I am ready to post my impressions of the new Luxman P1u. So here it goes.
First off the build and finish of the product is first rate. It has a gray body and silver front panel with a gold Luxman plate on the top middle of the panel.
The front panel has an operation push button switch (on/off), a through out that determines the signal coming out of the RCA (pass through or in pre amp mode), 2 headphone jacks, an input switch to chose between balanced and single ended inputs and a very nice smooth turning volume control. Everything about the front panel screams high end!
The rear panel has 1 set of XLR balanced inputs and 1 set of RCA inputs. There is also a set of RCA outs that can be set to through out or pre amp out (volume controled). The IEC power cable is provided and plugs into the rear panel.
The gear I used to break in and audition the Luxman P1u amp with is as follows..
Meridian GO8.2, Cardas Golden Reference XLR cables, Grado PS1000 with stock cable and Sennheiser HD800 headphones with an ALO 6 ft OCC Cryo cable and Silver Circle Audio 5.0 power conditioner.
The amp arrived on a day when it was well below zero so I had to let it warm up for many hours before plugging it in. It was COLD!
Once it warmed up I plugged it in and put the 2 headphones I would be using for this review in the amp and let it play for 1 week straight. I listened some along the way but not critically.
Over the last week I have spent a fair amount of time listening to just the headphone rig and checking it out.
The first thing I felt when listening to the P1u with the PS1000 and HD800 was that it was involving. The music grabbed me and made me want to hear more. This is an important trait for anything I buy and keep. If I don't want to hear more and want to keep coming back for more, then it is not for me.
Through some amps the HD800 sounded a bit sterile and lean on the bottom end. Not so with the Luxman. This was the first time I have heard them sound so music with a solid state amp. The soundstage was big, the instruments were in their own separate space and the detail was very good.
I used Mark Knopfler Shangri-La to test it for bottom end, male vocals and of course the fabulous guitar work done on that disc. On Boom like that the guitar rang out and sounded as if Knopfler was sitting there playing for me. The bass was very tight and had good punch. The Grado PS1000 delivered that in spades and had a fuller richer sound than the HD800 but both headphones were amazingly good with this gear and music.
One thing that is worth mentioning - the blackness between notes - the silence and backdrop for the music was perfect. The amp absolutely got out of the way and lets the rest of the gear do its thing.
Next I put in one of my favorite test discs and great music - Loreena McKennitt An Ancient Muse. The different instruments that are used by her band bring all new tones, sounds and textures to the ear. The Luxman P1u brought out these instruments and their parts into the whole of the sound with excellence. Her powerful voice took center stage and the instruments filled out the landscape.
The P1u clearly pointed out the differences in the HD800 and the PS1000. This indicated to me that the amp was doing its job very, very well and not adding its own color. It is far from sterile and conveys the music with a lot of heart and soul. It is neutral as can be and has no edge, no harshness or fatigue.
The P1u has plenty of power to drive any headphone that I own - I was around 1/4 of the way up on the volume control to achieve a good listening level and could clearly play louder than I would ever want or need it to.
Treble, Midrange and Bass were all in balance. It really left any coloration up to the headphones.
I feel this amp will be very well received and sets a very high standard for high end solid state amps. It simply put, sounds glorious!
Oh, and the manual is very good - at least I think it is, I don't read Japanese
Here are the specs from Luxman:
Continuous power output - 2 W + 2 W/8Ω, 1 W + 1 W/16Ω, 500 mW + 500 mW/32Ω, 27 mW + 27 mW/600Ω
Input sensitivity/input impedance - Unbalance: 1.0 V/26 kΩ, balance: 1.0 V/67 kΩ
Total harmonic distortion rate - 0.0025% (1 kHz), 0.02% (20 Hz–20 kHz)
Frequency response - 20 Hz–20 kHz (+0, -0.1 dB), 5 Hz–170 kHz (+0, -3.0 dB)
S/N ratio - 115 dB (IHF-A)
Input/output - Input: 1 x unbalanced line and 1 x balanced line, Output: 2 x standard jacks with di. 6.3 and 1 x through output
Attached equipment - Front: power switch, volume, input selection, and through output ON/OFF, Rear: balanced phase selection and AC inlet
Dimensions (WxHxD), and weight - 17."(440) x 3 ( 82) x 15 " (408 mm) and 18 lbs )(8.3kg) nett
A peak at the inside of the P1u