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Luxman SQ-N150 Review (Tube Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 224 76.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 48 16.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 8 2.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 4.1%

  • Total voters
    292

pablolie

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Is it really badly designed ?
Or is it badly implemented?
A few tweaks here and there would improve those numbers greatly.
Come on... this is Luxman. They know more about audio component design than anyone commenting on this thread, IMO.

As I stated before, I am convinced they designed this as a low volume offering for those who prefer this kind of thing to pair with very high efficiency speakers and achieve a certain pleasing sound for certain types of music. Those people exist. It's NOT supposed to measure in any way like solid state, it is the complete opposite.

And as I said, it is totally not something I'd even consider, but I have a friend whose conviction is tubes and Devoré speakers... and it sound pretty seductive if you listen to Chopin. On his system, Pogorelich's Chopin sounds drippingly emotional, on mine it sounds like a piano competition performance.

It's clearly not a device to please the ASR crowd and it was woefully mismatched in the listening test with the speakers used, really, come on.

And everybody talks about tube amps that measure better and just one was mentioned in the discussion (at least as far I saw saw) and that thing is probably a fire hazard.

Remember these days devices have to pass homologations, which hampers the envelope for classic tube designs.

PS: I. never have and I never will own a tube amp. Their harmonic distortion does not work for me given my wide ranging music taste, but even as a sceptic I will once. more say... with the right pairing, for the right music... they are a different experience... but one you should explore sometime. Feel free to smell some exotic roses when you're able to detach yourself from thinking about measurements while you actually should just chill and listen to music.
 
Last edited:

levimax

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Come on... this is Luxman. They know more about audio component design than anyone commenting on this thread, IMO.

As I stated before, I am convinced they designed this as a low volume offering for those who prefer this kind of thing to pair with very high efficiency speakers and achieve a certain pleasing sound for certain types of music. Those people exist. It's NOT supposed to measure in any way like solid state, it is the complete opposite.

And as I said, it is totally not something I'd even consider, but I have a friend whose conviction is tubes and Devoré speakers... and it sound pretty seductive if you listen to Chopin. On his system, Pogorelich's Chopin sounds drippingly emotional, on mine it sounds like a piano competition performance.

It's clearly not a device to please the ASR crowd and it was woefully mismatched in the listening test with the speakers used, really, come on.

And everybody talks about tube amps that measure better and just one was mentioned in the discussion (at least as far I saw saw) and that thing is probably a fire hazard.

Remember these days devices have to pass homologations, which hampers the envelope for classic tube designs.

PS: I. never have and I never will own a tube amp. Their harmonic distortion does not work for me given my wide ranging music taste, but even as a sceptic I will once. more say... with the right pairing, for the right music... they are a different experience... but one you should explore sometime. Feel free to smell some exotic roses when you're able to detach yourself from thinking about measurements while you actually should just chill and listen to music.
The only problem with this argument is that I as far as I know, and if anyone has scientific evidence otherwise please link so I can learn, more distortion has never been shown to be preferred to less distortion in a level matched blind test.
 

pablolie

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The only problem with this argument is that I as far as I know, and if anyone has scientific evidence otherwise please link so I can learn, more distortion has never been shown to be preferred to less distortion in a level matched blind test.
There is plenty of stuff showing the pleasing nature of certain harmonics (which represent distortion). I think it's mostly second order. There are highly reviewed headphone amps (recommend on this site) that allow you to inject 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortion... why would that be?
 

levimax

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There is plenty of stuff showing the pleasing nature of certain harmonics (which represent distortion). I think it's mostly second order. There are highly reviewed headphone amps (recommend on this site) that allow you to inject 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortion... why would that be?
Lots of anecdotal non controlled claims made yes, but where is a proper study? People make claims about all sorts of stuff audio related but that doesn't make it true.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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The only problem with this argument is that I as far as I know, and if anyone has scientific evidence otherwise please link so I can learn, more distortion has never been shown to be preferred to less distortion in a level matched blind test.
I've written this more than once, and more than twice: when vacuum tube technology was the state of the art, engineers sought to design amplifiers with the lowest possible distortion. One of the claims to fame for McIntosh was that their design had extremely low distortion for the period. Nobody was following any trend to make a 'colored' sounding amplifier - it was all about designing the most transparent amplifier possible with the lowest distortion possible. An amplifier like the Luxman would be horribly reviewed if it was released during this period, and would undoubtedly be a commercial and technical failure.

This has somehow been turned on its head with designs like the subject of this thread. A distorted amplifier like this is as obscene as overlaying a 'click and pop' track on top of otherwise clean audio in order to 'make it sound like a record'.

I have no doubt whatsoever that whoever designed the Luxman was a qualified engineer. The point is that they chose to release an amplifier which panders to some perceived 'preference' of some mythical customer who believes tube amplifiers naturally 'are distorted'. That's chasing a fad. That is not good engineering practice.

/Rant
 

SIY

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I've written this more than once, and more than twice: when vacuum tube technology was the state of the art, engineers sought to design amplifiers with the lowest possible distortion. One of the claims to fame for McIntosh was that their design had extremely low distortion for the period. Nobody was following any trend to make a 'colored' sounding amplifier - it was all about designing the most transparent amplifier possible with the lowest distortion possible. An amplifier like the Luxman would be horribly reviewed if it was released during this period, and would undoubtedly be a commercial and technical failure.

This has somehow been turned on its head with designs like the subject of this thread. A distorted amplifier like this is as obscene as overlaying a 'click and pop' track on top of otherwise clean audio in order to 'make it sound like a record'.

I have no doubt whatsoever that whoever designed the Luxman was a qualified engineer. The point is that they chose to release an amplifier which panders to some perceived 'preference' of some mythical customer who believes tube amplifiers naturally 'are distorted'. That's chasing a fad. That is not good engineering practice.

/Rant
Mac, H-K Citation, these were some terrific amps.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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There is plenty of stuff showing the pleasing nature of certain harmonics (which represent distortion). I think it's mostly second order. There are highly reviewed headphone amps (recommend on this site) that allow you to inject 2nd and 3rd order harmonic distortion... why would that be?
It would be because of the 'ultra high end audio' movement and the abandonment of long held, and valid, engineering practices. Yes, 2nd and 4th order distortion components can make audio 'fatter' sounding because they are exact octave multiples of the original sound. But this was never a goal of tube amplifiers; it is a more recent fad which has come about with the abandonment of traditional engineering practices such as use of negative feedback to control distortion. The Luxman amplifier reviewed here probably uses little or no global negative feedback. The Dynaco SCA-35 amplifier I posted my measurements for earlier in this thread uses 20dB of global negative feedback.

And no, it isn't a fire hazard. :facepalm:
 

Doodski

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We get told off for political posts, so I won't.
Are you that naive! :facepalm: :)
I can see a major fractional distillation refinery from my home and we still pay full global rates for gas and diesel. It has little to do with political leaders. It's globalism.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I can see a major fractional distillation refinery from my home and we still pay full global rates for gas and diesel. It has little to do with political leaders. It's globalism.
Pork bellies. Put all your money into pork bellies.
 

Ken1951

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I've written this more than once, and more than twice: when vacuum tube technology was the state of the art, engineers sought to design amplifiers with the lowest possible distortion. One of the claims to fame for McIntosh was that their design had extremely low distortion for the period. Nobody was following any trend to make a 'colored' sounding amplifier - it was all about designing the most transparent amplifier possible with the lowest distortion possible. An amplifier like the Luxman would be horribly reviewed if it was released during this period, and would undoubtedly be a commercial and technical failure.

This has somehow been turned on its head with designs like the subject of this thread. A distorted amplifier like this is as obscene as overlaying a 'click and pop' track on top of otherwise clean audio in order to 'make it sound like a record'.

I have no doubt whatsoever that whoever designed the Luxman was a qualified engineer. The point is that they chose to release an amplifier which panders to some perceived 'preference' of some mythical customer who believes tube amplifiers naturally 'are distorted'. That's chasing a fad. That is not good engineering practice.

/Rant
Great post. Yet again. Many, many moons ago I used several different tube power amps on a pair of Infinity 2000A speakers which used electrostatic tweeters. Paired with a variety of pre-amps. A Mac MC240 sounded fabulous. Very clean and clear on any music I chose and would play at very decent volumes as well. Wouldn't want to try that with this amp.
 

DMill

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My girl told me tonight let’s not sell our tube amp (a Cary int.). We can put it in the office with a decent pair of high efficiency speakers and you can buy whatever you want. But that Luxman measures like sh-t. Ok. It’s possible she didn’t ever say that. But I’m gonna tell her she said it when I get a new amp. :)
 

confucius_zero

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captainbeefheart

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these ones https://scansonichd.dk/product/mb6-b/

loud enough to shake the room. Lovely audition, most preferred it when compared to the L509X when level matched with an a-b switcher. Obviously we A-B'ed them leisurely, nothing scientific.

90db isn't that bad but I'm surprised it shook the room while giving quality sound but hey if you liked it that's great. Was it a small room? I probably would recommend a 100 watt amplifier to be used with those speakers, 30-50 watts might do if you don't expect concert level dynamics and sound.
 

BDWoody

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Back on topic please.
 
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