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Thread: SHL5 or C7 ES-3, good matching with Luxman L505u?

  1. #101
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    Smile Harbeth + Luxman

    Yes... I agree with your description there Sebastien!
    Luxman and Harbeth goes well together with its excellent midband resolution.

    The Class A amp also improves the warmth in the lower bass region where it reproduces a great combination where it is warm but not lethargic.

    Top end... again... can't complain!

    I do agree that the phono stage is top quality. The only thing I wished it had was a variable gain on the MC input. The Dynavector XX2mkII that I use is perfectly suited to it... but wished it had a bit more gain. Apart from that... it is one excellent phono stage in that I use it and reduced the clutter with my previous phono amp stage.

    I also use a valve/tube amp... but I have not turned it on since owning the Luxman amp.

    I'm happy with the entry L550AII and could only dream of owning the L590AII!
    Still... I am happy.

  2. #102
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    Default Luxman L590A11

    Looks like the Luxman L590AII arrived just on time before Christmas. That is a nice present that will warm up nicely during this winter. Good to hear the amp is living up to your expectations. Being a Class A design I can imagine what that had been described.

    Enjoy~

  3. #103
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    Default Cartridge outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by do_Ob View Post
    I do agree that the phono stage is top quality. The only thing I wished it had was a variable gain on the MC input. The Dynavector XX2mkII that I use is perfectly suited to it... but wished it had a bit more gain...
    I've just check the output of your cartridge: 0.28mV. On my side, my Dynavector DV20X high output has 2.8mV. The match with Luxman's phono stage is excellent. I can imagine that with a true low output moving coil, like yours, there is not enough gain. I saw a Luxman step up transformer actually on sale on Audiogon. This one will add 26 dB of gain to your set up. It might be an avenue.

    Sebastien

  4. #104
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    Default Harmonium record label

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    ...I think everything Harmonium did is great - Serge Fiori is a genius - but I think my favourite is still the first album, particularly the song Un musicien parmi tant d'autres which I love to this day.

    All the best,

    Eric
    For Eric (and other in interest), I just want to tell you that two Harmonium's albums have been reprint on 180 grams vinyl pressed in Germany. We are talking about "Si on avait besoin d'une cinquième saison" et "Harmonium" albums.

    Enjoy,

    S

  5. #105
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    Default Luxman + harbeth = synergy

    I bought the same combo based on your review and some others, i most have to say that i totally agree with you, Luxman harbeth an amzing synergy and pure musical sound with huge listening satisfaction.
    regards
    Quote Originally Posted by do_Ob View Post
    Hey there Tudor,

    The Luxman and Harbeth combination seems to work well. Personally, I have paired my C7ES-3s with Luxman L550AII and a Luxman D-06 CD/SACD Player.
    The Luxman sound has fast,deep and rythmic bass drive and the CD player also shows this trait. There seems to be a signature where the bass frequencies gives warmth, speed/pace and control. The amp is also a powerful beast even for 20W, it is simply amazing the dynamic and impact this amp produces with the C7s. I am still amazed how much low end impact I am getting from this amp.

    The overall sound has warmth yet it isn't slow, veiled or smeared in its delivery. The beauty with the 550AII is that it has a tubey sound with PRaT added as a bonus. I also run a tube setup as well.

    The D-06 is approaching the effortless sound that vinyl produces. It can do micro detail and air. The decay is back which I thought can only be had with a turntable setup. Perhaps this is the difference between a Delta-Sigma DAC (my ex CD player had this DAC) vs PCM??? OR perhaps the discreet analogue output of the player? I don't know - but this D-06 has brought back my faith in the digital format. I'm also hoping to sample some SACD soon for the hell of it!

    The 505u will probably have the same sonic signature I've mentioned above with its dynamic ability to punch some rythyms. With a pair of C7s or SHL5s, I think you'll be over the moon with the results. It is a musical combination!

  6. #106
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    Default An ex-audiophool writes ...

    Hi Junglern!

    Glad the combination works for you too! My goodness... how time flies - I can't believe that I've had the Luxman and Harbeth combination for over 2 years!

    I haven't changed anything in my system. It seems I can declare I am no longer an audiophool but a music lover! Hehehe!

    The Pioneer Network Audio Player fascinates me. Might check it out. Looks kinda cool!

    Time to start dropping some coins into the piggy bank.

  7. #107
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    Default An ex-audiophool!

    Quote Originally Posted by do_Ob View Post
    Hi Junglern!

    Glad the combination works for you too! My goodness... how time flies - I can't believe that I've had the Luxman and Harbeth combination for over 2 years!

    I haven't changed anything in my system. It seems I can declare I am no longer an audiophool but a music lover! Hehehe!

    Time to start dropping some coins into the piggy bank.

    Hi do_Ob,

    I'm planning of pairing my C7ES-3 with a brand new Luxman L-550ax.. I heard the Lux at the dealers and loved it but it wasn't paired up to Harbeths so I don't really know if the 20w class A is sufficient to push the 86dB C7 without needing more power?

    My room is 18 foot x 13 foot with a 9 foot ceiling carpeted with sofa. I listen to Jazz, Blues and womens vocals mostly but sometimes Soul and mellow Rock. I listen to music low to med level rarely really loud. I noticed when I was auditioning the amp at the dealers it was turned up to average 11-12 o'clock on the dial and it was pretty loud, the room was big at 25 feet x 14feet with 10 foot ceiling.

    Another interest I have is. When playing the C7 with the dial on say 11o'clock on a L550 if playing it with say a L-505u if the dial would still be at 11'oclock in order to play them at the same loudness? Just wondering how the 20w class A power relates to the A/B 100w 505u.

    I know you really cant go wrong with either. I just want to make sure I get the sound i really want and keep this pair for life.

    Thanks

  8. #108
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    Default Meaningless volume control rotation

    Where the volume control is set for a volume level doesn't really mean a lot. Using the L550 at 11o/c doesn't mean that it is just ticking over with lots more in reserve - it might well be full volume at 12o/c. Unfortunately, that is the way with the majority of volume controls.

    Where the volume control sits is determined by it's design but also the output from the source, the source material and the sensitivity of the speakers.

  9. #109
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    Default Power reality?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post
    I heard the Lux at the dealers and loved it but it wasn't paired up to Harbeths so I don't really know if the 20w class A is sufficient to push the 86dB C7 without needing more power?
    Lots of current conversation going on in a thread on low powered amps on this forum right now that you might want to read. Including the class A thing...

  10. #110
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    Default Comparing two amplifiers

    Sorry digging up an old thread but am interested in the comparison too with the 100w 505u and the 20w 550aII.

    These can be found sometimes at similar prices second hand in the UK, although the 550 is usually pricier. The sense from the poster is that they have upgraded to the class A and it sounds great etc.

    I'm interested in the differences in drive with P3ESR with both 505u and 550AII. Both lovely looking amps. Do they do dynamic swings as well as each other? Think I prefer the cosmetics of blue VU meters. Am currently of the opinion that 505u is more of an all rounder which could be used with more speakers.

    Also I'm guessing it would run cooler too? Maybe someone could confirm. Also how far apart is the sound quality? Musical tastes are classical, jazz, opera, rock and dance.

    Many thanks for your help.

    {Moderator's comment: have you read what we have said about the meaning of the term "POWER"? 20W is 20W. 100W is 100W. There is *no* comparison between a 20W light bulb and a 100W light bulb. Same for amplifiers or electric herters. Power is power. Power = dynamics. Low power = low dynamics. There is no escape from this physical fact. This comparison is a completely futile exercise.}

  11. #111
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    Default Power and real world energy supplies

    Quote Originally Posted by Idlerman View Post
    Sorry digging up an old thread but am interested in the comparison too with the 100w 505u and the 20w 550aII.

    These can be found sometimes at similar prices second hand in the UK, although the 550 is usually pricier. The sense from the poster is that they have upgraded to the class A and it sounds great etc.

    I'm interested in the differences in drive with P3ESR with both 505u and 550AII. Both lovely looking amps. Do they do dynamic swings as well as each other? Think I prefer the cosmetics of blue VU meters. Am currently of the opinion that 505u is more of an all rounder which could be used with more speakers.

    Also I'm guessing it would run cooler too? Maybe someone could confirm. Also how far apart is the sound quality? Musical tastes are classical, jazz, opera, rock and dance.

    Many thanks for your help.

    {Moderator's comment: have you read what we have said about the meaning of the term "POWER"? 20W is 20W. 100W is 100W. There is *no* comparison between a 20W light bulb and a 100W light bulb. Same for amplifiers or electric herters. Power is power. Power = dynamics. Low power = low dynamics. There is no escape from this physical fact. This comparison is a completely futile exercise.}
    I'm just wondering if we have misunderstood something here. We must have.

    One of the basic tenets of physics in the known universe is of the conservation of energy. That means that a 20W light bulb cannot behave as if it is a 100W light bulb because if it did, 80W of energy would have been created out of nothing, literally out of the air. And if that principal of energy for free was applied to an economy, a nation, your own heating and lighting bill, you could cut your energy cost by 80% and feel the same warmth, have the same illumination level - everything would continue just as before, only the 80% of the energy you are consuming was coming from the air.

    Unlikely? I'd say so. If you want 4 litre car performance (that is the kw/hour energy output of a 4ltr. car engine) you are not going to get that from an engine 80% smaller, namely 800cc (0.8ltr.) are you! So, it really makes no sense at all to compare the power potential of a 20W amp with anything other than another 20W amp. You can't even fairly compare it with a 19W or a 21W amp because their engines have different capacities.

    If anyone tells you such utter rubbish as 'tiny amp A has more punch/dynamics than much bigger amp B' they are telling you that they have broken the laws of physics. Clearly they haven't so they are talking utter nonsense. Power cannot be created out of nothing. The power that an amplifier delivers to a speaker overcomes the inertia of the cones and causes them to accelerate and generate sound. If more energy, more power, is available to the speaker there will be more acceleration and more sound. Hence a more powerful amplifier will always beat a smaller amplifier in the acceleration stakes. And that means louder and faster.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  12. #112
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    Default Difficulty of comparing amps (spec confusion)

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    So, it really makes no sense at all to compare the power potential of a 20W amp with anything other than another 20W amp. You can't even fairly compare it with a 19W or a 21W amp because their engines have different capacities.
    While this is makes sense, one thing to note is some manufacturers, for perhaps good reasons, are conservative with the spec they quote, and their 20w amp may be more like 30w. Comparing amp performance on the basis of quoted specs may therefore be misleading - particularly if the other make in the comparison is optimistic with its quoted spec.

    The other factor that may confuse the comparison is different input sensitivity. An amp with higher sensitivity inputs will sound more powerful than another with the volume controls for both at 10 o'clock. Rare is the comparison that is made using instruments to first level the playing field, leading to invalid but seemingly appropriate comparisons. I would suppose that given the above and other similar issues, this controversy will never be put to bed, with both sides of the argument made in equally good faith.

  13. #113
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    Default You are right about power comparisons

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    If anyone tells you such utter rubbish as 'tiny amp A has more punch/dynamics than much bigger amp B' they are telling you that they have broken the laws of physics. Clearly they haven't so they are talking utter nonsense. Power cannot be created out of nothing. The power that an amplifier delivers to a speaker overcomes the inertia of the cones and causes them to accelerate and generate sound. If more energy, more power, is available to the speaker there will be more acceleration and more sound. Hence a more powerful amplifier will always beat a smaller amplifier in the acceleration stakes. And that means louder and faster.
    You really know your stuff A.S.. For the last 2 months I have been contemplating which amp to pair with my future Harbeth speakers. After auditioning the L-550aX and the L-505u I have come to the same conclusion as you stated about the more punch/dynamics/speed of the bigger amp.

    Also, the dealer that I auditioned the L-505u at also mentioned basically what you said. From my auditions I'm going to go with the L-505uX. The AB hits harder and is faster, more dynamic, more detailed. More versatile with different sets of speakers. The Class A sounded more lush, slower, a bit thicker sounding. Imo they both sounded amazing but I'll still choose the AB and have the headroom. I will put the 1G difference into cables, treatments or other gear.

    As always, it would be best if you could audition both to come to your own conclusion. Both are wonderful amps
    And yes the AB does run cooler.. The Class A gets really warm (I wouldn't say Hot mind you but quite warm)

  14. #114
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    Default Music comes first?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post
    I will put the 1G difference into cables, treatments or other gear.
    Or how about into music? That might increase your satisfaction with your system more than any of the aforementioned.

  15. #115
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    Default Pull a plough with a .....

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post
    You really know your stuff A.S.. For the last 2 months I have been contemplating which amp to pair with my future Harbeth speakers. After auditioning the L-550aX and the L-505u I have come to the same conclusion as you stated about the more punch/dynamics/speed of the bigger amp.

    Also, the dealer that I auditioned the L-505u at also mentioned basically what you said. From my auditions I'm going to go with the L-505uX. The AB hits harder and is faster, more dynamic, more detailed. More versatile with different sets of speakers. The Class A sounded more lush, slower, a bit thicker sounding. Imo they both sounded amazing but I'll still choose the AB and have the headroom. I will put the 1G difference into cables, treatments or other gear.

    As always, it would be best if you could audition both to come to your own conclusion. Both are wonderful amps
    And yes the AB does run cooler.. The Class A gets really warm (I wouldn't say Hot mind you but quite warm)
    Thanks for the compliment but I remember studying physics at high school! You don't need to leave your home know that 'power' is not a subjective word like 'attractive'. It defines a precise relationship between energy and effort. Just loom at the rating sticker on any piece of electrical equipment and you see a power rating, in watts. Power is a universal concept as apt here on earth or the furthest reaches of the galaxy. This power idea is the most basic of concepts to understand before opening a hifi magazine or putting your foot over a dealer's door or you'll likely make a wrong purchase.

    An electric bar-heater is rated, just like an amplifier, in watts. The same watts. Not a different sort of watts: the exact same because whether we aree talking amplifiers, speakers, cars, steam engines, electric kettles or heaters we're talking about heat. In the UK we usually find these mains operated heaters with a switch: minimum heat, 1kW (1000W) and maximum heat 2kW (2000W). You couldn't confuse the watts output of the low and high settings could you? The max. setting is twice as powerful: not a shadow of doubt.

    If this power (wattage) idea leaves any doubt in the audiophiles mind then pop down to a nearby farm and ask the farmer whether a donkey can pull a plough. It can't because more power is needed. Think of your speakers as the plough and the amplifier as the muscle, the horsepower, to pull the speakers. And a micro-amp is like trying to pull the plough with a goat.

    We seem to be going over the same issues year in year out. The Harbeth knowledge wiki has now been created and is now under development. I'll make a page for this power concept.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  16. #116
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks Alan for clearing that up with a direct reply.

    With the impressions people had put online, you have to factor in that most people like to say the amp they bought sounds marvellous etc as they have spent lots of money on it. Its refreshing to find someone who will go against the grain and say maybe the cheaper one is more versatile, despite the fact it may not have the nth degree of resolution. Incidently there is a 505u with Harbeth speakers on youtube; can't remember which ones at the moment but they sound lovely (as recorded anyway)

    I'd paused slightly because I'd read comments (all you can do really to form a first impression before demoing) that said the 550AII was really rated at "75watts" and "don't believe the 20 watts it will drive all kinds of speakers" and "Luxman's amps punch a lot harder than their specification"

    Having owned class A amplifiers in the past I had a slight reservation about the heat produced. Its funny certain little things niggle you; for me its build quality and ability to turn it off late at night and go to bed without leaving a 'cooker' boiling in the living room for an hour.

    I run a Quad 405 at the moment. Serviced by Quad it is only warm to touch when you switch it off. I will definitely be keeping that as a reserve.

    Thanks again.

  17. #117
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    Default Power and impedance load?

    Theoretically (I think) an amp should be able to double it's power output as speaker impedance halves - in many cases this does not happen, at least according to the specs of said amp. The more expensive amps do seem to be more capable in this respect despite having the same quoted power output at a given number of ohms.
    One Luxman amp that was mentioned kept doubling its power output all the way down to 1 ohm.

    Does this mean that these 'better' amps would therefore be more able to drive speakers that present a difficult load (unlike Harbeths) with wide variation in impedance over the frequency range?

    I know virtually nothing about electronics and picked this up on another 'objectivists' hifi forum but the gist of it was, I think, that high quality lower powered amps could outperform lesser amps with a seemingly higher power output when the hard to drive speaker demanded a lot of current to cope with loud low frequency (very low impedance?) parts. It's all very confusing.

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure that if I do eventually persuade my wife that getting some Harbeths and a used Quad 909 is a good investment, I should be OK sound wise.

  18. #118
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    Default My reliable QUAD 909

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulN View Post
    Anyway, I'm pretty sure that if I do eventually persuade my wife that getting some Harbeths and a used Quad 909 is a good investment, I should be OK sound wise.
    My 909 has been with me for ten years now, and has given flawless service all that time. More than enough power for any Harbeth. Ideally paired with the 99 preamp that has tone controls, built in inputs for record players, and almost as small a footprint as the 909. The 909 does run warm/hot, so be sure to give it adequate ventilation in the rack.

  19. #119
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    Default Cables next ....

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    Or how about into music? That might increase your satisfaction with your system more than any of the aforementioned.
    I have 40GB of music ripped to my hard drive plus 550 records/albums on vinyl so I'm pretty good music wise for now. Quality cables and room treatments will be my next point of focus.

  20. #120
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    Default Getting real about spending $$$

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Lee View Post
    Quality cables and room treatments will be my next point of focus.
    With respect, how can you mention those two in the same context? One matters and makes a real difference, the other is largely imaginary nonsense.

    I'll leave you to decide which is which but I'll give you a small hint. There is no domestic audio system on the planet for which the basic cabling (i.e. source to amplifier & amplifier to speakers) ought to cost more than $100.

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