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?




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 :-)