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Luxman SQ-N150 Review (Tube Amplifier)

Rate this amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 225 76.8%
  • 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
    293

MAB

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They are doing as everyone else is doing. There are no checks and balances as far as noise, distortion, etc. in this industry We see how JA concludes with praise for measured performance. Likely majority of people just run with that as does the company instead of looking and comparing measurements to others. So why change or do better?

Now the looks, everyone sees that so much investment is put in that.
Yes, the looks. I am particularly fond of Luxman. I have a PD-444 turntable I am really fond of. I want to like this amp! Which makes it even more disappointing.
 

Doodski

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EDITED: I was going off topic with other product.
 
Last edited:

SoundsGood2Me

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Thank You Amirm! You post so many good and even great measurements,
It's nice to see the darkside, too. 60dB S/N was good enough for vinyl,
God Bless CD for forcing everyone to 90dB. And I'm working with better than that (thanks to your help).
 

jam

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Thanks for another, shall I say very interesting review Amir. This one is a major disappointed for me. I remember as a teen circa 1980 almost buying a Luxman SS stereo receiver, back when it was a much more affordable brand. Even if this amp is a tube design, I was expecting much better from a venerable brand that has bounced back from the shadows in the last decade or so.
 

AndreaT

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Amir has his fun. But couldn't he have just left it at the poor measurement results?
Amir actually plugged a 10 watt amplifier into his poor efficiency speakers and then turned up the volume to his favorite volume?
Why does he do that?
Does he understand what he is doing or is he just trying to make fun of us?
I am not experienced when it comes to the right combination of speakers and amplifier.
But amir has absolutely no idea, or is he just kidding?
Do any of you give a damn and if amir does it is science?
Actually it's a shame and it makes everything audiosciencereview.com stands for completely ridiculous. Now those out there think it's an advertising portal for china-cheap stuff that just has to measure up well in the lab and doesn't care if after 13 months the volume control is faulty.
Gladly I leave you and log off here. Farewell you scientists...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
What is completely ridiculous is a 3+ K integrated amplifier that makes 10 very distorted watts and requires handpicking a set of speakers with efficiency > 90db to drive the volume of sounds to somewhat loud levels (95 db peaks). I would also add that in these perilous time the efficiency of an amplifier in turning electrical watts into sound is one important consideration.
 

paulgyro

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Amir,

Thanks for your review. Now you know all about "synergy" and "careful system matching" that the experienced audio enthusiasts were doing in the 20thC.

An Infinity R253 with 87dB/2.83V connected to an amplifier that maxes out a just above 10W is dynamically constrained... and sounds wooly, thick. It doesn't matter whether it's this Luxman or a Tripath TA2020 based amp.

Now connect a 97dB/2.83V speaker and this amp performs like a 120W power amplifier!

With glorious overtones and the special effects, not unlike a musical instrument (pre)amplifier- it can make for an experience like no other...

Some people like this. And I get that. Musical production or re-production.

Certainly everything we talk about here is reproduction as we aren't talking about instruments.
 

JSmith

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2nd and 3rd are very difficult to perceive until levels are fairly high
You don't consider this high?

1655434530059.png

1655434591431.png


JSmith
 

MAB

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Amir,

Thanks for your review. Now you know all about "synergy" and "careful system matching" that the experienced audio enthusiasts were doing in the 20thC.

An Infinity R253 with 87dB/2.83V connected to an amplifier that maxes out a just above 10W is dynamically constrained... and sounds wooly, thick. It doesn't matter whether it's this Luxman or a Tripath TA2020 based amp.

Now connect a 97dB/2.83V speaker and this amp performs like a 120W power amplifier!

With glorious overtones and the special effects, not unlike a musical instrument (pre)amplifier- it can make for an experience like no other...

Some people like this. And I get that. Musical production or re-production.
I think in the 20th century, Luxman made equipment for enthusiasts like you describe, but this doesn't seem to be a path back to that era. And even in the 20th century, power supply noise wasn't cool to listen to. Especially on really efficient speakers. This amp doesn't seem to feature the harmonics you describe, rather weak on amplification and high on noise, with some unpalatable crosstalk thrown in... The 87dB Infinities aren't the problem here.
 

GWolfman

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Why would one want a piece of electronics designed to reproduce recorded music to perform like a musical instrument??? I'm confused.
The reproduction equipment doesn't need to generate the overtones and harmonics, if the recording and mastering are correct it would already be in the source material. Microphones don't pick up and record only fundamental tones. Anything added here is beyond the instrument's ability (not accounting for a non-perfect microphone).
 

brk

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Short rise times and no overshoot on square wave, signal to noise of 88 db, and gets to 30W rated power with <1% distortion. SS amps may have more power and somewhat higher signal to noise, but with efficient speakers, a non-cavernous room, and music other than full orchestras I don't think those are necessary.
 

DWI

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Look at the product website and the primary design criteria was to make an integrated tube amplifier with the footprint of a sheet of A4 (this being the international standard, not far off US Legal).

That is not a design criteria I've seen before, but it tells you who and what this has been made for. Bear in mind that the majority of single Japanese men live with their parents well into their 30s, so think low volume bedroom audiophile.

The other features are, basically, flashing lights (tubes, VU meters). They don't make it sound better, but that's not the point. I love the description "the orange illumination of the meter gently envelops all the music experience" - could have been written by Murakami (a great writer and audiophile).

Screenshot 2022-06-17 at 09.38.08.png


I suspect the size limitation has slightly compromised the output transformers, to make them small enough to fit on the chassis, plus quality output transformers don't come cheap (the last pair I bought for KT88, from Sowter, cost almost $1,000).

Luxman's reputation is as one of the very best Japanese high-end brands of supreme quality and failed in the 1980s because they dumbed down. Their main markets are in Japan and elsewhere in the Far East. This product looks great, IAG build quality is top class, it is designed as much for use with vinyl and would most likely be used with 93db+ speakers from Tannoy, Yamaha or JBL, quite possibly vintage, very popular in those markets. The matching turntable is in its 3rd edition and there is a complimentary digital source.

IAG's thinking for this product range seems to be spot on, classic Luxman luxury at an affordable price, based around vinyl. Measurements seem fit for purpose.
 
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tomtoo

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Look at the product website and the primary design criteria was to make an integrated tube amplifier with the footprint of a sheet of A4 (this being the international standard, not far off US Legal).

That is not a design criteria I've seen before, but it tells you who and what this has been made for. Bear in mind that the majority of single Japanese men live with their parents well into their 30s, so think low volume bedroom audiophile.

The other features are, basically, flashing lights (tubes, VU meters). They don't make it sound better, but that's not the point.

View attachment 213214

I suspect the size limitation has slightly compromised the output transformers, to make them small enough to fit on the chassis, plus quality output transformers don't come cheap (the last pair I bought for KT88, from Sowter, cost almost $1,000).

Luxman's reputation is as one of the very best Japanese high-end brands of supreme quality and failed in the 1980s because they dumbed down. Their main markets are in Japan and elsewhere in the Far East. This product looks great, IAG build quality is top class, it is designed as much for use with vinyl and would most likely be used with 93db+ speakers from Tannoy, Yamaha or JBL, quite possibly vintage, very popular in those markets. The matching turntable is in its 3rd edition and there is a complimentary digital source.

IAG's thinking for this product range seems to be spot on, classic Luxman luxury at an affordable price, based around vinyl. Measurements seem fit for purpose.

Not much room? But high efficient speakers? Something not realy fits. The are no small high efficient speakers. If you not like to cut bass complety
out of the equation.
 

DWI

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Not much room? But high efficient speakers? Something not realy fits.
There seems to be a market in Japan for budget tubes, 3w and 5w from triode.co.jp.

I doubt many of these are sold in Europe and the USA, I know from a main dealer the big solid state integrated Luxman machines are very popular. There are enough local tube amp manufacturers. A friend has EL84 with Lockwood Tannoys, mostly for classical, hugely enjoyable.
 

DWI

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Not much room? But high efficient speakers? Something not realy fits. The are no small high efficient speakers. If you not like to cut bass complety
out of the equation.
Given the size of Japanese homes, and the target market, bass is the last thing to worry about.

The international marketing is different from the Japanese marketing. On the international site the size is related to the end.

I've got a piece of A4 in front of me and 297x210 is crazy small for a tube integrated amplifier. Those transformers do look mini.
Screenshot 2022-06-17 at 10.40.16.png

The insides look very tidy and all point-to-point wired, very popular in Japan, old school.
Screenshot 2022-06-17 at 10.39.52.png
 

SIY

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Given the size of Japanese homes, and the target market, bass is the last thing to worry about.

The international marketing is different from the Japanese marketing. On the international site the size is related to the end.

I've got a piece of A4 in front of me and 297x210 is crazy small for a tube integrated amplifier. Those transformers do look mini.
View attachment 213219
The insides look very tidy and all point-to-point wired, very popular in Japan, old school.
View attachment 213220
Point to point? Looks more like a circuit board with a couple of bus bars soldered onto it...
 
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