Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review
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    Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In


    This is a brief review after barely 3 weeks with this wonderful amp. Firstly, I had been very skeptical that I would not notice a huge gain over my current setup and it turns out, my 1990s VAC Pre is no slouch even in old age. My Counterpoint NPS-400 failed and was sold off leaving me with my Odyssey Stratos Plus, which also is a decent budget contender but showed to be the weak link once the Luxman was in place. I was also unsure how I would like full Solid State as I have had Tube Pre Amps for the last 15 years.


    My main speakers for the last 10 years had been the Clearfield Continentals and I would rotate my Dynaudio 82s in once in a while. Since deciding to eliminate the Clearfields, my mains are once again the Dyns. I also have the matching 122C Center so for HT I match across the front.

    Before ordering, I did some deep research, spoke with Jeff Sigmund of Luxman USA as well as the gentleman in Connecticut that would do the warranty service if ever needed. I also spent a few hours listening to the unit with Dynaudio Contour 60s.


    I ordered my Luxman from Suncoast Audio in Sarasota FLA. I ordered at 10am on a Monday while the owner Mike was riding his bike. Tuesday at 1:30pm the Luxman was at my door. I had expected a week or two, not 24 hours. Thanks Mike!

    Packaging - Heavy huge thick double boxed. The unit itself had 4 large foam corner inserts and was wearing its own elastic closing cloth sock as opposed to a plastic bag or wrap.

    Appearance - This obviously is not a hide on the shelf amp like a Hegel or similar plain Jane units. These Luxmans take you back to the big Receiver days housing all the features you could really want or need. The Select and Volume knobs are nicely machined and have a good feel when in use. Pretty well laid out front panel and selector knobs. The ones on the 509 look better. The Blue Meters are a nice glow but get one Con later.

    Setup - Not much to it once you muscle it into your rack. Connections are pretty straight forward and include 1 Balanced input, Tape Loop-Monitor, Phono both MM and MC, and a nice sounding Headphone Amp. Another one of the few Cons are the crappy plastic binding posts that do not accept the spades on my Synergistic Research cables properly. Pretty stupid design, really.

    Remote Control - This is where my real picky Cons come in. The Remote is solid, heavy, metal but would have been so much more ergonomic had it been 3/8 to 1/2 inch narrower so anyone's hands could hold and control it easy. Layout is fine and the Volume control works nice in small steps where the actual volume knob is pretty sensitive and can increase a whole lot with little rotation. The other Con for the Remote and Amp is the lack of the Loudness option on the front of the Amp. The Monitor Button is where it should have been or added at the other side with Line Straight and Separate.

    Features and Functionality - When using Headphones, plugging them in does not defeat the speaker output. You physically have to rotate the Speaker A-B-Off knob to the Off position. I am unsure why anyone would be listening to Headphones with the speakers also blasting. Aside from that, the sound from my Grado 125s was great. I only spent a few disks listening to cans but will surely use it more often.

    Just a few weeks before ordering the Lux, a Rega P3 fell into my lap for a great deal but I could only use it via a Rotel RX-1050 Receiver and it was lacking big time. I still have not spun any brand new albums but several of the old ones from the 60s I have from my mother sound great. I have no collection and no big desire to worry more about an outboard Phono Pre, the Luxman is plenty good enough for my needs.

    I have not had Tone Controls for close to 15 years (no remote volume either) so I know how all my music sounds flat and I am used to it that way. The Lux has a Line Straight selection which bypasses the Tone section completely. I find that fine for louder listening. For mid level volume, I prefer to disengage Line Straight, but leave the Tone settings flat. For lower volumes, the Loudness feature is wonderful and adds the bottom end and fullness back. And again, since you can select and set near everything else on the front panel, the Loudness switch should be there as well as the Remote.

    Separate - HT Bypass - This was a must have feature for me. Ever since I have had HT, I always used my mains as fronts but had to do a little volume matching on my main pre. Luckily the volume was notched on the VAC so I had no issues setting it the same every time. Well, what I recently found out is although this setup works, it must have been hindering the Audessey Setup. After setting the Separate switch and re-running the HT setup, I now have fantastic HT surround Sound and have not had issues with dialog or the rest.

    Meters - Although they tell you absolutely nothing besides getting close to clipping if in the red, they are cool to look at. The fact that the lighting can only be On or Off and not Dimmed is another picky Con.

    Sound - With the start of the first disk I played, I could hear the special qualities of the Luxman. Again, my old setup was not that far off the mark but I could hear lots of micro detail and more so Bass and control. My Dynaudio 82s just never sounded this good before. The Counterpoint was mostly Mids and highs lacking bass, while the Stratos was the opposite, bass and lacking top end detail. The Luxman has the whole range covered nicely. Great recorded disks sound stellar while many disks I thought were crappy now sound good. Of course, if the recording is bad, it gets amplified.

    The Shunyata Venom 14 Power Cord I ordered at the same time did not come until a week and a half later. I removed the PS Audio AC3 and moved it to my Rotel CDP which replaced a Pangia AC14SE. So I had Cullen from wall to APC, the Shunyata on the Lux and AC3 on the CDP. There was an immediate and noticeable change to bass, grip and drive of the whole sound spectrum. I have since as a test swapped the Shunyata and Cullen cables and have not noticed any decline in the sound but will swap again to check more later.

    My new favorite Test Track is "The Message" Victor Wooten from the Bela Fleck - Three Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest disk. It has everything needed to demo anything. Solid crisp and powerful bass, airy but right there vocals, Piano, Sax, Banjo, Percussion and more. If you are not familiar, please give it a spin.

    So overall, I am very happy with my choice and it will last a long time. Highly recommended for anyone looking at Integrateds in the $4K range.

    Pros-
    HT Bypass, Loudness, Tone controls if needed (I have yet to use them), Phono, Headphone amp, Remote and best of all the Sound.

    Cons- Binding Posts, width of the Remote, lack of Loudness button on the front panel, sensitivity of the volume knob (maybe my Rotel CDP is too hot?) Need to switch the speaker output to Off when using Headphones, Meters cannot be dimmed, just on or off, not much else.

    Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In
    -----------------
    Brian

    Main System -
    Rotel 1072 CDP / Rega P3 > Luxman 505UX Mark II > Dynaudio Audience 82s > Synergistic Cables

    Secondary - OPPO 93 > VAC CLA 1 MKII Pre > Odyssey Stratos > JM Labs Tantal 509s > Tara Labs Cables


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  3. #2
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    Re: Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    Nice review, Brian. Glad you're enjoying it. Luxman model numbers are a bit confusing; I believe yours is 100wpc? Use it in good health.

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    Re: Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    Quote Originally Posted by RDSChicago View Post
    Nice review, Brian. Glad you're enjoying it. Luxman model numbers are a bit confusing; I believe yours is 100wpc? Use it in good health.
    Conservatively, but about 115 at 8ohms in reality and my Dyns are 4 but it doesn't double.

    Thanks!
    -----------------
    Brian

    Main System -
    Rotel 1072 CDP / Rega P3 > Luxman 505UX Mark II > Dynaudio Audience 82s > Synergistic Cables

    Secondary - OPPO 93 > VAC CLA 1 MKII Pre > Odyssey Stratos > JM Labs Tantal 509s > Tara Labs Cables


  5. #4
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    Re: Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    Brian.......Excellent owner's view of the Luxman 505ux Mark II integrated amplifier. I enjoyed reading it.
    Dan

    STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital coax,
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  6. #5
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    Re: Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    Great write up Brian. It sure is a winner. Glad youíre happy and enjoying it.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, Constellation Audio, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones & Loudspeakers, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MIT Cables, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Roon Labs, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
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  7. #6
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    Re: Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    Wow! Detailed and great listening impressions, thank you very much.
    Joe

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    Re: Luxman 505ux Mark II Integrated Amplifier - 3 Weeks In Review

    This Int keeps sounding better with more hours. It has made my whole collection sound better no matter what format or music from old Tapes, to Pandora from my OPPO, the Phono, and CD. Went out Friday, my birthday, and bought myself several old albums in great condition. One was a Philly based band who played at my Jr High School in 1976, I had some on old tape. There are some Youtube tracks, Forest Green. The other was another local band that was more jazzy. I knew the Sax player when I was 17. That band is called Spaces. Both are highly recommended if you can find them.
    -----------------
    Brian

    Main System -
    Rotel 1072 CDP / Rega P3 > Luxman 505UX Mark II > Dynaudio Audience 82s > Synergistic Cables

    Secondary - OPPO 93 > VAC CLA 1 MKII Pre > Odyssey Stratos > JM Labs Tantal 509s > Tara Labs Cables


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