Listening to Luxman’s New Centennial Products

Listening to Luxman’s New Centennial Products

“Rob, you’ve got to check out Luxman’s new products,” Audiophile Experts’ Stacy wrote in the invitation he sent me to his store’s upcoming Luxman event. “They mark the company’s 100th birthday in 2025.”  I thought to myself, “I guess Luxman was so excited they couldn’t wait until next year to release these products.” Stacy co-owns Audiophile Experts with Mathieu, two upstanding young guys I consider luminaries of the audio brick-and-mortar industry, because they know how to make it work, despite the Internet.

Mathieu addresses the crowd

I happily accepted Stacy’s invitation, to reconnect with him and Mathieu, but also to see what the growing buzz I was hearing about these new Luxman products was about. John Pravel, Luxman America’s VP of Sales, was going to attend the launch to present his products.

Luxman America’s VP of Sales, John Pravel

As soon as I saw them—the Luxman products, which weren’t playing yet—my heart skipped a beat. I thought, “This is my kind of gear”. These products looked serious—sturdily-built to deliver high-end sound but also attractive, with their silver-anodized enclosures and handsomely-elegant, well-appointed faceplates; the Luxman gear oozed class and refinement.

Turns out they also oozed classy sound, but before I get to that, introductions are in order. The Luxman cadre included the company’s first network transport, the NT-07. Obviously, the company took its time with it. It supports pretty much everything—NAS sources, Roon, Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, TuneIn, and sampling rates up to 768kHz/32bit for PCM files and DSD512.

(top and bottom photos) Luxman M-10X power amplifier

Also in the lineup were a D-07X CD / SACD player, which uses DAC chips by Rohm Co., Ltd. in dual monaural configuration, and the C-10X preamplifier. Preamp volume controls are known to introduce electronic hash into the signal. Not so with the C-10X, which uses Luxman’s proprietary LECUA-EX volume control technology to read the motion pulses of a rotary encoder that’s disconnected from the signal path so it can’t affect the sound quality. The volume control also offers 192 discrete volume steps from 0 to 95.5dB, and separate left/right channel volume adjustment.

A Luxman trio: (from top) NT-07 transport, D-07X CD / SACD player, and C-10X preamplifier

Amplification was performed by the solid-state, 150Wpc M-10X, which employs Luxman’s new feedback circuit called LIFES, in which none of the original audio input signal is fed back into the main amplifier, to achieve sound quality that is so natural, according to the company, “it’s almost as if it were a non-feedback equipped circuit”. The M-10X also comes suited with two soft-lit, smart-looking analogue meters on its faceplate. The M-10X was driving a pair of 3-way, 92dB/W/m Scala Utopia EVO by France-based Focal, while Luna Cables’ popular Rouge-series of cables completed the system.

Inside view of the C-10X preamplifier

It’s hard to do a serious review of an unfamiliar product under “event” conditions, so instead I’ll offer my impressions of the trio of tracks I heard through this system:

“Bachanale” from Reference Recordings’ SACD release Exotic Dances from the Opera” popped with dynamic activity, both small- and large-scale. The presentation was vivid, colorful, and tactile, with plenty of detail and imaging that was firmly embedded in the soundstage. Instruments sounded explicit and conveyed physical presence—they brimmed with energy.

The M-10X power amplifier flanked by a pair of Focal Utopia EVO speakers

The crowd claps on Grace Mahya’s “Comin’ Home Baby” from her Last Live at Dug SACD sounded lifelike and, again, dynamically-charged, with space around them to distinguish them from each other. Piano notes had impact and authentic tone, drums had snap, and Mahya’s voice had substance and dimensionality. The music sounded vibrant, live, lustrously-toned, and expansive, delivering a spacious soundstage and deep in-room extension.

I heard much of the same on a 96/24 Qobuz stream of “Take Five” from the album Big Band Scale by Kenichi Tsunoda Big Band—explicit, clear, colourful sound, a sense of unobstructed transparency, vivacious musical flow, carved-out imaging, and a multitude of explicitly-depicted dynamic shifts.

If you like effortless momentum, vibrant colours, oodles of detail, and a well-focused, harmonically-rich presentation, I suggest you check out this new line from Luxman. The gear, entirely made at Luxman’s Japanese facilities, isn’t inexpensive, but from what I heard and saw at Audiophile Experts, it seemed appropriately priced. They delivered fine-wine sound that’s been aged for a century to reach its technological and auditory peak. Happy early 100th, Luxman.

Prices (CA$)

  • Luxman NT-07 transport ($10,495)
  • Luxman D-07X CD / SACD player ($13,995)
  • Luxman C-10X preamplifier ($27,995)
  • Luxman M-10X stereo power amplifier ($27,995)
  • Focal Scala Utopia EVO loudspeakers ($47,998/pair)
  • Luna Cables Rouge cables ($various)
Audiophile Experts’ Stacy is all smiles next to his Luxman M-10X power amplifier

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