Thinking that I may bite the bullet this year and get into a Gryphon Diablo 300 but before I consider shelling out that much, wanted to get some input from any of you that have heard this amp in comparison to Luxman or Accuphase. The 509X from Luxman costs half that of the Gryphon and is more within reach. The Accuphase E650 is not that far off the Diablo 300 pricing. IF the Gryphon is better in your mind, curious to hear whether you think the Luxman or Accuphase come close?
It sounds like all 3 have rave reviews. One is a class A while the other two are Class A/B.
I’ve owed all 3 models, well not exactly (I had the Accuphase E-600). They are all great amps but have “personalities” of their own. Much has do do with what the rest of your gear is, music preferences and what type of sound is important to you. I’m not sure any one of these three are better than the other two. I would say they are different.
Based on my experience, I have found the Luxman to be the best value by far and probably has the smoothest sound. The Diablo 300 has a strong authoritative command of the low ranges but can in some cases, be a bit harsh on the upper frequencies. The Accuphase E-650 is supposed to be much better than the E-600 but I have not heard the new model. Accuphase seems to be a bit more dynamic in presentation than the Luxman. Class A does have a certain magic to it so the Accuphase and Diablo 300 (at least for the first few watts) have the Class A magic.
It’s all about synergy though and the incorrect choice of cables and/or interconnects and other components could yield less than optimal results. Try to find a dealer that would allow you to do an in home trial for a few days.
Thanks @greginnh You may be one of the few that have heard a variation of all three company's integrated amps. Did you think that the Luxman lacked any in the dynamics vs the Accuphase or Gryphon? I currently have a Line Magnetic 805ia which is Class A and comparing to the Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP which I also had at home for a while to try, I found the 805ia to be much more of an enjoyable musical experience. More dynamic, more depth and clarity vs the presentation of the Primaluna.
My speakers are Spendor D9's and my source is the PS Audio Directstream Junior. Unfortunately, no local dealers for Luxman or Gryphon anywhere near me in Seattle.
Yes, I love my class A Luxman L-590AXII. Before Luxman, I was using the Hegel H360 and was thinking about upgrading to the Gryphon Diablo 300. I've heard the Diablo at the audio show and loved the sound. But thanks to @greginnh for recommending the Luxman to me. I took his advice and got the Luxman without any audition. Now I don't have much desire to get the Diablo. The Luxman was way better than the Hegel H360. I've never heard the Accuphase, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 3 amps.
Agree with Greginnh, its very important what speakers and what are the speaker and power cables you will use with these amplifiers. A lot of people underestimate the importance of cables and system match.
Speaker - Spendor D9 - I find them to be very well balanced and neutral. Nice extension both at the top and at the low end. I have only tried them with my Line Magnetic so far which is not an overly warm amp so I don't think it needs an amp with a warm quality to sound good. The LM is a Class A SET amp.
Cables - Interconnects are Wireworld Silver Eclipse 8 and Acoustic Zen Matrix Ref II RCA's
Power Cables - Mix between Acoustic Zen Gargantua II and Audioquest Thunder
freesole, I own the L-590AX, which is the previous version of the newer L-590AXII. It’s actually greginnh’s old amp, which I essentially lucked into. I absolutely love it, but haven’t heard either the MarkII, or the new 509. The newer MarkII series had the output stage beefed up, I believe. greg has owned two of those, and heard all three, if I'm not mistaken.
I have not heard the 509. I believe @greginnh has heard both the 509 and the 590, so he would know. Since 509 is newer, it should theoretically be better than the 590, but again, 590 has the class A magic.
Freesole, I had luxman 509x that drove the canton 3x reference speakers. I did not like the sound at all. No decay, analytical, flat. Guess what speakers cables I had with it - wireworld silver 8 eclipse.
Once I changed the speaker cables to triode wire labs this integrated became a different animal - dynamic, focused with good 3d image. I still had to sell it because on a higher than medium sound levels it sounded restrained and less musical.
@denon1 interesting notes regarding your experience. Surprised to hear that big a difference was due to the cable when the Silver Eclipse has great reviews elsewhere. It really does all come down to system synergy. My speaker cables are Clear Day Double Shotguns (silver) but also have a pair of Audio Art SC-5SE's as well.
Regarding sound from medium to higher volumes, that is interesting feedback. First that I have read that the 509x couldn't bring musicality or dynamics in that range.
I totally agree that the cables are very important to the system setup. So is the system synergy. In my system, I am getting effortless sound from my 590AXII and the rest of the setup. I have a pair of Von Schweikert Endeavor E-3 Mk2 speakers.
Yes, I love my class A Luxman L-590AXII. Before Luxman, I was using the Hegel H360 and was thinking about upgrading to the Gryphon Diablo 300. I’ve heard the Diablo at the audio show and loved the sound. But thanks to @greginnh for recommending the Luxman to me. I took his advice and got the Luxman without any audition. Now I don’t have much desire to get the Diablo. The Luxman was way better than the Hegel H360. I’ve never heard the Accuphase, but I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the 3 amps.
To respected_ent I am just curious to find out what was about Luxman L-590AXXII that for you was so way better than the Hegel H360; presumably you are referring to sound quality?
stargazer3, Yes, I was referring to the sound quality. Even though I've owned the Hegel H160 and H360, I did not use their internal DAC because I have a better DAC. So, the most important thing to me is the sound quality, not the features. I've also owned several other integrated amps (Vincent SV-236, Plinius Hautonga, Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800). I do think Hegel amps are excellent, but Luxman 590 is just in a different league. It just does everything better and sounds more refined than the H360. I may eventually give Diablo 300 a try, but right now I am very satisfied with the Luxman.
Got a chance to audition the Luxman 509X from a great person and dealer locally. First thing I was extremely impressed with was the build quality. It is cliche to hear that something is built like a tank but this thing looks and feels like it will last a lifetime.
Sound wise, it effortlessly drives my Spendors and based on specs, it will drive most if not all speakers that I will likely pair up with it in the future. Dynamics, accuracy, and clarity are very clear strengths with this amp. It really is a very impressive piece. I do wonder how the 590AXII matches up against it being that its first 30 watts are Class A. When I compare the 509X against my Line Magnetic 805ia with rolled tubes, it is so close to matching but sometimes I do find myself wondering if the 509X is able to draw me into the music the way the 805ia does. That magical tube quality is real folks. It is hard to describe but the way it conveys music is really special if you have a good setup.
I was lucky enough to find a great local dealer who lent me both the 509X and now the 590AXII. Gotta say, those Class A watts really make a difference. I have decently efficient speakers in the Spendor D9's and the 30W per channel is more than enough to make my system sing. That ultra-smooth yet dynamic sound of the 509X translate over in the 590AXII but it now has more charm, more sparkle and more warmth/sweetness that is more akin to tubes. I'm very happy with the 590AXII.
Listening to Tsuyoshi Yamamoto - Midnight Sugar and you can just hear and feel the weight in those piano keys as if you were right there. The 509X isn't far off by any means but the 590AXII brings a slightly more magical quality to the music that is just so hard to describe.
@rwbadley I think it really depends on what you need. The 509X provides a little more flexibility due to its higher power output. It is an amp that will handle pretty much any speaker you want to throw at it. If you have power hungry speakers or think you may want to switch up in the future, the 509X gives you that future proofing and peace of mind. It also runs very cool.
The 590AXII has that class A magic that is so hard to describe at times but can push beyond the 30W Class A into Class AB and drive most speakers well. They certainly drive my 90db @ 8ohms Spendor D9's without any issue. It runs a bit hotter.
Overall, the sound is just a little different but as you know, being audiophiles, we nitpick over small differences all the time so it's a big enough difference to me to prefer the 590AXII.
Do I trade in my LM 805 for this? I'm still thinking about it but it sure is tempting! I do like that I don't have to worry about tube life and the heat hazard that the LM has but its sound quality really is beautiful. It's a tough call.
Thanks for your feedback freesole! Think of it this way... the 590axII gives you more freedom to try higher efficiency speakers!
It is a tough call with tubes, the tube lush presence vs ease of maintenance with SS.
Even worse, when I was doing tubes heavily the tube rolling and 'what if I try these' became an interesting but rather expensive endeavor. White elephant in a way- the amp was cheap(ish) but 3,000$ worth of tubes later... ;-)
Now I've rediscovered the magic of tone controls haha
Alright, now after having some time with the Luxman 509X and 590AXII, I have some thoughts compared to my Line Magnetic 805ia with rolled tubes...
The past 2 weeks, I have had the opportunity to audition the Luxman 509X and 590AXII integrated amps at home on my system. One is a pure class AB and the other is a Class A, respectively. Both Luxman products have received nothing but rave reviews. I was very grateful to be able to try these two out as I had a bar in my mind that had been set by my Line Magnetic 805ia. That bar was very high as I am of the opinion that it is clearly better (to my ears) than other amps that I have heard previously. That includes the Primaluna Dialogue Premium HP, Hegel 360, McIntosh MA (forget which one I had heard), Naim Supernait 2 and XS 2.
The 509X has all the power to handle just about any speaker you throw at it. The sound was very smooth and effortless to my ears without sounding too dry/analytical. While I wouldn't call it overly analytical, I would say that the music reproduction was very detailed, fast, and it had great controlled bass. I would also describe the amp as being very dynamic and exciting to listen to. I suspect most people would be more than happy to call this their end game integrated amp.
The 590AXII is Class A up to 30W and then extends further into Class AB up to about 90W per channel. If you have decently efficient speakers, you would be able to hear the difference between the 590AXII and the 509X. Class A just has a sweeter and slightly warmer, rounded sound signature to it that makes the music sound just that little bit more engaging and enjoyable. To my ears, it has all the great qualities of the 509X but more of that euphonic quality that is so hard to describe. It does get hotter than the 509X, being Class A, but it is by no means anywhere near tube heat.
I sometimes switch back to the 805ia to see if I can hear a big difference. Last night, I swapped the 590AXII for the LM and the difference is still fairly evident. The LM sound is just so sweet, engaging and reaches you at a level that can't be described. Maybe it is an extension thing or maybe it's a tube ephonic/holographic quality but the difference is there. The Luxman amps have LOTS of fantastic qualities though as it is built to last forever (seriously, the build quality makes you proud to display this amp), sounds amazing, has a headphone amp, has phono and balanced inputs, does not produce as much heat as a tube amp and you don't have to worry about tube life/maintenance. Seriously a hard decision if one were to decide between the LM and a Luxman. Is the Luxman better than the LM (with rolled tubes)? No - if anything, from a pure musical enjoyment perspective, I might enjoy the LM just slightly more. But when you consider the whole package value proposition, the gap closes and may put the Luxman ahead.
I don't expect the same quality as their $2k headphone amps, but there is a much better price/value price point to be had here. Another quibble is the bass/treble and balance tracking are only fair to middling. Again, kind of a quibble, but at this price point you’d expect nothing to be overlooked.