Going linear - The Luxman 507ux


No one panic, but I just picked up the last Luxman 507ux in the US. About 110w/ch with power meters. 😀

Ill compare them directly with my Class Ds at home. 
erik_squires
I guess you got the brand new one currently listed on ebay then, eh. It's in Japan but can easily be here.
Nope. Most of the ebay listings for new models are for Japanese voltage, and more than what I just paid.

I got a US version from Excel Audio. Sweeeeet price.

Unit is in the trunk of my rental right now. 😀
It is supposed to be quite a refined amp.  Enjoy it.
Thanks @stereo5

I'll post more after I've had a chance to really listen. Mike mentioned they take around 100-200 hours to break in. That's a long time! I thought my current amps took a while, but this is even longer.
OK, so the amp is barely warmed up and I’m hearing some of the usual early onset effects.


First, they are not destroying my Class D’s yet. For sure, 95% of the common wisdom about Class D sounds is not evidenced here. My previous comparisons, Class D to Parasound said the same.

The Luxman barely turned on has a high "shimmer" factor. If you imagine what big sheets of metal they used for thunder sounds and cymbals, you get what I mean. However, as @dgarettson (probably wrong name) can attest, caps often sound like this before they break in. He called them "splashy." After this, electronics often calm down and that air and shimmer goes away.

Is that going on here? I don’t know, I’ll know by the end of the week. While it does not make my ICEpower 250 ASP modules sound suddenly bad, there is a lot more shimmer and air, almost a touch brightness. By comparison, the ICEpower sound veiled.


However!! I’ve heard this veiling from linear amps as well. So we need to stop talking about Class D like we are in the 1980s. Let’s just treat them like any other class of power amp.


Best,E
For the Record, the ICEpower modules I am using are long in the tooth design-wise, so like any other amplifier, just because I am critical doesn't mean you should apply these criticisms to ALL Class D amps.

ICEpower, Texas Instrument, Hypex and others have continued to develop Class D. I've not heard them recently though.
My girl kittie keeps sitting in the sweet spot since I brought the Luxman home. High praise.

She also liked the bedroom setup. Monitor audio with NAD 3020D.

My main Class D's, not so much.
Hello Erik How much was your Digital amp? What brand and is it a integrated ?
as I am sure you know the latest digital is noticably better today then even just 2-3 years ago.  I have a digital integrated from Denmark Gato Audio and
they use  Pascal modules ,which then are modified and seperate analog input,output sections . Just sounds like a really nice warm sounding Amp.
luxman make nice products they have been out for over some 80 years or close ro it .their Vacuum Tube stuffis very good also. If this model a class AB first 10 watts in pure class A ?   
This is a surprise . You’ve been so busy defending class d recently . Did you buy this unheard ? in your own system 
This is a surprise . You’ve been so busy defending class d recently . Did
you buy this unheard ? in your own system

@maplegrovemusic


I still defend Class D!! The class-wide disparaging comments of Class D are not true. We should evaluate each Class D amp on it’s own merits, along with Class A, A/B and all others.


I also have never said all Class D was better than all other amps. I've said some Class D were a lot better than some megabuck amps, and that a lot of Class D amps can bat with the big boys.


I got to hear the Mk II version at the dealer before purchasing. I actually drove down to the dealer who is only about 1 1/2 hours away from me. I needed a road trip anyway. So yes, I did purchase it without hearing it in my system first. At almost half off, I was willing to take the risk, and it wasn’t that expensive.



@audioman

How much was your Digital amp? What brand and is it a integrated ?


I am going from ICEpower 250 ASP amps in Ghent cases. Not an integrated. My Mytek Brooklyn DAC was my pre. Now it feeds the Luxman. The 250 ASP modules I purchased (used) from Parts Express were around $200 each. Now new ASP 500 modules run around $350 each.


My message is while the Luxman does sound better than the ICEpower 250 ASP modules right now, nothing makes one go "Oh, yeah, this one is linear, and this one is Class D."

I stand by my previous statements. The 250ASP are about the same transparency of the Parasound A23 amps. And also better than the Pass monoblocks I’ve heard. :D


The Luxman 507ux is better than all of them at this point in my listening.


This may change after it breaks in though, as I mentioned, sometimes you loose that detail and air after things settle in.


As an audiophile, I shouldn’t have to defend my choice to try out something new. :) Especially if they have meters. I’ve had a fetish for amps with meters since I encountered the Yamaha P2001’s in racks. Oh I miss their style and looks a great deal.


In particular, I’m trying to consolidate, and get rid of components, so I started looking for an integrated, and the super sale on the 507ux Mk I came up, and after a lot of research and feedback I jumped on it.
PS - I can say both that the Luxman sounds better than what I had AND also say I’d have a tough time justifying the full retail price of the jump.

Going from ~ $750 to a $6,500 is a big deal for those of us who make a living doing honest work. :D


If the sale wasn't going on, I'd probably have done a Rogue tube integrated.


Best,
E
Glad you like I it. I have a few of them around my houses, I did pick one up from Mike about a year ago, same as yours. I also have the Mark II version. Not much of a difference unless in a DAC feeding it and speakers can show it, then it's just a bit more lower bass definition and better connection between bass and midrange. I wouldn't get a Rogue. Not same class as Luxman. If you like the Luxman, you ought to try Audio Research VSI75, probably the best bang for the buck in high end audio. Listening off side, like I do when I work, there is zero difference between Luxman L507uX and AR VSI75. But when you sit in the sweet spot, the depth of the imaging is day and hight. Literally day and night. This is why I generally keep Luxmans in my living rooms, kitchens, etc and I always keep Pass or AR gear in my main systems. I really want to try the c/m900 combo just to see if it compares to PASS/AR, but simply can't blow that kind of money right now. But the 507uX is a GEM. But seriously, if you want tubes, go for the AR VSI75. They can be had used for around $4000. And yes, the KT150s are a much better tube that the KT120s. It's the only new tube I feel blows Gold Lion KT88s and Amperex EL34s totally of out the water.
Also, you're experiencing the law of diminishing returns. Of course your Luxman will sound a 7 times better than your class D amp. Just today my kid wanted to watch a show. Anthem 1120 driving the center vs Parasound A31 (there is a switch in the system, I normally keep on A to keep it simple for wife and kids, have the receiver drive all the speakers). Took me a while to realize it was being driven by the internal amp, but didn't take too long. The dialogue just wasn't as clear. Like the last 2% was missing. Last 2%.
I meant will not sound 7 times better. But listen to the depth. I have always found Class D fails there. I have a NAD M27 and in two channel mode I always feel it fails there, in the depth aspect.
I didn't get a chance to listen to the Rogue for very long or with the same speakers. The Rogues were driving Klipsch Fortes.
I have a Luxman 507uX. My experience was that it took over 200 hours to break in completely.  It definitely went through some changes before then.Very happy with mine!
Hi @andysf
Thanks for that, that's' what Mike said. I'm a little surprised, I thought my previous amps took a while. Actually I bought them used so not sure how broken in they were, but for sure, turning them off for 24 hours means I have a 2-3 day warm up time. Being Class D the power isn't an issue.

Best,

E
congratulations Eric. I love my 507uxi.
i thought it sounded amazing from hour one on. I've had it for 4 weeks now. 
i recently came from a Primaluna Dialogue HP premium.  The Lux is much more to my liking. I've been through many nice ss and tube amps and preamps (pass, plinius, parasound halo stuff, audio research, benchmark's latest amp wonder)....always looking for my own 'absolute sound' (that is, a system that renders music perfectly to ones self). pretty sure I've found it with the Lux. 
@erik_squires

Hi Erik,
I know Mike very well and he took very good care of you, just like he does everyone. I believe you heard the 507 uXII with the Harbeth 30.2s? I was in on Sunday and heard the 30.2s and then we switched to the SHL5plus. Both Harbeth’s work very well with Luxman. I’ve also heard both of those speakers with the C/M900 separates and it is really good as well.

BTW, I purchased the TAD separates from Mike, which includes the Class D stereo amp and I can tell you it is very good. Class D can run the gamut just like Class A, A/B, etc. And Class D can run with the best of those topologies as well.
Hi @pokey77

Nope, I heard the 507uxII’s with the Wilsons. He had moved the harbeth out of the way for a previous customer. I don't know how the Wilsons were configured, but I was forced to engage the Luxman's tone controls to get the system balanced. Honestly the system set up was not very good, so I kind of had to hope I was hearing other components.

Fortunately the Luxman sounded superb once I brought it home.


Best,
E


The Luxman has about a week's worth of play time now, unfortunately I've also got a bit of a cold.

It's still got great dynamics, and impressive bass, but some of the air, transparency and detail, that cymbal brush sound, seems to have gone away, or quieted down.

Is this my cold? Maybe.


Best,
E
It’s all part of the break in process.  It will open up again.  
That’s not what I experienced. The 507’s sonic signature has been super even and nothing lost or really gained since day one. I, however, have had a few biological issues myself and currently fighting a sinus issue that is affecting my left ear, strangely, making for Bigtime muting and loss of treble extension. The equipment CAN’T change as much as we do unless something is seriously wrong with power grid or a component is in process of self destruction. The 507  is incredible and once your cold is over you will be all back to ‘normal’. Hang in there. 
The equipment CAN’T change as much as we do unless something is seriously wrong with power grid


That's true only if you assume everything that is audible has been measured. Or that the tests have been done to prove or disprove this.


I don't assume the first, and have never read of the latter.

As an engineer who relies on measurements, I know I hear things which change over time which I have no explanation for. I once left my gear off over a weekend, came back, turned it on, and thought, man, this sucks. 48 hours later the sound came back. No idea why. I replaced caps in a pair of Focal speakers and for about 72 hours heard weird surround effects. Tones and instruments appearing behind my head. No changes to room acoustics from when I heard that to when it ended. The latter case tells me there may have been very subtle HRTF (head related transfer function) issues coming up. If so, no standard measure of capacitors would have easily found it.


As for the Luxman, I do have a cold right now, so bad time to judge. :) 

Also, I kind of want to remind everyone, it's kind of a shame we don't see more invention of how to measure amps, caps and cables. Almost all the measurements I know of except Jitter predate the CD player. They were fine for their era, and not to be discounted, but we live in a world with computers, automated signal analyzers and cheap data capture. It is a real shame we haven't attempted to push the state of the art for discovery and measurement in audio.


Best,
E
Non audio pet peeve:  The remote.


The Luxman remote is early 1980s, and not in a good way. It's heavy, feels good in the hand, but horribly lacking in ergonomic features. Every button is the same size, kind of in random order, and no backlighting. I expect more from gear costing 1/10th of this. 

At the very least, shaped volume buttons, and a source selector. There are buttons that work for the disk spinners too, but not for the tone controls.


Of course, motorized tone controls would be expensive, and honestly, I'm a little in love with how good the tone controls are here, so I'd rather not mess with it, but in the dark with my older eyes, this is one difficult to use remote.


Best,
E
I guess we wouldn’t be audiophiles if we weren’t complaining about something, remote controls included. Lol
Hopefully things sound better for you soon. As for better measurements, how would one extrapolate such results to actual preception of sound, which is different for every individual?
seems like a fools errand to me. I’d rather just spend exorbitant sums of money trying new gear. 😀

@dpac996
I guess we wouldn’t be audiophiles if we weren’t complaining about something, remote controls included. Lol 


True!


As for better measurements, how would one extrapolate such results to actual preception of sound, which is different for every individual? 

First, we need measurements which show differences. Until then, correlating with personal experience will have to wait. This reminded me and I wrote about it here:



https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/the-carver-amp-challenge-and-the-21st-century-and-it-s-failur...
Quick off subject post but speaking of remotes: The Xfinity remote that has voice recognition and that lights up when you pick it up is first rate in form, function and quality in my opinion. Who would have thought it?
Hey Erik... how’s your Luxman sounding now, another week in?
+rockrider, I am also wondering.
Hi @rockrider and @jetter

Thanks for asking. Unfortunately I tore down my TV/stereo set up completely, and it too longer to put back together.

When Lily (the Luxman 507ux) arrived, I put her on a coffee table for the first few days because she wouldn't fit anywhere else. I ordered two three shelf racks, so I could put them side by side with the TV straddling them. That took me a while to get back together. The room acoustics are still pretty messy though, I have lots on the floor and the old entertainment center is acting as a big reflector.


Part of what took me so long in this is I really miss having a 5.1 for movies. I have all the extra bits except for a receiver, so I was thinking of putting the sub in between, using it as a center channel stand, and using the "separate" feature in Lily. I think however that I'm just going to have to give all those bits up for now, and hope some day in the future I can have the space for it.


What is helping is that the bass via the TV outs is really quite good, more than enough to annoy the neighbors. :)


In the mean time, Lily sounds pretty good. If I ever really finish getting rid of all this extra gear I may go back and attempt to do a direct comparison between her amps and the Class D's I was using before. That would be an interesting listening party, right?



Best,

E
OK, I think I’m ready to come to a verdict on the Luxman:


For sound quality, I think it’s a better amp than my Parasound A23 and ICEpower 250 AS modules, for identical reasons. It is also better than any Pass amp I’ve heard, for totally different reasons.


Like the first two amps, there's nothing obviously wrong with the Luxman. No noise, no noticeable distortion.


Compared to the first two, the Luxman has a more forward presentation, often called presence. Further, there is good bass extension when needed, which comes through more with television and special effects. The body of instruments from the piano to violins come through more clearly, and the shimmer factor is improved. The first two amps gave a much more distant, back of the hall, sound stage.


Compared to the Pass amps though, it's a totally different story. I find the Pass amps I have heard leaner and frankly, audibly irritating. I’ve heard a very nice set up at an audiophile’s home, and heard many at an audio show near San Francisco where Pass was a sponsor. Whatever it is Pass fanatics rave about it grates on me. Perhaps this is the deliberately extra distortion Pass adds? I also find them limited in the extremes of the frequency response and therefore thin to my ears. You don’t have to agree with me at all, but this is my experience.
I should add, some of you will be wondering about the rest of my system. I am using a Mytek Brooklyn (v1) as the source, custom silver balanced ICs and custom speakers you may read about here:

https://speakermakersjourney.blogspot.com/2017/12/snr-1-two-way-high-end-diy-monitor.html

The tweeter is used by Gryphon, the woofer (or similar models) by Wilson, caps are Clarity CMR with copper foil bypass as needed.
Hi erik, I haven't heard a luxman product since listening to a luxman receiver so long ago I won't mention when.  Even now I remember the great build quality.

I am a little surprised that you don't seem as enthusiastic about your new integrated as I had thought you would compared to your other amps.  I don't know why, but I thought you would experience a night and day difference. 
Hi @Jetter
I've always said the ICEpower modules were better than most like to give them credit for.

I think the Luxman is a nice upgrade for me. I have a closer, more intimate presentation, power meters and I can consolidate several pieces into one. I was really fortunate to be able to get it at the price I did or I probably would not have been able to justify it.

It would be interesting to note if others have been able to hear the Parasound line and the Luxmans and give their opinions of the differences.
@jetter I don't think you're going to get that day and night difference with any amps over a certain price point. In my living room setup, with a click of a remote (a high end Luxman speaker switch wired in reverse), I can currently switch between Primare A30.7, Audio Research LS28/VT80 and a Luxman L507uX. AR combo is my preferred combo, but I cannot simply articulate why, my foot just taps more and the soundstage is just better/wider/deeper but many times, when I work from my chair, I'll just start playing some music via the Primare A30.7 left on from movie watching the night before and even thought it's a Class D amp, it sounds wonderful as well. It's neither ICE or nCore, it's their own technology and sounds great. 

As to class D, my movie system downstairs is powered by NAD M27 (nCore) and to me, it's about as good as amps get. Hard to justify the expense of tube amps or for that matter my Luxman/Yamaha collection when the NAD just signs and throws a giant/deep soundstage when fed by a proper preamp instead of AVM60 even though AVM60 ain't too shabby either.
Thank you erik and astelmaszek for taking the time to explain your experiences with your amplifiers.  I had originally thought that each amplifier would have had much more of a sonic difference from each other than you have experienced. But I have read before that once you reach a certain level of quality the differences in amps are more of flavor than better or worse, which you have confirmed.

Enjoy it all.
George  


One attribute of the Luxman I am actually very pleased with is the resolution of detail at all frequencies and all volumes. Not an easy feat.
Often when I hear reviewers talk about a piece of gear having excellent detail it means the gear is bright, brittle or hard.

Not in the case of the Luxman. It seems to breathe incredibly comfortably at very low power and at any part of the spectrum. Evidence is that low volume listening sounds like "loudness" has been engaged, in that your ears seem to be younger, you hear more depth at such low volumes.

Strings have bite without grit. Cymbals flourish, and deliberate phase effects in recordings and movies are pretty remarkable.
Eric,
I'm the latest Luxman fatality.  Found a screaming deal on an almost new 509x.  Should be here Monday.  It'll be driving my Dali Epicon 8s.
Except for the time when I was in school, this will be my first transistor amplifier.  I've had tubes for 32 years.

I'll let you know how it goes. 

- Bob
@jzzmusician
Welcome!! What have you been listening to until now?
Erik
Erik,
For the past 3 years I've had a Primaluna Dialogue HP integrated.  Besides the stock EL34 tubes, (stupid good) I also had a set of KT 150s. 

Luxman just kept popping up on my radar.  Over and over again. I read the reviews, talked to some friends and pulled the trigger even though I've never heard one.  I live in a small town and the nearest Luxman dealer is at least 300 miles away.   My Epicon 8s will take a lot of power and I had some gear I wasn't using and at the end of the day I had money in the bank.  I'm very curious as to how it will stand up to the Primaluna, as I found it to be a very fine piece of gear.

I'm pretty pumped.  I'll be sure and let you know how it goes on Monday when I get to fire it up.
Also, please accept a quick thank you for your contributions to the forum.  I don't post very often, but I read and appreciate your input here.
- Bob
I'm very curious as to how it will stand up to the Primaluna, as I found it to be a very fine piece of gear.

Me too! I've admired their designs, but never heard one. In the end though tubes are not really for me here. If I were to get a huge amount of money, afford my own home I'd love some old school CJ premieres.

Also, please accept a quick thank you for your contributions to the forum. I don't post very often, but I read and appreciate your input here. 


Why thank you, kindly!


Erik

The IcePower ASP modules are at least a 13 year old design. The reason Parts Express sells them is that IcePower needs to get rid of the old stock. You cannot buy the latest IceEdge modules at retail. They are only sold to OEMs. I sold an amp in 2006-7 using the ASP 500 modules (basically the same as the ASP 250 modules but more power). You can read a review of my amps on 10 audio that was done in 2007. His review was very accurate. In its day, for the money, it was great. The new stock IceEdge modules are in another league. And run mono and modded and tweaked to the max?.......well simply superb for any class of amp. So, to compare an old stock IcePower module to the latest way more expensive Luxman is well.....? If you really want to hear what Class D can do against a Luxman or other class A/B amps, etc. then you need to hear tweaked mono IceEdge or at the very least the latest versions of the Ncore NC500 and NC1200. Tweaked IceEdge is way less expensive than Luxman. How do they compare sonically? Would be fun to find out. If anyone is in the bay area and wants to hear my modded mono IceEdge amp in their home (versus most any amp) then let me know. You cannot know anything about how something has evolved or sounds unless you listen to the latest thing IN YOUR HOME.

I am not saying that the latest Class D is the greatest or that you will not like something else better. We are not all "looking for" the same sound and it's helpful to get components that match our systems.

ricevs, there are a number of us that would like to thank you for taking your time to write out the same message that has already been repeated 1,000 times.  The retention skills of posters who feel the need to stammer out the same message obsessively is suspect, as to assume the rest of us require this repetition of a simple message that takes ten seconds to understand.