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Luxman/Accuphase/Yamaha - Quality?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Paulq2, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    Not necessarily. Luxman's build quality and fit & finish probably has the edge, but on sound quality my money's on the Sugden.
  2. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    Interesting. In what way would you say they differ, sonically? There are plenty of descriptions of the 590AX-II and IA-4 in isolation, but I can't find anything where one person has compared the two directly.

    Of course, there's a big difference in price, and I was - and possibly still am - searching out the 'final' amp. I thought I had it in the Mac, but a run of hassle with valves and now a suspected blown resistor is putting me off the idea of valves. The amp is in for repair/service and it'll come out just fine, I have no worries there, but I am now feeling a bit 'anxious' - if I can call it that - about living with valve amps and their reliability. As if I'm waiting for the next thing to potentially go wrong. Well-designed S/S should avoid this - though I've read a few things about the reliability of Sugden which are perhaps anecdotal and the service (UK-based) is apparently first-class. Not heard anyone ever experience any failures with Luxman kit but i'm sure it's happened too. No idea how easy it would be to have a Luxman repaired should something go wrong, so that's probably tipping it in favour of the Sugden.

    I'm trying not to be swayed by the cost - this being a 'final' amp - and so I'm trying to factor that out. But it's highly likely the sale of the Mac could raise enough to switch to a used Sugden whereas I'd have to add a decent wedge to make the jump to a Luxman. The Luxman does have meters though, which I am rather taken with, and it apparently has a first-rate MC phono stage, which would save me a few hundred quid (I'm currently slumming it with a CA stage I had planned to have modded by Jez of Clan Arkless). But overall the Sugden wins on value.

    Anyway, no rush for any of this. I have a range of options, including sticking, flipping, trading, doubling up (but that's a bit greedy) or even downsizing to something like the A21SE. I would rather like to Get Final Amp Done, though.
  3. Cereal Killer

    Cereal Killer 432 Point5

    Have you considered the Rega Osiris?
  4. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    As a rock and jazz listener, I prefer a class A from Sugden to a Luxman because it seems to me they have more oomph factor and never sounded thin to me.
    The Sugden is also probably easier to service on the long term as the Luxman is very crowded when you remove the top lid in comparison.
    If the look of the amplifier is important, I would go with a blue facing like this :
    Tarzan likes this.
  5. Tw99

    Tw99 source last

    JTC, having read your contributions on here over the last 10 years, this will NOT be your final amp :) After a while you will get a bee in your bonnet about something else. Accept that reality and relax!
    booja30, JTC and Rockmeister like this.
  6. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    I hope not but you could of course be right. Mind you, I’ve found the final speakers and headphones, no longer feel the need to go further up the source ladder (my TT is better than my vinyl deserves and I’m delighted with my digital stuff) so it is basically just finding THAT final amp.
  7. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    I haven’t. I did briefly look into it and it seems to be a fine amp, but I’m not sold on the looks. I hate to be superficial, but the FINAL amp has to also look right as well as sound right. I happen to find the Luxman and Sugden amps to look really smart, but I’m not keen on the slightly ‘eighties SF’ appearance of the Osiris.... wouldn’t matter if it were just a power amp that could be hidden away, but aesthetically it’s not my cup of tea.
    alan967tiger and Cereal Killer like this.
  8. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    I hear you. What speakers are you using? One thing I can’t accuse the Tannoys of is a tendency to thinness. I’m fairly sure that - sonically - either Luxman, Sugden (or Accuphase or others) will all be very fine with the Tannoys, but the point about future servicing is the thing that is giving me pause. I can get a home demo of the Luxman, and am going to organise that, and I’ve heard a Sugden A21 mk2 recently which I rather liked (and should have bought - it was a serviced mint example I could have had for £900! - but I stupidly passed on it). What’s unknown to me is the difference between the IA-4 and the A21 series, in sonic terms. And the only way to figure that one out would be to have one here to demo, but I doubt I’ll be able to organise a loan of one to coincide with the Luxman demo....
  9. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    Not superficial at all, well not IMO.

    Doubtless it's the influence of my design background, but there are a lot of brands to which I wouldn't give house room on aesthetic considerations alone, regardless of the sound.

    That list would actually include a lot of the overtly 'designed' products where the manufacturer thinks 'design' is basically a form of decoration.

    I don't mind basic/utilitarian and would be more likely to purchase a Croft than some Italian eyesore with bits of an old Rover dashboard bolted on to it and featuring what they think is 'Renaissance' typography when actually they're using a typeface designed by a chap in a short-sleeved shirt and a tie in a cubicle in ITC in the mid 60s.
  10. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    I also have a bit of a thing recently about standards of fit & finish. On products which were say three grand a decade or so back, what you got was broadly commensurate with the price I suppose.

    My problem is that many of these products are now north of five grand, and while the circuitry may have improved, the standard of finish often hasn't kept pace. I've seen some pretty poor anodising from a couple of long-established (European) manufacturers in recent times, and my view is I want something better than that for the money.

    Generally it's an area the Japanese seem to excel in, although I noted a thread somewhere recently about some pretty crude machining on Luxman integrateds.

    And don't get me started on remote controls, which are typically either plastic parts-bin tat or something which might just scrape a pass in GCSE metalwork, depending on the mood of the adjudicator.
  11. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    Looks (and build quality) are equally important to me as well. No matter how good the amp would sound, I wouldn't bother trying it in my system if the looks is not up my alley.

    It would be great if you can organise a comparison between the Sugden IA-4 and Luxman in your system. We would be interested to know how the Tannoys would perform with those amps (and which amp will sound better with the Tannoys). If you happen to get the Luxman L-590AXII into the system, it would be worthwhile to utilise the balanced connections on the amp if your source or DAC comes with balanced outputs. The Luxman performs better with balanced interconnects.
  12. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    I've read that thread on Audiogon. It's the L-509X and perhaps that's a rare isolated case.
  13. notevenclose

    notevenclose pfm Member

    I would assume so, but it seems an odd issue for a Japanese manufacturer not to address, when they're typically so fastidious about those sort of details. I can't imagine it happening on a 1970s Yamaha, Luxman or Sansui.
  14. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    @JTC there's a nice (older) a21 on this side of the water on for approx 500 quid...
  15. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    I heard the Luxman on large speakers from Sonus Faber with two woofers and it was missing the slam I heard on a small Sugden A21se that was driving some Proac Response two.
    The treble of the Luxman was very smooth but thin and tube like just like if the cymbals were smaller and higher frequency while with the Sugden, the same cymbals were full body and more realistic, more metal sounding if I may say.
  16. maccar

    maccar pfm Member

    I've only owned the IA4 and it is truly a lovely amp, but in my set up it failed to control the base of my speakers at the time, so changed to an Accuphase intigrated which worked perfectly... a lot of Accuphase owners pair their amps with Tannoy.
  17. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    590AX-II here on loan. Nice amp. Way too early to judge it - it’s a completely brand new unit so still giving off some intriguing smells - but it certainly gives a certain ‘listening to the master tape’ quality to the stuff I’ve listened to so far. Not as immediately ‘impressive’ as the Mac with its incredible tonality, but a touch more detailed and maybe better balanced. More later :)
    Tarzan, alan967tiger and Gervais Cote like this.
  18. JTC

    JTC PFM Villager...

    Three hours in, one unexpected observation is how cool it runs, relative to the A21-mk2 I tried a month back, the big Mac (though that’s valves so not the sane thing). Runs cooler to the touch than the Mjolnir (but that thing is probably 450v class-A anyway). I could easily warm my hands on it but it’s nowhere near hot enough to risk any burns...

    Update: this is a *very* good amp. Let’s see how I feel about in a few days. I’ve got it for a couple of weeks.

    Update 2: good though it is, build quality isn’t quite as ‘impressive’ as I was led to believe. It’s above average unquestionably. Controls better than the Mac, fit and finish very good but not quite the tactile delight they’d have you believe. But very nice nonetheless,..

    Update 3: a couple of glasses of red in, admittedly, but with Radio Paradise FLAC’ing its way into the Luxman, I’m seriously impressed. This is a competent amp and no mistake....
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020
    maccar, Tarzan, ryder and 1 other person like this.
  19. Lowgroove

    Lowgroove Member

    Have you tried the MC phono stage yet? Should be good with the Apheta2.
  20. ryder

    ryder pfm Member

    With the right speakers, it's very good, bearing in mind it dislodged the Naim 282/250DR in my system to take a permanent spot. The initial impressions were so good that I went bonkers by spending a lot of money upgrading the rest of the partnering ancillaries, specifically cables in an attempt to attain more improvements from the amp / system. There will be sceptics but based on my experience, the Luxman is capable of revealing the finer nuances in music and take on a different character with better (balanced) interconnects and power cords and couple more tweaks with power management.

    It will open up a bit more in a couple of weeks if it's new. Enjoy the journey.
    Gervais Cote likes this.

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