Just a couple of weeks after reviewing the fabulous Luxman LMC-5 phono cartridge, we receive the news that Luxman has introduced a new flagship integrated amplifier, the Luxman L-509Z! Yep, we’ll be getting in line to review this one!
Here’s the official press release on the Luxman L-509Z:
New flagship integrated amplifier from Luxman America
L-509Z is the first to offer LIFES1.0 stages in both preamp and power amp and the first with LECUA-EX volume control
BALLSTON SPA, New York, September 2023 – Luxman continues to prepare for 2025, the company’s centennial, with a new top-of-the-line integrated amplifier. In addition to the company’s trademark sound quality, the Luxman L-509Z is the first component to incorporate the Luxman Integrated Feedback Engine System (LIFES1.0) in both the power amp and preamp sections. It’s also the first with the Luxman Electronically Controlled Ultimate Attenuator-EX (LECUA-EX). “Integrated amplifiers have been central to Luxman’s identity, at least as far back as 1964, when our SQ-38 became a mainstay of Japanese jazz cafes,” said Jeff Sigmund, president of Luxman America. “Our new flagship honors that tradition, incorporating the essence of our separate preamps and power amps while introducing significant innovations.”
The Luxman L-509Z replaces the L-509X and joins the L-507Z of 2022 in Luxman’s Z Series. Compared to its predecessor, the new integrated amp also offers a new phono preamp with switchable gain to accommodate both low-output and high-output moving coil cartridges. Other upgrades include completely redesigned tone controls with separate bands for bass, midrange, and treble; 12-volt triggers; 7-segment LED volume level display; and front-panel mute switch.
The Luxman L-509Z integrated amplifier is available immediately at a suggested retail price of $12,495.
LUXMAN Integrated Feedback Engine System (LIFES1.0).
The new Luxman L-509Z is the third component to incorporate LIFES1.0 and the first to have it not only in the power amplifier section, but also the preamplifier. The circuit is the latest expression in
Luxman’s multi-decade quest to overcome the long-standing tradeoffs in amplifier negative
Negative feedback has always been a double-edged sword. While feedback plays a central role in
reducing distortion, even minuscule inaccuracies in its application can compromise the expressive power of music reproduction. It was to overcome this paradox that Luxman created the Only Distortion Negative Feedback (ODNF) circuit in 1999 and refined it through five generations up to 2021. LIFES1.0 supersedes even these proud achievements, with a completely redesigned circuit featuring improvements in distortion detection, regulation, and thermal stability. The result is a rare combination of exceptionally low distortion and the natural sound quality associated with “non-feedback” circuits.
The Luxman L-509Z combines high power and superb linearity, thanks to three stage Darlington bipolar transistors in quadruple-paralleled push-pull configuration. The highly regulated power supply boasts a massive, 600 VA EI-type transformer and an array of eight 10,000 µF filter capacitors. The Class AB output stage is conservatively rated at 120W+120W at 8 ohms and 240W+240W at 4 ohms. The result is exceptional sound quality with an abundance of energy.
Luxman Electronically Controlled Ultimate Attenuator-EX (LECUA-EX)
Unassuming and often overlooked, the volume control can be the source of subtle and not-so-subtle sonic degradations. Conventional, variable-resistor volume controls often introduce noise. And left/right tracking errors can unintentionally shift the stereo balance as the user adjusts volume. For these reasons, Luxman has long avoided the variable resistor in favor of carefully crafted attenuator circuits. Premiering on the Luxman L-509Z, the LECUA-EX is a computerized precision attenuator. It delivers meticulous volume adjustment across 88 discrete steps while minimizing distortion. The new LECUA-EX enhances the experience with a new rotary encoder, featuring a weighted mechanism to enable smoother adjustment with an immensely satisfying control “feel.”
Compared to the predecessor L-509X, the new amplifier also features a precise 7-segment LED display, making it easy to see volume level from any listening position. Instantaneous output is
displayed on large, highly-sensitive VU meters which are illuminated by white LEDs for optimum viewing. The “Pentaconn” 4.4 mm, five-conductor, balanced headphone jack provides independent left/right grounding for improved stereo separation. It supplements the standard 6.3 mm jack. Rear-panel 12-volt trigger input and output accommodate compatible home automation systems. Control input and output terminals coordinate operation with compatible Luxman components. A front panel Mute button complements the remote control Mute. Two preamp outputs and one power amp input enable flexible system configurations including biamping.
To suppress airborne and shelf-borne vibration that can blur the microdynamics of quiet musical
passages, the chassis is uncommonly robust with thick aluminum panels and density gradient cast iron feet. Of particular note, the top panel features a classic Luxman hairline finish and 28 individually cut ventilation ports. The amplifier weighs 65 pounds (29.4 kg).
Refined circuit topology, supplied remote control
To protect the purity of music reproduction, Luxman engineers gave careful thought to input/output terminals and signal routing. For example, the RCA terminals use a copper alloy that combines the conductivity of copper with the durability of brass. Luxman provides 18- and 20-mm spacing between terminals to accommodate high-grade interconnects. Large, parallel configured speaker relays and ultra-thick 3.5-square-mm cable ensure low impedance transmission. The inline speaker terminals offer ample spacing for thick speaker cables and Y terminators.
To protect the music from interference, beeline topology minimizes internal signal runs.
Oxygen-free copper (OFC) wiring helps ensure uncommon musicality. The printed circuit
boards also reflect Luxman’s thoroughgoing approach: peel-coat boards minimize dielectric
effects while round-cornered printed circuit traces ensure smooth current transmission.
The supplied RA-17A wireless remote control also operates Luxman digital players released