix. you interested?
I have found 3 reviews of the Luxman D-06 in Chinese.

They can be found at the bottom of the page in the link below:

Can anybody comment on the general drift or conclusions of these reviews?


I heard the Esoteric X-05 in a very revealing system today, and I was very impressed.


The Audio Excellence Award 2010 recipients were announced in Japan. The Luxman D-06 cdp received a Silver Prize, and the Esoteric SA-50 a Bronze:
Has anyone auditioned the new Luxman D-06 or D-05 cd players?
Also anxious to hear first impressions of the Luxman D-05. I do know the dealer I work with is not expecting to have the D-05 on hand for another week or so.

What model would be the competitive offering from Esoteric, maybe the SA-50 ?


I'm confused. If you've already heard the X-05, WHY DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT IT? You furnish information on awards and reviews and Luxman models - to what end? Do you work for Luxman? Are you trying to talk yourself into or out of either?

Again, as has already been suggested, just try them in your system and see which you like better. Its that simple. If you don't even HAVE a system, then this thread is a bit premature until you do. Just keep in mind that your system will only be as good as its weakest link.
I am on the verge of buying a system from a dealer that carries some Luxman, but I do not have the opportunity to audition the Luxman cdp or compare it to an Esoteric, hence this thread. There is also scant information out there on the new Luxman cdps.

As I have heard the Esoteric, and would also consider the equivalent Luxman, I am curious to know if anyone has heard the Luxman D-06 or D-05 and/or compared them to the Esoteric X-05.

I am considering Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation speakers driven by a Luxman integrated amp (590Aii or v509u). The one Luxman dealer in my city does not yet have a Luxman cdp on demo, but I have heard the equivalent Esoteric elsewhere in a comletely different system, and it sounded wonderful. Given the lack of info, feedback, or reviews of the Luxman cdp, I am a little hesitant to buy one sight unseen as opposed to the highly regarded Esoteric X-05. Luxman and Esoteric compete head-on in the Japanese market, but in North America Luxman is not as well established.

So to put it simply, if I buy a Luxman cdp, the whole system comes from one dealer, but I do not have enough of a comfort level to just go ahead sight unseen on the cdp at this point.

The Luxman amps that I have seen (and heard) are wonderfully musical and meticulously built, so I imagine that the cdps are built to a high standard as well. I just wish I had more to go on, otherwise I will play it safe and but the Esoteric X-05.


It sounds like the Wadia 381, at around $7K, should also be considered. It is Redbook only cdp (no SACD), but then again most of my cds are Redbook only...

Has anyone compared it to the Esoteric X-05?


Come on, this is a no brainer. 20 years ago? Luxman...

Today? Esoteric X-05 CD for sure.
That's a rather naive comment. 20 years ago Alpine nearly caused Luxman's extinction. Today's Luxman products are Fantastic.

If it is shear resolution you are looking for, Esoteric will out perform the Luxman digital gear. However, if you are looking for musicality and tonal accuracy, you may want to try the Luxman. From my experience having owned a DU-80, the Luxman gear must be given time in evaluating as they tend to be more laid back in presentation, initially sounding as if they lack in detail retrieval. However the information is there, it is just not front row like other players.
Thanks Andrew.

Though I cannot yet audition them, I am leaning towards either the DU-80 or the newer D-06 (which the local dealer will shortly have on demo). The DU-80 has certainly received some rave reviews, especially for its fluid musicality and build quality.

How do you find the quality of the transport mechanism? I beleive that the DU-80 uses a modified Pioneer transport. Luxman now makes their own transport mechanism for the D-05, D-06, and D-08.

I have auditioned one of the Luxman integrated amps, and the sound and build quality were outstanding. I will order either a 509u or a 590Aii.

Esoteric has penetrated the North American cd player market to a much greater extent than Luxman, so it is encouraging to hear some positive feedback as I get the sense that Luxman does make outstanding cdps.


Can’t you make a deal with your dealer? Buy the whole package there. Buy the Luxeman D-06, the L509u and the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation at the same dealer. This way you will have a good bargaining position. And maybe you can make a deal that if the D-06 isn't that good that you can return it for minimal loss. I’m not that familiar with Luxeman but I think this should be a great set. Simple, good looking and a great sound. But it is a little bit of a gamble.
Thanks Mordante, this is exactly the combination that I am considering, and the reason for this thread given that I have never even seen a Luxman cdp. I have seen and listened to one of their integrated amps, and if they build cdps the same way, they must be serious machines indeed.


Yesterday I was a "show". Actually it was more of a group of people from a Dutch forum listening to some music. We wanted to compare some CD's to LP's. So we all brought some CD's of which we also had the LP's. Same recording offcourse. The LP's sounded better to my ears and most people agreed with me.
But to get to the point sort of. To compare LP's and CD's you also need a set. So someone brought a Luxman L507u (This is a new model I think.) and a D-05 CD player. The turntable we used was a Acoustic signature Samba with soundsmith cart. We used DSS (dutch speaker systems) monitor speakers.

I was impressed by the looks, feel and sound of the Luxman gear. It sounds a little forward but I really don't mind that. The amp was powerfull enough for my taste and should be able to dirve a lot of speakers. The CD player was also nice but a bit slow in reading CD's. Since it can play CD and SACD it takes some time to figure out wether is is a CD or SACD. Since I think SCAD is dead I don't see why they did that. That would for me be a reason not to buy it since I don't have any SACD's.

It's hard to say how good the luxman gear is when you use speakers you have never heard before. But I think could live happely with the amp.

Hope this made sence.
I happen to be a dealer for both Luxman and Esoteric.

If you have a Luxman Amp then the D06 sonically would be the best choice assuming you are also using a Luxman preamp.

However, the new DO7 from Esoteric is a great value as well because you can use the unit as a preamp as well and it has a USB port.
I have ordered a Luxman 509u integrated amp and a Luxman D-06 cdp. I am sure that I will be happy :-)
>>04-01-10: Faxer.
If you have a Luxman Amp then the D06 sonically would be the best choice assuming you are also using a Luxman preamp.<<

Not true.

It all depends on your personal listening preferences.

Dealer disclaimer- Esoteric and Luxman
hey Toronto416, i guess u must be enjoying your new luxman 509u and d-06 combo. could you tell us more about these beautiful babies especially d-06 since i am a 509u user as well and am considering a d-06 atm. it would be very helpful to hear your comment, thank you

I recall you looking at the 590Aii also, I would love to hear how you would compare the 509u to it's class A brother. What made you decide on the 509u?

BTW 416'er here too :)


This is a quote from Lovefancy, he was able to compare the L-505u, 507u, 509u, and L590a II.

"04-13-10: Lovefancy
507u is quite a big jump from 505u in terms of driving capability, clarity, depth of the stage and the overall smoothness. my local dealer here have all 505u,507u,509u, and 590A II in demo. i was lucky to have a chance to do a/b/c/d/e comparison with all of them along with a gryphon diablo. before i went there i was targeted at 507u simply because i thought it has newer circuit board, only 10w difference with 509u and it's 2.5k cheaper. the speaker was a pair of triangle megallen bookshelf, cdp was a luxman d-08. i first listened to 507u and overall i was quite satified though i found it was a little too ss sounding for me. switched to 590A II, 590AII had a lot more body and weight in the sound nodes, its definitely a thick sounding and musical amp. the 507u did better on high/low extension but could not match the well defined sound nodes and smooth presentation of the 590AII.

and then i switched to 509u, i was confident to say 509u was in complete different class with 507u and 590AII. it had the smoothness and body just like 590AII with just a tad thinner sounding. soundstage was so open with a lot more depth, what i liked the most was the authorities and powerful control of the entire frequency spectrum that you could not find in 507u and 590AII. 509u was able to portrait a complete stage while listening to orchestra. high/low extension was extremely well and stable.

i finally bought 509u even though that was out of my budget but at the same time it did so well that was beyond my expectation and now i couldn't be happier. i compared it with gryphon diable and i would say they were in the same class. gryphon had more powerful bass and sedutive vocal, however, it lacked depth, sound seperation was even worse than 507u and highs/details was not so great at all
Lovefancy "
Looking for impressions of the D-08. Do you know of any reviews that you can point me to?

I have been enjoying the Verity Audio Parsifal Ovations for several months now, driven by the Luxman 509u integratd amp and Luxmn D-06 cdp. As a system it sounds wonderful, and the electronics match well with the speakers.

I enjoy classical music (piano, chamber) and jazz. I listen to a lot of solo piano, and I often feel like there is an actual Steinway D playing live in front of me.

Interestingly Redbook can sound as good as SACD to me when it is well recorded. Some Chandos and Hyperion recordings from the early 90's sound superb.

To be honest, I have stopped listening to the equipment and worrying about individual components. I now lose myself in the music and thirst to hear more. This is a system that conveys the essence of well played music.
Luxman makes a good cd player, but Esoteric is a step up. Of course depending on what model. I had some luxman players back in the day. Once I switched to Esoteric, I never looked back. Currently using an Esoteric X01 Limited CD/SACD player. Will probably step up to one of the two piece Esoteric setup soon. But at the present time I am very happy with the sound and enjoying my recent upgrades with power cables and other tweeks which dramatically improved my reference stereo system.
Esoteric players are known as strident and analitic, while Luxman D06 should be more natural; i am going to buy 509u + D06 without any doubt even if I've never heard them, many people who heard that Luxman system made enthusiastic comments.

I am afraid an Esoteric player could make may ears bleed within an hour with my B&W 803D speakers (very revealing) and my actual Audioquest Colorado interconnect and Gibraltar speaker cables (a bit thin and "cold"; after new amp and player arrive, I'll consider replacing them with Cardas Golden Reference).

Maybe Esoteric should best match with "warm" speakers, amps (tube!) and cables

Regards, and sorry for the bad english ;)

Emanuele from Italy
I have the Luxman N-100 tube amp and CD player in my residence in Japan and can highly recommend Luxman products. I think their 50 model is one of the absolute best player in the market place, and if you mate it with their 509 or 550 solid state amps, it is really unbelieveable in sound.
The Luxman D-06 is an outstanding cdp, and I prefer its sound to the more "clinical" sound of Esoteric.

The new Luxman cd players are superbly engineered, exquisitely built, and they sound wonderful. They are a step up!
Hi Toronto416,

My basic Esoteric SA-10 resides in a system that has been discribed by others as musical,revealing,resolving non fatiging etc.When matched with the right components, it is anything but clinical. If the esoteric line sound only sound clinical to you, I would consider other components in the chain including the cables as being the culprit.
I also feel secure in the knowledge that when and if I choose to upgrade, It is an easy sale compared to the Luxman.
I have heard the D-06 but not in a system that did it any service.

Hi Mark,

I'm a 905er

I agree with Montejay, there are a lot of folks here that think the Esoteric CDP sound is clinical. I think people here do too much reading reviews of inexperienced posters and take on the opinions of others. So when they do go out and hear an Esoteric CDP they are expecting to hear a clinical system. A properly set up Esoteric CDP is not clinical sounding. At least not in my system. You have to consider the room, components, cables etc. Take one home and try it in your system before coming to the conclusion that it is clinical.
Let me add this as well.
Make sure the Esoteric cdp is broken in with at least 500 hours on it and has not been turned off in the previous 24 hour before you can really can properly assess it.

I have an Esoteric UX-1 containing arguably their best transport, now only found in the P-01. My sound is ANYTHING BUT clinical. It is actually just the opposite and although my system is tubes, Esoteric demos their systems at shows without tubes and the music still sounds great. The key, as others have mentioned, is proper setup and system-matching. Most audio folks I have talked to are very tuned in to doing this. My transport spins at 4x the speed of most CD players, allowing for a buffered "error correction" on the fly. It results in very accurate reproduction of what is on the disc, but instead of sounding clinical, it just sounds "right". My goal 8 years ago was to have the musicians "playing in my living room", and I have achieved that with the help of Esoteric and a few other friends.
I think that it would be fair to say that both Esoteric and Luxman make excellent cd players, and they are comparable at their respective price points - sort of like BMW vs. Mercedes.

Preference probably boils down to a matter of taste.
i am not an authority on either brand. my listening experiences have consisted of a friend's stereo system (luxman) and ces (esoteric).

i would say that the luxman brand, based upon my limited experience is probably warmer than the esoteric products, which i found highly resolving but lacking in body.

the dealer of both brands can correct me if he disagree's with me.

i believe luxman still manufacturers tube gear.

i remember an older amp the 3045, i believe, very tube-like in the classic sense., but i haven't heard their new stuff.

i realize this doesn't address your specific question, but, hopefully, you can make some use of my observations.
Do you know if D06 does accept high resolution files (96Khz/24bit)?

Specifications claim that coaxial input accepts files up to 96Khz (not a word about the bitrate), but my dealer who received yesterday my ( ? ) D06 tells that on the display appears "coaxial 44.
1" even if he plays 96/24 files... Disappointing, if true!
Luxman , if you or your system wants a softer, smoother, more soulful sound . Esoteric if detail and Impact are paramount .
Hi Toronto416,

I don't know how much this will help but...I spent a year auditioning every one box player I could either get into my own home or could spend some serious time listening to in store.

The X-05 found it's way onto a short list that included the Mac MCD-500 and the Audio Research CD7. The list had included an Ayre player but I was not a fan of the overly detailed high frequencies.

I purchased the MCD-500, preferring it to the others mentioned, I just found it more musical overall.

Since then I have had the chance to listen to the Luxman D-06 and the M-800a amp...and I would now find the decision easy if I were doing it again - the Luxman D-06 would be in my home.

Good luck.
Biggy79 ... Your dealer is doing something wrong with the input .... If it's a 24/96 going in it'll show "96" on the display. I have a Lux D-05 and the two digital inputs work flawlessly.
I too am now having the dilemma.

Esoteric K-01 or the Luxman D-08. Or perhaps a Audio Note DAC and transport combo...
I am in the process of buying the Luxman D-08 but I'm waiting for my new home purchase to close which will be in several weeks. I was down to Luxman, Accuphase or Esoteric. The D-08 has all the dynamics and detail of the Esoteric and the warmth and richness of the Accuphase. What the Luxman D-06 and D-08 have over the Accuphase and Esoteric is a remarkable lens shutter that works like a shutter in a camera. The shutter closes over the lens and completely seals it when a disc is removed, and opens when you load a disc. You will never have to clean the lens since the shutter prevents dirt and dust getting onto the lens. Thats as good as it gets.