Luxman EQ500 Phono Pre-amp
One of the best phono pre-amps regardless of price. The Luxman EQ500 is a textbook design borne out of Luxman's experience and application of best practices in pre-amp design. How to get to the lowest noise, lowest distortion, best frequency balance, and most musical result? Read on;
Since a Moving Coil cartridge has very low output, transformers are considered ideal for the first stage of amplification. These have the advantage of being free of noise, which is a problem with solid-state or tube pre-amps when dealing with microscopically small signals.
The MC step-up transformers each play a critical role in determining the sound quality and are made of super permalloy that particularly enhances the response to small signals. In addition, 4 units of MC step-up transformers are mounted for MC-HIGH, MC-LOW, right and left independently.
Vacuum Tube amplification circuit
Once the signal has been lifted by the transformer, the next stages of the EQ-500 are vacuum tubes. For the 1 and 2 stages, an SRPP (Shunt Regulated Push-Pull) circuit is used which features low impedance, low distortion and prolongs the life of vacuum tubes. For the final stage, a cathode follower parallel circuit is used with the ability to lower impedance further.
The excellent sound quality of the CR circuit, supported by linear characteristics, is a direct result of the quality and accuracy of the parts used. LUXMAN has achieved the ultimate in high-grade analog reproduction in the EQ-500 thanks to more than half a century of experience in manufacturing vacuum tube amplifiers and the selection of high-performance parts. To protect minute analog signals from noise and magnetic field interference, the main sections of the EQ-500 are strongly shielded. The loopless chassis design of the EQ-500 isolates any ground impedance increase and magnetic field caused by the chassis current
Original custom-built parts
The coupling capacitors that have been chosen for the EQ-500 are manufactured by Mundorf in Germany, world-renowned for their ‘Audiophile’ tenacious tonal quality. Original custom-built components are abundant in the design of the EQ-500 ensuring the ultimate in sound quality and reliability for each circuit including OFC internal wiring.
Optimizing the cartridge load adjustment
No cartridge is optimal unless properly loaded by the pre-amp. The EQ-500 features a load capacity selection function from which 6 levels (0/50/100/150/200/300pF) can be selected according to the characteristics of the cartridge to be used. Combined with the load impedance selection function (30k to 100k ohms continuously variable) the original potential of the cartridge can be fully exploited.
"In addition to being a pure delight to use, it was easily one of the best-sounding, most musical phono preamps I've ever had in my system. If your budget can stretch this far, the Luxman EQ-500 is a must-hear"
read the review in Stereophile
"Before he'd played a single note through the EQ-500—even before he'd plugged it into a wall outlet—this phono preamp had impressed AD by offering virtually every feature he'd ever wanted from such a product, and at least one he'd never imagined: adjustable gain, adjustable resistive loading, adjustable capacitive loading, switchable scratch filters and rumble filters, a mono switch, a phase switch, a very unexpected built-in cartridge demagnetizer . . . everything except a video camera for backing it out of the driveway. Best of all, the EQ-500, which uses a mix of ECC82 and ECC83 small-signal tubes plus an EZ81 rectifier tube, sounded wonderful to AD, who observed that "the textures of the close-miked violin, cellos, and double bass in [the Electric Light Orchestra's] "Queen of the Hours" were almost overwhelming—a very pleasant overdose." Art's conclusion: "If your budget can stretch this far, the Luxman EQ-500 is a must-hear."
- Vacuum tube used - ECC83 x 4 pieces, ECC82 x 2 pieces, and EZ81 x 1 piece
- Input sensitivity (1kHz, When the gain is set to 36dB) MM: 4mV, MC: high 0.44mV, MC: low 0.18mV
- Input impedance - MM: 30kΩ to 100kΩ (variable) MC: high 40Ω, MC: low 2.5Ω
- Rated output/output impedance - 250mV/850Ω
- Gain (1kHz, When the gain is set to 36dB) MM: 36dB MC: high 55dB, MC: low 63dB
- Maximum allowable input (1kHz) - MM: 300mV, MC: high 34mV, MC: low 13mV
- RIAA deviation MM/MC high/MC low: 20Hz to 20kHz (±0.3dB)
- Channel separation (10kHz) - 65dB
- Input - Unbalanced line x 3
- Output - Unbalanced line x 2, Balanced line x 1
- Power supply - 230V~(50Hz) / 115V~(60Hz)
- External dimensions 440(W) x 92(H) x 397(D) mm
- front side knob of 5mm and rear side and terminal of 12mm included in depth
- Net weight 12.5kg
- Accessories Power cable