Luxman L-509Z

hfnoutstandingTaking its cues from the industrial design and Darlington topology of the L-509X, the latest L-509Z variant demonstrates how subtle revisions can exert a big sonic impact

At first glance, since they look like twins, you might wonder what Luxman has done to the L-509X integrated amplifier [HFN Jan ’18] to justify the Z suffix. The pesky price increase from £8500 to £10,999 reflects six years of inflation and recent world turbulence, but don’t be fooled by nearly identical looks. The devil is in the details.

PM explains the internal changes which impact favourably on the performance [see boxout, p53] but aside from the revised approach to feedback and other circuit tweaks, Luxman has also initiated a number of upgrades to the features. The eagle-eyed will notice that the tone controls now include ‘midrange’ where the predecessor only provided bass and treble. Similarly, between the VU meters is now a two-digit display to provide a digital read-out of the level while, below the meters, is a row of lights to indicate the various functions.

Blaster White?
These include ‘Separate’ (to indicate that the L-509Z’s preamp and power amp stages have been parted), Standby and Straight Line, as well as three others – Mono, Subsonic and Loudness – which are activated by the remote control [see p55]. This aluminium affair handles about every other function plus basic transport commands for a Luxman disc player.

Other additions to earn the ‘Z’ include mute and the facility for two pairs of headphones instead of just one (a 3.5mm socket for ‘Phones-1’ and 6.35mm for ‘Phones-2’). Found on the rear panel are higher-grade 20mm ‘cinch’ RCA sockets for Line 2, like the heftier gold-plated affairs fitted only on Line 1 on the L-509X, while the remaining RCAs are 18mm. Additionally, there are now in/out trigger sockets for simultaneous switch-on of other components in the system.