The May 2016 issue of Stereophile just hit stands and it includes Art Dudley’s review of the Luxman EQ-500 phono stage, which we just took to AXPONA.
“I did no listening for a few hours, leaving the Lux to warm up—then returned and put on Ravi Shankar’s Sitar Concerto, with André Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra accompanying the composer (LP, EMI ASD 2752). It was a true Wow! moment, my attention at once captured by the believable force with which co-soloist Terence Emery attacked—no other word for it when listening through this phono stage—the bongos, used instead of tablas for this recording. But there was more to it than just that: note attacks from the violins, violas, and cellos, bowed and plucked, had delicious tactile qualities, and the timbres and textures of those instruments, as well as the oboe and bassoon, were dead-on believable. Spatially, the sense of scale had enlarged since my initial foray with the Coleman record, as had the sense of imaging depth on this stereo recording—a rute-like percussion instrument seemed to emanate from 12′ behind the baffles of my Altec Valencia loudspeakers. I was impressed.
“From there I proceeded to the great Jacques Loussier recording Play Bach No.1 (Decca/Speakers Corner SSL 40.500) and its first track, Prelude 1 from Book I of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier. The manner in which the EQ-500 pulled subtle musical details out of an ink-black background was astonishing — and very much appreciated: While I certainly can’t say this was the first time I’d heard double- bassist Pierre Michelot’s very softly recorded improvisations in the intro, it was the first time I could really appreciate them as the bleeding chunks of melody they are, served here with percussive impact and sonic heft. Of course, Loussier’s limber yet forceful pianism was also well served — and, again, there were equal, generous measures of melodicism, beautiful timbral colors, and sheer drive.
“…especially for the LP enthusiast who uses an analog front end with multiple tonearms and an assortment of cartridges — it’s difficult to imagine another contemporary product offering this combination of flexibility and superior sound. In addition to being a pure delight to use, it was easily one of the best-sounding, most musical phono preamps I’ve ever had in my system. If your budget can stretch this far, the Luxman EQ-500 is a must-hear. ”
You can read the whole review in the May 2016 edition Stereophile, available to purchase now. And we will post a link to it when it is published on the Stereophile website later in May.