Friday, April 20, 2012

Luxman Integrated Amplifiers - Modern Simplicity - Retro Looks - Great Sound

Germany may be the land of finely crafted automobile's that have stood the test of time, but Japan is the home of one electronics manufacturer that has remained steadfast in it's commitment to high quality audio. Luxman Audio has been around for over 80 years, producing state of the art audio components that sound fantastic and are built to last for generations. Unlike it's Japanese competitors Yamaha and Denon, Luxman decided not to focus on home theater, big-box stores, and disposable electronics.
The Luxman L-590Ax

One particular area of audio components regaining popularity are Luxman integrated amplifiers. They offer the sound of separate components, within the simple framework of a single chassis. One of my favorite Luxman integrateds is the Luxman L550Ax. This particular integrated amplifier sports a class A amplifier section. Class A Amplifiers have less distortion than a typical Class AB amplifier. Their signature sound is warmer, richer and more resolving. The drawback to a Class A amplifier is it needs more room to "breathe" because it runs warmer than a Class AB amplifier.

Luxman integrateds are extremely well built and very conservatively rated. A 30wpc Class A Luxman integrated will play nearly as loud as any other 100wpc integrated, and it will sound much better too. Most of my clients looking to simplify, or looking for a second system that sounds nearly as good as their main system go for the Luxman Class A integrated amplifier.

What makes Luxman sound better?

LECUA Volume Control
The Luxman X series integrated amplifiers use a version of the LECUA 1000 attenuator that is used in their $33,000 C-1000 preamplifier. It is perfectly balanced at all volume settings and is remarkably neutral sounding at all volume settings.

The LECUA* attenuator is designed to electrically block both electromagnetic (EMI) as well as radio frequency (RFI) interference, so that no noise is allowed into the delicate audio signal.

Luxman's proprietary ODNF (Only Distortion Negative Feedback) circuit  has been updated to version 3.0A; now three passes are made of the audio signal, which applies negative feedback only where distortion is present, without introducing any phase distortion.  This lossless audio circuit enables the amplifier to retrieve every musical nuance & detail captured by the recording engineers.

Other features of the Luxman L550Ax Integrated
  • A separete switch for splitting the preamp section from the amp section, for example the inclusion of a Home Theater Processor, where you use the amp in the L550Ax to drive the front L + R speakers, but control the volume from the HT Processor.
  • Mono, subsonic (Rumble for you vinyl lovers) & loudness filter switches on the remote control, Loudness is a wonderful feature for late night, quiet listening. It also has a few buttons that support the D-05/06/08 CD SACD players basic functions.
  • The L-550Ax has a newly redesigned phono stage; which is both more refined & musical. Turntable enthusiasts will be floored by the performance of the phono section.
  • Higher quality speaker terminals, spread out horizontally to allow easy access for large cable.
  • The L-550Ax now has LINE STRAIGHT (engage / disengage the tone controls) & SEPARATE available on the remote control.  There is no excuse for not using the tone controls, especially when they can be engaged / disengaged from the comfort of the listening chair.
  • LOUDNESS,  MONO & SUBSONIC (Filter)  have all been moved to the remote control, an LED underneath the VU Meters is activated when they are engaged.
  • The remote control includes basic controls for the D-05, 06 & 08 CD /SACD players
Whether you are just getting back into high definition audio, are looking to simplify your system, or are looking for a second system to rival your main rig, Luxman integrated amplifiers shoud definitely be on your short list of must audition audio components. Contact Tweek Geek today at 303-653-6341 to discuss auditioning a Luxman integrated amplifier in your own home. Our knowledgeable staff is eager to answer your questions and assist you in matching other components with the Luxman integrated amplifiers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

5 Tips on Making your PC Audio Source Sound Fantastic

The PC is fantastic at storing our music collections, allowing us easy access to our music libraries instantaneously. The problem is they are electronically and mechanically noisy. This post addresses ways to reduce the amount of EMI and RFI that the PC "leaks" into your audio system. Below are a few tips designed to address minimizing the amount of electronic noise your Music PC generates and radiates back into your audio system
  1. NEVER plug your PC into the same circuit that powers your audio system. Even if you have a power conditioner for your system, and it has an extra filtered receptacle, don't do it.
  2. Stillpoints ERS - When installed internally on your PC, ERS paper or ERS tape reduces the amount of internally generated RF noise coming from the PC’s power supply, and circuits. ERS has also been known to help reduce noise when placed around the USB input of an audio component. Be careful with ERS however, as the edges are particularly conductive. Treat it like copper foil when installing it inside an electronic device.
  3. Audience aR2P - The Audience aR2P is an audio grade power filter and conditioner. Plug your PC into the aR2P to not just clean the power feeding the computer, but to keep the garbage your computer is putting back into the AC line from getting to your audio components. If you have more than two components in your PC audio source that need power (for instance, a powered USB/SPDIF converter) we recommend the Wireworld Matrix power strip be plugged into one of the receptacles on the aR2P, allowing you to power 7 additional devices (and keep them outside of the Audio system's "grid").  
  4.   Synergistic Research Tranquility Basik - This breakthrough isolation platform is capable of conditioning signal while still inside your components. When used underneath a PC like the Mac Mini. It utilized the same principles that the Synergistic PowerCell's incorporate. There is a small EM cell that conditions the signal inside your PC. Ask for an in-home audition, we have some available in our lending library. ...But wait, there's more!
  5. Wireworld "figure 8" AC adapter - Allows you to use a better power cord on your audio PC. Most PC power cords are not shielded. By using an unshielded power cord you allow AC garbage to get into your PC (as if it needs any more), as well as be sent back through the power cord to the rest of your AC "grid".