Luxman C900u + M900u Combo Opinons


I recently read a few world wide reviews of the Luxman pre-amp and amp combo. The reviews have been stellar. For example, Doug Schneider claiming the following:

"The M-900u is the best-sounding power amp I’ve ever heard. While its price of $19,900 might seem high if you look only at the specs, it isn’t when you examine how the M-900u is built, or -- especially -- when you listen to it. The M-900u is one of the best values in high-end amplifiers."

The price in 2017 is now actually 14995 USD for each unit. Luxman has a new USA distributer, Jeff Sigmund, and I got the price list from him. I will eventually listen to these units but I cannot for a few more months (unless they show up at the LA Audio show next month).

I seldom see much comments here on A’Gon on these 2 Luxman pieces. Are there any Luxman owners interested in sharing their opinions on this combo? I would also be interested in issues such as reliability and repairs (if any). Did you have to ship them back to Japan? I am seriously looking at this power combo to power my new system (likely KEF Blades2 or Paradigm Person 9H). I believe the amps have enough power for these speakers, if not I can get 2 amps to run as monoblocks.

One European review stated that the Luxman may not sound incredible on rock music but that same mag panned the KEF Blade2 while reviewing them with an Arcam amp. So my confidence in that particular review is not too strong. I listen to all kinds of music, including rock. My music sources are digital and FM radio (KCRW from LA).

The system I am thinking of building:

Speakers:: KEF Blade2 (or maybe Paradigm Persona 9H)
PreAmp+Amp: Luxman C900u + M900u
DAC: T+A MP 3100 HV (this does everything I need for digital, need to read some reviews on it)
Client: ROON+TIDAL+SONARE microRendu
Tunar: Accupahse T-1100 (or may use my existing Magnun Dynalab 205 or the tuner in the T+A MP 3100 HV)
Interconnects: Audience SX XLR
Speaker cable: Audience SX
Power Cable: Cerious Tech (graphene coated stuff)
Power Conditioner: May use the Torus I currently have in the office system or something fancier

Any feedback on the Luxman or my NEW system configuration would be appreciated.

yyzsantabarbara
Dear YY,

I hope this helps. 

We sold Luxman in the past and had experience with their C800F preamp, which we had for evaluation and we had and loved their integrated amplifiers. 

The Luxman preamp was not better then the Chord 5000 preamp we had on display, at the time we were Chord dealers, SPM 1400MK II and the 5000 preamp, and we were interested in trying out the Luxman stuff to see if it would be better.

The Luxman preamp was noticably inferior to the Chord preamp so we passed on auditioning the matching 800 series amplifier.

I have heard the Luxman stuff many times and it is one of my favorites lines of electronics. The build quality and attention to detail is quite remarkable.

However, when we moved to the T+A gear it was better then the Chord ger which itself was absolutely remarkable solid state gear.

Here is how we would put the tale of the tape between the two brands:

1: Their pricing is nearly the same $14k Luxman preamp, vs $16,500. 00 T+A, Luxman amp $19k vs $19k T+A Tie

2: Features: The T+A preamp is much more adjustable with both bass and treble controls, and room correction, you can rename inputs, use the preamp with a home theater system etc, you also have a $1,500 option for a world class phono card.  The Luxman preamps do not have these features. Winner T+A

3: Power: T+A is a 300 watt stereo amp vs 150 watts stereo amp, winner T+A 

4: Amp up gradablilty T+A can go Mono as well as offering an easy power supply upgrade, so you have two paths to up grade and grow the system with the Luxman you can only go mono winner T+A

5: Styling, the T+A gear I think looks sexier. the Luxman is nice but a bit borring looking, you got to love the meters.

6: Sound quality here both are superb, the T+A gear to me has a greater sense of ease and naturalness, over the Luxman gear when I heard it.
I will say this is based on speculation, as I have not had a proper demo with the current Luxman gear. 

7: Winner You, both of these lines are fantastic sounding products. 

We have chosen T+A to be our reference gear due to the above listed qualites and personally we have not heard another line of equipment which we feel can match it not for the same money or for two of three times the price. 

We chose T+A over Luxman, Ayre, D'agastino, Burmester, MBL, Vitus, Pass Labs, Spectral and Chord to name a few of the lines we were considering. 

The combination of Germanic build quality and design, speed and articulation, warmth, and sound staging, coupled with fantastic dyanmics and bass control,  a very wide range of customization and outputs features of the preamp, up gradablity and sexiness of the gear all helped solidfy our feelings. Add ot all of this resonable price, reasonable weight of the gear, and the stellar repuation of the brand world wide is why we stopped looking after getting our demo gear. 

I know you heard the gear in CA. If you are ever in our neck of the woods we would love for you to hear our setup. Our room and gear setup is very different so our resuilts will be very different. 

The choice of cabling, power conditioning and room tuning is just as inportant was which elelctronics and speakers you are getting.

Synergy is finding all the parts that work together. 

Sincerely,

Dave and Troy, the Audio Doctor boys
Audio Doctor




AudioTroy guys,

Thanks for taking the time for such a long write up..

I am fairly certain I will take the time to fly out to your store to listen to the 2 speakers in question since you have both on demo (maybe the only place in USA with both). I should mention that I have a baby to think off so I want to consider a speaker that will not get damaged by little fingers. Anyways, those are decisions for later in the year.

1) The Luxman is 14995 USD for the pre-amp and the amp. This is the price of the NEW top of the line units, C-900u and M-900u. This is a huge win for the Luxman over the T+A.

2) I do not need phono. The tone controls and the bass management are not show stoppers for me. I was actually hoping to eliminate a pre-amp but decided the sound quality would suffer for such a high end system. My #1 choice of a pre-amp would have been the Mola Mola since it is supposed to do what I what. Just pass the signal through. However, I do not want the Mola Mola amp and this time I want to keep the pre-amp and amp from the same manufacturer.

3) T+A is more powerful but some reviewers are stating the Luxman numbers are under reported. That is why I will listen to these units to decide. The 2 speakers I am looking at are about 90 and 91 in sensitivity so it is not like I need a massive amp.

4) Agree

5) Both look awesome. I never really considered looks for audio gear but both of these brands are so good  looking.

6) The Luxman preamp you had listened to was the lower end model It is now priced at around 8K USD. In reviews I have read people have stated it is like a 4/5 star preamp. Very good but not the ultimate in sound. However, the C-900u preamp is a different design and supposed to sound much better. I have heard the Chord stuff with KEF blades. Pretty good sound but not the kind of cash I want to spend.

7) Not my bank account but my mental happiness will be a winner for sure.

I was wondering if you would say anything on the T+A MP 3100 HV  media player I am looking at (I know it just got released). It is maybe a little too expensive for me but the feature set is amazing. I am extremely comfortable with computer audio/networking etc.. So I plan on running HQP player on  my computer in my office and use a wired LAN connection to feed the DAC in my music room. If this new T+A unit sounds are good as their DAC 8 DSD then this is likely the DAC I will get just for the digital connectivity features. I actually need the low quality HD radio and a FM tuner because there is phenomenal music being played out here on a NPR station.

Correction:

6) the Luxman C-700u was the unit I was referring to as being 8k USD. (actually 8995 USD). The C800F preamp unit referred by AudioTroy does not show up on my 2017 Luxman price list. Likely discountinued.
The T+A digital is really a class by itself. The PDP 3000, which is the flagship CD/Sacd/Dac is a top of the line player that competes with many really expensive digital front ends.

Our Light Harmonic Davinci was the only digital product in the shop to beat it, and that is a $35k dac. 

The MP 3100 is an newer version the originanl MP 3000 which we had in the shop, the MP 3000 was excellent, but didn't quite measure up to the reference class MP 3000 which had the better DSD 512 decoding engine.

The new MP 3100 seems like it has all the features of the PDP 3000 so until I find out more about this player it will be hard to know just how good it really is, if it is the same decoding engine as the PDP 3000 with the streaming features of the MP 3000, this will be one hell of a player.

We would welcome your visit, it would be totally fun.

We are also an Audience dealer, the Audience cables are quite good we might make another recommendation of a cable system you might like even better. 

As per the Torus, I don't know if I would want to use an isolation transformer with big amps, we have had mixed results with these devices compared with the best passive ones, you would have to see if the Torus would work well with these components.

Dave and Troy,
Audio Doctor

Over the last 20 years I have owned Bryston, Halcro dm-58’s, Linn Solos, Luxman M800, and now the Luxman m900u.I have listened extensively to Mark Levinson and other great amps. I feel the 900u is simply one the best power amps I have ever heard. in fact the best as long as your speakers are not really power hungry. It has so much finesse, sound staging, depth and it’s top end is amazing. I loved my halcro 58’s and should never have sold them however I am so happy with the Luxman, My Linn KDSM straight into it is sublime.
I would agree somewhat with what Sandpit says. 

We are also Luxman fans and without a doubt it is some fantastic stuff. Over the years their products have been consistantly fantastic. We had the 20 watt class A integrated on display and it was fantastic and also hearing it at shows and always being impressed with their sound and build quality. 

The T+A gear is like a spirtual cousin to the Luxman, in terms of attention to detail, build and sound quality. 

Which is better that is the tough question?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor


The Luxman m900u is in another class compared to other Luxman products sound wise IMHO. It blows the m900a away for instance that everyone was raving about a couple of years ago. I had two 900a's and when I got one 900u the improvement was jaw dropping. In some countries you can get the 900u for around USD 11-12K. The best value on the planet is how I see it.
Sandpit, I think it is sad that there are such magnificent products on the market like the Luxman and T+A yet many people are spending double or triple the price of these remarkable components and purchasing products from some of the other manufacturers that aren't necessarily any better just way more expensive. 
Sandpit,

The exceptional sound quality of the m900u is what I am reading on many reviews. I like Doug Schneider’s reviews quite a bit and find myself agreeing with his sound choices on the various gear he has written about. Great to see you also confirming what he is saying about the m900u.

I recently received some good news on my stereo purchase front. A local dealer will be getting the Luxman C900u + m900u to demo with the KEF Blades. This is exactly what I want to hear since my main concern is whether the m900u has enough power for the Blades. The Luxman m900u has dropped in price from 20K to 15K in the USA to match the prices worldwide. This was a very pleasant surprise for a broke guy like me.

I have no power concerns with the Luxman and the Paradigm Persona 9H (96 sensitivity not 91).

The second good news is that a second job that funds my ’extra’ purchases is going to start up again, so this system purchase will happen.

Is there really a dealer in Santa Barbara who can demo KEF Blades?  If so, I'd like to hear them.  I'm enamored with my mid-90s KEF Reference 107/2s, but a poster who replaced his 107/2s with Blades claimed they were the obvious next step.

I'm dbphd@cox.net.  Even a drive down PCH to Santa Monica I suppose is local, although traffic through Malibu can be a hangup.

db  
No dealer in Santa Barbara. However, there are a lot of dealers in Los Angeles, 70 miles away.

I listened to the KEF Blade 1 in Mountain View, CA at a very nice shop across the BART train station. I am no longer interested in the Blade 1 since it is a little too big. I have heard the Reference line (old and new) and I do not think it compares as well to the Blades. I have not heard the Blade2. Some reviewers that I have emailed told me they preferred the 2 to the 1.

If you want to listen to the Blades email KEF USA and they will get you in touch with a local dealer (lot of them around S.Cal).

BTW - You should go the LA Audio show on June 2-4 across from LAX. KEF is showing the Reference line (I think) but you can ask the KEF guys there about finding local Blades.


Greetings from Tokyo. 

I have the Luxman c-900u preamp and D-06 SACD player and am extremely happy with the gear. My former preamp was a McIntosh C-36 and when I replaced it with the C-900u the difference was truly jaw-dropping. Speakers are Tannoy Stirling GRs--I listen mainly to acoustic jazz (Monk, Mingus, Clifford Brown, the usual suspects) and classical, so my setup works just fine for me.

My amp is an old Mcintosh MC-7150 which I bought on release, and it is working fine but I am ready to move to the M-900u as my "retirement amp"--I can get it here for about 9000 USD. I auditioned lots of different gear here but so far, I have found the Luxman the most to my liking because I prefer a "warmer" sound (though I must say it's a toss-up when it comes to Accuphase; it's really a matter of personal preference). Also, since I live in Japan (my office is actually within walking distance of Luxman HQ) getting service isn't a problem but I would imagine one should put that into the equation if you are living elsewhere.

I guess all I am saying is that I think you really can't go wrong with the M-900u; I just hope you get the chance to audition it sometime.

Cheers.

 
I was at the LA Audio Show a few days ago (fantastic show for me). I was able to visit the room of a USA audio distributer called "On a Higher Note". They were the previous Luxman distributer (now Gyphon). They were demoing the new Vivid Spirt ($93K) speaker using the Luxman B-1000f monoblocks along with the Luxman C900u preamp.

I believe these are the exact 2 pieces I saw,
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-luxman-b-1000f-monoblock-amplifiers-2017-06-09-amplifi...

It was an awesome experience. They music was top notch and the electronics were perfect for my ears. I was wondering if the Luxman could rock with faster tempo music and I was not disappointed. They played an audiophile LP of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I was told it would be the best I have ever heard the song (Thriller), they were correct. My understanding from some internet comments is that the Luxman M900u amp is even better sounding than the older models (price is not always indicative). So I am now set with buying the Luxman’s. There were some great deals on A’Gon for many Luxman items over the past few weeks but they seem to have all sold. A shame I did not have the cash ready to buy.

I did not want to ask the "On a Higher Note" guys any questions on the Luxman since they no longer represented them. What I heard gave me all the answers I needed.

I also heard the KEF Blades 2 at the show for over an hour (mainly by myself) with the best Hegel electronics. It sounded good but the Luxman I think are much better suited to me. I may buy the Luxman and KEF Blade 2 without hearing them together. I am positive it will work great together and be awesome in my living room.

I also was very happy to realize that the KEF Blade 2 was still my favorite speaker. I was trying to convince myself that I would like something better at the show but I was not able to do that.

I spent a lot of time with the Parasound Persona 5F. I think in a better room with different electronics the Persona line would be a serious contender. However, I think the Blades disappear better than any other speaker I heard. The Persona 5F had sound that extended well beyond the speakers and also seemed to disappear to some extent.

The second favorite speaker I heard (after the Blades) was the Magico S3 MKII. I was just blown away by them . I was shocked because I would never had previously considered a Magico. I have heard some $80K Magico models in the past at dealers but I never was all that excited. The S3 MKII is one that I would like to have if I got a home office that could accommodate them. I even liked them over the Magico S5 MKII at the show but that was likely related to the electronics | room | music played etc ...

I also heard the KEF Reference 1 played with the new Wired4Sound mononblocks (under $2K) and they sounded great (another great home office choice). I had heard these same speakers at a dealer and they sounded awful in that dealers show room. The sound was hitting a massive glass window at the dealers room.

The next speaker I want to hear is the Yamaha NS 5000 unfortunately it was not at the show. It was previously at a show in Toronto and Montreal so I am surprised it has not come to the US yet. It has all 3 drivers made from the same material (see A’gon speaker thread on Yamaha) . The Yamaha is intriguing speaker and the one that I am most anxious to hear in the USA. If I have a large room, I am thinking the Magico or the Yamaha maybe the next home office speaker for me.

I am going to jump in on this thread as I am looking at the Luxman C900 preamp and have some concerns over what has happened here in the US with the distribution and product availability. 

Also, were the US buyers getting screwed on the price as all of a sudden their pricing has dropped and now that has been re-canted and prices remain as they were  - this after the cat was let out of the bag that the C 900 was ''only'' - $14,995 instead of $20,000 !

How can that be justified now ? 

I currently have the Esoteric A-03 amp and the C-03 preamp and a K-01x player ......ands was looking at the C-02x pre amp  - when I read about the Luxman C-900 in my (re)search. Esoteric can be ....hmmmm at times a little linear and was looking into not staying in the same house and adding the Luxman as it sounds as though it is very musical and open any airy ...which I like.

I then see all the BS going on with them and was wondering would be a good buy ?  .....a good value for the money ?  A pre-amp for the long term..... I can not do a direct comparison between the Esoteric C-02x and the Luxman C900  -so anybody can chime in here as the dealers all seem to be mum on this or have their own suggestions.