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Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

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  • #31
    Luxman 505U - Ultimate integrated for SHL5?

    Thought I would post an amplifier recommendation for other Harbeth users. I have had SHL5s for 6 months now and have just loved their natural music making - they have an ease in the way they portray acoustic music especially which is really captivating...

    I was using a Quad 909 when the SHL5s arrived. It was a very good combination, but I found it lacking in boogie factor with rock and pop, which I listen to from time to time. I then had a LFD Zero LE III in my system for about a month. In almost every respect I felt it made better music than the Quad 909 - it has a lower noise floor, letting in more of the ambience and atmosphere of a track, as well as having more PRAT and punchier bass. What it doesn't have, IMHO, is the seductive warmth and fulness of the Quad midrange. I then happened, by chance, on the Luxman 505U. At ?2500 it is not cheap, but not much more than the LFD with phono or a Quad pre + power combination. What I have found, which is why I am keeping the Luxman, is that it has a Quad-like presentation in the midrange, ie quite smooth and full, but with greater transparency and dynamics, and a much weightier bass. Having had both the LFD and the Luxman in my system, side-by-side, for a few weeks, the Luxman gets the nod. The 909, the LE III and the 505U are all great amps. The LE III and the 505U are a step above and excel with all types of music, but for me the 505U gets the nod, not by much, but still the definite choice for me. Voices in particular are simply sublime with the Luxman + Harbeth combo I now have. Many here have rightly sung the LFD's praises. Wanted you to know of another great alternative!

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

      Hi Tozen,

      There was report that the Luxman Class A got the nod when compared to both LFD and Rega. It wouldn't come as a surprise to me that you preferred the Luxman to both these pieces. Below are the responses I got from a forummer in Audiogon on the comparison between these three integrateds.

      I got mine when they came out. I reviewed it on audioreview and there is also a site called Tone audio that reviews it, they preferred it to the supernait. I was also in contact with a guy who compared the latest LFD, the Elicit and the Luxman class A that came out awhile back. He got the Luxman but said the Rega was his second choice. The other integrated I own was the grand daddy of british intgrateds- the class A Sugden A21. The Rega is clearer, more detailed and bigger stage, better bass, the Rega could not quite match the sweetness of the Sugden on female vocals, saxophone and piano. The Rega was cleaner sounding too (not anticeptic, just without some extra distortion the Sugden had). The Elicit still has a subtle sweetness relative to other amps, but the Sugden is warmer still and very "tubelike". I use my Elicit with RS3 speakers and this is a very musical yet uncoloured sound. The Elicit is about as good as British class AB integrated amps get which is certainly not to say you can't do better. If you want an all in one that is'nt tubes or class A and also a phono stage on board, the Elicit should be a top consideration. I've used tubes and class A solid state and after awhile no longer wanted to deal with the heat, hassle and wasted electricity. I like the musical sweetness of tubes but this Rega system is pretty darn musical too and does a few things tube amps could'nt dream of.



      When I asked him why the guy ended up with the Luxman his response is as follows:-

      well the Luxman is $4000 and class A, so no surprises there. I have found Class A amplification distinguishes itself with a lack of any hash or grain in the upper mids and treble, I just no longer want to deal with the heat and energy waste of class A amps. He said the Rega came close to the Luxman. He said the LFD had a "detailed sheen" that over time fatigued him.

      One thing I'm sure is you must be enjoying music with vocals a lot with the Luxman right now. At least now we know there are few good amps that can match very well with Harbeth speakers, not necessarily one ultimate amp alone.

      Enjoy~

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Luxman 505U - Ultimate integrated for SHL5?

        Originally posted by tozen View Post
        Thought I would post an amplifier recommendation for other Harbeth users. I have had SHL5s for 6 months now and have just loved their natural music making - they have an ease in the way they portray acoustic music especially which is really captivating...

        I was using a Quad 909 when the SHL5s arrived. It was a very good combination, but I found it lacking in boogie factor with rock and pop, which I listen to from time to time. I then had a LFD Zero LE III in my system for about a month. In almost every respect I felt it made better music than the Quad 909 - it has a lower noise floor, letting in more of the ambience and atmosphere of a track, as well as having more PRAT and punchier bass. What it doesn't have, IMHO, is the seductive warmth and fulness of the Quad midrange. I then happened, by chance, on the Luxman 505U. At ?2500 it is not cheap, but not much more than the LFD with phono or a Quad pre + power combination. What I have found, which is why I am keeping the Luxman, is that it has a Quad-like presentation in the midrange, ie quite smooth and full, but with greater transparency and dynamics, and a much weightier bass. Having had both the LFD and the Luxman in my system, side-by-side, for a few weeks, the Luxman gets the nod. The 909, the LE III and the 505U are all great amps. The LE III and the 505U are a step above and excel with all types of music, but for me the 505U gets the nod, not by much, but still the definite choice for me. Voices in particular are simply sublime with the Luxman + Harbeth combo I now have. Many here have rightly sung the LFD's praises. Wanted you to know of another great alternative!
        Hi Tozen, thks for sharing with us on your thoughts on the Quad vs LFD vs Luxman. Having had the 606/66 some years back, i fully concur with you on the Quad. They had a nice midband but lacked that boogie factor that made fast paced music sounded lacklustre. Well, the LFD LE III IMHO is more involving, faster & transparent. Having heard a Lux before, I reckon it sounds rather similar to Accuphase.Anyway, glad that you have found your ideal amp to go with the SHL-5.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp Harbeth

          I like to share my thought here. I think the ultimate amp is the best amp in its owner's heart. Do not lose sleep if some one comment or remark negatively on the amp you love. We all love Harbeth sound but I believe we still heard sound differently. After all, a setup is to please the owner but not other.

          Cheers!
          "Bath with Music"

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

            Having heard and owned so many amplifiers, I am beginning to understand that there is perhaps no "best" or "ultimate" Integrated, just that they do sound different and at the end of the day, its the one that we can listen to, live with and enjoy music that matters most! There will always be choices to make and with it, compromises that we will have to make in order to decide what is best for you and your system!

            Carpe diem and enjoy your system!

            Best Regards
            Dennis

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

              I concur with the various sentiments expressed in above posts. Clearly there is subjective choice involved in these things. I wanted fellow Harbethians to be aware of another great amplifier choice that I am not sure has had much of an airing on this site. Anyone who appreciates the qualities of the Quad 909 or the LFD Zero LE III should appreciate the Lux 505U and might even, like me, prefer it It also has great build and is certainly not short of facilities!

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                Originally posted by tozen View Post
                Anyone who appreciates the qualities of the Quad 909 or the LFD Zero LE III should appreciate the Lux 505U and might even, like me, prefer it It also has great build and is certainly not short of facilities!
                Hi tozen

                Your Lux 505U is rather similar to my Accuphase E-450. Given this similar background, I found it interesting that you preferred the Lux over the LFD LE III! As a matter of interest, do you use the Lux's tone controls to compensate for room variables? My Accuphase's bass needs a little help from the tone controls to sound more bass solid. What speaker cables are you using with the SHL5? Single or biwired?

                Best Regards
                Dennis

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                  Hi Dennis,

                  Yes I have a clear preference for the 505U over the LE III. I have never heard an Accuphase, so wouldn't be able to give a helpful comparison there. In terms of the bass, the bass of both the LE III and the 505U is great. I don't really prefer the bass of one over the other. Both have deep, taught, powerful bass. The LE III's bass is just a bit tighter, the 505U's is just a bit weightier. Depending on the piece of music I would have a slight preference for the bass of one over the other. It is the midrange where the 505U really pulls ahead - more natural, refined and solid. I found the LE III truer to tone and timbre than the Quad 909, which itself is pretty good, so that will give you an idea of how special the 505U is - like Harbeth Luxman pride themselves on getting tonal purity right, and I can vouch for it!

                  For speaker cable I use the cheapest LFD copper cable, in single wire configuration. The tone controls are nice to have, but I only use them for 1 in 10 discs where the recording is a bit bright.

                  Happy to share anything else of interest. Happy listening!

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                    Hi tozen

                    Thanks very much for your sharing of the differences between the 505U and the LFD LE III. Based on your observations, the Lux 505U must truly be a serious contender (and perhaps choice) for those out there looking for a good integrated to pair with the Harbeth SHL5. I do know that a Polish audio reviewer also waxes lyrical about the 505U and uses it as a reference to compare with other integrateds.

                    I have only recently tried to experiment with the tone controls on the Accuphase and discovered that its quite a nice extra to be able to use to correct my less than satisfactory listening room acoustics. But I seem to be using it 9 out of 10 times instead!

                    It would be interesting to hear views from others who have auditioned the Lux 505U with the Accuphase E-350 (also 100 watts into 8 ohms).

                    Indeed, the LFD Spiroflex speaker cables in single-wire configuration is excellent value and should bring out the sonic attributes of any good solid state amplifier and speakers.

                    Best Regards
                    Dennis

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                      Hi Guys,

                      Thought I would jump in as I have owned a LFD amp and SH-L5's for about 6 months. Actually I've had the amp for about a year. And before the Harbeths, I have been enjoying among many other speakers, B&W DM7 MKll's I think the amp does so many things right it is easy to look past the shortcomings it has. It was only after I purchased a set of P3ESR's that I felt the amp had a few deal breaking deficiencies. (ironic isn't it ?) Mainly being unable to drive the speaker without being compressed and no bass extension. After spinning "The Wheel of Amps", I settled on a Luxman L-590A ll. The bass is so remarkable all without disturbing the delicate fabric of the liquid midrange. I know a lot of listeners have LFD amps that patrol these forums. I have to wonder how many have been bitten by the bug to check out some reference quality equipment. All I can say is Just do it.

                      I have not yet hooked up the SH-L5's to this amp. It may well be the closest thing to a religious experience that I will ever have.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                        Perhaps you need to get your LFD checked out !!! I sold a pair of P3ESR yesterday, using the LFD to drive them. The first comment from the customer was something like ' wow, where does that bass come from ? ' He was amazed at the amount and quality of bass plus the volume we could get from this tiny speaker.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                          Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                          Perhaps you need to get your LFD checked out !!! I sold a pair of P3ESR yesterday, using the LFD to drive them. The first comment from the customer was something like ' wow, where does that bass come from ? ' He was amazed at the amount and quality of bass plus the volume we could get from this tiny speaker.
                          I think this is mainly due to the bass output of the P3ESR, not specifically due to the LFD?

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                            Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                            Perhaps you need to get your LFD checked out !!! I sold a pair of P3ESR yesterday, using the LFD to drive them. The first comment from the customer was something like ' wow, where does that bass come from ? ' He was amazed at the amount and quality of bass plus the volume we could get from this tiny speaker.
                            I second that. I strongly believe that the LFD LE III is powerful enough to drive the P3ESR. After all, if the LE III can drive notoriously difficult speakers like ATC & Verity Parsifal, i don't see why it cannot drive a P3ESR.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                              Thanks for your thoughts Lorpuris... so I am not the only Lux user on here! If I had the money I would have been tempted to buy higher up the Luxman range as you have. I think everyone needs to find the 'sweet spot' where they have attained the price vs performance ratio that most satisfies them. I think it's different for different people. At the end of the day it's all about finding satisfaction in the music. I fully concur with Alan's philosophy that a half-decent amp is sufficient for Harbeth speakers. What I have found though is that by spending a bit more on the right amp the music is that much more addictive and involving. My guess is that Harbeth speakers are so good that the point of diminishing returns is actually quite high, as your experience with the Lux 590 II seems to testify!

                              The Luxmans are also very well built and specified and their amps are known for long-term reliability. Just as with Quad equipment, you see quite a few decades-old Lux units turning up on ebay.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Ultimate Integrated Amp For Compact 7ES-3 and SHL-5

                                Originally posted by tozen View Post
                                Thanks for your thoughts Lorpuris... so I am not the only Lux user on here! If I had the money I would have been tempted to buy higher up the Luxman range as you have. I think everyone needs to find the 'sweet spot' where they have attained the price vs performance ratio that most satisfies them. I think it's different for different people. At the end of the day it's all about finding satisfaction in the music. I fully concur with Alan's philosophy that a half-decent amp is sufficient for Harbeth speakers. What I have found though is that by spending a bit more on the right amp the music is that much more addictive and involving. My guess is that Harbeth speakers are so good that the point of diminishing returns is actually quite high, as your experience with the Lux 590 II seems to testify!

                                The Luxmans are also very well built and specified and their amps are known for long-term reliability. Just as with Quad equipment, you see quite a few decades-old Lux units turning up on ebay.
                                I use the Lux 550a II with SHL5. Oh, My God. Best thing I've ever heard.

                                Comment

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