New Network Players From Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio just announced the release of their AXN10 and (half chassis sized) MNX10 streamers.

Combining an ESS SABRE ES9033Q DAC chipset and Cambridge’s StreamMagic Gen 4 Module, these two streaming DACs let you connect to nearly anything with Chromecast built in, AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth 5, in addition to accessing Spotify Connect, Tidal, and Qobuz. It is also Roon ready, if that’s your streaming infrastructure.

Click here to go to the Cambridge site and get on the waiting list, they will be available for purchase soon, pricing is TBD.

The LSA VT-150 Integrated

With the backlit output meters bouncing to the sound of Massive Attack, cranking up the VT-150s bias to the “high” position and plugging in a set of KT150 tubes proves to be a great move to get that club feeling. Our Team Fink Kim speakers are relatively easy to drive and taking advantage of their variable damping factor technology allows an incredibly good matchup to this tube amplifier, delivering solid bass.

Both Jerold O’Brien and I really enjoy the lower powered VT-70 from LSA. It’s a great entry level tube integrated that ticks all the boxes. Good build quality, great sound, and tubes that are relatively easy to come by. However, if you’re a tube lover, you know a pair of EL34 output tubes can only take you so far – lovely if you can live with 35 Watts per channel, but not the right tool for the job if you have speakers that require more power to do their thing. Or, you really like it LOUD.

Variable output

VSA now gives you a way to get more power, and if you use this amplifier as a monoblock, way more power. And options, you like options, don’t you? While you can drop a set of KT88s in the VT-70 and crank up the bias a bit, it won’t deliver that much more power, but the VT-150 thanks to its larger power supply and more robust output transformers (and more weight…) will deliver 60 Watts per channel in stereo mode at the lower bias setting.

Where PrimaLuna offers this as a switch-controlled function on some of their EVO amplifiers, the higher-powered options on the VT-150 require some manual labor. But this is what gets you a 60-100 Watt per channel integrated for an introductory price of $2,499. If you aren’t constantly tube rolling, this won’t be an issue.

Should you desire 80 Watts per channel, or even 100 Watts per channel with a set of KT150 tubes, the bottom cover can be removed, and jumpers replaced to supply the output tubes with the necessary current to deliver the additional power. Keep in mind, running the KT88s (or KT120s, if you go that route) at the higher bias results in shorter tube life. It’s easy enough to see what you prefer and set your VT-150 that way. If 60 Watts per channel gives you enough juice to light your speakers up, stick with the low bias setting and enjoy longer tube life.

Whether you are new to tubes, or familiar with the breed, biasing the output tubes is very easy – the output meters double as a bias indicator. Take a quick peek at the well written manual and follow the instructions. You’ll be an expert in no time. As with any tube amplifier, re-check the tube bias again after a week or two and then in a month. After that a cursory look should be all you need, the tubes should not shift much after the first 30 days or so. When you can no longer bring them to full bias anymore, it’s time to replace.

Basic configuration

Where the VT-70 offers a basic remote control, the VT-150 is no frills and no remote. Where the VT-70 offers three single-ended RCA inputs, the VT-150 has one RCA input and one XLR. Around back, you’ll see a switch that turns the amplifier into a monoblock, and delivering more power. Instead of having 4 and 8-ohm speaker taps the VT-150 now has 8- and 16-ohm taps. None of the speakers on hand for the review had major impedance drops so there were no issues with this amplifier in stereo mode.

For those seeking the maximum amount of sonic engagement with the least number of superfluous additions, the VT-150 is the way to roll. They’ve eliminated the remote control, no LED light in the volume control, and have kept all functionality to the bare minimum. The front panel is nicely finished, as is the volume control and chassis – an amplifier you’ll be proud to own, no doubt.

However, when producing product at this price point, every ten dollars affects the bottom line. In this case, the frills eliminated have been put into the quality of the output transformers and the components underneath the chassis. A few other tube integrateds offer completely point to point wiring, where the VT-150 has a mixture – they are all way more expensive. Careful listening reveals this amplifier is without sonic compromise, at this price. Considering that the McIntosh LB200 with optional rack mount handles will set you back $2,000 and it’s only a light box, the VT-150 must be one of the most stellar values in high end audio. Another $500 gets you a 80 Wpc integrated amp! Woo hoo.

More about tubes

The VT-150 arrives with a tube cage in place, but if you can avoid using it, few things in audio beat a bunch of glowing tubes. Much attention has been given to the output tube choices at your disposal with this amplifier, but thanks to the input/preamplifier stage using a pair of 6SN7 and 12AU7 tubes, you can tube roll to infinity.

Manufacturers rarely want us to discuss the benefits of tube rolling, especially substituting NOS tubes because this is not a consistent item, and often without repeatable results. Hence, manufacturers tend to design around tubes that are readily available. However, this amplifier circuit is well designed, and should the urge strike to swap tubes, there are sonic rewards to be had. It will depend on how maniacal you choose to be, but let it be said that should you feel like chasing down a few primo 12AU7s and 6SN7s (or maybe have some on hand already) it’s worth your while to experiment.

Ditto for the output tubes. The KT120 is not my favorite output tube, as it tends to sound more etched, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be the perfect match in your system with your speakers. Leave bias jumpers at the lower setting and set bias to the higher end of the range. The KT150s will deliver the most output, however the presentation is a different one than the KT88s produce.

When driving a pair of vintage Acoustat 2+2 speakers, the extra output and high-end snap, along with a pair of Nordost speaker cables brought those old ESLs to life in a way that’s never been done with a modest tube amp. When driving the XSA Vanguard speakers, the KT88s even at the lower bias setting is incredibly engaging. Finally, keep in mind that the amplifier sounds great out of the box. Tube rolling is not a necessity; however, this amplifier responds well to small changes. So to be clear, the VT-150 delivers top performance out of the box with the stock, factory supplied tubes, however those inclined to investigate premium tubes will be rewarded as well. This great for two reasons: it gives you a chance to easily improve your system as your involvement grows, and it shows a circuit that has been designed beyond meeting its immediate price point.

The finer points

Because the VT-150 uses a pair of input transformers to offer balanced inputs, this input will provide a slightly warmer, less dynamic sound than the RCA inputs will. The upside is this amplifiers’ ability to be fine-tuned to your music collection and/or listening habits. These are miniscule differences but make a difference nonetheless when using a balanced source.

Listening to the VT-70 and 150 side by side for some time, it’s important to point out that you are not merely getting more power when stepping up. More refinement awaits you with the VT-150 too, a sign of great designs. The bigger amplifier is more composed on top, more controlled on the bottom, and it resolves a decent share of increased inner detail too.

The VT-150 produces a very clean, fast, detailed look into the window of your favorite recordings. Comparing it to more expensive amplifiers on hand from Audio Research, BAT, Octave, and PrimaLuna, the VT-150 holds its ground. It is not a giant killer. The refinement afforded by the 10-20k amplifiers is still supreme. However, the way this amplifier nails all the musical basics at an equally commanding level will surprise you.

Tracking through a wide variety of different music is a joy with the VT-150. It is dynamic enough to play classical music or heavy rock as loud as you need yet offers great linearity at lower volumes. Even listening to the CSN debut album on MoFi at very low levels with the Dynaudio Confidence 20s is incredibly engaging. Yet cranking the volume way up for some Public Enemy and Slayer proves it delivers the goods.

in addition to having solid, controlled extension on both ends of the frequency scale, this amplifier can generate a large sound field in all three dimensions. There’s a lot of “vacuum tube magic” going on here, to be sure.

And, putting a $2,500-$3,000 amplifier in the context of the $7,500 to $15k system it is more than likely going to end up in will leave you thrilled with the purchase. If you’ve been dreaming of investigating a tube amplifier, I can think of no better place to start your journey. Perhaps at some point, we will commandeer a second one to investigate how these perform as monoblocks. For now, staffer Jerold O’Brien will be using this one on a daily. His daughter took the VT-70, so how can you argue with that?

Highly recommended.

The LSA VT-150

$2,999 (intro price $2,499)


Digital source                          Naim CD-5is, T+A 2500R

Analog source                         Technics SL-1200G/Skyanalog G-1 cartridge

Phono Pre                               BAT VK-12SE

Speakers                                 Dynaudio Confidence 20, Acoustat 2+2, Egglestonworks Nico

Cable                                       Tellurium Q Black II

Our System of the Year for 2023

We’ve decided to do something different this year…

How about giving out an award at the beginning of the year and start out on a happy note? Bam. If you’re looking for a great all in one, turnkey system that will serve up music in every format, we suggest this setup.

Also, just so we’re CLEAR – we do not advocate putting a speaker on the same shelf as a turntable… Just trying to take a pretty picture here. PS: Click here to go to Design Within Reach if you’d like to purchase the Nelson Bench in the photo.

The rest of the system is built around The T+A Caruso R ($4,250) and the XSA Labs Vanguard ($795/pr). We’ve rounded it out with a Technics SL-1200GR table ($1,799 without cartridge) the iFi Zen Phono ($199) and a pair of Tellurium Q Blue II speaker cables ($149 for a 2.5m pair). ($225/pair for the 1M RCA interconnects to the iFi Zen)

Taking Ethernet Performance Higher

The folks at Network Acoustics have developed their Muon Pro Ethernet Filter and Streaming Cable, claiming to eliminate noise in the network line. Initially developed for the Pro Audio world and handmade in the UK, we will be anxious to hear how this (Approx.) $2,000 bundle cleans up the sound.

Click here to visit the Network Acoustics site.

The REL No. 31 Subwoofer

Tracking through a time-worn favorite, The K&D Sessions, the very definition of the lower bass notes being delivered is stunning, just coming from a six-pack of REL No.25 subwoofers I lived with for two years. I loved em’ but at the end of the day, they were just a bit too large physically for my room. (Though REL’s John Hunter had them set up to perfection in said room).

Yet here we are – a smaller cabinet delivering even better results for $500 less. (the outgoing 25s were $7500 each.) With a Santa Claus-like twinkle in his eye, he says, “you really should hear what we’ve done with the ($10k each) no.32. Merely extrapolating from what I’m experiencing with the 31 and have from the 25s, I’ll bet for someone with an even bigger room, they are amazing. For now, the No.31s head back, as they have dates already scheduled with other reviewers, and I’m doing some remodeling here. If the planets stay aligned, the TONE listening room will increase to 24 feet by 26 feet – which will warrant revisiting the No. 31s in a six-pack configuration next year.

Having the pleasure to meet some of the best minds in high-end audio over the years always leaves me with the same question: how do you keep making products that already deliver a rarefied level of performance better? Yet, they always do.

Keep in mind that engineers and designers live to push the envelope. It’s what they do, what they are trained to do, and what they are paid to do. Much as the grouchasauruses like to think that “it’s just all marketing,” the legitimate manufacturers have a plan. Some (Audio Research comes to mind, bringing a new model out every 2 years or so, then an “SE” model 2 years later.) Others like Nagra and Luxman only make a change now and then – yet they all take the approach that significant change must occur to warrant a new model. 

For another thought on this process, read my blog piece, “What you have isn’t rubbish,” here.

Cursory comparison

Mr. Hunter goes to great lengths explaining all the things that make the new (No.31 and No.32) models a major leap in performance from the old models (No. 25 and G-1MK.II). It only takes the first bass drum stomp from Shelby Lynne’s “Just a Little Lovin” to reveal the increased resolution his new baby produces. Having spent a fair amount of time with the recent Carbon Special, the No.31 takes the advances in driver, cabinet, and crossover made there to another level. And yes, I still have a Carbon Special here to compare. Going back to the Serie S 510s (also here for comparison) shows off a solid lineage, but comparing the S/510 to the Carbon Special or the No.31 is another step down in resolution. That said, a six-pack of S/510s remains formidable because of the spatial qualities only a six-pack provides.

I’ll stick my neck out and say that the Carbon special gets you about 80% of the way there, with a more traditional (i.e., box-shaped) enclosure that is smaller and lighter. The REL website claims that “the No.31 delivers the No. 32’s sound quality, build quality, and thoughtful features with a more compact footprint.” I couldn’t agree more.

Just as a particular breed of automotive enthusiasts thinks a 500hp Porsche GT3 is the way to go until they have to drive through a Starbucks window, some will settle for nothing less than the No.32s. But just as a GT3 can only be truly experienced on a long stretch of road with no law enforcement for miles, or a race track, I submit that unless your room is truly massive, you can live happily ever after with the No. 31. (Or a pair, or better yet, a six-pack) Or a Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0. Just saying.

Judging on its own merits

Forgoing the comparisons picture for a while, the No.31s deliver a prodigious amount of low-frequency output – but many subwoofers can do that. Where this product truly excels (like the other top RELs before it) is the level of definition and texture in the lower registers and the life they breathe into the upper ranges of your hifi system. No other sub I’ve reviewed does this to anywhere near this extent.

The No.31 has a long-throw 12-inch carbon driver, 900-Watt amplifier (this is the same 1000-Watt amplifier used in the No. 32, but limited to 900 Watts because of the No. 31’s 12-inch driver having slightly less ultimate excursion than the 15-inch unit in the No. 32) the majority of low-frequency extension will be provided by a single unit, but that’s not the whole story. Where the Carbon special’s 12-inch driver shares core technology with the 12-inch driver in the No.31, the latter’s driver is much more robust, allowing more output and more extension. Being ADD for a minute and thinking about carbon fiber (something I think about nearly all the time anyway), check out the super zooty carbon fiber REL badge on the top of the cabinet. Woo hoo. And check out the slight edge curvature on the cabinets. Subtle but better.

Going to a pair, as we’ve done in this review, helps to smooth out the bass response in the room, making the single woofer work less at pressurizing the room. Thanks to REL’s dual parametric filter, these subs are easier to tune to your room and main speakers. For those not familiar with RELs approach, they prefer to take the high-level from your amplifier’s speaker outputs via a Speakon cable/connector and run your main speakers’ full range.

Even better, thanks to RELs gorgeous, yet highly functional remote, you can adjust everything from your listening chair, which really helps the setup process. Be sure to move that little “lock” button to the lock position when finished, so prying hands will not undo your hard work. If you’re new to the top REL subs, it’s also worth mentioning, (especially if you have more than one) make use of the LED readout in the upper right corner and take note of all your settings. This will always make going back to your starting point much easier, should you explore different settings at a later date.

This has a couple of advantages. They claim it’s much easier to integrate with your main speakers – and I agree. I’ve set up at least 40 or 50 subs from REL and several others over the last 20 years here, and this still is the easiest way to blend sub and main seamlessly. Are you turning the sub up, down, and sideways from one album to the next? You’ve got the setup wrong, and I’m only saying this as someone from the other side of that same canoe.

Second, by using the output of your amplifier instead of the preamplifier, the low-frequency flavor of your system stays precisely the same. I’ve tried a few RELs via the preamplifier inputs to prove this point, and it’s still pretty good. However, it’s not as good (in every way) as it is when going speaker out. The No. 31 is faster, tighter, and more extended when connected via speaker outs. This also has the benefit of not needing another pair of incredibly long and expensive interconnects.

More listening

Because this isn’t my first rodeo with REL, They are up and going pretty quickly. As the REL mothership in the US is just 600 miles down the I-5 freeway, Mr. Hunter is kind enough to fly in for the day and double-check my work. With some careful fine-tuning on his part, the delta with REL in to REL out is even greater than before, and we run down a handful of familiar tracks we both know well when setting speakers up. (Yeah, that means the horse song.)

Like the No. 25s before, the No. 31s prove a major upset to office productivity. The improvement of our reference Acora SRC-1s is tremendous. These fabulous speakers now go bigger, louder, and deeper. While Ella Fitzgerald is the usual “go-to” for music with relatively little low-frequency content, this time, it’s a Supremes superset. And again, even with relatively sparse LF information, the soundstage swells in size dramatically. Diana Ross’ silky voice has more body than ever before. It’s pretty dreamy, and when the RELs are unplugged, the soundstage collapses.

For those unfamiliar with the Acoras, they are fast, offering near electrostatic-like transients. Like the other top RELs we’ve tried, the No. 31s can easily keep up with your favorite ESL or planar speaker. 

Pumping the bass way up, the jumpy, funky bass line in the Average White Band’s “Cut The Cake” pushes my chest cavity in as the volume control goes up. Hunter was headed home at 5 p.m, but I was up with a long list of bass-heavy tracks from RUN-D.M.C., The System, K.C. & The Sunshine Band, and some Prince until about 2 a.m. In the world of stuff, there are a few things I never get tired of, Porsche manual transmissions, the gentle click of a Leica rangefinder camera, and the way a REL subwoofer improves a system. It’s never less than extraordinary. 

The following day was reserved for more heavy rock and jazz. Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, and Charlie Hayden all sound more similar than different on a lesser sub, but with the No.31, you can easily hear the distinct sound their instruments and playing styles make. Rather than bore you with a long playlist of tracks, the REL No. 31 excels at its function. Even when playing arena rock at brain damage levels, the RELs never run out of excursion.

At $7,500 each, these are not inexpensive subwoofers. However, if you’ve invested $30k to crazy money in a pair of main speakers, will you bring up the bottom with an inexpensive pair of subs? Whether you choose one, two, or six – you will be impressed by the added dimension the REL No.31s can deliver to your system.

And, we’d like to mention that the No. 31 was awarded one of our three Masterpiece awards at the end of 2022.

The REL No. 31 Subwoofer

$7,500 each

Please click here for full specifications


Analog Source REGA P10/Apheta 3

Digital Source dCS Vivaldi ONE, Aqua Audio LaDiva/Formula xHD

Preamplifier Pass Labs XS Pre

Phonostage Pass Labs XP-27 Phono, Backert Labs Phono, Nagra Classic

Power Amplifiers Prima Luna EVO 400 monos, PS Audio BHK 600 Monos

Cable Cardas Clear, Tellurium Q Black Diamond

Luxman L-507Z Integrated Amplifier

Relaxing with Elvis Costello’s Painted From Memory on the turntable, it’s almost tough to believe that the source is an integrated amplifier, not a $100k rack full of separate components and a $30k loom of mega cables. When music lovers that want high performance yet do not want a rack full of gear, a pile of cables, or the inconvenience of vacuum tubes, ask me what to buy, my answer is always Luxman. There are a few others I’m very fond of, but if you want the phono on board and prefer to keep your DAC as a separate component, Luxman is my personal favorite. And Luxman offers a few incredible digital boxes to keep it all in the family.

I enjoy a few other excellent brands as much, but the combination makes Luxman integrated amplifiers so unique. The combination of every section, performing at an equally high level, to be precise. Coming up on its 100th birthday in a few years, Luxman is a company of constant refinement and engineering excellence. Everything they improve is purposeful, and the new products always outperform the old, leaving you thinking, “how did they do that?”

External beauty

Weighing 25.4kg/60 pounds makes the L-507Z big but not unyielding for a single person to unbox and carry. I suggest some gloves; just because that front panel is finished to such a high standard, you wouldn’t want to scratch it. As with every other Luxman piece that’s been through here, you don’t realize just how lovely this amplifier is until it’s sitting on the shelf/rack of your choice. It’s much like examining a high-resolution photo captured with a high-quality digital camera. The more you zoom in, the more you can see the fine details and level of finish. Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it seems like Luxman has refined their already excellent level of finish on the L-507Z.

This product is beautiful to behold and contributes significantly to the pride of ownership and happiness with writing the check. I’ve only seen this level of fine finish on Burmester and Boulder gear – both cost a lot more than Luxman.

All the usual controls you expect from a Luxman amplifier are here and in the same place they always reside, so the level of familiarity is a great thing. However, a few new features are clearly apparent. In between the output level meters, a seven-segment LED numeric readout resides, letting you know at a glance from across the room how high the volume level is. 

The tone controls are still present; if you’re a complete purist, ignore this paragraph. However, if you’ve longed for a bit of boost or cut at the frequency spectrum extremes, Luxman’s implementation is perfect. The bass and treble controls are gentle in their effect but very handy on a somewhat flat or tinkly record. It’s also convenient for headphone listening – especially if you have a collection of headphones. The tone controls go a long way at adjusting minor differences to make your personal listening that much more enjoyable. There is also a new 4.4mm “Pentaconn” jack on the front panel that Luxman says allows “quasi-balanced” operation because of its separate right and left channel grounds, resulting in better left to right separation. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a pair of phones wired this way, so we were unable to fully investigate. Here is some more information about the Pentaconn connector:

However, our usual stable of phones from Audeze, Grado, Sendy, HiFi Man, and Focal all worked well, indicating a substantial amount of current drive from the 507Zs headphone amplifier section.

Around the back, in addition to the analog phono input, there are four RCA, line-level inputs, and two balanced XLR inputs. Luxman allows you to invert the phase of these inputs in case you have an external source (like Burmester and a few others) that doesn’t use the standard pin configuration. For the first time, 12V trigger and control jacks are also available for anyone needing to blend their L-507Z with home automation.

Subtle smoothness

With only one class-A amplifier in the lineup (at least for now), Luxman is further embracing class-AB topologies, no doubt, in an effort to be more green. Yet, the level of smoothness and refinement always associated with their class-A amplifiers is here at a nearly equal level. The class-A Luxman amplifiers, particularly the L-590II, is slightly warmer but also somewhat less dynamic. A fine distinction but one to be aware of.

Connected to a pair of Dynaudio Confidence 20 speakers and a six-pack of REL 510 subwoofers, the combination is stunning. Because the REL subwoofers perform their best when connected to the speaker level connections, the Luxman’s L-507Z’s front panel speaker switch is incredibly handy. Being able to switch the subwoofers in and out like this makes setting them up that much quicker. It also made A/B comparisons here very easy to get on with.

With 110 Watts per channel (into 8 ohms, and 210 per channel into 4 ohms), precious few speakers are off limits. Trying them with everything from the (86dB/1-Watt) Harbeth Monitor 40XDs, to a pair of (96db/1-Watt) Heretic 614s, Magnepans, and vintage Acoustat ESLs was a breeze. Everything on the list was able to be played as loud as I’d ever need to listen to music. Even the notoriously power-hungry Magnepans deliver an excellent performance.

The lower octave, with or without subs, is solid, with texture and finesse. Starting with the Supreme Beings of Leisure’s 11i (which has notoriously floppy, whumpy bass) and transitioning to Kruder & Dorfmeister, finishing up with some Neu! all were engaging and powerful.

Subtle details

Luxman products personify the “greater than the sum of their parts” philosophy. Building on the technologies that have made their components so well known in the first place with a new 88-step LECUA 1000 attenuator circuit (also used in their top separate components), along with improvements to power supply design and even the circuit board layout all adds up to higher performance.

Where most of the technological improvements will be apparent the minute you turn on your L-507Z, most of them are inside, where you can’t see them. The new LIFES (Luxman Integrated Feedback Engine System) replaces the previous ODNF circuitry and cuts the low amount of distortion in half of earlier models. Again, the technology from their separates is converging in the L-507Z – there’s a level of musicality here that you might associate with a much higher price tag.

You don’t notice this quite as much when pushing the power output needles into the red playing Slayer, but it’s instantly obvious when switching the faire to something more subtle like acoustic instruments. A few reasonably long listening sessions comprised of solo piano, violin, and acoustic guitar had me wondering if this was not a class-A amplifier after all. Good as this amplifier is, the level of midrange integration with acoustic instruments is tremendously good.

The most significant difference is in the shadows or the quiet passages. Where the outgoing L-507uX also produced 110 Watts per channel, this amplifier is not only more silent, it has more low-level resolution. Fine details fade more gently into the backgrounds, with a greater sense of the information at your disposal. Whether listening to analog or digital sources, you’ll hear more.

Fantastic phono

Luxman claims an improved phono section in the L-507Z, and again, I can’t help but agree. With a .3mV/100 ohm spec, the Luxman integrateds have always been perfect for a Denon 103R cartridge, as well as the Dynavector 17DX Carat. Both proved to be a great matches. It’s also a perfect match for Luxman’s new LMC-5 MC cartridge. We’ll have a full review shortly. Setting the stylus of the Dynavector down on Al DiMeola’s new Saturday Night in San Francisco is breathtaking. Hearing these three guitar virtuosos come to life in front of me again has me wondering if I’m really listening to an integrated.

Good as past models have been, this is another step up. Again, putting this amplifier in the context of a $20k – $50k (or even maybe a little more) system as its hub, I could easily see pairing this with an excellent $3-10k turntable and calling it a day. 

Always a joy

In nearly 15 years, I never tire of unboxing a Luxman product. The care in the build that extends all the way to the packaging is a wonderful thing, in this age of ambivalence we live in. The balance of cost, features, aesthetics, and performance are top shelf. Just as McIntosh and Naim have feverishly dedicated to the brand supporters, Luxman is no different. If the combination provided by the 507Z ticks all the boxes on your list, there’s no better choice. 

I only have one complaint about the 507Z; it’s both selfish and personal, so it probably won’t apply to most of you. Since Luxman offers an MM and MC phono option, I truly wish they would offer two phono inputs – one MM and one MC. Come on, there are two headphone outputs on the front panel. That would truly make a 99.9% product 100% perfect.

Keep in mind this is the first of the new “Z Series” integrateds from Luxman, so it will be interesting to see how they rollout the rest of the lineup. Based on the past Luxman models we’ve owned and reviewed, I’ll bet they will be equally fantastic. Stay tuned.

Focal’s new Vestia speakers…

Developed and made in France in Focal’s workshops, their new Vestia line – its name inspired by the goddesses of hearth and home, Vesta and Hestia – includes five brand new products. They all feature Focal’s Slatefiber cone, first developed for the Chora line and come in a bookshelf, center, and three floorstanding versions. You can click here to visit the Vestia specific site for more information:

  • Vestia N°1 – the superbly compact bookshelf model
    • $599 each / $769 each CAD
  • Vestia N°2 – the leading 3-way floorstanding model for uncompromising sound quality
    • $1,399 each / $1,799 each CAD
  • Vestia N°3 – the 3-way floorstanding model for balanced and vibrant listening experiences
    • $1,799 each / $2,299 each CAD
  • Vestia N°4 – the 3-way floorstanding model with two 81/4” (21cm) woofers, for deep bass with impact
    • $2,199 each / $2,799 each CAD
  • Vestia Center – the 2-way central model, which enhances the dialogue in your films
    • $699 each / $899 each CAD
  • Stands – $249 (pack of 2) / $319 (pack of 2)
  • Center Stand – $129 each / $169 each CAD

New Classic Separates from Naim…

Naim Audio announces today, the launch of three new products to their “classic” lineup.

The NSC 222 is a Streaming Preamplifier offers a great way to keep a minimal box count, high-performance system. You can stream all of your favorite digital files with support for bitrates up to 32bit/384kHz. Included is the fantastic headphone amplifier section of the Uniti Atom Headphone Edition, and a built in MM phonostage.

The aesthetic pays homage to Naim components new and old, allowing control via the front panel, their new Zigbee remote, or the Naim app. All functionality is available via a large 5.5″ full-color screen.

NOTE: The NSC 222 is a CES® 2023 Innovation Awards Nominee

Price is $8,999USD

Next up, (also priced at $8,999) is the NAP 250 Power Amplifier. Now sporting 100 Watts per channel in a very slim profile, this dual mono power amplifier will drive anything at your disposal. The most powerful iteration of the famous NAP250 also features a temperature activated smart fan to keep things cool.

Finally, POWER. Naim enthusiasts know and appreciate Naim’s offering additional, outboard power supplies to take their components to an even higher level of performance. The new NPX 300 is a perfect match for the NSC 222, as well as other Naim components. Price is $8,999

You can find more information at the link below, devoted to the new classic line. We will have these in for review as soon as samples are available.