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Q: You told me, if you change tubes on the SQ-N10 sound quality would improve a lot. Just to be sure, would you please let me know which tube(s) should be changed and which tubes you recommend as replacement? I think it was Telefunken, but I´m not sure.

A.As regards the SQ-N10; if you find a well balanced Telefunnken ECC83 in great condition at a reasonable price – first choice. If you have to buy modern, then consider the Genelex – “Gold Lion”. The ECC83 is the single tube in the middle in the front row.

I bought a complete set of the Genelex “Gold Lion” for the Luxman EQ-500, which is due to arrive in California, tomorrow Thursday. I hope this is of help; will definitely bring this fine amplifier into another league; more refined tonal colour / density. Can help it sound as if it were twice the Euros.

Q. My L-550AX will not turn ON and will not come out of stand-by mode. Please advise on any simple repairs.

A. Please try memory reset as follows.

1. Power off

2. Press the operation switch for over 5 seconds and while keeping pressing, please press line straight switch once.

3. No.2 operation will turn the unit off.

The memory reset is done.

(Details in the owner’s manual in the Docs tab of the L-550AX product page.)

Try the above and still the unit does not turn on, the protection circuit is in operation. Please check the heat, over DC and DC drift.

Q. I have a question about Mola-Mola preamp. Does it have tape out? Specifically, I want to be able to listen to LPs AND digitally record them to my music server at the same time…

A. Thank you for enquiring about the Mola-Mola “Makua” preamp. As regards your question about the Tape Output; I myself have been recording the output from the Makua internal phono stage and taking the preamp output into a Grimm AD1 (Analogue / Digital Converter) and then taking the Grimm’s output into a Tascam DV3000 audio recorder. I adjusted the output from the preamp & listened on headphones to the Tascam so that I could optimize the gain. The Mola Makua is so quiet that it did not add any audible noise to the output signal. In fact, these vinyl rips to DSD sound absolutely fantastic.

You will not be able to play the LP through the system & record to digital at the same time, unless you are not concerned about the sonic quality, as you want to avoid a feedback loop.

To digitally record your LPs, you will need:

1. an analogue digital converter

2. some audio recorder, the KORG MR2000 or Tascam DV3000 both have pretty decent ADC’s on board.

3. editing software for the music – KORG’s “”Audiogate is superb for DSD (PC or MAC) or Vinyl Studio for PCM

The Luxman C-600f and C700f both have tape outputs, but of course are quite different sounding from the Mola-Mola.

Q. What are the differences between the Kaluga and the Theta Prometheus?

A.In brief:

1. Lowest distortion input stage. Not available as an OEM component from Hypex.

2. nCore 1200 module with much higher quality components, selected by Bruno for their sonic qualities. Not available as an OEM component from Hypex

3. Switching power supply developed especially for Mola-Mola. Not available as an OEM component from Hypex

In full (from Bruno Putzeys):

The power amp module in the Mola-Mola amps is not strictly the NC1200. You may remember we sat down together to tweak a few parts and the improvement was not subtle. Based on those changes I made a new module specifically for the Kalugas. Also the input stage is a completely different affair. The one in the Kalugas is the same as in the Makua and is not available to anyone else. It has the lowest distortion I’ve ever seen on a buffer stage, and more importantly the most linear input impedance. This means it’s much more forgiving towards the source impedance.

Regarding the supplies, the proof is printed black on white in fig 4. in the Stereophile review of the Prometheus. Those 60Hz related components are simply nonexistent in the Kalugas. The most likely cause of those in the Thetas is the big toroidal transformer combined with the big capacitor tank and the rectifiers + associated wiring putting out a stray field. It’s often said that toroids don’t have a stray field. They do, and it’s located where the wires come out. The field you get there is very nasty, consisting of 60Hz harmonics going all the way up into the kHz region. It’s so strong that it is easily picked up by the speaker wiring so the amp output could be clean and you’d still get a buzz in the speaker as a result of the few inches of wire between the amp module and the chassis.

The kalugas have no discernible hum or buzz and the construction of the power supply is part of the reason (the internal wiring explains the rest). Because of the fact that rectification happens on the primary side, currents are smaller. Also, for the same amount of energy storage the capacitors are physically much smaller so you can do a circuit board layout that has minimal current loops. The power transformer is run at 100kHz meaning it too can be smaller and its stray field (which contains no 60Hz related component!) is very easily shielded.

The designer of the SMPS has also done a custom job for Manley for microphone preamplifiers. When the people there realized that suddenly all the hum and buzz they’d been fighting for years was completely gone they went ape. It’s really strange how lay people (especially those trained in the art of audiophilia by their peers who write for audio magazines) seem to think that switching power supplies are noisy. They’re not. Given half a chance they’re much quieter. All you need to take care about is of course the 100kHz and associated harmonics. Once I had that down the SMPS sounded much better than the big iron and copper affair that’s incorrectly known as a “linear supply”.



Q. I am interested in the Luxman SQ-N10 tube amp and the matching CD player. However, I have been told that you have to wait about 45 minutes for tube amps to warm up before you can play them. Is this true?

A. The tube amp takes one minute to power up and you can listen to music then. It will take an additional twenty minutes to fully stabilize & reach its optimum sound performance.

Q. How do I open the driver I downloaded from the Specs tab on the product page?

A.To open the driver on the Specs tab after you’ve downloaded it, you’ll need to have WinZip installed on your computer. If you don’t already have WinZip, you can download a free trial of the software here.

Q. On the SQ-N100 the volume control had a LED inside the volume control that always showed you where the volume was set. With the SQ-N10 when the unit is powering up, the LED blinks and then shuts off when the unit is powered up. The LED also blinks when you hit mute. Is the LED supposed to be on / illuminated in normal operation?

A. It is MUTE operation at the first 30 seconds when the unit is powering up, during MUTE operation, LED blinks. After 30 seconds, LED shuts off and the unit works normal. So in MUTE operation the LED blinks, while in normal operation LED shuts off.

Q. Are the pre outs on the L-505uX always hot or do they only turn on when the separate function is engaged? The reason I’m asking is I have a prospective client who is interested in the L-505uX and wants to use his subwoofer with it. If the output is not always active, I assume I can split the signal with a Y adapter and send the signal to both the sub and the main in.

A. The PRE out is always hot.

Q. I tried to do the firmware update (to 1.10 from 1.0). Although the file downloaded properly the eclipse said the file was invalid. However it will not leave the mode it was in after rebooting; the white indicator is flashing and I cannot connect to it over bonjour. I am reluctant to turn off the power. Can you suggest a way to salvage this unit?

A.On first viewing, you are correct to try and avoid powering down. Have you tried a ‘hard reset’ on the system? This involves holding the Power, Down volume and Up volume buttons at the same time for approx. 3 – 5 secs. It is a little tricky (deliberately so, to avoid mistakenly doing it), but I find a combination of thumb of left hand and thumb + middle finger of right hand should do the job. This then resets everything and should set the indicator light back to Green.

audirvana ask philip photoQ:  I own a Luxman L-590AX amplifier and it sounds terrific. I like it very much…. I am considering an upgrade (of my CD player) to the Luxman D-05… In the April issue of The Absolute Sound, Mark Waldrep, President of AIX Records states on page 160 that “delivering music on physical discs is over.” He believes the future is in digital downloads tailored to the individual listener. I experimented once … and did not like the way it sounded… Does Luxman, or any of the other brands you carry, have a music server product that supports a high quality digital download as noted by Mr. Waldrep? … I am very interested in hearing your comments and suggestions. – Howard G

Philip:  I personally listen to music in all formats and have long embraced the SACD format with the rest of the audiophile community as my go-to medium for high quality digital music playback, boasting a collection of well over 1,000 SACD albums.  For music labels, digital downloads give their music a new lease of life. Of particular attention are the DSD files now being made available to download.  The DSD Master sounds better (richer & fuller) than the DSD file ripped from the SACD, however, they are usually more expensive than the physical SACD.

The digital revolution benefits music lovers like us as it increases accessibility and variety for our indulgence, but I would not go so far as to say that physical discs are finished.  Just to illustrate, Acoustic Sounds show 31 recent SACD releases while they show 116 titles coming soon.

To answer your question, sonically and practically speaking, you really don’t need to buy a dedicated music server per se, but something as simple as a MAC Mini and install Audirvana, then hook up a hard drive to it. You can take the digital audio output via USB to the D-05 or D-06.

We supply a LUXMAN U-100R (USB / SPDIF converter) free of charge with the D-05, D-06 & D-08.  This way you can spin CDs & SACDs and hook up a music server whenever the urge takes you.  To top it off, Luxman is bringing to the North American market a high resolution DAC (DA-06 – retail $6,000) that is DSD compatible in a few months time and its terrific sounding.  The DA-06 is built upon the D-06 platform, minus the transport mechanism.  But of course, it will not play any discs, only music files.

I am conducting music seminars around North America with this equipment and other latest components.  Drop by to see us or inquire for a dealer near you.