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Luxman P 200

Posted

Pros: Natural sound, which fits perfect for HD800; solid and simply design; two inputs.

Cons: A bit too expensive; I wish it will be slightly more powerful (will have more reserve volume).

I was looking for a new amp for HD800 - I wanted something more than my Lyr could provide.

I experienced M1, Canor Audio TP 10, Luxman P-200 (I also heard SPL Auditor and Phonitor last year and had Schiit Lyr). What I can say? M1 sounds a lot like Lyr, but faster, with a little bit thiner midrange, cleaner heights, slightly wider sounstage and a bit better transparency. Good device for it's price!

But I love TP 10 very much. It sounds perfect with HD800 and in comparison with M1 it has even slightly wider sounstage and airier sound at all because of more articulate heights. Vocals sounded magically - natural, powerful and emotional. It also has a great transparency for tube (hybrid) amp! Very detailed bass, but not as deep as M1 can provide. HD800+TP10 combo sounded full-blooded, warm and clear. It has a great synergy in my opinion! Just upper midrange sometimes sounded a little bit too bright.

P-200 is the best of the best (in comparison with MF M1HPA and Canor Audio TP10) - it has all the advantages of both amps but almost does not have any of their disadvantages. Maybe it's lower bass is not as persuasive as M1's. But it's upper midrange is more comfortable than TP10's although it was raised a little (like in TP10's case) - good feature for HD800 (because they have a bit distant midrange). And, of course, the soundstage. It is the strongest quality of this amp! The voice was not in my head (like it was with Lyr, M1, TP10), it is in front of me - so, it sounds very real. Detail is also the best I've ever heard, especially the bass - I can hear every nuance there! And it is easy to hear the produced echo of all the instruments and vocals (I can not hear it so clear with other amps). All in all it sounds natural - although it has its own colouring, but this colouring fits perfect for HD800!

As a result I bought P-200 (I successfully sold Lyr the same day). I don't know if it shows all the potential of 800s, but I think more than 80%. Now I understand all the claims of people who reviewed HD800 with Luxman P-1. I belive  it sounds better, but even it's younger brother performed amazing and showed me a lot I have never heard in headphones before.

P.S. I think Luxman is far better than any of six amps I have heard. Maybe it is not the best choice for HD800, but one of the best for sure.

Posted

Pros: Crystal-clear and powerful sound

Cons: None

This review is based in part on a post from June of 2009, written soon after I received my Luxman P-200 Headphone Amplifier from TTVJ. It's been now almost two years, and the P-200 continues to amaze me, steadily feeding a parade of headphones that have passed through my arsenal. Currently, it's shinning with two Ultrasone models, the open-back Edition 10 and the closed-back Edition 8 Limited Edition.

Although I promised myself when I first got the P-200 that I would not listen to it until a proper burn in period, the truth is that like a lot of folks on this site, I just couldn't resist a peek, fully aware that I might be initially disappointed. But to my surprise and relief, it sounded incredible right out of the box and since then, I’ve become literally addicted to it.

Before getting into how it sounds, I should mention though that the pictures from Luxman's website don't do the P-200 justice, for it is truly a beauty to look at. And it has nothing of that well known do-it-yourself look, quite the opposite, with a beautiful matte finish and a substantial weight in relation to its size. It should be noted also that the AC inlet on the back of the unit is two pronged, but Luxman's distributor in the US, On a Higher Note, said that there's no problem with using aftermarket two or three prong power cables, as long as you're  "... mindful that if the source is plugged into a different outlet from the amp, you develop a ground hum." Personally, I never had any problems with hum, and actually, my P-200 is dead-quiet.

In my current setup, it is being fed directly from the RCAs of a Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD player via Kimber Kable Silver Streak interconnects. The headphones back then were an Audio-Technica ATH-ESW10JPN and a Denon AH-D7000, both of which have been now substituted for the two Ultrasones mentioned above.

The music diet consisted mostly of assorted Channel Classics, Telarc, Pentatone, and Exton Super-Audio CDs, all DSD recorded. Actually, I'm a bit amazed by the lack of awareness on this site about the SACD format, which IMHO trumps even the most expensive Transport/DAC combo playing Red-Book CDs. Anyway, disc after disc, the impact of the soundstage and the dynamic range were miles above what my old and reliable Creek OBH-21SE could offer. Mind you though, that at least in the US, the Luxman was then thrice as expensive as the Creek, although in my personal scale, it offers twenty times more resolving and involving power.

Listening to Telarc's SACD of Paavo Jarvi conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on a program of Britten and Elgar, is a revelatory experience. I can hear minute details now that simply weren't there before. The plucking of the double-basses strings on Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" is simply stunning as are the percussion solos in the same piece. And for those bass freaks out there, fear not for while the P-200 does go quite deep, it does so with absolute precision. You will not find sloppy bass reproduction here.

Channel Classics' beautiful edition of Bach's B Minor Mass is another SACD that benefited greatly from the P-200's imaging, revealing entirely new layers to the recording. The placement as well as the space around the performers became much more precise and vivid. The depth and width of the soundstage  expanded way beyond my head, to the point that it felt almost like a surround simulation.

For the sake of diversity, I tried Mobile Fidelity's re-mastering of Yes' Fragile, released as a Gold RBCD. Mind you that it felt a bit dated sonically the last time I played it, in spite of MoFi's incredible transfer, which actually improved on the original. But through the P-200, I was finally able to listen beyond Jon Anderson's silly lyrics and instead just enjoy his amazing vocal range, as well as Steve Howe's guitar work, and the rest of the gang’s ensemble playing.

If there’s a conclusion to be made here it is simply that the Luxman P-200 will not interfere with your music. It will neither paint it with an artificial tube glow, nor will it chill it with a solid-state glare. It will not mask it, make it better or worse. But with great recordings, it has an amazing ability to reveal more of what’s there. And for me, that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Posted

Pros: very good match for low impedance japanese headphone or even HD800

Cons: more power is needed if driving magnetic planar headphone

The Luxman  P-200 is one of the best headphone amp around the world, Its high-power output circuit consists of pure class A with 2 watts/8 ohms achieved by the parallel push-pull configured power transistor is embedded in the compact chassis of as small as B4 size. You can enjoy the world of direct listening that can be created only by Luxman, famous in its Dynamism, Delicacy, and Richness. The 2 headphone terminals are for stereo mini plug as well as standard type output that allows you to directly connect to your normal hifi headphone or small in-ear monitor earphones to play with high sound quality. The throughout output also provides possibility to connect with other hi-end hi-fi devices.

 

If you're looking for an amplifier that not only sounds superb but is constructed as exquisitely as a fine Patek Philippe watch, you are looking at thr right thing. Luxman's emphasis is on reproducing natural music, with lots of warmth, detail; not frightening it into scaring up non-existent detail, which is sometimes described as etched. Luxman's engineer's are fanatical in their attention to detail; while they spend a lot of time analyzing how components perform on their test equipment, the final arbiter is the listening evaluations. Is the product able to play music, convey the emotion, reproduce the ambience of the venue as well as the timbre of each instrument, distinctly. This is where Luxman shines.

 

Luxman have long championed the use of Class A power for its richness of timbre and absence of listening fatigue.

Because the transistors in a Pure Class-A amplifier are never switched off, there is obviously no crossover distortion (there is no crossover - where one transistor turns off, and the other supplies the load current). Notice the uninterrupted curve above on the right. The amplifier is always fully charged and ready to allow the music flow spontaneously, with a dynamic, fast response time, the music is rich & sweet.

 

 

If there’s a conclusion to be made here it is simply that the Luxman P-200 will not interfere with your music. It will neither paint it with an artificial tube glow, nor will it chill it with a solid-state glare. It will not mask it, make it better or worse. But with great recordings, it has an amazing ability to reveal more of what’s there. And for me, that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Posted

Pros: Clarity, treble quantity

Cons: Lack of low bass power, inadequate for driving high-impedance/inefficient headphones

Originally published on August 2, 2009

 

Note: this review is an exact cross-post from post #2 of this thread on Head-Fi, which contains some user discussion on the review that may be relevant to read: http://www.head-fi.org/t/501781/mini-reviews-luxman-p-1u-and-p-200

 

Please note that I never wrote a review of the FET-A and cannot write anything about it now as I no longer have it and all impressions were forgotten.

The following is sort of my "mini-review" of the P200 to share my impressions. Disclaimer: these impressions are based on 6 days of listening, far from ideal. Normally I would've liked to spend at least a week per headphone which is what I've done in the past, so even I might disagree with my own impressions later. My opinions varied a few times during listening in fact and without enough time to confirm what I heard via repeated listening, take these impressions with an extremely small grain of salt.

Equipment used:
- Source: Plinius CD-101
- RCA interconnects: BPT IC-SL
- Headphones: AKG K701, Alessandro MS2i, Audio-Technica AD2000, Grado HF2 and HP1000, Sony SA5000 and Qualia 010

Music used:
- Alison Krauss & Robert Plant - Raising Sand
- Alison Krauss & Union Station - New Favorite, Lonely Runs Both Ways
- Jane Monheit - Surrender
- Massive Attack - Mezzanine
- Orbital - The Middle of Nowhere
- Priscilla Ahn - A Good Day
- Shelby Lynne - Just A Little Lovin'
- The Crystal Method - Community Service

To get right to the point, I thought both the P200 and FET-A are good amps, at least for the price. The P200 crushed the FET-A, enough that I thought it was the sonically superior amp. And at $650, the FET-A isn't a bad amp at all, but I did find some detractions that would make me hesitant to recommend it for everyone in every situation. I'll write more about the FET-A later in a different thread since I want to keep the subject here to the Luxman.

The P200's gain could probably be a little lower but I actually found it not that bad with the low-impedance headphones I used, as I got enough control to achieve just about any volume I wanted. Also it's worth noting the amp doesn't turn on immediately - it takes about 10 seconds to actually fully power up after the power button is pressed (the LED blips for a while as it turns on).

As far as sound quality, the Luxman was right up my alley. It was very fast and kept up with everything I threw at it. Strong, clear, & clean treble, in fact quite a noticeable contrast against the FET-A which didn't have as pronounced treble. The FET-A smeared over fast notes in comparison and failed to deliver some key details in the AKUS CDs, like vibrating strings and high-speed twangs.

The Luxman also separated & splitted musical elements from each other more distinctly than the FET-A, enough that each could be clearly discerned and located by ear (the FET-A had more of an "integrated" image). I felt the Luxman also had more of a "sharp focus" type of sonic image whereas the FET-A was a bit blurry - very good "crystal clear" sound on the Luxman, but some loss of distinction between musical elements on the FET-A. It also had more controlled and defined bass (the FET-A was a bit flabby and generic-sounding). Good strong, deep bass, though not too much mid-bass quantity (the FET-A was more of a mid-bass pounder).

I'd guess the Luxman might sound somewhat similar to a discrete HeadAmp amp but without a Gilmore Lite or GS-1 on hand, I can't say for certain. It had a similar type of sound compared to my AE-2 but I didn't directly compare the two, only going off of memory (the AE-2 has been my primary amp for the past several months). The Luxman did sound "flat/linear" compared to the FET-A which seemed to have a few colorations.

I listened for soundstage on every appropriate CD track but my impressions kept varying so I'll say nothing on the subject, other than that the Luxman seemed to do a proper job as far as width and size. For CDs that were recorded with studio acoustics, it did really feel like I was in the studio.

I also compared my Plinius CD-101 to my Arcam FMJ CD36 with the Luxman (using the Qualia 010) to check how well it could scale. Oh and it scaled all right, I could hear the clear sonic advantages of the Plinius over the Arcam. The soundstage was smaller on the Arcam and instruments were placed much closer too. Musical elements weren't as properly delineated on the Arcam and multiple concurrent voices/instruments weren't properly separated either. The Plinius also came across as edgier and quicker, and had clearer bass too (somewhat generic-sounding bass on the Arcam). Both CDPs are good though, and both conveyed the kinetic energy of AKUS properly, it's just that the Plinius sounded more detailed due to its faster speed and more separation. (Technical addendum: both the Plinius and Arcam output 2V, so I did not need to adjust the volume for compensation between the two. I also found that the two CDPs have the same remote control codes! I was able to use the Arcam remote on the Plinius and the Plinius remote on the Arcam!)

Overall I was impressed by the Luxman. For $1500 it's a very good amp that can scale with high-end sources and it didn't really have any major disadvantages that I could tell, other than perhaps a lack of authoritative low-bass power. It was actually a really good match for my low-impedance headphones from Audio-Technica, Alessandro, Grado, and Sony, and I would recommend it for those brands too.

The amp had a hard time driving the K701 though which leads me to not recommend it for use with high-impedance AKGs, Beyers, or Senns. The K701 lacked oomph with this amp, and when I turned up the volume to a very high level (past ear-safe volume), the bass started distorting and the frequency balance went wonky.

Luxman P 200
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Description:

Luxman’s latest headphone amplifier has the ability to deliver more of what is buried deep in your music, no matter the source. The P-200 Headphone Amp is a pure Class-A circuit, giving the listener that pure, natural sonic signature that can only derived from a Class-A design. The P-200 is equipped with dual inputs and both a standard 1/4” and a mini-plug output, so there is no need for a signal-robbing adapter. The sonic signature of the P-200 is clean and accurate, providing the perfect balance of warmth and detail retrieval, while providing previously unheard subtleties from even your most familiar recordings.

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