LUXMAN L-507uX

MJ21.05.2013

Integrated amplifiers

Even if - for any reason - you really do prefer a different audio aesthetics, you cannot but applaud to Luxman for the level of craftsmanship for which the Yokohama produced models are famous. The L-507uX´s chassis is honed up to perfection that is hardly seen anywhere else. The hair-thin matching of the parts, smooth and fitting knobs and matt and glossy surfaces that intertwine in silvery harmony are what makes the L-507uX delight for eyes and fingers and a kind of luxury car among economy class machines. Ask a happy owner of a Luxman amplifier for his permission to touch the knobs and you will realize what I mean.

Function and form

95%
Ease of use
76%
Sound
100%
Appearance

The L-507uX is built around three pairs of bipolar devices per channel that operate in parallel push-pull. The preceding model (L-507u) had only two pairs of bipolar devices – as such the L-507uX offers the technology that was previously available only with the L-509u step-up model. Other than that the L-507uX uses carefully matched and hand selected parts, many of them being manufactured right to Luxman´s specifications – this is the case of filtration capacitors with storage capacity of 40.000 µF or a hand-wound EI-core transformer that was adapted to minimize EMI radiation.

The good news is that the L-507uX has got inspired quite a lot from the L-590AX that I consider to be the excellent benchmark for any integrated class A amplifier. The new LECUA 1000WM (Luxman Electric Controlled Ultimate Attenuator) is the most advanced solution to volume regulation that has been introduced by Luxman so far. The setting of the VOLUME knob is detected by sensors that activate a microprocessor controlled circuit that sets one of the thousands combinations of current switches to control the volume in the current domain. By doing this the LECUA volume control is not the function of impedance anymore so the frequency response and signal to noise ratio are uniform across the whole range of the volume – something that is not possible with standard resistor based attenuators. Another asset is that both channels are attenuated identically with no tracking errors and crosstalk consequently.

Luxman is famous for using untraditional solution to feedback that consists only of those parts of signal that are evaluated by the control circuit as distortion. The ODNF – Only Distortion Negative Feedback - solution was introduced in 1999 and patented by Luxman; in the L-507uX there is the new ODNF 3.0 version that is an AB counterpart of the ODNF 3.0A found in the L-590AX. By using the ODNF the L-507uX raises the line level output S/N ratio to 105dB at 20-100,000Hz. But there is much more to the L-507uX, like smooth curves of PCB paths visible on internal boards to mimick standard twists and turns of wiring and where real wires are used they are proprietary Luxman OFC conductors with special shielding.

The L-507uX is specified 2x110W into 8 Ω or 2x210W into 4 Ω. From factory the L-507uX is equipped with excellent phono and headphone preamps thus saving money from your pocket – the relevant competition (Accuphase E-360 or E-460 integrateds) asks extra 1.000 euro for AD-20 option board to get the full suite model. The favorable pricing policy thus sets the L-507uX as one of the category champions.

Bass management

Weight
84
Slam
79
Articulation
78

I mostly auditioned the Luxman L-507uX in the LINE STRAIGHT mode that disables tone corrections. Should you need to compensate for speaker characteristics or room acoustics it is pretty okay to enable the treble (above 10kHz) or bass (below 100Hz) corrections as they have sensitive lift up to +/-8dB. Yet, the sound was audibly cleaner, dynamic and better contoured in the LINE STRAIGHT. But this is really dependent on the particular conditions in your listening room as the benefits of the corrected sound may easily overweight the purity. At night or at low listening levels do not be afraid to push the LOUDNESS button that improves physiology of bottom octaves – at 20dB level there is no sense in discussing fidelity, is there?

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
85
Air
85
Transparency
85

The Luxman L-507uX’s rendering of Do You Love An Apple (Secret Sisters) was saturated with human warmth and richness, the tremolo of a guitar was emotionally charged and the decays took minutes to trail off. There is only a very few amplifiers that are capable of realistic portrayal of the trailing off notes yet this is exactly what makes the important difference between live and reproduced music.

After reviewing several Luxman amplifiers in the past I did not expect the L-507uX to have any issues with accuracy of timbres – both voices in The One I Love is Gone were separated both spatially and timbrally, which is especially difficult here considering their similar tonal qualities. The One I Love is Gone also introduces a deep resonating bass guitar into the mix that was thrown into my room with punch and drive – the L-507uX provided deep bottom-end extension, perhaps a tad deeper that was necessary. This favors to solid fundament of rock music or movie soundtracks, just be prepared for hearing the sounds that you previously did not know they are on the disc. The transparency of the L-507uX also mercilessly pointed out the hard microphone clipping that was audible on several occasions during the track. Actually, this is not bad, quite opposite as you can be sure that with the exception of the aforementioned afterglow the Luxman leaves no imprint on the music and let her pass through in a transparent manner.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
84
Dynamics
81
Temporal resolution
84

In case your room acoustics allow for turning the volume knob to the right, do this. The L-507uX does not care if you play soft or loud, there is no hint of alteration of sound ratios or dynamic constraints. Razor sharp and abrasive guitars of Burning Hell (Tom Jones, Praise & Blame) accompanied by a punchy kick drum have the power to tear down a wall or roll up a carpet when played really loud as well as the rhythmical mayhem of guitar licks and saxophones in Devil´s Party (INXS, Switch) make your feet stomp and adrenaline rush up in your head. There is no warning red light that would discourage the listener to soften the volume – quite opposite, the louder you play the more comfortable the L-507uX feels.

Spatial resolution

Holography
89
Soundstage width
89
Soundstage depth
89

The Luxman L-507uX can respond to a transient signal quickly and without clipping, be it dynamically demanding peaks of Doug MacLeod’s guitar or the sharp defined attack of a drumstick against a kettle’s rim as heard in Necessary Clothes, which is a blues number covered from Howlin´Wolf’s repertoire. The transients spring out lightning fast to stay just for a moment before they harmoniously blend into the background. This perfectly illustrates Luxman’s philosophy of “... reconstructing the sound that touches a listener deep in the heart, that decays and lingers in the aura of afterglow. That’s how Luxman differs from others...“. I cannot but agree.

Price as reviewed:165 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Navrátil Audio, Havířov, tel. +420 737 821 360

PP HiFi Otrokovice, tel. +420 603 581 305

Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Associated components

  • Sources: Luxman D-05 SACD
  • Amplifiers: Accuphase E-560,  Luxman L-590AX
  • Loudspeakers: Sonus Faber Venere 2.5, Usher Dancer Mini Two Diamond, Usher Dancer Mini One Diamond, Usher Dancer CP-8571 II Be, Ayon Gyrfalcon
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Neyton Frankfurt NF, Audioquest Colorado, Atohm ZEF max
  • Power conditioning: Vincent Power, Supra

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