Choosing an integrated for low volume listening

Is there anything in the Amp - Speaker combo that makes one combination better for lower-volume listening? I would guess the variables are Class A vs A/B, speaker sensitivity, and current.

Room: 13’ x 13’

Stand mount - Aerial 5T (I think)

Integrated options: Pass Int-60, Lux 509X, ML 5802, Lux 590ax II

Overkill for the space - nope, love it. 



Any of the Luxman would be suitable as there is a Loudness feature which is provided for low level listening. When the loudness feature is enabled, the bass and treble will be boosted and this really helps with low volume listening.

Having said that, I rarely use the loudness feature as I usually listen at around 50 to 60dB at low volume levels, 70dB normal levels. At very low volumes of say 30 to 40dB the loudness feature will then be useful.

I own the 590AXII and yes, I used the loudness at low volumes, and it does work wonders. Spearkers are Harbeth. But are you asking for a better set up then you have now or just other combinations? 

This will be a new setup. I’ve been out of the game for years. As a former dealer of high end AV and Home Systems, I’ve had various Focal, Genelec, Revel, Martin Logan, and a couple Meridian DSP towers… 

I have not had a dedicated 2-ch system for myself… I’m pretty sure I’ll buy a pair of Aerial Acoustics 5T for my office. Likely a Lumin steamer… the integrated is the question. 

Good point @ryder… I’m not sure what level low is! I’m not thinking background music when I’m on a zoom call, more about in between calls, staring out the window, end of the day dram… 50-60 might be reasonable. I’ve got an Arcam and Sonus Faber system for the TV room, I’ll test that today. 

The Luxman loudness option is appealing as a quick toggle. 

I would highly recommend listening to a Audio Research VSi 75. I love the sound so much I have been trying to find some excuse to buy one… even though I have no where to use it… so, I haven’t.

I found the amp so musical and with such an overwhelming musical connection. Absolutely nothing like Pass x series, more like XA series… which I have owned for decades.


I would pair with Sonus Faber. Maybe stand mount Olympica… or down a level if those are too expensive.

Do any modern integrateds offer a variable loudness control?  I've seen that feature occasionally on much older units.

I've owned Aerial 5T's for about 5 years w/a Luxman CL38Use and a Bryston 3B cube amp. I play a lot of music early in the morning and lat at night and the music is detailed. The Luxman integrated's would be an excellent choice. I would also check out the new 507Z as it has Luxman's new advanced volume control.

I assume you like the 5T then? I’ve love that line from their beginning. Those or a 20 year old pair of Linn 5040 (?) - those were the speakers that sold me on 2-channel. LOVE that sound.

+1 on variable loudness

ryder, use a crappy meter on my phone, but 50 was my sweet spot while still being able to read, whiteboard, and email. I can push that to 60 comfortably, 40 probably a minimum. 

And you nailed it, I turned up a bit to what seemed ideal, meter showed 71 db. 

The Yamaha A-S801 has a variable loudness feature.  It’s not as fancy as the options listed by the OP, though. 

Recently sold our house and now residing in a nice apartment. System consolidated somewhat. Recently picked up a Simaudio Moon ACE that I was really impressed with. So much so that I then turned around and upgraded to the Simaudio Moon 340i D3PX which has a DAC and phonstage built in. The first 5 watts are class A which provides me the low level listening performance I was looking for with my Dynaudio Heritage Specials.

I’ve had a great experience with my Gryphon Diablo 300 integrated’s low volume performance. I find that I can detect all of its character and tonality coming from my speakers even at the absolute lowest volume setting. I’ve never seen an amp do that before, where these qualities are maintained regardless of volume. There is no loudness control. But I don’t feel it’s needed..

Low volume performance of the Diablo 300 has been commented on in several reviews as well. Not sure of the less expensive Diablo 120 has this trait as well - could be an option.