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Amp/Preamp Asylum: REVIEW: Luxman (Lux Corp. of Japan) M 117 Amplifier (SS) by ka7niq

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REVIEW: Luxman (Lux Corp. of Japan) M 117 Amplifier (SS)

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Model: M 117
Category: Amplifier (SS)
Suggested Retail Price: $1295.00
Description: 200 WPC Power Amp
Manufacturer URL: Luxman (Lux Corp. of Japan)
Manufacturer URL: Luxman (Lux Corp. of Japan)

Review by ka7niq ( A ) on November 19, 2006 at 23:28:03
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for the M 117

I owned one of these way back when, driving Quad 63's.
I WAS a happy camper.
BUT, then I read Ablosute Sound ...
They kept talking about the Quad/Spectral system, and so I sold it.
I kinda forgot about it until I bought an Adcom 585 amp off AudioGon, and got friendly with the seller.
He told me he likes the Luxman M 117 amp he owned better then the ASdcom 585.

That stirred old memories, but I kind of forgot about it, for a while.

About a month later I was on the Klipsch forum, and Dean G, a well known audiophile and Horn user commented on the Luxman M 117.

He said something to the effect that he wish he had never sold his.

THAT was all I could take, and I was determined to find one.

And I did.

I would highly suggest YOU try and find one too because it is a very good sounding amplifier, and can be had for under 500 dollars on the used market!

Now, I am not going to sit here and say this amp sounds like exactly tubes, but it sounds about as close as any solid state amp except maybe the old Audionics does.

For one thing, it is smooth as silk.
Not a bit of harshness.

No wonder the Horn Guys love this amp, and it is quiet too, a big consideration when running 100 db effiecent speakers.

It has a slightly bloated lower midrange, almost like the old Conrad Johnson M 75 amps, and the bass is a little on the loose side.

It has a laid back presentation, and good front to back depth, but ultimate soundstage width is just a bit compromised.

Detail is all there, but not "in your face" like an Adcom or Spectral.

It has good, but not tremendous power.

It certainly is no big Krell or Audire Otez, but it is ok for all but the craziest of evenings.

What it does is seduce you, and slowly spoil you for most other amplifiers.

How it does this is beyond my technical understanding.

Though I own 14 pairs of speakers as of this review, I have mostly been using Klipsch Cornwalls and B&W Matrix 801's.

Actalually, I have been using the 801's the most.

801's are most revealing, and if an amp sounds bad, you will know it right away.

The Luxman M 117 transforms the 801's, and not just because it's a powerful amp either.

I like a warm rich, tubey kind of sound, and I just hate brightness.

The Luxman M 117 is not a dark amp in the way some B&K 's are.

I find some of the B&K's obscure and blur detail to present a warm sonic picture.

The M 117 manages to give you all the detail, yet still sound warm.

Someone said it's "secret" is the Sanken output transistors it uses.
Another said it is because it uses Luxmans "Duo Beta" circuit ?

There are also rumors that bwecause Luxman made tube amps, it was designed to sound as much like a tube amp as possible ?

I reallly don't know it's "secret", nor do I care either.

All I know is what I hear on my many pairs of speakers, and in comprasion to the many other amplifiers I also own.

Word is "getting out" about this sleeper of an amp quickly.

I would give it my highest recommendations as a good budget amp.

BTW, it sounds even better with the bias increased a bit.

But it is great in stock form too.

Product Weakness: hard to find, parts getting scarce, loose bass in comparasion to the best, may be too laid back for some, too warm and rich for Vandersteens, Spendors, Sonus Fabers, and not enough control for old Magnepans.
Product Strengths: Sound quality, almost tube like, velvety smooth, warm lower midrange, good front to back depth, decent lateral width, laid back presentation, listen to it forever quality.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: Luxman M 117, Quad 405, Bedini 200/200
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Parasound P/SP 1000, Dared Tube
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Modified DVD player
Speakers: B&W 801's, Klipsch Cornwalls
Cables/Interconnects: Various
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Classical, Pop, Polka, Chamber, Audiophile
Room Size (LxWxH): 20 x 26 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: le/de
Time Period/Length of Audition: 1 year
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): PowerVar
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Luxman (Lux Corp. of Japan) M 117 Amplifier (SS) - ka7niq 23:28:03 11/19/06 ( 8)