Luxman d-08u vs berkeley reference 2 dac

Anyone have any experience with the luxman d-08u or berkeley reference dac 2 for cd or digital playback? If you were to choose one, which would you buy and why. Thanks for any insight!
One is purpose built SOTA DAC and the other one is primarily a transport with a DAC (albeit a good one) that even a fair comparison?

Having said that, I would go with Luxman as the sound lean towards warm side of neutral. Berkeley is more neutral and bit clinical sounding to my ears.
That what was I was thinking. Some people have discribed the luxman as sounding really refined, musical, sweet and never analytical. I have the berkeley alpha 2 and it sounds very musical to me but I do like a very sweet and nonfatiguing sound. Thats why the luxman appeals to me. Have you heard the luxman d08u? I worry about the overhyped advertisement that sets you up for dissapointment. And at such a high price for the gear, I worry about buyers remorse. Thanks for your input. 
I find the alpha smooth, but it's also a little cool sounding. Not analytical, but the opposite of warm.

I find the Mytek for me a better balance.


FWIW, I recently replaced a Luxman D-05 with a D-08u and it is exceptional. I was surprised at how much more nuanced and detailed (in a good way) it is compared to the D-05. I've heard more than a few iterations of digital playback and short of DCS level gear, I can't imagine wanting more. All the attributes you ascribe to Luxman's sound are what I have experienced. Another plus for me is the Luxman's reliability and build quality. 
photon46, I'm considering the D-06u or D-08u as well and I have something of the opposite concern regarding the Luxman, and that is I'm afraid of it sounding too laid back, "rolled off", McIntosh warm? I haven't heard it in my system yet however working towards an in-home audition soon. Thanks   
“I have the Berkeley alpha 2 and it sounds very musical to me but I do like a very sweet and nonfatiguing sound”.

In reading your response, I believe you may be experiencing fatigue over extended listening sessions. If that’s the case, you could look into dialing down the high frequency detail by trying different cables.

Do you not have an option to audition D-08u before committing to it?

If you prefer, PM me and I can suggest some very high quality but inexpensive cables. Depending on your setup, I may be able to send over couple of cables for you to try it out risk free.
Jayh31, I'd have a hard imagining anyone finding the Luxman's sounding rolled off, syrupy, or too warm but I suppose anything is possible if mated with non simpatico components. I don't think I've ever read a single reviewer who found their disc spinners or dacs to be too laid back. That said, we all have different preferences so I'd try to get an audition before committing to purchase. 
personally i wouldn’t sell the berkeley. i’ve had one in my system and thought it superb. don’t know if you can upgrade to series 3 but even so i’m sure the cost is brutal. you’ve got a really high end machine and it’s paid for. someday i hope to take my own advice. 
Thanks for everyone's advice. I do like the berkeley alpha 2 dac. I have the alpha 2 dac and NOT the reference dac. I am very happy with it. But i have to admit, I have always wanted to try the berk ref2 dac but never got the chance  to try in my own system to see if its alot better than the BADA2.  But i have also heard great things about the luxman d08u sacd player. Mike at suncoast audio says it blows the berkeley ref2 dac away.  and whitecamaross has raved about the luxman previously. This has made me wonder about the luxman d08u.  But both pieces are quite expensive and I dont have the means to buy both and audition them, hence the posting on this forum. Thanks for all the responses!

Have you ever tried the berkeley ref2 or alpha 2 dac? If so, i would love your opinion regarding how it compares to the luxman d08u? what other sacd players did you try before settling on the luxman?
I have read Luxman is releasing two new transport DAC models using a different DAC chip than what has been current models.  I have yet to see notification of availability in the U.S. yet, but had been shown in Japan in later 2019.
I tried several DAC's in the 3-5000 range and settled for the Luxman DA06.  It is not syrupy by any means but does have a warm silky sound  the top end is extended but doesn't stick out and I don't think I am missing an detail.  I expect to have it for quite a while.  To me the signature is similar to how a classA amp sounds compared to an AB
@Aerielacoustics, no I haven’t heard the Berkeley dacs. My references for digital sound includes several audio shows and having been a member of central Florida’s Suncoast Audio Society and having heard quite a few very fine member systems. (Yes I know Mike at @ Suncoast, he’s a great guy.) I had conversed with the sales manager @ Luxman USA when I was debating which model to buy and he told me (around Christmas time) that the new models should be available around now. I imagine the worldwide virus pandemic has put those plans in slower motion. I did get to hear the new $15k Luxman SACD player at the Florida Audio Expo in an all Luxman and Magico system and I thought it was the best sound of the show. Couldn’t really compare what I thought of the new player to the D-08u of course, different room, system, etc. Shannere makes a great comparison point, the Luxman signature is like the difference between a Class A amp vs typical class AB. Prior to buying the Luxman d-05 10 years ago, I had been using a Marantz SA-11s1. After just two years it developed a transport problem that Marantz couldn’t fix and I had to junk it. At that point, after having had four different brands of CD or SACD players (Denon, Cambridge, Musical Fidelity) develop drive problems, I did as much research as I could on cd transport reliability and decided Luxman or Esoteric were my best bets because they were the only ones in my price range that were making their own transports. So, for the last 10 years, Luxman has served me well. As you can tell from my system description, I’m not much of a gear churner and most things I buy tend to stay with me a while.
photon46, I am a member of the Suncoast Audio Society and have purchased most of my current system from Mike of Suncoast Audio as well. It's Mike who I'll most likely be relying on for a Luxman audition. I also heard the same Luxman / Magico system at FLAX and wasn't particularly impressed. However, I'm rarely impressed by what I hear at shows and in no way would that experience steer me away from considering a Luxman. I'm currently using a Simaudio Moon 650D that is very good and has performed flawlessly in the two plus years I've owned it. That said, I can't help thinking at this stage of my system, it's there with the 650D, that the most audible gains can be made.              
very interesting comments everyone. Thanks for the input!

I actually tried the luxman dac 06. I compared that directly to the berkeley alpha 2 dac. They were actually very close but I preferred the berkeley by a hair as it was a little more musical in my opinion. It was the only dac in my opinion that came close to the berkeley alpha2 in the 5k price range. The biggest difference i noticed was that at higher volumes, the luxman was not as smooth and composed as t he berkeley. It sounded more digital at higher volumes near ~85db or so. Many people say the berk ref2 dac is on a totally different league than the alpha2 and similarly, the luxman d08u is completely on a new level than the other luxman digital products. I just never had the chance to audition these units in my system. 

Photon: interesting that you mentioned marantz. I had a sa7s1 a few years back and it was very good. Very smooth, engaging, and sweet sounding. When I compared it to my berkely alpha2 dac, the berkeley imaged better and the images were much more pinpoint, albeit the size of the image was smaller.  Mike at suncoast seems to be a great guy. He preferred the luxman d08u emphatically over the berkeley ref2 dac and stated that the only dac that sounds analog like the luxman d08u are the MSB dacs which i never heard and are very expensive. I am glad you love your luxman. Seems to me, there are very few disappointed luxman owners out there. 
Aerialacoustics:                                                  That as my biggest bitch with the lLuxman. the output is quite low.  I run all balanced and the single ended and balanced are both the same voltage    outputting in the lower 2's.  Luckily my preamp has switchable gain
My local dealer just got in the Luxman D-03X CD. The DAC has full MQA. Typical Luxman build quality. It looks like a $5-$6,000 player. Price $3295. Not hooked up yet but I'll stopping by soon to give it a listen. Luxman has been on a roll the last few years w/a lot of high quality electronics. I have the CL-38U-SE tube preamp and the PDA-171A TT. Very satisfied w/both.
luxmancl38, Wow, $3295 is less than I was expecting. Any word on the price of the new D-10X?   
In looking at specs on website, it appears the D-03X CD does not use the LuXman original Disc Transport Mechanism.  I have read many times this transport mechanism is highly praised but also expensive.  It will be interesting to find out what specifically is being used now on this one and D-10X.
Have the Luxman D-06u and love it.  Perfect balance between detail, engagement and musicality.

Not really an answer to your question,but it might give some light on Luxman sound.
 I had a chance to directly compare D-06 player and Burmester 001. Friend of mine had  Luxman integrated (5 hundred something, 30w A class) together with Ascendo C8 speakers and wanted to try and perhaps buy Luxman player.
The dealer who sold him amp and speakers loaned him the player for couple of weeks and I brought than mine player, the 001 for comparation.
To cut long story short, we had an immediate and obvius conclusion that Luxman sounds as it was 'sedated', not in terms of tone or even details, but in sense if its timing and overall perspective that made us feel like songs were played in wrong, slower tempo.
My friend did not buy the player and later sold the integrated amp as well.
Please don get me wrong, I am not saying anything bad against Luxman (as without direct comparation to some other quality gear one would not say that something 'lacks' to that sound ) but I would advise you to try and compare both units in a same time to get the best conclusion
Um D-06 is hardly in the ballpark of a D-08U.  That's like comparing a Esoteric K-07X to a K-01X....2 completely different animals. $5000 piece compared to a $15000 piece.
Even the short and superficial search on internet will show that D06 costs 10 000 usd and that is just one step below the D 08.
However, my only advice to op was to try both machines of his interest in a same time.

D-08U not D-08. A short and superficial search would tell you those are also 2 different models.
If I was in your shoes I would purchase a Schitt Loki for $149 and tame down the hot treble you are experiencing just a tad.  If that doesn't do it for you return that Schitt for a minor restocking fee.
Jetter, have you ever tried the schitt loki? have you compared it to any other dacs? if so, what are your thoughts.
Have you demoed the d08u or the berkeley ref2 dac?
I also heard that even the d08 is not on the same level as the d08u. In fact, everyone that actually has owned a d08u has had nothing but good things to say about it. I wish I could personally demo the luxman d08u in my system but its not possible. luxman no longer makes that unit and not many dealers are going to let you take the luxman home. So i am just going on other listeners' experience. 
Just wanted to say, and I know this is off topic, the little DA-150 DAC/headphone amp Luxman makes looks really interesting.  I took a picture of the insides, looks like a fully discrete headphone amp section.  Just in terms of the headphone amp portion, seems overbuilt compared to the other DACs.


First of all the Shitt LOKI is not a Dac.  Its basically a 4 band Equalizer which is why Jetter suggested it.  I have the Luxman D-08U but haven't used it. I have Half a dozen disc spinners. Will get around to it eventually.  No experience with Berkeley at all
What made the Luxman D-08U that much better than the older D-08. The USB was added, updates to the DAC, but having heard both side by side, if I blinded folded you and switch back and forth a few times you be hard pressed, when you get to this level and the newer unit, is more of a refinement with the addition of USB, it not going to be a huge improvement, now we are at a totally different new player the 10X now you can hear a different presentation, keep your D-08, save and buy the 10X not thev8U if you get the itch for a world class SACD player. 
Luxman had a more refined sound than the Esoteric players, which is upfront and in your face sound, I’ve owned the K-01 and enjoyed it. The brand sound is sort of like do of stylus A sound vs. Stylus B. All have their sound and colors. Which is why you build a system that pleases your ear, because you never going to hear what they hear in a studio.
Hey phillyb,

for CD and SACD playback, is there a big difference in the d-08 vs the d-08u. 
Not to where it be cost-effective,  Problem with the D-08 though is how many hours on it and the cost to repair it. You be at the mercy of the seller and if not the 1st owner than watch they not selling it for more than they may have paid for it.1st owner or no buy. 

I have been looking at the Luxman D-08u and came across this thread which is of particular interest to me because I am the owner of a Berkeley Audio DAC Reference Series 2.  I hesitated to buy it because the reviews seemed a little too neutral and I like a touch of sweetness.  But in the end, I bought it and I am very pleased with it. it is never fatiguing.  Those who listen to my system are very complimentary.  The other significant components are my Quad ESL-63 speakers and Audiomat Prelude Reference MKII integrated tube amp.  It seems to be a happy combination.

Back to the Luxman.  I didn’t realize that the Luxman D-10X supercedes the D-08u.  I assumed that because the price of the 10x is cheaper.  When does that ever happen.  Has anyone compared the two?  Which is better?



2nd - 

Luxman CD/SACD players exhibit a silky, warm,  presentation and sound.


Happy Listening!