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Who here has a Luxman DA-06 DAC?


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And if you have one, a few questions:

Are you happy with it?

If yes, why?

If no, why not?

 

What input connection are you using?

Direct from computer to the USB?

Or perhaps with a USB/SPDIF converter, to input into coax or toslink or AES/EBU?

If you're using a converter, which one?

 

Any other comments?

 

Dave, who has almost entirely PCM music on so he's not looking to the Luxman DA-06 or to the Berkeley Audio Alpha DAC Series 2 for DSD but more so for even better sound than the Chord QuteHD that makes him very happy

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Dave,

 

I do have the Luxman DA-06, which replaced a Modwright Transporter,which I still have, and also have a PS Audio DirectStream. There have been several reviews of the Luxman DA-06, including here, and I believe the presentation characteristics of the reviews pretty much match my experiences. I have used USB with it. Music has a very full and rich flavor. I find it beneficial for me to dial in the system with some experimenting with different power cables--moving and exchanging places with some of the other components till I find the overall presentation that works for me. I do not have ultra expensive power cables--pretty much a blend of older Kaplan cables and Triode Wire Labs cables. I also found the USB cable makes a difference. I have two--a Platinum Starlight I prefer with the Luxman and a Paul Pang 2014 Red I prefer with the DirectStream. If you prefer very warm tube-like sound with lots of mid bloom, you can achieve that with the Luxman with warm systems along with power cord and USB tunings. Too much and I found I lost detail doing this. It can be very seductive with vocals on certain recordings though, imparting some very close intimacy. My preference though is for more detail and imaging, so my tuning seeks that. I find the strength of the Luxman is with very well recorded and dynamic music. DSD is excellent with the Luxman as well as hi-resolution PCM.

 

I did struggle getting this to work well with my legacy system. I had an early generation MusicVault running LMS. I could not get the Luxman to work with this with USB connection. I consulted with Philip O'Hanlon of On a Higher Note, the master distributor for Luxman in the U.S. Philip is a fan of Audirvanna with the Mac and asked me to test it by downloading a trial and moving my computer into the A/V room. I did, and it worked, but stubbornly I wanted to be able to use my existing MusicVault. I had interactions with Jesus at Sonore and purchased a Sonic Orbiter from him. I still had issues, but Jesus spent tons of time with me to configure the system remotely to work with the Luxman. His service was superb and very much appreciated, achieving success integrating the Sonic Orbiter with the MusicVault and the Luxman.

 

I was concerned about the age of the MusicVault. I purchased a SOtM sMS-1000 music server with intentions to put new music on it and migrate, my MusicVault music to it. However, once again, I could not integrate the sMS-1000 with the Luxman. Again, Jesus spent considerable time and enlisted the help of Andrew Gillis, of Small Green Computer and Vortexbox fame. Eventually,they were able to get it to work, but it was not a stable situation and I went back to using the Sonic Orbiter for the Luxman.

 

So, to answer your original question--yes and no. I know the Luxman worked easy with Audirvanna, but I am not going to put my iMac in the A/V room and was not inclined to buy another Apple computer for this. Undoubtedly the Luxman works with many other music servers, but it was painful to get it to play with LMS and Vortexbox. The combo of the Sonic Orbiter and the Luxman work and sound great, but only because of all the effort Jesus put into it.

 

My recommendation is to vet the easy compatibility of your server with whatever dac you choose if at all possible.

 

Good luck and let us know what you end up getting.

 

Will

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Yes I do and yes I do. I find that it works better with the Lux class AB amps than with class A. Too much loss of detail in my system when I auditioned the Luxman L550AX. I like that it is non-fatiguing. Midrange is beautiful. Slightly rolled off treble in my system, but I don't mind it. Haven't encountered any technical difficulties so far. Upsampling to double dsd in JRiver has some positive effect on some recordings. I'll continue to explore that feature, as well as experimenting with dsd downloads. Streaming Spotify is actually more satisfying with this dac in my system, so while it can't help some recordings it doesn't make them intolerable. People have been surprised at how good Spotify has sounded, although redbook still is consistently better. It's definitely worth an audition, and if you shop around, you can get a good price as well. Looks like your main system is shaping up very well and I look forward to reading your impressions if you decide to audition the DA-06.

 

Christopher

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Dave,

 

I do have the Luxman DA-06, which replaced a Modwright Transporter,which I still have, and also have a PS Audio DirectStream. There have been several reviews of the Luxman DA-06, including here, and I believe the presentation characteristics of the reviews pretty much match my experiences. I have used USB with it. Music has a very full and rich flavor. I find it beneficial for me to dial in the system with some experimenting with different power cables--moving and exchanging places with some of the other components till I find the overall presentation that works for me. I do not have ultra expensive power cables--pretty much a blend of older Kaplan cables and Triode Wire Labs cables. I also found the USB cable makes a difference. I have two--a Platinum Starlight I prefer with the Luxman and a Paul Pang 2014 Red I prefer with the DirectStream. If you prefer very warm tube-like sound with lots of mid bloom, you can achieve that with the Luxman with warm systems along with power cord and USB tunings. Too much and I found I lost detail doing this. It can be very seductive with vocals on certain recordings though, imparting some very close intimacy. My preference though is for more detail and imaging, so my tuning seeks that. I find the strength of the Luxman is with very well recorded and dynamic music. DSD is excellent with the Luxman as well as hi-resolution PCM.

 

Will

 

Will, I'm wondering if you would share any impressions you have of the Direct Stream compared to the DS-06? Thanks.

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Hi Will,

 

Thanks for all those details. Very helpful.

 

Since I'm using a dedicated headless Mac Mini for as my music server, and since I'm running Audirvana Plus, it sounds as if I should have no problems at that end of things.

 

And it sounds like you're using the Luxman DA-06's USB input.

Have you tried any of the other inputs, say by using a USB/SPDIF converter?

If so, any comments on that experience?

 

Smiles,

 

Dave

 

 

Dave,

 

I do have the Luxman DA-06, which replaced a Modwright Transporter,which I still have, and also have a PS Audio DirectStream. There have been several reviews of the Luxman DA-06, including here, and I believe the presentation characteristics of the reviews pretty much match my experiences. I have used USB with it. Music has a very full and rich flavor. I find it beneficial for me to dial in the system with some experimenting with different power cables--moving and exchanging places with some of the other components till I find the overall presentation that works for me. I do not have ultra expensive power cables--pretty much a blend of older Kaplan cables and Triode Wire Labs cables. I also found the USB cable makes a difference. I have two--a Platinum Starlight I prefer with the Luxman and a Paul Pang 2014 Red I prefer with the DirectStream. If you prefer very warm tube-like sound with lots of mid bloom, you can achieve that with the Luxman with warm systems along with power cord and USB tunings. Too much and I found I lost detail doing this. It can be very seductive with vocals on certain recordings though, imparting some very close intimacy. My preference though is for more detail and imaging, so my tuning seeks that. I find the strength of the Luxman is with very well recorded and dynamic music. DSD is excellent with the Luxman as well as hi-resolution PCM.

 

I did struggle getting this to work well with my legacy system. I had an early generation MusicVault running LMS. I could not get the Luxman to work with this with USB connection. I consulted with Philip O'Hanlon of On a Higher Note, the master distributor for Luxman in the U.S. Philip is a fan of Audirvanna with the Mac and asked me to test it by downloading a trial and moving my computer into the A/V room. I did, and it worked, but stubbornly I wanted to be able to use my existing MusicVault. I had interactions with Jesus at Sonore and purchased a Sonic Orbiter from him. I still had issues, but Jesus spent tons of time with me to configure the system remotely to work with the Luxman. His service was superb and very much appreciated, achieving success integrating the Sonic Orbiter with the MusicVault and the Luxman.

 

I was concerned about the age of the MusicVault. I purchased a SOtM sMS-1000 music server with intentions to put new music on it and migrate, my MusicVault music to it. However, once again, I could not integrate the sMS-1000 with the Luxman. Again, Jesus spent considerable time and enlisted the help of Andrew Gillis, of Small Green Computer and Vortexbox fame. Eventually,they were able to get it to work, but it was not a stable situation and I went back to using the Sonic Orbiter for the Luxman.

 

So, to answer your original question--yes and no. I know the Luxman worked easy with Audirvanna, but I am not going to put my iMac in the A/V room and was not inclined to buy another Apple computer for this. Undoubtedly the Luxman works with many other music servers, but it was painful to get it to play with LMS and Vortexbox. The combo of the Sonic Orbiter and the Luxman work and sound great, but only because of all the effort Jesus put into it.

 

My recommendation is to vet the easy compatibility of your server with whatever dac you choose if at all possible.

 

Good luck and let us know what you end up getting.

 

Will

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Link to comment

Hi Christopher,

 

Since we both have the Luxman 505uX integrated amp, and since we'e both using the iFi Audio i-USB, those are distinct and strong similarities.

 

I actually prefer class AB amps to any other solid state kinds, and your description of the Luxman DAC with that amp sounds seductive.

 

Curious, as well, if you've used any digital input on the Luxman DAC other than the USB?

Also, I see from your sig that you're using the King Rex Y USB cable.

Any comments on that?

Did you try any other USB cables as well?

 

Finally, you mention shopping around to get a good price.

Searching online, I see the Luxman DAC at the same price everywhere. I mean, I don't want to buy directly from Japan, and I prefer to buy from sources, such as Music Direct, that allow returns just in case.

But perhaps you can point me to a valid, US source with lower prices.

 

In any and all cases, thanks much for your feedback.

Since we're both using the same amp, that parallel is very meaningful.

 

Dave, who would likely move his Chord QuteHD DAC to his MAIN ALT system should he buy and keep this Luxman DA-06 DAC

 

Yes I do and yes I do. I find that it works better with the Lux class AB amps than with class A. Too much loss of detail in my system when I auditioned the Luxman L550AX. I like that it is non-fatiguing. Midrange is beautiful. Slightly rolled off treble in my system, but I don't mind it. Haven't encountered any technical difficulties so far. Upsampling to double dsd in JRiver has some positive effect on some recordings. I'll continue to explore that feature, as well as experimenting with dsd downloads. Streaming Spotify is actually more satisfying with this dac in my system, so while it can't help some recordings it doesn't make them intolerable. People have been surprised at how good Spotify has sounded, although redbook still is consistently better. It's definitely worth an audition, and if you shop around, you can get a good price as well. Looks like your main system is shaping up very well and I look forward to reading your impressions if you decide to audition the DA-06.

 

Christopher

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Link to comment

Dave,

 

Haven't updated my sig, but it should read Luxman L-507u integrated amp, and I'm hoping to find a used L-507ux because I think the updated version is worth it. The 507 just handles orchestral music a little better than the 505 to my ears. And I'm not talking about high volumes.

 

I've only tried usb on the DA-06.

 

I've found the iFi iUSBPower to be very helpful. I've tried it with an Audioquest Carbon cable, which was ok, then an iFi Gemini cable, which was much better, then finally the Kingrex uArt, which sounded much better to me. I've sold the other cables. This review explains it much more articulately than I ever could. Even thought e reviewer is comparing two Kingrex cables, you could substitute the iFi Gemini for the blue Kingrex uCraft compared to the red uArt, which I have:

 

6moons audio reviews: KingRex uCraft Y

 

Just to highlight: "One thing that differed between the cables was their harmonic distribution or overtone weighting. The uArt's center of gravity seemed lower. Its musical flow did more meandering than rushing. Performers felt more incarnate, their presence factor heightened. The midband had a more luscious full quality. The blue uCraft was lighter, its center upshifted. It felt cooler, leaner, perhaps more articulated and separated but also more cerebral and less physical....The lynch pin for me really was midrange quality. The uArt's was richer, deeper, heavier. In terms of colorization, the red uArt mixed black into the palette, the blue uCraft white... not much, just enough to tip the scale and cause a shift which sounded larger than that which prompted it. Using an audiophile shopping list, I could tell that depth perspective wasn't as pronounced as with the uCraft, that string actions of plucks and scrapes weren't as teased out and little percussive noises not as sharply peeled yet lead instruments and voices had greater expressivity."

 

Hoping this doesn't get me laughed off the forum.

 

Shopping around with different dealers is probably a delicate issue. You develop a relationship and explore if there is any room to negotiate on the list price. In my experience, some dealers will negotiate either a discount or a trade-in. This is more likely the more you are buying, I think (i.e., amp and dac simultaneously). Retail price remains retail price. I wouldn't expect more than a small discount, and some dealers (Music Direct) will only discount demos, generally around 10%. Demos still usually carry a warranty, which is nice. I really couldn't say if there is a dealer out there that would consider a discount and a return, at least not without a restocking fee. I guess I would say finally and in general, it doesn't hurt to ask for what you want, unless you are lowballing, which you wouldn't do. As always, your mileage may vary.

 

Christopher

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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Haven't updated my sig, but it should read Luxman L-507u integrated amp, and I'm hoping to find a used L-507ux because I think the updated version is worth it. The 507 just handles orchestral music a little better than the 505 to my ears. And I'm not talking about high volumes.

 

...

 

Shopping around with different dealers is probably a delicate issue. You develop a relationship and explore if there is any room to negotiate on the list price.

 

I would think all the Luxman class AB integrated amps would have the same basic flavor, whether 505 vs. 507 or u vs. uX.

 

So your impressions, while subjective as all are, still come from some similar place.

 

Then on pricing, I've found that certainly if you're a good customer, or sometimes even a new customer, simply asking "Is that your best price?" is both a polite and often effective way to negotiate on these kinds of retail items.

 

Thanks again!

 

Dave, who now needs to go fulfill his screen name and go on a bike ride and interestingly music often sounds better after a ride so perhaps endorphins are an aid to musical pleasure

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Link to comment

Christopher,

 

I initially pre-ordered the DirectStream due to my ongoing frustrations with the Luxman and my server, especially the new SOtM. I was also intrigued with the marketing speak coming from PS Audio regarding how well the unit performed with standard CD's. Right out of the box it worked with my SOtM, which was a great relief but still was a bit undecided with it for the first 2 weeks. Equipment break-in is a somewhat controversial subject. My opinion had been there is probably some going on with the equipment and some going on with the listener as well. The DS definitely seemed to change for the better over playing time. It was never brittle in presentation but flow and imaging seemed to improve over time. As a side note, there in a power switch in the back and an on/off button in the front--when off it is in a standby position. If I completely shut it down from the rear, even now, and then turn on and play again, there is a delay period of maybe an hour before it sounds right to me again. This does not happen from off to on with standby. If I am changing interconnects, USB, or power cords, I do shut down completely.

 

I was an early adopter and the unit came with the initial firmware. I found I could tune it to sound quite warm, approximating somewhat the very smooth sound of the Luxman, though not quite getting the same midrange and bloom of the Luxman. The DS has very good detail retrieval and bass continued to improve. I found I preferred the Platinum Starlight over the PP Red USB, which meant I had to pick the dac for extended listening. I listened then more frequently to the DS for break-in and to check out how it behaved with various music selections. Oddly, I preferred the Phase position to be Out instead of In position.

 

PS Audio released a firmware change. I waited for over a week before installing in case there were problems. Firmware change is easy and you can go back to prior version if you wish. I almost did. I found that the Platinum Starlight now did not sound that great compared to the PP Red. I was on the verge of putting the PP up for sale and getting another Platinum Starlight before the firmware change, so I would have one for both dacs. The Paul Pang 2014 Red really works for me with this new firmware. I also traded some power cable positions and now Phase is set to On.

 

Soundwise, the DS is also smooth but more detail than the Luxman and seemingly more dynamic. Vocals are very good, but do not have the richer tone of the Luxman. Soundstage and imaging are very good with the DS. Vocals seem to slightly shift at times to me with the DS. I have been very minutely changing some side bass trap positions on one side of the room which seems to be curing this. 16/44.1 is very, very good with the DS. For me, this has been the best I have experienced for that resolution in my system, including current and prior pre-pro's, Oppo 83 SE, Integra Research RDV-1.1, Modwright Transporter, and the Luxman DA-06. The Luxman is more "romantic" and intimate on recordings and for some music or moods, that's what I want. However, the DS is excellent across the music spectrum on 16/44.1 and mo' better with 24/96 and 24/192. The 24/96 is very sweet with it. I now am only purchasing 24/192 for certain recordings, not so automatically as I had before. The DS does very well also on DSD, with that smooth musical roll I find with DSD. I find the Luxman makes a big jump from 16/44.1 to high resolution recordings. For me DSD with the Luxman is the sweet spot with this dac. The DS is better as you move up the resolution chain, but not as big a jump as the Luxman presentation going from 16/44.1 to higher resolutions and again more noticeable going to 24/192 and DSD 128. By far most of my music is redbook standard, so the DS is the prime dac for me for these.

 

Some find the highs rolled off with the DS which may be true--my 66 year old hearing is not critical there. The Luxman may also be softer on top. I believe this becomes more important with your choice of music style.

 

Dave,

 

I only briefly used other than USB to either dac. I cannot really give an opinion on other than USB to these dacs. I pretty much use the SOtM for vast majority of my listening, using the Integra Research for SA-CD's. My Sonic Orbiter is the connection to the Luxman and it is a USB only unit.

 

Will

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Christopher,

 

As a side note, there in a power switch in the back and an on/off button in the front--when off it is in a standby position. If I completely shut it down from the rear, even now, and then turn on and play again, there is a delay period of maybe an hour before it sounds right to me again. This does not happen from off to on with standby. If I am changing interconnects, USB, or power cords, I do shut down completely.

 

The warm up period for DACs is often due to the internal clocks requiring some time to stabilise. Since the clocks are several MHz, and are thermally a bit tricky to control, and then sound right. The hour (or more) interval for the clocks to settle is understandable, and does not mean a quirk with the PS audio directstream.

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The warm up period for DACs is often due to the internal clocks requiring some time to stabilise. Since the clocks are several MHz, and are thermally a bit tricky to control, and then sound right. The hour (or more) interval for the clocks to settle is understandable, and does not mean a quirk with the PS audio directstream.

 

I appreciate the explanation. I leave in Standby condition when not playing unless I am doing connection changes--not a very frequent thing now that I have dialed in to my preferences.

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Christopher,

 

I initially pre-ordered the DirectStream due to my ongoing frustrations with the Luxman and my server, especially the new SOtM. I was also intrigued with the marketing speak coming from PS Audio regarding how well the unit performed with standard CD's. Right out of the box it worked with my SOtM, which was a great relief but still was a bit undecided with it for the first 2 weeks. Equipment break-in is a somewhat controversial subject. My opinion had been there is probably some going on with the equipment and some going on with the listener as well. The DS definitely seemed to change for the better over playing time. It was never brittle in presentation but flow and imaging seemed to improve over time. As a side note, there in a power switch in the back and an on/off button in the front--when off it is in a standby position. If I completely shut it down from the rear, even now, and then turn on and play again, there is a delay period of maybe an hour before it sounds right to me again. This does not happen from off to on with standby. If I am changing interconnects, USB, or power cords, I do shut down completely.

 

I was an early adopter and the unit came with the initial firmware. I found I could tune it to sound quite warm, approximating somewhat the very smooth sound of the Luxman, though not quite getting the same midrange and bloom of the Luxman. The DS has very good detail retrieval and bass continued to improve. I found I preferred the Platinum Starlight over the PP Red USB, which meant I had to pick the dac for extended listening. I listened then more frequently to the DS for break-in and to check out how it behaved with various music selections. Oddly, I preferred the Phase position to be Out instead of In position.

 

PS Audio released a firmware change. I waited for over a week before installing in case there were problems. Firmware change is easy and you can go back to prior version if you wish. I almost did. I found that the Platinum Starlight now did not sound that great compared to the PP Red. I was on the verge of putting the PP up for sale and getting another Platinum Starlight before the firmware change, so I would have one for both dacs. The Paul Pang 2014 Red really works for me with this new firmware. I also traded some power cable positions and now Phase is set to On.

 

Soundwise, the DS is also smooth but more detail than the Luxman and seemingly more dynamic. Vocals are very good, but do not have the richer tone of the Luxman. Soundstage and imaging are very good with the DS. Vocals seem to slightly shift at times to me with the DS. I have been very minutely changing some side bass trap positions on one side of the room which seems to be curing this. 16/44.1 is very, very good with the DS. For me, this has been the best I have experienced for that resolution in my system, including current and prior pre-pro's, Oppo 83 SE, Integra Research RDV-1.1, Modwright Transporter, and the Luxman DA-06. The Luxman is more "romantic" and intimate on recordings and for some music or moods, that's what I want. However, the DS is excellent across the music spectrum on 16/44.1 and mo' better with 24/96 and 24/192. The 24/96 is very sweet with it. I now am only purchasing 24/192 for certain recordings, not so automatically as I had before. The DS does very well also on DSD, with that smooth musical roll I find with DSD. I find the Luxman makes a big jump from 16/44.1 to high resolution recordings. For me DSD with the Luxman is the sweet spot with this dac. The DS is better as you move up the resolution chain, but not as big a jump as the Luxman presentation going from 16/44.1 to higher resolutions and again more noticeable going to 24/192 and DSD 128. By far most of my music is redbook standard, so the DS is the prime dac for me for these.

 

Some find the highs rolled off with the DS which may be true--my 66 year old hearing is not critical there. The Luxman may also be softer on top. I believe this becomes more important with your choice of music style.

 

Dave,

 

I only briefly used other than USB to either dac. I cannot really give an opinion on other than USB to these dacs. I pretty much use the SOtM for vast majority of my listening, using the Integra Research for SA-CD's. My Sonic Orbiter is the connection to the Luxman and it is a USB only unit.

 

Will

 

Will, thanks. That was very helpful!

1070957250_Imprimatur.NihilObstatSepia3Crop(2).jpg.2162a44365e84a5df7d456bf8026ed67.jpg

 

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