Luxman PD-151 Turntable

hfncommendedTaking its cues from the PD-171 turntable, but with a more elegant aesthetic, the PD-151 is Luxman's first new deck in eight years. Does it sound as clean as it looks?

How deliciously ironic: two turntables this month from companies with vast experience in vacuum hold-down of the LP, yet neither of them possesses it. Continuum's Obsidian is a complete departure from its LP-sucking forebears, while Luxman's PD-151 is fundamentally a simplified PD-171 [HFN Dec '13] – the model which revived the brand's turntable line in 2011, but minus the vacuum function of yore.

At £4500, the PD-151 costs £1000 less than the latest PD-171A, and visual giveaways include a relocating of the controls to the vertical front panel of the plinth and no cover over the pulley. Their tonearms, on the other hand, look identical but are not, with one other key difference: the arm on the PD-171A can be changed for another make, while the PD-151's is fixed.

Rock Solid
Not to worry, for this is a fine example of a 'Japan Inc' S-shaped arm with universal Ortofon headshell mounting system, and the Ortofon 2M Red [HFN Oct '08], Denon DL-103R [HFN Jul '09] and Decca Maroon cartridges I tried caused no incompatibilities. Luxman wisely includes both a detailed owner's manual and a set of Allen keys to allow the user to alter arm and cueing lever height. A doddle. Do, however, use a proper, external stylus balance, as the scale on the counterweight was out by a good half-gram.


Other changes between the '151 and '171 include a 4kg platter versus the latter's 5kg, and a reduction of the dimensions to 465x164x322mm (whd) compared to the larger, more robust PD-171A's 492x140x407mm (whd). The biggest change between them, though, is the use of a brushless DC motor instead of the older deck's AC motor. Personally, I've never detected any superiority/inferiority one way or the other in respect of rival motor types as I am sure there are good and bad applications of both.

One other omission is the built-in strobe, as featured prominently on the front of the PD-171A. But this isn't grounds for whining: the PD-151's speed was rock solid, and you can pick up a decent strobe disc from Amazon for under a tenner should you need to play with musical pitch. The Luxman PD-151 features adjustment screws for 33.33, 45 and 78rpm on the front, to the right of the power-on and stop/start buttons and the rotary speed selector. Start-up is quick, too.

Beyond the three keys for the arm, Luxman includes everything you could need save for the cartridge. There's a nice, thick rubber mat, a handsome, slotted magnesium headshell, two screw-in handles for lowering the platter over the spindle and a sturdy hinged dust cover.

Highest Standards
Few of you will need slavishly to refer to the owner's manual as everything about this deck demands only straightforward, classic, old-school practice – even the OFC tonearm cables are captive. Aside from positioning the cartridge for correct overhang, ever a fiddly task, I had the deck out of the box, the power and tonearm cables connected and the music playing in 13 minutes.


Although Luxman has gone out of its way to eliminate aggravation, it has not simplified features to a point where a purist would be unable to set it up to the highest standards of audio housekeeping. Along with fine-tuning of speed and a fully-adjustable arm, the isolation feet allow a certain amount up/down tweaking, ideal for levelling. The wide, flat belt runs around the pulley and platter, and is a no-brainer to fit, Luxman shunning awkward manoeuvring (and the risk of fingerprint oil on the belt). The only deck simpler, aside from an all-in-one with cartridge, would be something like a Rega or Pro-Ject of the 'rectangular slab' variety.

sqnote In For A Pound
My goodness! Does this baby sing! Keeping in mind that I was coming from a deck with an extra zero on its price sticker, I was taken aback by how coherent and confident this turntable sounded. Not least – no, make that 'immediately impressive' – was the sense of lower-octave mass, which I usually assume is the first thing to go when moving from a deck weighing 30kg or so to one tipping the scales at half that.

Luxman Corp.
Supplied by: IAG (International Audio Group), UK
01480 447700