Grey amplifier Imports from Japan?

I have a feeling this has been discussed before, but I can't find the thread. I am leaning towards a Luxman or Accuphase SS, class A/B integrated. Something like the Luxman 507.

Looking online, the savings importing from Japan against buying locally, are enormous. There are clearly, real risks,, the loss of warranty support, having to use a transformer to change the voltage, which must have the potential to degrade the sound.. Against that, brands have a reputation for reliability.

If anyone has bought from one of the Japaneses sites, can they decribe their experience? Thanks
Most Accuphase gear (if not all) can be easily rewired for 100/115/230v operation.
True, however, are these sites to be trusted? Even though the price is a lot less, you're still dealing with a lot of money here.
There is a distributor for Luxman based in California as well as Accuphase. Trying to get service on the product after your purchase it may be impossible, and you would obviously have to pay out of pocket for any repairs, thereby making it no longer cost effective.

Since you are located in Europe 230V/50Hz operation using a step down transformer will not be a problem because Japan uses both 50Hz and 60Hz at 100 Volts. Japan is the only country that uses 100V 60Hz/50Hz. All transformers are designed for both 60Hz/50Hz.

I have purchesd Three Luxman and and one CEC from Japan at half the price in USA. The Luxman L-507U you can change the 100V to 115V or 230V by just moving the jumper from 100V to 230V. Also disconnect the wires that is connected from 100V/115V to 230V operation, The transformer one section works for 100V/115V and the other section is for 230V/50Hz operation. Also you need to replace two main fuses to 250V. There is no such thing as Grey amplifier import both Luxman and Accuphase are super high end custom made Japan product.
My opinion (and no more than that): there is a nice person (Philip) who imports Luxman into the US, makes a living that way ( Similar feeling about dealers who offer their advice based on years in the industry who also make a living doing this (great example is Johnny Rutan at Audio Connections in Verona NJ). Seems to me there is value in working through the right channels to purchase what you are looking for instead of going around established importers/very experienced dealers.
That's cool and all, but why are these units (both brands) 2-3 times the price than in Japan. I understand dollar to yen, tariffs, duty, taxes, and so on and so forth. But, this has to be profit driven. Big profits, I would think...
I'm with Dave_72, everyone knows a dealer importer has to make a living, also, that all the difference in price, is'nt down to the dealer being greedy, but when the difference is so great....

There is an ethical issue here. For me, this means I am not going to a dealer to audition the product, then importing from Japan. The same applies to buying second hand and incidentally, a viable and possibly safer alternative to a direct import. I am simply not going to buy an Accuphase integrated amp at over $10000. I have'nt got the cash and don't think they are worth it to me."Buy something cheaper", I can hear the reply. Well I want an Accupase or Luxman and there is a way of getting it a lot cheaper and why not, if I'm not dishonestly using a dealer's services, then buying elswhere.

Basically, a lot of us have ears bigger than our wallets. What you do about it, is the question.
Even though it is a super high end product It's still gray market because it came from unauthorized distribution.
That's helpful thankyou. Most amplifiers seem to have adjustable voltage, by changing the taps on the transformer. The one exception for me, was the Viva Solista I bought in the US. Adjusting the transformer changed the voltage from 110 to European standfard 220V. Unfortunately the 240v we have in the UK, was enough of a difference to blow a few caps.
Luxman sound? Give me a break. The sonic qualities of these Luxman products are a myth. It is reported that quite a few double blind tests conducted and published in Japan have proved Luxman product performance is indistinguishable from many other amps that are sold in Japan, many at lower price points. Why subject yourself to all that pain for a product that is very 'ordinary?' Move on to China where great sound and value is available.
Hi Renjy651,

Good information there. It doesn't sound like it's that big of a job, and certainly keeps it out of the hands of incompetent "techs."

I see a website called Audio Cubes II that has Accuphase equipment listed. Are they reputable or no?
Call Accuphase and ask them
Ethical issue?
Do a search here on A'gon and you will find some in depth answers to this.

All the best,
Since I do not have experience with Luxman, in the following I will be talking only about Accuphase products.

There is actually a 3rd option, i.e. to buy demo models that are about to be discontinued or have been discontinued already.

Firstly, the differences from one generation to the other are most often very small. Secondly, Accuphase demo models come with full warranty for 70% (or more) of the retail price (in Europe at least). Having an unit brought from an authorized dealer is important as official units keep their value very well (as oppose to imported units).

It is also important to know that Accuphase importers are most often very arrogant, and at the same time paranoiac about grey market units. They will not offer any support what so ever for grey market units. I have called our importer in the Netherlands twice (while owning official units), and every time it was like calling the military:

"Who are you?! What do you want?! What is the serial number of your E-550?! You have to read it from the back of your unit? Why didn't you write it down before you call?"

In fact, the second time I have asked my wife to call them, hoping they will be more polite with her - wishful thinking…

Hi Paul,

Thanks for sharing your story. you are very knowledgeable about Accuphase products, and you probably know more than the distributor!

As for grey market units, of course they are, because they're not making a big profit off of them.

That's pretty sad that the distributor treated you that way. That is unacceptable. I would contact Accuphase and complain about that guy.

The US distributor seems like an ok guy. I met him at CES a couple of years ago.
Accuphase and Luxman also McIntosh are worlds top amps because parts are custom made in Japan to last for ever.
I am sure a person in Japan buys a McIntosh from USA they will call it Grey market buyer because price is lot lower in USA. Dave _72 I purchased all my Luxman from a Authorized mega super store in Japan. Audio cubes is a agency that buys Accuphase and Luxman etc from these Japan stores and resell these amps.
Support from local dealers and distributors is the issue, I know. It feels to me that ex dem or second hand, is a better way to go, for me. The only problem with that, is finding one, but I am not in a rush. Thanks for all the helpful advice
Sure, that would be ok too. Definitely don't be in a rush, that's one way to get burned.

I have heard both Luxman & Accuphase products and would be proud to own either brand. Both brands are built to last and if bought used should provide years of trouble free service. I had the Accuphase 560E class A intrgrated in my system for a trail and it was the best integrated I have ever heard. I didn't buy it because I am not quite ready to give up my tube seperates. BTW if your speakers have a easy load look at the class A offerings.
Hi Renjy651,

Did you buy in Japan, or did you buy it over the internet? And is Audio Cubes reputable?


I purchased my First Luxman L-505U in 12/2006 from Audio Cubes. There was no USA distributor at that time. I wanted to buy Accuphase but the price was even higher. I sold that unit on Audiogon.
I was so impressed with Luxman i purchased two more Luxman both 507u. My brother wanted the 507U,Also CEC Class A amp from This mega store called Japanaudio that carries worlds top amps Like Accuphase/Luxman/McIntosh/Leben/CEC etc. Price was lot lower than Audio Cubes. Most of these amps i sold it on Audiogon.

As a matter of interest, does anyone have any experience of the Accuphase E307. There is one for sale here. I imagine it is the predecessor of the E 350. I was wondering how it compared? Thanks
Hi Renjy,

Cool sounds good. I got your message and I replied. :D

Is Japanaudio reputable?
David, since you are living in Europe (I've read on your system page that you
are living in England) it should not be that difficult to find a demo model. For
example, in the Netherlands there are currently an E-350 and also an E-450
advertised by dealer on (look in the "tweedehands" section). Check
also, (with a little patience) one can find pretty much
any Accuphase model on this site. Germany is the number one importer of
Accuphase units, they have great respect for Accuphase (which says a lot
about the brand).

Regarding the E-307 integrated, I would say it is a bit too old (10 years or so).
For a couple of hundreds more you should be able to get an E-308 (the
predecessor of E-350). However, since currently you are driving your speakers
with a small tube amp, I would advise you to go for an E-550. It has as much
power as the E-308 and E-350 integrated amps but sounds better and also
copes better with difficult loads. If you need/want more power then go for the
E-408 or E-450 (of these two I would pick up the first one).

Dave, not much will be achieve by calling Accuphase in Japan and complain
about their dutch dealer. My feeling is that the importers are required to
behave that way (I've understood that the German importer behaves similarly).
From their perspective Accuphase is not like any other brand and hence is not
for everyone. They will be polite with you (if you look decent) and just order
products without much concern for the price. This is usually the case
with most luxurious brands/shops. (Of course, dealers do not behave like
that, they are always happy to sell an Accuphase.)

Paul, that's very helpful. I will look at the sites you suggest
Realize this is a thread with a couple of years on it. Just purchased a Luxman L505uxg from Japan. Used a well rated E-Bay seller. The transaction went smoothly and delivery took a week. There was no US Customs import duty applied upon arrival. I purchased a high quality US made step down transformer (1,000 watt) from ACUPWR to reduce voltage to 100volt and I'm very pleased. The step-down transformer runs continuously and is barely warm to the touch. I saved $1200 going this route. I realize the risks relating to service and support however the Luxman reputation for quality made this a fairly low risk purchase. The Owners Manual is of course in Japanese however all markings on the front and rear of the amp are in English. I'm pleased to say the least.
mobygrape  -  How do you find the ACUPWR transformer/ does it generate any humming? do you use a power conditioner between the transformer and amp?

I recently acquired a Accuphase from germany so my power problem is the opposite of yours.

I just contacted ACUPWR representative Ron and he assured me that
there is no hum or degradation to the sound. I am also intending to import
Accuphase E-370 from Japan. He also mentioned that many Luxman
owners ordered step down transformers from them.
In the case of Accuphase, I would definitely buy direct from Japan.  Compared to the US price, you can buy two units from Japan and still have some money left over. (That includes shipping and transformer!)  I would use   Anyone curious about distributor markups in the US and Europe should check it this web dealer out. 
This is all good information... I keep stalking the Japanese sites now with more confidence! So over the past few day i was actually able to find a gentleman in my area (SF bayarea) that was able to convert the power internally and he did it with no help from Accuphase, " Sorry but we cannot do voltage conversions due to liability problems" <this should be a whole other thread of why the hell Accuphase are the fun police?!>.  He Read the supply board, drew it's schematic and then verified on paper the change in the jumpers that would resulted in 120vac.  He even gave me a table of how to jump it back to 230vac if need be.