Oh dear , More than a whIff of the over defensive going on here …bordering on the Butt Hurt, go with quality build Japanese moving onwards and upwards imho.
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I stand by my observations above. Hegels are not "clinical". They are very very good amps, in fact, rather excellent. But there is a certain Je ne sais quoi about many Luxman products. Their mid level and reference products simply sound natural and inviting to me.
My system consists of Audio Research 160M amplifiers, Wilson Alexia 2s, 3 different cd players including the Spectral SDR 4000SV as well as an incoming Techdas Premium 3 with SAT arm--so I can’t say that the sound I have at home is anything like what I heard, for example, with the Luxman tube amp and preamp and Triangle speakers at the last audio show I attended. But I can say that I felt compelled to revisit that room 4 or 5 times because I was so taken with music coming from that system. Nothing stood out as the best trait, nothing extraordinary---except the overall sound which was clear, uncolored, well balanced and completeIy natural. It truly felt like the musicians were in the room.
Thanks to everyone that contributed to this thread. Not having a local source to listen to various amps (and other audio equipment) is frustrating and comments from people that have actual listening experience with these products is invaluable. I’m in search of that elusive sound and just don’t know how to get there without just throwing money at it.
Audio like many things is very subjective. I have a buddy with whom I share a drink of bourbon. We can never agree on what’s is amazing and what is mediocre. But we continue to take the journey together and respect each others taste.
@michobr59 Sorry I'm a little late to the party but I thought I'd share my experience with you. About 3-4 years ago, I started replacing my components and went out and auditioned a whole bunch of integrated amps and speakers. I finally settled on Hegel and Luxman and almost bought the Hegel 390. It is an excellent amp and does most things right. I was especially impressed with how it took absolute control of the woofers of my speakers (at the time I had Sonus Faber Olympica II). The sound was refined, powerful, and had great imaging. I almost bought one until I had an opportunity to listen to Luxman 509 and 590AXII. The 590AXII was the one that eventually won my heart. It had that special something that spoke to me at an emotional level in a way the Hegel did not. As someone mentioned above, it is very refined, balanced and neutral but with a hint of sweetness without ever going overboard. The bass, although not as big as the Hegel, is more taut and nuanced. The upper frequencies extend in a way that it would remind you of tubes. In short, as good as the Hegel is, in my opinion, the Luxman brings something more to the party. I disagree with folks who say that you're basically paying a premium for the looks. I think even if the build quality and finesse was not there, Luxman would still stand on its own based on sound quality alone.
I also disagree with other posters who think the Luxman is more on the warm side. I found both 509 and 590 to be neutral with just a hint of warmth. It is truly an outstanding integrated amp that can be an endgame component for many.
Having said that, I found another integrated amp -- Audio Hungary Qualiton a50i, that checked more boxes for me. It is as good as the 590AXII (except in the bass department) but brings that holographic, 3D, and lush soundscape that only tubes can provide. I could have easily lived with the Luxman but the Qualiton a50i with it's 50 watts of pure class A was a better fit for me. Good luck!
Thanks for the comments. My Revel F208s have a minimum power rating of 50 watts. Can’t say that I understand this since they have a sensitivity rating of 88db. Anyway, I called Revel and asked about the min 50 watts and was told anything less would damage the speakers. Unless I upgrade speakers, the class A Luxmans aren’t an option. I’ve had the H390 for a year and have spent that time reading and researching as much as possible and have been drawn to the Luxman brand. I would really like to hear the 509X before pulling the trigger as I’m trying to decide between the 509X and c900u/m900u combo. If money wasn’t a factor, the choice would be easy. So, if I understand correctly you would choose the 509X over the H390?
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