Luxman vs Accuphase for Harbeth 40.3 XD

I'm considering trying a SS integrated to power my 40.3 XDs. I'll buy used.

I've heard great things about T+A but they are really pricey, and Luxman and Accuphase look interesting, there are 2 examples for sale currently.

Luxman L-509X $6,300 and Accuphase E650 $12K

I hear a lot about high damping factor being necessary to get the best out the the Harbeth's (Luxman is 370 and the Accuphase is 1000).

Honestly cannot justify $12K at the moment but I wondered if anyone has any thoughts on these 2 amps for my speakers? Or any other suggestions?



Pass Labs INT-60 Integrated Amplifier ( 


Better sounding than the Luxman IMHO with the Harbeths.  Better match tonally- the Pass has such a clean and clear midrange and low end authority. Class A gives on-demand dynamics and woofer control which the 40s really need.  

Never heard the Accuphase.  

What is your personal preferences when it comes to sound..Luxman has a neutral tone whereas Accuphase has warmer sound. I auditioned both and preferred Accuphase. Another huge distinction for me was class A/B vs pure class A…E-650 is pure class A, it’s a sweet sounding integrated. If you gravitate towards, organic, slightly warm and SET sound then Accuphase is worth every penny.

And 2nd the recommendation for Pass Int over Luxman if you can afford Accuphase. 

Well, I can't give you a direct answer, but I can tell you that my Luxman L-505uXii mates very well with my Harbeth 30.1 speakers. There is a warmish character to the amp (in my room, with my ears) and the sound is balanced. I get more bottom end out of my speakers with the Luxman, and ended up selling my JL Audio subwoofer because I preferred the sound with out the complexity of the sub. Is there any way that you can audition either or both of the amps with your system? 


I purposely stayed away from class A amps although I knew there would be trade offs. I would not think that the Accuphase was 2X better than the Luxman. Of course this ignores the fact of diminishing returns in this hobby. Good luck on your hunt. I would not get in too much of a hurry. You did not say what you were replacing to drive the Harbeths. 

My  REGA OSIRIS integrated is terrific with my HARBETH 30.2XD’s and ATC subwoofer .

highly recommended for a all HARBETHs,,well Worth sn audition , and consider preowned to save a few bucks


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@avanti1960 thanks for the reminder about Pass - that should definitely be on the list.

@lalitk Warm for sure. My guess is I should not be concerned about lower wpc specs of the Accuphase?

@stuartbmw3 @akg_ca I had (still have) 30.2's with 2 REL subs. I appreciate the feedback but the 40's are a completely different animal compared to any of the smaller Harbeth's.

System details are in my profile, but my current amp is Rogers High Fidelity EHF-200 MK2. This amp drives the big Harbeth's really well, and actually sounds much better with the 40's than the 30's, and inexplicably seems to drive the 40's with less effort. 

I have zero complaints with the current set up, I'm just interested in trying SS. (I have never owned a high-end SS amp).

Thanks for all the feedback thus far. 



If coins are an issue you might look into a Hegal 390 or 590. Pass definitely has a tubish  midrange, especially the 60. Ive owned the 60 and now have the 250. I also own the Hegal 380, Mac 352 and Accuphase 380. The 380 is a very neural sounding amp. I think the Accuphase 600 is a different animal. My Macintosh is a hybrid with tubes in the preamp section. In my amp rotation the mac seems to stay the longest. Must be the tubes. It is surprisingly good. Coming from tubes your would be happy with pass if 60 watts is enough power, That amp puts of a good chunk of current, Check out the Hegal. 

Here are my experiences regarding pairing Harbeth with Accuphase:

- A few years ago I bought a pair of Harbeth 30.2 and I got to hear them in the seller's system comprising an Accuphase DP560 player, Accuphase E270 amplifier, Auditorium cables and a Supra power strip. I was surprised by the refinement of the Harbeth tweeter and the fact that the cymbals were more forward in the mix than I expected (but far from harsh!). The bass of the Accuphase amp was less weighty and muscular compared to my Audio Analog Maestro Anniversary (I had the amp with me and directly compared them), but the sound with the Accuphase amp was more colorful. The seller's system produced one of the best renditions of a string quartet I've ever heard, truly spectacular! He said Accuphase is a very good match to Harbeth.

- Almost 2 years ago I replaced my Audio Analogue with an Accuphase E470. Again, less muscular in the bass, a bit less liquid and slightly narrower soundstage (the AA was a true dual mono design), but much more colorful, better texture, darkish sound overall but with very beautiful, silky and more extended highs (the contrast between the highs and the lower frequencies canvas was better emphasized. as if a degree of midrange bleachness had been removed). It is warmer, more natural sounding, a champion of acoustic instruments timbre rendition. What I also find very special about my current amp is the way it creates a very silent 3D landscape into which you can clearly "see" all the decays and reverberations, I think it's a combination of good detail retrieval with a very low noise floor. I wouldn't call the E470 very neutral, it's a bit dark, sweet and warm but without treble rolloff. Unfortunately the comparison was made on my other speakers, some Martin Logans and Spendors as I had already sold the Harbeths.

- When deciding for an Accuphase I had the chance to directly compare an E370 and the A class E600 on my Spendor SP 2/3R2 and a pair of Sonus Faber Olympica Nova II. The E 600 had better control and separation overall and especially in the bass, which also went deeper iirc, everything seemed better organized, it was clear that it was the technically more accomplished design. Still, I enjoyed the E370 more: the highs were more sparkling, it was more lively and fun, I daresay more musical to my ears.

- I've twice listened to my E470 driving a pair of Harbeth M40.2 Anniversary in a big (5/8 meters?) room that was also very heavily treated with absorption material all over, to the point that the bass was seriously diminished. This is why my impressions regarding the bass should be taken with a grain of salt. Long story short: with my usual cables (only copper, only gold plating, with great midrange texture and color but soft bass) the sound was great except for a rather limp bass. The owner's Parasound A21 power amplifier had definitely stronger, punchier bass but couldn't compare higher up. However, with more synergic cables the Accuphase bass went from "inadequate" to "better than acceptable, quite good already". The rest of the frequency spectrum was exceptional, perhaps with just a bit too forward treble (reminded my of my first experience with this combination, described above - I'd also put it on the weak bass in the room, though, that couldn't balance the treble out) but very smooth with tons of detail / texture and more than made up for the not quite stellar bass. Now, usually the guy who buys Harbeths doesn't do it out of love for punchy bass as much as for their very special midrange and overall balanced and well integrated sound and here the Accuphase serves very very well. So I'd recommend the pairing with the caveat that synergistic cables are a must in order to obtain proper bass. A Synergistic Research Atmosphere level 2 power cable comes to mind.

- Here's an interesting experience I don't quite know what to make up of. I usually don't like skipping the preamp. Both at home and at a dealer I've heard an Accuphase amp used as a power amplifier directly driven by an Accuphase CD player with variable output. In both cases the moderate amount of extra crispness was accompanied by a loss of organic richness and at least in one case by less silk and extension in the highs, so I much preferred the sound with the preamp in the signal path.  However, the guy with the M40.2's had an Okto Research Dac with variable output that he used to directly drive the A21 amp. In the Okto / Accuphase pairing, skipping the Accuphase pre resulted in much improved macrodynamics, detail, precision; the time was short so I couldn't A-B the sound too much, perhaps there were some drawbacks that were not immediately apparent but it definitely was an option worth exploring.

Whew! More words than I had originally intended. Hope it helps!


@donquichotte Thank you for the detailed and informative review. 

What I've learned from this thread is that I need to be very patient and audition whatever I buy next, if anything. Accuphase (but maybe not the E650) and Pass are likely the short list. 

I'm on a short vacation so a break from listening to my system for 5 days should "reset" my ears and enjoy what I have for a while...the grass may not be greener on the other side:)

@donquichotte +1 on your review.  I’m strongly considering an E380 to drive a pair of QLN speakers I just purchased. Your review reinforced a couple of other (professional) reviews I’ve seen and has helped my decision process immensely. 

@macg19 I’ve owned the Int 60 and think it would better the Luxman and Accuphase with your speakers.  Luxman imo is a little too cool and the Accuphase I don’t think will give you the fullness on the 40’s that the Pass will.  In my opinion the Pass Int 250 would really control those woofers best of all and all around is also a great amp.




@marco1 I tend to agree; if I'm going to make an end-game change to maximize the potential of the big Harbeth's, the INT 250 is probably the one. 

I've had the E650 and 509X.  They are pretty different.  Luxman has a sharper, crisp, and clean sound without being harsh or in your face.  Accuphase is smooth and warmer, but with a vibrant and saturated tone.  If Luxman, I would be looking at L-590AX II or L-595ASE unless you want to buy new.  No way I would pay $12k for the Accuphase, but some people just love the Accuphase sound and you could be one of them.  I bought a Japanese unit set to 100V for around $8k, and easily set it to 120V by moving a connector.

If you like Harbeth, Pass may be the ticket.  I only have experience with XA25, INT25, XA30.5, and older Aleph models, but in general Pass has the most tube-like sound to my ears, and the most palpable imaging of the 3 brands.  It gives the most "performers in the room" feeling IMO.  It could be too much of a good thing if there's a particular balance you're trying to strike, but you never know until you try.  Pass also runs the hottest, if that's a factor.

The Simaudio Moon 700i V2 is one of the best sounding integrated amplifiers that still costs less than the most basic new automobile. A new less powerful integrated  from the North Collection 641 was recently released. 

@dayglow Interesting contender, thanks. There is a 700i V1 for sale on USA for $5500 which seems like a pretty good deal.

@macg19 I mentioned Simaudio due to the very possible synergy with the Harbeth 40.3 XD. Very neutral with top to bottom extension that won’t effect the tonality of the Harbeth. My experience with Accuphase is a saturated/darker type of sound that might not be needed/wanted on the 40.3 XD. Luxman works best on aggressive forward type of speakers with a lot of treble energy B&W/Focal and Magico. I have heard the 40.2 Harbeth with a Luxman 505(under powered?) and thought its biggest weakness was a slight boxy restricted/closed in charactaristic. Since the Moon 700i V2 or V1 is a true dual mono amp this will help open up the soundstage and give the Harbeth a more spacious airy treble/soundstage which the Moon excels at. You own a great world class set of speakers please don’t skimp on electronics. Hope my comments are somewhat helpful.

@dayglow Very helpful, thank you. Any comments on the V2 vs. V1 considering there is a V1 for sale for $5500?

I would compare Accuphase both class A and class AB to Gryphon Diablo 120 with your speakers. All might sound excellent but very different. 

For the past 5 years I've been using Classe 200 monoblocks to drive my 40.1's....superb sound, transparent midrange, very smooth highs, great impact in the bass....reminds me so much of my Quad 57 ESL's

@macg19   Have only heard the 700i V2 version. The system consisted of 700i V2/Dynaudio Confidence 20/Moon 260/Nordost Vahalla 2/Nordost power conditioning(not sure of what model(s). Might want to contact Simaudio or some info might be in print or Youtube reviews?

in my experience with the bog harbeths i liked an amp with both strong bass damping factor/grip and also a little extra treble energy as the speakers tend to be a little midrange and bass rich in tonality

so, for example, i preferred hegel 590 over 390, i preferred pass class a/b over class a, belles class a over sugden, classe over primare, you get the picture...

for this reason, i would probably choose the luxman for this application over the accuphase as the accuphase has voicing that is rather duplicative to the harbeth sonic traits


@jjss49 Good insight thank you.

I'm moving further away from Luxman / Accuphase and now more interested in Pass / Moon and maybe Gryphon - or staying where I am unless I can test-drive something used in my system.

I think that matching speakers and amps is more complicated. General idea is to bring the best out of the speakers not really trying to compensate for their possible shortcomings or/and hide them. In the above example, Accuphase might be more in tune with the Harbeths in terms of timbre and overall harmonic presentation, while Gryphon could give them more open and dynamic sound than Accuphase.

And to get both one would have to go after D’Agostino Momentum, I suppose.




if you go pass labs for the 40’s i would suggest staying with their x series and not xa series

papa nelson dials in some extra midrange/midbass flesh/body into his xa series voicing, trading off some pristine treble and deep bass grip in his smaller class a units, whereas the x series gives a more perceptibly linear response from tippity top to rock bottom - for example, in my system, i felt the xa30.5 on my 40.3’s were a little too much of a good thing in the midband (little too wooly to my ear) whereas the older int150 (x150.5) was brought out more treble sparkle, air, and deep bass foundation

@dayglow I contacted a local SimAudio dealer to see if I could hear the Moon 700i. He didn't' have any direct experience with Harbeth but called a fellow dealer who had the 40.3XD's as his personal speakers (he does not sell them FWTW).

Anyway, the said the word was 100% go integrated, but the Sim dealer thought a better choice was the BAT VK3500 at $4K less them the 700i.

I was looking a BAT tube integrated before I bought the Roger's, but never considered their hybrid SS int.

A quick Google search found the VK3500 on sale at Music Direct for $9K with an open box for $6K so I snagged it - it was the only one.

Installed it on Wed. I have not had a serious listening session yet, but the early impressions are very good.

  • incredible detail
  • treble less forward, smoother
  • across the spectrum more balanced (pun intended) 
  • for sure bass is tighter
  • esthetically it looks great and blends in nicely - I got the black version and everything else I have is black so the Roger's was literally the red-headed-step-child (this is the least important consideration though)

We'll see what the next week or so brings. I've got 55 days to send it back if I'm not happy.

Lastly, I had a few questions for BAT and Victor himself answered and  was super helpful. I thought that was pretty cool.


I sold off my Luxman M900u for a Technics SU-R1000 with my Harbeth 40.3s. I think it is a fantastic match... between the Technics & the Harbeth, the detail and soundscape is so vast, but never at the expense of sounding natural and organic. I also owned a 509X which I loved, but never heard it with Harbeths. The Technics is a pretty stunning integrated right under $10K new.

@jsqt it’s gorgeous- if it sounds as good as it looks it would be amazing.

On my radar from Technics is the SL-1000RE - my local dealer says it beats TT in the 30-50K range

@macg19 Thx for the update. I got back in this hobby about 13 years ago after a 12 year hiatus. I spent the most time evaluating speakers and turntables, ironically both are still in my system today. My point is do your research and take your time this will save on money/aggravation then you will have components for the long term if desired.

Since you are concerned about damping factor, what is the damping factor on the BAT?

@dayglow Absolutely. I'm really happy with my analogue and digital sources, cables etc., they have been "stable" for quite a while now, and actually the BAT reinforced that.

About 10 years ago, I had an e560 paired with Daedalus speaker (organic and natural with a slight warmth, like Harbeth…but much more dynamic). I was warned about a coloration in the highs of Accuphase —and read it in an old review too (the reviewer was using Dynaudio C1’s. I bought anyway. I could immediately hear the coloration —a ‘browning’ if you will, in the highs. 
 I now own Harbeth 40.2 Anniversaries. Knowing these speakers now…and still remembering that coloration, I would def not want it with these speakers. 
 BUT of course, Accuphase could of changed sonic signature by now, as it was many many years ago…

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If your not completely committed to Luxman or Accuphase you really should hear an Aavik integrated.  I have an I-280 along with their dac and streamer.  Quite exceptional.

You know, at the end of the days, it is going to come down to listening with you ears, in your room, with your system and your preferences. You will literally get hundreds of various recommendations. They are all well intentioned (well, maybe except the guy referring to the goofyass Harbeths), but their tastes , room and system are not yours. Good luck on the search. A while back, while searching for an integrated for my 30.1 speakers, I spoke with a Pass dealer (maybe Reno Audio?). Their recommendation was to go with higher powered A/AB amps as opposed to lower powered class A amps

@sro +1

I owned the Luxman 590AXII. Amazing amp! Last year I bought the Aavik U-280 
(basically, the same integrated amp as I-280 plus a built-in DAC). In my system, it is absolutely one or two levels above Luxman in every way. The only exception is the fit and finish. You can't beat a Luxman when it comes to build quality and looks. However, sonically Aavik is a notch or two above the Luxman integrated.

If you considering SimAudio Moon for the Harbeth check out the Benchmark AHB2 amp. The SimAudio is likely a very good choice and something I would take over a warmer toned amp. I heard a Harbeth speaker sometime back with Luxman gear, maybe 509x or m900u and c900u. I liked it a lot but thought it was too warm for my tastes and it would get tiresome. At that audition, I was thinking a Benchmark AHB2 would be what I want to hear with a Harbeth. 

I have a speaker that looks a lot like the 40.3 and it is slightly warm. I am going to have a listen to the new SimAudio 861 amp with these speakers. 


Thanks for all the feedback. My goofyass speakers are sounding really good with the BAT. 

After a couple of 2-3 hour focused listening sessions, my comments above stand but I'd add sweet and very easy to listen to.

While I did not hear the Sim 700i, I think the Sim/BAT dealer gave me good advice.



ignore that goofyass poster... a well known pariah on these pages

enjoy your music and your speakers...👌

@jjss49 Yep - Monsieur dumass is amusing actually.

Thanks, you too - enjoy what's left of the holiday weekend if you are in the US.

@macg19 Nice thread. I would like to add some additional color for you. This will be long but hopefully not boring 😁

A few years ago, I tried a lovely pair of Harbeth M40.2. At that time I had a system setup in a large room, about 35x40x9 - this was a wide open basement, and had wall to wall carpet, drop ceiling, well furnished, and so was moderately damped. The amplifiers I had on deck were a Plinius SA103 and Hegel H590; The listening position was somewhat in a weird bass zone and so at times the bass / sense of fullness was missing, as if most speakers I tried there (with the exception of Dynaudio Contour 60) sounded like massive midrange on up transducers. The imaging, vocal presence, and sound-staging were tops, but bass was always problematic. Despite heroic attempts (I’ll spare you the full details but had some pretty killer gear : MSB Discrete DAC, Luxman M900/C900, Dynaudio Confidence 30 and 50, Focal Sopra No 2, Meitner DACs, Innuos gear, Chord DACs, etc) I never could get the room figured out, so I ended up adding a home theater room, and basically forever changing that area, because now instead of a giant open square it’s more like an L and the area I used to have the speakers sounded worse than before. It’s all good because the home theater is fun. Anyway...

So the comments I’m about to relay, take with a grain of salt. The M40.2 sounded best with the Hegel H590; By best I mean: more liquid, larger sense of space, better low level dynamics. I got to hear the midrange magic and recall being impressed with the sense of real live instruments and vocalists. However, due to the crappy room acoustics I am 100% sure I never actually heard the true potential of these speakers. At times the bass was dry and sounded lean. Other times it was ripe and wooly. This result also happened with other big speakers so I know the room was largely at fault...

I wanted to give you a brief background to my former listening environment that involved Harbeth;

About 2 years ago I setup shop in the upstairs office; It’s got a way smaller footprint- 13x14.5 with 15 foot tapered ceilings. This room turned out to be a real sleeper of a room acoustically speaking. Had I originally setup shop here when we first moved here, I for sure would have gone about things differently. Music is way more immersive, balanced, and fun. The room energizes more easily and it’s a more intimate musical experience.

Because I tried the M40.2 a few years ago, I decided to give Harbeth another shot: This time, with SHL5+XD. This was around 2020. The amplifier I had was a Luxman 509X with the D08U (and a Lumin streamer); This was incredible. The Luxman 509X was basically a perfect match; Because this was so excellent I changed it all, by going with a Luxman 38uc and MQ88uc tube setup. This was still excellent but in a different way; The tube gear brought about a different perspective, at times it was downright mesmerizing. At moderate to lower listening levels the 25wpc amp was all I could want for because the end result was very compelling. I could not wait until the next session. Always a good sign something is right. Well, as the old audionervosa adage goes, when your happy change it all! So, I ended up purchasing the 590AXII, and wow that was something. Definitely more drive and authority than the tube gear, but I lost something. Despite it being a Class A, let me tell you that this is no squishy, velvety, warm and relaxing Class A; Luxman Class A is all about stark neutrality and clarity. It is NOT designed to make you feel good, in the sense that a triode or SET tube amp helps you relax in the shoulders, slouch in the chair, and melt into the music. It’s designed to have less coloration. This was also true of the Luxman 595ASE I had as well; Both the 590 and 595 are pretty excellent integrated amplifiers, and do things a bit differently; I also had Hegel H20, H190, and H390 with the SHL5+XD (also had C7ES-XD).

Because I am a hopeless audio gear junkie, late last year I scooped up a Simaudio Moon 860A V2 amp, Luxman C900U preamp, to use with my SHL5+XD and Bricasti M21 Dac. The 860AV2 amp was/is (sold it) simply insane. Clarity beyond anything I’ve heard and gave me another shot of realization that the Harbeth speakers are pretty remarkable and easily reveal changes in upstream gear. I think the 860A V2 was a little too good for my tastes; Too detailed or something. Hard to describe, but over some months, I played with power cords, speaker cables, and interconnects, but overall the results were a bit too lean and clinical. I sold that amp and picked up a 760A and new Pass Labs INT60. During the summer I have been running the 760A (WAY cooler running), but it’s not as engaging as the Pass INT60, which to my ears, is the best sounding integrated I’ve heard in this house. I use a Pass Labs XP12 (excellent preamp) with the 760; I have heard that the 760 with a Backert Labs tube preamp is the ticket...


**Prior to the 860 I tried the Simaudio 330A and really liked that amp. It had more than enough power and sounded fresh and lively with the Harbeths. I should have stopped there...

Thanks for reading. It’s definitely stream of thought and not concise so, sorry for that. I want to try Accuphase someday, but if you can tolerate the heat, not much can top the Pass INT60 (oh btw that Luxman 595 ran hot as a pistol); It vibes with the Harbeths in a beautiful way and keeps you glued to the seat;




@dpac996 Thanks for sharing your journey. When I first got the 40.3's I was really worried that the room was the issue - it's a big open space, really wide, 8ft ceiling.

Isopucks helped the speakers quite a bit but I now know that no matter how good the Rogers tube integrated is, the hybrid BAT is a much better match.

If I get a chance to listen to a Pass integrated I will but I lucked out - the Sim 700i idea  planted by dayglow led to the BAT and it is not clinical at all; to use your terminology, it is fresh and lively, as well as detailed and warm. 

Lastly, in my case the room was not the problem.

Glad the BAT is working out.  Your post has actually pointed me in a new direction I hadn't thought about before.  I'm now looking at pairing my new QLN''a with the BAT.  First though need to find another deal like you got :-)

ya I guess 9k isn’t bad but that 6k number you got would be so much nicer :-)

@macg19 Congrats! That BAT VK3500 looks great; Keep us posted! I still need to try iso devices under my speakers; I have herbie things between the speakers and Sound Anchor stands. 

Not trying to toss a grenade into this thread but I used Chord amps with my Graham, LS5/9 - there was nothing better. Didn't try Luxman or Accuphase (both excellent choices though) and no Pass. Tried Hegel, Electrocompaniet, Audiomat (integrated) & Mac and the Chord was just a fabulous fit for me paired with an Aesthetix tube preamp. Just my experience. Hard to go wrong w/BAT or any of the above mentioned brands even with the bigger Harbeths.