Digital sources

The things that were common a decade ago have become rare, like this new CD player launched in the age of streaming. And it is a Luxman player with price tag is friendlier than you'd imagine.

Function and form

Ease of use

The all new D-03X builds upon decades of experience with digital player designs that established Luxman in the top tier. The turbulent development of streaming services and new formats however asks for continuous adaptations, so it was necessary to upgrade existing models. Thus the Luxman D-03X supports MQA on CD (and up to 24-bit via USB, optical and coaxial) and DSD 11.2Mhz available via USB. The PCM is available up to 32/384 kHz via USB and up to 24/192 KHz on S/PDIF and Toslink. Quite interestingly, in the age of ESS/AKM/BB DAC chips the D-03X employs PCM1795 Texas Instruments DAC, one per channel. For USB data streams it also adds Bulk Pet transfer technology (licensed from Interface Co.Ltd) that optimizes data packaging and delivery and eases both CPUs, which should result into better stability and better sound according to the Luxman´s engineers. The analog outputs are available on single-ended RCAs and balanced XLRs. The D-03X is presented as ´Compact Disc Player´, however I see the CD transport part as a bonus to the excellent DAC only. Though it is plastic – but mounted on a thick 8mm metal plate and sealed in metal sheets - it works quiet and fast, in fact faster than with other Luxman´s players. The D-03X is a balanced player from inout to output, the hot pin on XLR can be assigned via switch at the back panel.

The casework is top-notch, as well as the remote that can be used for controlling other Luxman devices too. I liked that the rather small yellow lettering of the display could be zoomed in which made it easily readable from distance, still keeping it unobtrusive and understated. To sum it up the only thing which is missing in the new D-03X might be the absence of SACD pick-up for physical discs. We have to wait another couple of months for the Luxman D-10X, though it won´t sell for such an affordable money like the D-03X.

Bass management


Should I highlight one single feature of the new D-03X that I liked the most it would be the way it handled bottom-end. If I considered what similarly priced players could do the new Luxman wiped them out with full bodied sound, natural balance between attacks and fundamentals, speed and control. On top there was that seducing volume of sound that one could hear with the best turntables, rather than digital sources. The Kite (Hattler, SVS/Stereoplay sampler) is an expedition into low pumping bass frequencies and the Luxman D-03X managed to induce a physical sense of the bass, rather than just aural. This was perhaps why I spent hours listening to different bass heavy material which really sounded good through the D-03X.

Clarity & delicacy


I know one of the D-03X’s predecessors pretty well and could therefore appreciate another step that Luxman made with the new model: the sound was less digital. No matter how undigital the Luxman players sounded before, now the sound was more relaxed and flowing. The major benefit of it was that nothing urged me to skip tracks or change albums. I – like the player – could be relaxed and enjoy the music. Using more straight vocabulary I would say there were no attributes in the sound that would put me off.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

The Luxman D-03X’s tonality was warmer and softer which was further supported by the top-of-the-line Luxman’s 15000 cables. When I swapped the Luxman interconnect with Krautwire’s MAX interconnect I got dynamically more open soundt, slightly more sparkling and slightly more transparent, yet I lost a bit of the bass weight that made the D-03X so rocking. The good news is that interconnects can be counted in if you want to fine tune the sound to your taste. But no matter which I used the Slayer’s metal tunes were a pummeling experience that had strength of a hurricane. Not all of us live on Miles Davis only.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

Gloucesterhire Wassail (Loreena McKennitt) spread in its whole compact glory between the speakers. Yes, compact, as this piece is not sung by a hundred-headed choir, rather by few singers gathered around a microphone. That’s how – correctly – it was portrayed by the Luxman. Credits go to the associated Luxman and Usher components too. When switched back to the Dutoit’s symphonic piece, the soundstage expanded to the sides and to the back and transformed the room’s ambience readily.

The Luxman D-03X is an unexpensive CD player/DAC  so it does not feature any switchable digital filters, upsampling options, or a variable output. Yet, within the limits of their budget the Luxman engineers pushed the limits of what is possible in digital.

Price as reviewed:109 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Horizon Trading Prague, Praha, +420 606 642 175

PP HiFi Otrokovice, tel. +420 603 581 305

Nisel SK Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Associated components

  • Amplifier: Luxman L-507uX Mark II
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Luxman JPS 15000 and JPR 15000, Krautwire MAX XLR
  • Loudspeakers: Usher Dancer Mini Two MkIV
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PC-4 EVO+, Gigawatt LC-3HC EVO, Supra LoRad



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