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Luxman D-10X CD/SACD Player and DAC

Luxman D-10X

Some thirteen years ago I reviewed a pair of Luxman components, the L-550A II Class A integrated amplifier and the DU-50 universal disc player. Both represented the so-called entry-level of the company’s lineup, but at $4000 and $4500 respectively, even in the screwy world of the high end, this could hardly be called entry-level pricing. They performed accordingly: easily among the very finest I’d heard in their respective equipment categories regardless of cost. On the strength of that review, a close friend purchased the DU-50 for himself, one consequence of which has been that in the years since I’ve often had the pleasure of hearing this player in a system I know well. Every time I returned from one of those visits, I wondered again whether I shouldn’t have bought the review sample—I was surely tempted at the time. With a slight forgiving quality that precluded complete neutrality, the presentation was, nevertheless, within any reasonable bounds thereof, while still possessing an ease and naturalness that drew all the attention to the music.

Both products have long since been retired or replaced by upgraded versions. Meanwhile, a great deal has happened in the world of digital audio, including impressive improvements in Red Book and DSD, hi-res streaming (increasingly the go-to avenue through which many of us now listen to recorded music), and downloads, plus a whole new format in MQA that can also be streamed. So, when Jeffrey Sigmund, the president of Luxman America, asked me if I’d like to review the company’s brand-new state-of-the-art D-10X player, he didn’t have to ask a second time. At $16,495 retail, this is the most expensive CD player Luxman has ever made, not to mention the most expensive (by over a factor of four) I’ve ever reviewed. While it is far from the most expensive out there, it’s still the company’s grab for the brass ring. Fortunately, as the review will make clear, the D-10X easily revealed itself to be a worthy contender in the arena of no-holds-barred luxury digital players.

Features and Technology

When UPS dropped off the D-10X I thought Sigmund had mistakenly sent an amplifier. At fifty pounds it reminds me that a cornerstone of Japanese audio design and engineering is the application of weight, bulk, and mass in order to achieve the greatest possible stability, rigidity, damping, and resonance reduction. The D-10X debuts the company’s Lx DTM-I, a transport that features an improved disc-reading mechanism, the drive itself enclosed in 8mm-thick side-plates that extend the depth of the chassis with a 5mm-top plate. The power transformer is substantially increased in size and weight over the one in Luxman’s previous flagship the D-08u, along with independent regulators for each circuit and what the literature calls “formidable filter capacitors for the ultimate stability.” Specially developed feet are said to contribute significantly to chassis isolation and resonance reduction (perhaps the only physical miscalculation in the design, these allow for so little clearance my fingers were slightly squashed between the bottom of the chassis and the cabinet surface, and my digits aren’t stubby).

At the heart of the D-10X is a new D/A converter, the BD34301EKV from ROHM Semiconductor, used in a dual-mono configuration, the first use, says Sigmund, of this converter in an audio component. As a company with feet still firmly planted in the world of analog, Luxman has paid special attention to that part of the D-10X’s circuitry. Fully balanced, it uses the company’s proprietary “Only Distortion Negative Feedback (ultimate),” which is claimed to maximize accuracy of error detection and minimize distortion. Inside the circuit a “tailored, gradual first-order filter with 3-band processing” is said to achieve “a natural and smooth waveform without the conventional output filters.” A shielded, “composite, loop-less chassis” protects “the analog signal from changes in ground impedance and magnetic fields” and helps block digital noise. Peel-coat PCB and 100μm copper-foil, gold-plated connections are said to suppress dielectric effects, unwanted resistance, and stray capacitance in the circuit boards. Engineering, quality of construction, attention to detail, and fit and finish are all easily of, say, SME standard,  (and like SME, Luxman specifies some ninety percent of the parts and individual components). 

As for formats and connectivity, excepting Blu-ray audio, the D-10X will play virtually any audio-only two-channel or hybrid disc on the planet, including the new MQA-CDs.  Through the USB inputs it will handle PCM from 44.1kHz to 786kHz and DSD from 2.8MHz to 22.4MHz (1-bit). The coaxial and optical inputs are limited to PCM 44.1–192kHz. Analog audio outputs are RCA and XLR, digital outputs two optical and one each coaxial and USB, digital inputs one each optical and coaxial. The DAC can be used, and for streaming and downloads obviously must be used, independently of the rest of the unit, and it can also be bypassed, though why anyone would pay this much for a player with a DAC of this caliber and then bypass it escapes me. A remote handset accesses all functions. 

While the D-10X performed flawlessly throughout the review period, there are two functional issues that are worth mentioning. First, the player does not allow fast forward and fast reverse across track breaks. This proved particularly annoying when trying to compare how different formats handle the acoustic fade-aways of music into ambience, which typically occur at the end of a selection. If I didn’t hit fast reverse quickly enough and the next track was engaged, I had to go back to the beginning of the previous track, fast forward to near the end, and try to listen again. Rapid-fire comparisons were thus impossible. Offhand, I can’t think of another CD player that behaves this way: I hope Luxman will address it through a firmware correction. 

Second, for SACD playback there are a pair of filters. According to Luxman’s engineers, as conveyed by Sigmund, “D-1 is considered normal (slow decay, slow roll-off of energy pulse), result described as ‘smooth.’ D-2 is high attenuation (steep decay, sharp roll-off of energy pulse), result described as ‘clear, precise.’ Luxman’s recommendation is D-1 for most playback.” While the differences twixt the two are not gross, rapid A/B comparisons confirmed the thumbnails. But just to be sure I wasn’t influenced by the descriptors, I asked my wife to have a listen, using the “Sweet Baby James” cut from Jacintha’s James Taylor album [Groove Note]. Danielle’s no audiophile, but she listens well and is uncorrupted by the biases and pretentions of the typical audiophile (including mine). She heard the differences readily, pronouncing “D1 warmer, D2 cooler.” However, everything from personal taste to associated equipment to kind of music to recording quality will affect filter preference. Most classical listeners will likely prefer D1, but if your tastes run to rock, heavy metal, or even hard-driving jazz, you might prefer D2. You also might prefer it if you happen to like a more Yang-like presentation in general. (I left D1 engaged most of the time.) While I realize that all digital requires some sort of filtering and also that the differences among many filters are often quite small, it is frustrating that Luxman’s engineers haven’t provided some sort of default position to indicate accurate-to-source reproduction or at least their idea of it. As things stand, we can opt for the one we like, but have no way of knowing which (if either) is right. While this is, of course, the bane of all subjective reviewing, I am assuming, perhaps mistakenly, that a company like Luxman has resources for determining this that we don’t. (By the way, Luxman is not alone here: practically every manufacturer that offers filter selection follows the same practice.) 

According to Sigmund, all Luxman products go through a final design stage during which they are voiced by a single individual. In this respect they are not unlike several other Japanese manufacturers. Marantz comes most immediately to mind, the late Ken Ishiwata being perhaps the only “voicer” to have become a celebrity, even a guru. At Luxman this individual is Masakazu Nagatsuma, head of the company’s Research and Development. Sigmund informs me the final sound of any given model results from a series of intensive listening sessions that involves such processes as substituting in crucial parts of the circuitry capacitors selected from a tray of same or tweaking the screws and bolts that secure transformers and circuit boards. One of the Luxman integrated amplifiers, for example, has five to seven different torque settings that “yield subtly different sonic profiles.” 

I inquired what if anything is done to ensure this exacting torquing survives shipping and longtime in-field use. Precisely calibrated wrenches, several with meters or digital read-outs, are used. Then various methods are employed to ensure adjustments hold, such as lock nuts, nuts with small bumps on them that dig into the adjoining surface once tightened, and various sorts of adhesives. In other words, in addition to the design, the engineering, the machining, and the quality of parts, quite a number of labor hours of critical listening goes into the final assembly. How much of this is necessary to achieve excellent sound or precisely how much significance such subtleties of tweaking really have are discussions for another day. I mention it only to suggest that if you feel this sort of thing is necessary, then part of the high pricing of the D-10X reflects the parts, labor, and listening hours that have gone into it.

Sound

Luxman’s design goal is for every product to sound—the words again originate with Luxman’s designers, as conveyed by Jeff Sigmund—“musical and natural, never strident or aggressive. They want you to be able to hear all sorts of detail, even at the micro level, yet without fatigue, for a rich, musical experience.” Well, I can certainly testify to a rich musical experience if that’s what’s on the recording: the first Solti Aida (RCA/Decca), the Bernstein Carmen (DG CD), the Dallas Symphony’s Symphonic Dances (the really good sounding one, by Mata on ProArte, not the sonically harsh, nasty, dry one by Johanos originally on Turnabout), and the Levine Strauss tone poems with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (DG CD) are all as rich, dramatic, colorful, and dynamic as you could want. The ProArte Rachmaninoff (CD) opens out with impressively wide dynamic range and power, instrumental definition, and really tremendous bass kick. And the Aida (CD, Blu-ray, Qobuz hi-res, and Tidal MQA) is spectacular beyond spectacular. This Ken Wilkinson recording is multi-miked (and owing to the microphones he preferred, distinctly brightly lit), so all the lines and textures of Verdi at his densest in the triumphal scene are as clean and clear as you can imagine, yet paradoxically it doesn’t sound in the least picked apart. There is a real impression of gestalt that results in a wide and deep soundstage that helps bring the drama vividly to life in an aural landscape that conjures ancient Egypt by way of Verdi’s Italy.

One of the last things I played through the most recent digital components I reviewed before this Luxman—McIntosh’s MCT SACD/CD transport going into the DAC section of the C53 preamplifier—is the last reissue, now in SACD, of the Telarc 1812 Overture and Capriccio Italien by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It was one of the first I played on the D-10X. Even after four decades, this recording, one of the earliest all-digital, remains a benchmark, one of the finest I’ve ever heard of a symphony orchestra (and puts paid to the argument that all early digital is bad). Further, it is the finest I’ve heard of these two works, particularly the 1812, which, heaven help us, does not lack for audiophile competition. The dynamic range is quite literally stupendous—even today there are virtually no commercial recordings that exceed or even approach it. I have no idea what cannon blasts should sound like in actuality, but they’re certainly convincing here—scarily so! (Get too enthusiastic on the volume control and you’ll take out a speaker system.) While Telarc’s method of recording, which involves spaced omnis, does not make for the most precise imaging when it comes to locating something in a given place, the soundstage, vast and all enveloping, fools me into thinking I’m hearing a pretty convincing simulacrum of a symphony orchestra in a great nineteenth-century concert hall. 

This owes in part to the lovely tonal balance the engineers captured: warm, vibrant, pulsating strings that sound like strings, brasses that are round yet cutting when required, and characterful winds. Finally, and most important, there’s the performance. Kunzel obviously respects these pieces as music and plays them accordingly—con amore. Sonically, in every way, I regard this production as superior to the famous Mercury with the London Symphony, where Antal Dorati, a great conductor with a serious affinity for Tchaikovsky, seems to have been caught on an atypically stodgy day. Compare the through-line, how the various episodes are dovetailed, the way the melodies are by turns caressed yet allowed to sing under Kunzel, and you’ll get the idea. Meanwhile, Kunzel’s companion Capriccio Italien is even better, performed with irresistible drive and rhythmic panache. 

Given the proclaimed sonic goals of the Luxman people and my experience of the one previous Luxman CD player, my biggest and most welcome surprise is that the D-10X is not in the least “forgiving” in the way that the DU-50 somewhat is. For proof, go to George Szell: The Complete Columbia Album Collection. Though excellently remastered and much improved upon by Sony over the Epic and Columbia analog originals (and every vinyl issue), many of the recordings still sound as severe, top-heavy, and bass-light as seems to have been Szell’s wont—but, and this is crucial, no more so. When it comes to timing, the Luxman is as precise, together, pointed, and alert as any toe-tapper or armchair conductor could demand. There’s detail and resolution to satisfy any fetishist but without any hardness, harshness, or edginess, at least none that I could lay at the feet of the D-10X itself. How much tonal tailoring went into the D-10X’s sound by way of all that capacitor-swapping and torque-tweaking I can’t say, but never did I sense that what I was hearing was flavored the way, say, the Marantz Ruby KI and some other players, however tastefully, are. 

During the last several months I’ve been listening to late Beethoven quartets, notably the Op. 131 (which the composer regarded as his greatest) and the Op. 130 (said to be his favorite), the original version with the Great Fugue as the last movement (not the Allegro composed later when, bowing to publisher and performer pressure, he detached the Fugue for separate publication). One particular week I listened to at least a dozen recordings of the 130 in Red Book CD, SACD, on Qobuz and Tidal streaming (Red Book, hi-res, and MQA), and in downloads. Whenever I review digital components, I like to listen to lots of strings, particularly violins and violas, not least because these are instruments up against which early digital often came a cropper. The Great Fugue is a real torture test because it represents Beethoven at his gnarliest, his most uncompromisingly difficult, pushing the instruments, notably the violin, almost to punishing extremes of its range and certainly its expressivity. Much of the time it is most emphatically not intended to sound warm, pretty, certainly never plush or lush. At the same time, however, it must sound like a violin, only one that is making sometimes harsh and aggressive sounds on purpose. Some quartets, like the La Salle or the Quartetto Italiano, cannot resist playing the piece beautifully and, however slightly, sweetening or otherwise softening Beethoven’s acerbic sonorities, while others, like the Balcea, throw themselves fully into the composer’s relentless ferocity. The D-10X acquitted itself with high honors during this week-long marathon. Even the day I listened to three different performances of the 130 in succession left me completely exhilarated, without the slightest hint of listening fatigue, instead craving for more. The differences in recording, miking, venue, and the instruments themselves were revealed with unmistakable clarity; equally revelatory was the wide variety of approaches to this difficult but inexhaustible masterpiece. 

There’s a great sense of body to the D-10X’s sound, with none of the papery, flattish, anemic character of very early digital (to be fair, I feel duty-bound to add that it’s been a very long time since I’ve heard good contemporary digital products at whatever price level evince these characteristics). This hardly surprised me, as the same was true of the DU50. But the D-10X rivals and even surpasses tube gear in this regard, not least because it lacks the latter’s frequency-response aberrations and distortion products (however euphonic these may be). Evidence for this is available in almost any good-or-better vocal recording, and you can hear it to truly tactile effect on SACDs or digital downloads of recordings by Jacintha, Lynn Stanley, and Patricia Barber. As I was wrapping up the review, our music editor Jeff Wilson asked me to review Barber’s new album Higher (TAS 316), which on SACD is detailed and transparent with a dynamic window appropriate to the music. The recording is a bit close, so it doesn’t to my ears offer much in the way of a realistic perspective, but it’s highly involving and attractive on its own terms.

But you don’t need DSD or hi-res to reveal this impression of body and dimensionality. High-quality Red Book recordings will do just as well, such as a current favorite of mine: Alison Krauss’ “Down to the River and Pray” (from A Hundred Miles or More, Qobuz). The purity of this recording, the cool beauty and roundedness of her voice, the backup singers, perfectly positioned in space around her—the D-10X’s presentation is beyond criticism. In connection with the new film about Billie Holiday, I’ve also been listening to some of her vintage recordings, and again there’s that wonderful impression of immediacy and tactility despite the age and provenance of the tracks (try “I’ll Be Seeing You” from The Complete Commodore, Qobuz).

During the review period I did almost all my streaming through its DAC, which offers full soup-to-nuts MQA rendering and decoding. Bluesound’s Node 2i was the music server, its internal DAC bypassed. Some of the time, however, I used Roon with the Node 2i as the Roon Endpoint, which means that even the music server function of the Node was bypassed. Through Roon the sound was maybe a bit more transparent, but I couldn’t tell you which was which outside of an A/B and even that proved difficult. My reference for streaming is the outstanding Aurender A10 (Issue 305). To the extent that I could do comparisons—level matching was not easy, and rapid A/B’s impossible—my overall impression is that the Aurender might be a bit smoother, the Luxman perhaps a bit more extrovert. But we are talking subtleties here, besides which there’s absolutely no way to ascertain which is correct with respect to the source. Suffice it to say, consistent with the quality of recording and performance inherent in the source, whether used as disc player or streaming DAC, I found it impossible to fault D-10X’s sonics in any way that matters to me.

MQA Discs

If you’re still with me in anticipation of some sort of definitive verdict on MQA discs, this part of the review is going to prove both disappointing and frustrating, as to some extent it was for me to write. This is because the availability of MQA discs in this country is low, most of them direct imports from Japan. [There are currently 560 MQA-CD titles available in Japan, increasing at the rate of 10–20 per month—RH]. Luxman provided me with about half a dozen discs of superbly recorded but quite unfamiliar repertoire, clearly too small a sample to make any sort of general assessments. Most of these are from 2L, a Norwegian audiophile label that specializes in recording mainly classical, contemporary “classical” compositions, and acoustic jazz in spacious venues such as churches, cathedrals, and concert halls. The recordings consisted in a group of five women singing Christmas music; two moderately sized choral groups, one with instrumental accompaniment, singing folk and contemporary music; a jazz trio; and a recital for French horn and piano. 

They are all unfailingly beautiful as recordings, with serious claims to state of the art, characterized by natural dynamics, a moderately distant perspective, and extraordinarily rich helpings of ambience. Those who, like me, feel that much recording is entirely too close are likely to find these very gratifying. Made with DXD 24-bit/352.8kHz, the recordings boast imaging and soundstaging that are often truly holographic. The albums as released consist in hybrid discs with SACD two-channel and multichannel alternatives and MQA two-channel. Several of the sets are also supplied with a Blu-ray audio disc that offers multichannel and two-channel options. It is obvious that great care has been taken from the original tapes or files, as the case may be, through to the final release, and it all appears to have been done in house at 2L by the founder, owner, producer, and engineer Morten Lindberg, who seems to be a perfectionist about all matters technical.

Of the several discs my two favorites are Trachea and The Horn in Romanticism. The former features Schola Cantorum, a small choral group augmented by selected instruments (violin, four horns, a saxophone). As noted, the miking here is not close and there is a very wide spread to the group with virtually no depth. A look at the booklet shows why. Photographs suggest they were arranged in a single or double row that inscribes a wide semi-circle. The French horn album was a voyage of discovery that made the whole review worthwhile. Before this, I did not know there was even a recital literature for the instrument. Yet there is, and by mainstream composers such as Dukas, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Chabrier, Schumann, and Strausses (Richard and Franz, Richard’s father). The pieces are performed with a variety of horns, including modern valved ones and early valveless (i.e., natural) ones, with piano accompaniment (a restored pianoforte). This is another truly lovely recording, absolutely state of the art yet without being in any way “audiophile”—it just sounds true, allowing you to hear the differences between natural horns and valved horns, the former mellow and more bucolic, the latter fatter, richer, yet also smoother with a much finer range of tone and nuance, while the piano is plainly not a modern grand. (My colleague Andrew Quint reviewed this album in TAS.)

I was so impressed with these recordings that I asked Lindberg if he could send me a cross-section from his catalogue of other music I’m more familiar with. He graciously obliged, but, alas, UPS didn’t, managing to lose track of the package and not recovering it until the eve of deadline, when it was impossible for me to do any listening to include in this review. The one exception is an album called Of Innocence and Experience (2L161, available on Amazon), a recital of piano music—Liszt’s B Minor, Schumann’s Kinderszenen, and Beethoven’s “Appasionata”—recorded in a Norwegian church and performed by Kristen Ofstad Lindberg on a Steinway D. This is one of the most beautiful recordings of a piano I have ever heard, in a sympathetic acoustic that really allows the venue to sound because the mics have been placed at a reasonable distance. You get all the detail you need in a presentation that otherwise fulfills the late Peter Walker’s ideal of a window onto the concert hall. I shall be exploring more 2L recordings in a future piece for TAS.

Bob Stuart, one of MQA’s principal developers, sent me two additional sampler CDs. One featured a singer with various instruments, the other classic jazz from such luminaries as Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Getz and Gilberto on such labels as Sony, Verve, Impulse, and Blue Note. 

So, in all these instances, how does the MQA sound compared to the Red Book compared to the SACD? Difficult to say. Allow me to explain. First, with MQA discs, all I could compare on the Luxman were the MQA versions versus the SACD versions. This is because, like all current MQA disc players, when you elect to play the non-SACD layer, the player defaults to MQA if it is available, but you cannot access the non-MQA format even if it’s available. You can play the non-MQA version on your non-MQA player. (This is a point of contract between MQA and disc manufacturers, even though many disc manufacturers do not like it. Nor, for that matter, do I.) 

Second, A/B comparisons were impossible because you must first put the player into stop mode, then switch to the other layer and wait until it gets there, press play or whatever track you want to listen to, wait until it gets there, then adjust for the considerable level differences between the two. I was lucky if I could reduce the switchover to under a minute. Once all that was all done, what did I hear? Absolutely no differences between MQA and SACD that I would place any stock or faith in, nor any I’d pay so much as a nickel for. My notes go to such as: “A bit more focus with SACD?”; “a little more ambience retrieval with the MQA?” But then I’d go back: “Well, maybe not”; “No, sounds pretty much the same”; “?” One MQA spokesperson told me that mine is by far not the only response along this line they’ve gotten from listeners: “We at MQA consider that an extremely high compliment.” (As they should: SACD and DSD are data hogs, MQA is not.)

As for the sampling disc involving the singer, there are four selections in three resolutions (Red Book sans MQA and MQA in two different resolutions). The first selection featured a piano introduction and what really struck me was the sound of the instrument. Why? Because I had been simultaneously reviewing some vinyl components with all their attendant issues of off-center pressings. But here, the piano was fantastically clean, clear, and so speed stable and pitch perfect that I was knocked completely out of reviewer mode and just wallowed in the sound of the instrument alone so solidly and securely reproduced. I had the same reaction when I listened to the late-arrival Of Innocence and Experience mentioned earlier. 

Apart from that, throughout the four selections my listening impressions were remarkably consistent—note that with this sampler there were no SACD tracks on offer. To the extent that the MQA-processed samples were “better” than the Red Book, it was in the following areas: a bit more air, a bit more texture to instruments and voices, a bit better (as in better defined) bass response, a bit more detail (e.g., sticks on cymbals), a bit more space around and between (as in physical distance) singer and instrumentalists, a bit more ease and freedom to the overall presentation. The reason why I put quotation marks around “better,” however, is these were all, to my ears anyhow, very small differences, identifying which required concentrating exclusively upon the recorded sound to the exclusion of every other consideration, including music as such. And even then, I’m quite sure that on a cold audition I couldn’t tell or at least would have very great difficulty telling which was which the next day, the next hour, even ten minutes later. 

I also auditioned most of these discs through my alternate setup of a Marantz Ruby KI used as a transport feeding a Benchmark DAC3, and damned if they didn’t sound just fine and dandy that way too. (There were times when I wasn’t sure I wasn’t hearing a bit more focus through the Marantz/DAC3 combo—this perhaps because precision thusly defined is stock in trade chez Benchmark—but I wouldn’t put any money on it.) To my way of thinking, one of the things this whole experience demonstrated is the wisdom of an observation quoted in these pages many years ago by Peter McGrath, who makes some of the finest recordings I’ve ever heard, to the effect that what matters more than playback or quality of equipment is the quality of the recording itself. Back then, before digital, he said, correctly, that a really good recording played back on a cassette deck will sound better than a mediocre or worse recording on the best open-reel or vinyl. 

I discovered the truth of McGrath’s observation time and time again during this review. So many of these recordings—this also applies to many of his that he sent me for audition—sound so good that, for me at least, whether I was listening to them in Red Book, in hi-res PCM, in MQA, in Blu-ray, in SACD or DSD streaming or downloads mattered far less than the excellence of the recordings themselves. Did this make me despair? Absolutely not. As I’ve said on many other occasions, one of the benefits of digital is that when it is done well, the several formats resemble each to an extraordinary degree. (I am happy to read that several of my colleagues, as well as reviewers elsewhere, have expressed similar sentiments.) Isn’t this as it should be? Back in the early days of audio, some wag once said that when two components sound different, chances are they’re both wrong. Designers in those days believed there was a known and verifiable source, which they were attempting to reproduce as accurately as they could manage with the tools and technology at their disposal. The latest developments in digital, including now MQA, offer promising evidence that this is not only fast becoming an attainable goal but may already be close to an achieved reality. 

Conclusion:

In a world that seems to grow more virtual by the day, I confess to both surprise and some head scratching that Luxman should have chosen to release a disc player of this sophistication and expense in the current market, a market in which, at least domestically, streaming and digital downloads are taking an ever-increasing share over any sort of digital hard media. Clearly, they must know more about these things than I.  

Though I am not familiar with the few MQA disc players on the domestic market—around five, I think—I’d be amazed if any of them offers quite the range of playback options in a single unit as the D-10X, whether streaming, download, or hard media. Add to this battleship construction, excellent ergonomics, and the Luxman style, and you’ve got a component that while undeniably expensive is unlikely to leave you hankering for anything more or better for a very long time to come. Despite the current scarcity of MQA discs, the D-10X’s superb handling of Red Book and higher PCM discs, not to mention SACD, and the outstanding onboard DAC that affords effectively state-of-the-art streaming conjoin to make this player an attractive proposition despite the admittedly high ticket. 

And I shouldn’t want to minimize the considerable draw of the Luxman “sound”: supremely musical yet now with a degree of resolution, detail, and neutrality that will effectively reveal everything that is on any source you care to feed it. I never tired of listening to it and believe I can say with confidence that the D-10X is, if only by a slim margin, quite the finest all-in-one CD and SACD player with which I’ve any sort of experience. 

Specs & Pricing

Supported discs: SACD, CD (CD-R, CD-RW, MQA-CD)
Supported sampling frequencies: USB input (PCM): 44.1 kHz–768kHz (16-, 24-, 32-bit); USB input (DSD): 2.8MHz–22.4MHz (1-bit); coaxial/optical input: 44.1 kHz–192 kHz (16-, 20-, 24-bit)
Analog output: Unbalanced on RCA jacks (2.4V, 300 ohms); balanced on XLR jacks (2.4V, 600 ohms)
Signal-to-noise ratio: CD: 125dB; SACD: 121dB; USB: 125dB
DAC: ROHM BD34301EKV 2x (pair operated in mono mode)
Dimensions: 17.3″ x 6″ x 16.45″
Weight: 49.38 lbs.
Price: $16,495

Luxman America Inc.
27 Kent Street, Suite 105A
Ballston Spa NY 12020
luxman.com

Tags: CD DAC LUXMAN SACD TRANSPORT

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