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: Joël Chevassus
Source: Audio Analogue Grand Maestro CD, Trends UD-10.1
Preamp/Integrated: Luxman L-590 AII [on loan], Vincent SV-238
Speakers: JLA Acoustique Perspective 2 Signature & Stand 80, McIntosh LS360, Venus Acoustique Caldeira Signature [on loan]
Cables: Naturelle Audio XLR cables Live 8 and Live 4, Naturelle Audio loudspeaker cables.
Power Cords: Guzi
Stands: Quest for Sound Isol pads for CD player, Ikea stand for Vincent SV-238
Room Size: 56 square meters
Review Component Retail: €6.950 in Europe (varies with country due to VAT)

: I recently had opportunity to use the Luxman D-06 SACD player while assessing the L-590 AII integrated amplifier. No doubt both share the same philosophy of timeless elegance and design. They also occupy the same price range: €7.500 for the amp, €6.950 for the SACD player. But Luxman isn’t just about expensive machines. Their entry-level source is the cute little D-N100 which is a true performer to readily associate with more expensive gear.

The newest Luxman source is the midline D-05 SACD player while the flagship is a monster of technology and refinement called the D-08 which demands nearly €15.000. Oy wowie. The D-06 applies the democratization process to come in at half the price of the highly praised but strictly happy few D-08. That’s the short intro into transistorized Luxman sources. To be more complete, I also have to mention the very new D-38U tube output CD player which reminds us of early exploits by this Yokohama company to marry tube output stages to digital.

Within the Luxman catalogue, the two-channel D-06 SACD is an upscale high-performance unit. While it is usually quite tough to identify particular weaknesses in any competent CD player of this price, designing a hybrid CD/SACD machine nevertheless is no walk in the park especially in the top range of the market. At its own level, each audio component is the result of predetermined compromise. With today’s digital sources, it becomes quite often a tightrope walk to combine high resolution with low noise, high dynamics, neutrality, analogue fluidity and multi-format chops. Of course Japanese manufacturers are well known for high-performance digital players: Accuphase, Esoteric, Sony and Luxman machines are used to playing with excellence and often designed for approaching perfection.

With today’s entrant, Luxman delivers a product that inherits a good dose of technical refinements of the flagship D-08 for its mechanism, digital and analogue circuits and represents a versatile machine that may be used as CD/SACD player or high-end standalone digital converter.

Description: This Luxman player sports both XLR and RCA outputs and benefits from the original Luxman LxDTM disk drive equipped with a die-cast thin aluminum tray loader to ensure rigidity and operational quietude. This mechanism is mounted asymmetrically to the left to optimize the internal real estate for the sizable analogue circuit, signal path  layout and weight balance. An overbuilt chassis solidly encloses the whole mechanism to eliminate susceptibility to external vibrations. The build quality seems above reproach. The transport features a highly rigid stabilizing block and the suede-finish aluminum tray further counters resonance. This QLL quiet linear loader opens and closes ultra smoothly and the mere act of pressing the close button on the remote conveys a high degree of mechanical excellence.

D/A conversion is by twinned Burr-Brown PCM1792A chip set for a claimed ultra-high S/N ratio of a theoretical 132dB. This is a multi-segment DAC with a hybrid configuration of multi-bit and single-bit elements. Jitter reduction is claimed as 1:100 and a 24-bit extender further increases dynamic range. The D-06’s 3.8334MHz sampling rate can play back native 1-bit DSD or down-convert it to 16/20/24-bit PCM using a single-stage digital FIR filtering and noise shaping. A simple switch on the front panel accesses either the SACD or CD layer of hybrid discs and the remote duplicates this function with its DSD/PCM button.

Two digital inputs on the back (one coaxial, one optical) can use the D-06 as a D/A converter for other digital sources. Unlike the Esoteric SA-50 competitor, Luxman did not include the third and trendier USB input and the D-06 remains a pure classic audiophile product, keeping its distance from streaming files. The unit is compatible with S/PDIF data from 32kHz to 96kHz and supports 44.1, 48 and 88.2kHz in-between.

The differential output of each mono DAC drives a fully balanced low-impedance buffer circuit while stable regulated power is supplied from the power transformer. As already was the case for the companion L-590 AII integrated, the D-06 provides an AC phase sensor to confirm proper power polarity. This function is far more useful in the D-06 and definitely helps to reach better sonics. Like other Luxman components in this price range, the output stage continues fully balanced and embeds an independent power supply regulator into each stage. The external case is shielded to block digital noise and the power IEC sports non-magnetic nickel treatment and gold plating. An elegant display provides the most important information about the loaded disc and a slim aluminum remote includes an unusual zoom function (when pressed during playback, the track number and time information enlarges on the display).

The specs include output voltage/impedance of 2.5 V/300Ω and 2.5 V/600Ω single-ended and balanced respectively, THD of 0.0014% for CD, 0.0017% for DSD and 0.0007% for SACD in PCM mode. S/N ratio is 124dB for CD, 104dB for DSD and 120dB for SACD as PCM. Power consumption is 24 watts and in standby 1 watt. Overall dimensions are 440 x 133 x 410mm WxHxD and weight is 15.5kg.