Luxman vs Hegal

Anyone with actual experience hearing the Luxman 509X and the Hegel H390. Can you describe the difference of sound between the two?


I heard both, but not in the same system. Luxman sounds like a live presentation, and Hegel sounds like HiFi. Luxman products any day of the week!!

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The Hegel 390 @ $6500 outperforms the Luxman 509X @ $9500 handily?? The Luxman is 20lbs. heavier and half the power but will definitely keep up and far surpass the Hegel. Look at the build quality; the Hegel looks like a $250 stereo receiver from the rear. Open up the case; the luxman is built like a Rolex. One overlooked aspect of the Luxman is the current delivery. For a measly 120W, it plays like its got 250 and can power anything out there. There is no comparison if we are talking the class A Luxman 590AXII vs. the Hegel. The Luxman destroys the Hegel for music realism, albeit slightly speaker-dependent. The OP will have to let their ears decide, though!!

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Thanks for the comments. I have the Hegel H390 and thinking of going to the Luxman 509X. Problem is that I have no way to listen to the Luxman 509X. I live in NC and there’s only one Luxman dealer in my area and he didn’t have the 509X to demo. I went to HiFi Buys in Atlanta and also no 509X to demo. Didn’t listen to the Hegel H390 prior to purchase and not satisfied in the least. Don’t want to make that mistake again.

So, very interested in additional feedback from anyone that’s actually heard the 509X and H390 that can describe their sound differences. Also interested in comparisons between the Luxman c900u/m900u and Hegel H390.


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Luxman c900u/m900u and Hegel H390.

I heard the Hegel 360 with KEF Blade 1 and it was good. Not the best Blade sound I have heard. I found it a little hard sounding on top. I am told the Hegel 390 using the internal DAC is smoother than the 360. However, when I heard the Hegel and Blades the top-of-the-line Hegel DAC was used. It was Hegel that was demoing this in a nice room.

Maybe 5 minutes later I went and heard the Luxman c900u/m900u with Vivid Giya Spirit (the top the line today). The Luxman setup was smoother without that hardness I heard with the Hegel. It sounded amazing.

I always prefer the Blade over the Vivid Giya (with proper amplification for both). On that day the Luxman gear made the Vivid more pleasing to my ears.

On another occasion, I heard the Luxman 509x and the Luxman c900u/m900u in the same room with the same speakers back-to-back. I was there to buy the 509x. After t heard the Luxman c900u/m900u combo I had no more interest in the 509x. It is a big difference in sound.

I did not buy the Luxman because I later tried the new KRELL Duo XD lineup and preferred that to the warmer Luxman sound. The KRELL is warm, but I find it not as warm as the Luxman. I have the KRELL Duo 175XD now.


The Luxman combination is a reference standard; the Hegel is not. If you are going the Luxman separate route, look into the new Luxman M10x. I heard it with the c900u through a pair of B&W 802D4s. Jaw-dropping performance. This would be an "end-game" system. 

My impression from attending audio shows over the years:

Hegel-strong, powerful, excellent bass, 

Luxman- natural, enchanting, sounds like real life. Luxman room at audio shows for me is a must hear. It is a brand I could buy and live with. Cannot say that for more than a handful of manufacturers.


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I did not buy the Luxman because I later tried the new KRELL Duo XD lineup and preferred that to the warmer Luxman sound.

It depends on the speakers. I wouldn’t label the Luxman L-509X as warm. If it sounds warm, then perhaps the speakers sound warm. In my experience, the Luxman sounds very close to neutral. Specifically the L-590AXII.

luxman's line spans decent but imo less-than-great sounding lower end class ab models

Have to disagree here. I love the AB integrateds and I used to think they performed significantly better than their price.  That was before all the price hikes.  Still, it's all relative.  There's very expensive and popular Class A amps I like much less than anything Luxman makes.

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Honestly never heard or seen Hegel or Accuphase in real life but for looks and nostalgia factor I really would love to see and hear a new Yamaha integrated.


I’ve listed the components of my two-channel system below. My room is about 19 x 19 and is a combo music and home theater. At this point I’m listening to 100% vinyl.

My impressions of the Hegel H390… Lots of power, VERY detailed and refined sounding. Smooth treble with good bass but the music lacks soul. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe the sound better than that. Can’t deny the Hegel is a good amp but it just doesn’t work for me. It could be a synergy issue with my speakers but I have no way of knowing. There is one stereo store in my city that carries mostly McIntosh, Mark Levinson so bringing home a Luxman, Krell, Pass Labs, etc. to audition in my home doesn’t seem to be an option.

Before purchasing the H390 I had a Hegel H200 which I loved. There were times when an album finished that I would just think, WOW!! So, I thought if the H200 sounded so great, the H390 would just blow me away. Sadly, not true. I did do some A/B comparisons between the two amps and after listening to the H390, the H200 sounded like a veil was over the music because it lacks the detail of the H390. So, no way of going back to that.

Bottom line is that I’ve stopped listening to music and have spent the last year researching so I very much appreciate the comments.


Revel Performa3 F208 speakers

Sumiko S-10 subwoofers (two)

Hegel H390 integrated amp

VPI Prime turntable

Transfiguration Axia MC phono cartridge

Sutherland Little Loco phono preamp

PS Audio Direct Stream Power Plant 15

Transparent Audio interconnects

Just from my own experience and perspective all your gear looks great except your Transparent cables. I’ve owned some over the years and heard them many times and always sucked the energy/life out of my system, Sorry to say. Before you do anything with a new integrated I’d go to your local store and borrow some other cables and have a listen

yyzsantabarbara I have been following c900u/m900u on the used market for some time. Don't know if I can spend that much but also don't want regrets so thanks for the comments regarding 509X and 900u. Maybe I should add Krell to my list.

@michobr59 with the release of the Luxman M10X amp I would expect some m900u units to come up for sale.

If I were to get the m900u (I won’t) I would use it with the $2500 Benchmark LA4 preamp, and this has nothing to do with cost. All about sound quality and what I like in a preamp. I use my KRELL Duo 175XD with a LA4 preamp, which is amazing in my office system.

Though I liked the demos with the c900u preamp, today after learning some things, I could not buy it. Mainly because I think a preamp should not color the sound too much and I think the c900u does color it. Though most folks seem to like that color. I did too but I am not sure if I could commit to that warmth long term.

Another combo that I preferred over the c900u/m900u and is a little less warm is the CODA 07x preamp and CODA #16 amp. I thought the KRELL amp sounded like the CODA #16 but with less overall power (2 Ohm). That was the best compliment that I could give the less costly KRELL.

I owned the CODA #8 but sold it to raise cash for a tube headphone amp purchase (turned out great). I am now selling the CODA 07x preamp because I am either getting a second Benchmark LA4 to pair with Benchmark AHB2 monos on a future system. I may ditch the Benchmark plan if I make the drastic decision to buy the new active KEF LS60 speakers (Baby Blades) and sell off some more gear.

The CODA 07x preamp is a tube-like SS unit that is in-between the sound of the LA4 and c900u.


BTW - for digital streaming the OP's interconnects do not matter. The USB cable or Ethernet to the Hegel may matter, though I do not find that to be the case with my DACs and streaming setup.


I am going to call an audible and attract you to an alternative. When I was in the market to upgrade a source for my B&W 802D3s, my dealer recommended the Rotel Michi line. I had money in hand to buy the Luxman separates (which I am obviously fond of), and the dealer sells. He stated the Michi performance is very close for 1/3 of the price. However, the resale value will not keep up with Luxman. The Michi line is incredibly built and offers an outstanding price/performance ratio. However, the new Luxman M10x ups the ante and further separates itself from the Michi line substantially!!

Lastly, a previous post highlighted the CODA line. This is an outstanding company to deal with!! I had a CODA 16, which was a powerhouse but a little too neutral for me. Their integrated's are exceptional and a great value. 

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Honestly never heard or seen Hegel or Accuphase in real life but for looks and nostalgia factor I really would love to see and hear a new Yamaha integrated.

I heard the new top of the line Yamaha 5000 series gear, so separates. It was interesting to hear them after my Luxman c9000u.m900u experience.  I was demoing the Yamaha NS5000 speaker, which are great, but the demo was in a bad dealer room.

My takeaway was that the Yamaha gear sounded very good with the NS5000 speaker, but during the demo I was thinking I would love to hear those speakers with the Luxman stack. There is a saxophone part in the Rolling Stones song SLAVE, and on the Luxman stack I got the sense of the breath going into the sax. With the Yamaha it was not there, but the room was bad.

After some more time to think about it I am now inclined to hear those speakers with an all-Benchmark stack (which I have at home).

You may want to talk with the manufacturer of your speakers, or a dealer that sells them to obtain their perspective.

I bought the H590... because that line (Hegel) was what Harbeth demos their speakers with, and I was wanting an amp that would add dynamics, clarity and detail to my Harbeths.  It did!

That really is all that is relevant... how well does any amp you are considering drive your particular set of speakers.  With mine it was Hegel.  With yours it may be something entirely different that the two you're considering... you just need to find out from the manufacturer / dealer.


The Luxman destroys the Hegel for music realism, albeit slightly speaker-dependent. 

Can you elaborate on the above comment as to the type of speaker you consider best for Luxman and why? Any thoughts on my Revel F208s and Luxman?

Thanks for the previous info/comments, very helpful.


The Luxman M10X, M900U, 507Z, and 509X can power any speaker in production. Do not be fooled by the limited power specifications. Luxman's 100 watts is the equivalent of many's 200W amplifiers. Luxman excels in current delivery and driving difficult loads. 

The big question for you is your room size and listening levels? The class A 590AXII and 595ASE will depend more on those factors because of their limited power output. The 590 is a sleeper because, in testing, it far exceeded its 30W rated output, albeit in class a/b. Both of these integrated will have to be purchased used. Sadly, Luxman is "supposedly" getting out of the class A-game. 

Your Revels are 88dB sensitive with an impedance of 8 ohms. They don't appear to be too difficult of a speaker to drive; thus, depending on room size and volumes, I think you could choose whatever Luxman your ears and budget decide. 

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You win!! No amplifier in the world other than Hegel will drive a 3-ohm load. This is a "cake-walk" for a Luxman. Measurements are just that, only a small metric that may or may not contribute to listening pleasure. The ears are the ultimate judge. 


I apologize for the competition between myself and jjss49. I will no longer be contributing to this post. Please feel free to PM me, and I will help you in any way that I can! Or, just follow jjss49's advice and always wonder if the Revels are performing their best. I just wanted to show you that there are other options out there. If you don't go the Luxman route, please try to hear a Gryphon Diablo 300. A true marvel of audio engineering. 


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Oh dear , More than a whIff of the over defensive going on here …bordering on the Butt Hurt, go with quality build Japanese moving onwards and upwards imho. 

I stand by my observations above. Hegels are not "clinical". They are very very good amps, in fact, rather excellent. But there is a certain Je ne sais quoi about many Luxman products. Their mid level and reference products simply sound natural and inviting to me.

My system consists of Audio Research 160M amplifiers, Wilson Alexia 2s, 3 different cd players including the Spectral SDR 4000SV as well as an incoming Techdas Premium 3 with SAT arm--so I can’t say that the sound I have at home is anything like what I heard, for example, with the Luxman tube amp and preamp and Triangle speakers at the last audio show I attended. But I can say that I felt compelled to revisit that room 4 or 5 times because I was so taken with music coming from that system. Nothing stood out as the best trait, nothing extraordinary---except the overall sound which was clear, uncolored, well balanced and completeIy natural. It truly felt like the musicians were in the room.

Thanks to everyone that contributed to this thread. Not having a local source to listen to various amps (and other audio equipment) is frustrating and comments from people that have actual listening experience with these products is invaluable. I’m in search of that elusive sound and just don’t know how to get there without just throwing money at it.

Audio like many things is very subjective. I have a buddy with whom I share a drink of bourbon. We can never agree on what’s is amazing and what is mediocre. But we continue to take the journey together and respect each others taste.

@michobr59 Sorry I'm a little late to the party but I thought I'd share my experience with you. About 3-4 years ago, I started replacing my components and went out and auditioned a whole bunch of integrated amps and speakers. I finally settled on Hegel and Luxman and almost bought the Hegel 390. It is an excellent amp and does most things right. I was especially impressed with how it took absolute control of the woofers of my speakers (at the time I had Sonus Faber Olympica II). The sound was refined, powerful, and had great imaging. I almost bought one until I had an opportunity to listen to Luxman 509 and 590AXII. The 590AXII was the one that eventually won my heart. It had that special something that spoke to me at an emotional level in a way the Hegel did not. As someone mentioned above, it is very refined, balanced and neutral but with a hint of sweetness without ever going overboard.  The bass, although not as big as the Hegel, is more taut and nuanced. The upper frequencies extend in a way that it would remind you of tubes. In short, as good as the Hegel is, in my opinion, the Luxman brings something more to the party. I disagree with folks who say that you're basically paying a premium for the looks. I think even if the build quality and finesse was not there, Luxman would still stand on its own based on sound quality alone.

I also disagree with other posters who think the Luxman is more on the warm side. I found both 509 and 590 to be neutral with just a hint of warmth. It is truly an outstanding integrated amp that can be an endgame component for many.

Having said that, I found another integrated amp -- Audio Hungary Qualiton a50i, that checked more boxes for me. It is as good as the 590AXII (except in the bass department) but brings that holographic, 3D, and lush soundscape that only tubes can provide. I could have easily lived with the Luxman but the Qualiton a50i with it's 50 watts of pure class A was a better fit for me. Good luck!


Thanks for the comments. My Revel F208s have a minimum power rating of 50 watts. Can’t say that I understand this since they have a sensitivity rating of 88db. Anyway, I called Revel and asked about the min 50 watts and was told anything less would damage the speakers. Unless I upgrade speakers, the class A Luxmans aren’t an option. I’ve had the H390 for a year and have spent that time reading and researching as much as possible and have been drawn to the Luxman brand. I would really like to hear the 509X before pulling the trigger as I’m trying to decide between the 509X and c900u/m900u combo. If money wasn’t a factor, the choice would be easy. So, if I understand correctly you would choose the 509X over the H390?

Luxman 590AXII is rated at 30 watts in class A and then it switches to A/B for over 90 watts. I used it with Sonus Faber Olympica II (which was 88db at 4 ohms) as well as Harbeth SHL5+ which are 86db. The amp had zero trouble driving both speakers to insanely loud levels. Please keep in mind that the 30 watt rating is for class A only. It doesn’t mean the amp only supports up to 30, just that it switches over to A/B for up to 90 (or even higher) watts.

I only heard the 509X once and was not able to directly compare it to Hegel, so I'm not entirely comfortable making a recommendation between these two. But for me, 590AXII was better than the 509 ... it just had that class A sweetness that I love.

They are both great integrated amplifiers. Do not think you would go wrong with either. 

I think that 509 is also class A but only for a few watts. Practicaly at low level and with efficient speakers, it should then "sound" class A as well. Uncorrect ?

I know the Revels well.  They do like a little power.  Hegel and Luxman are like comparing BMW and Lexus.  They are both nice cars but the driving and riding experience is very different. 

Luxman is going to sound soft and musical yet the detail will remain to some extent.  This smoother, more liquid sound is a matter of taste.  The mid and treble will sound much more natural but this will come at the expense of sound slightly flabby and rounded in the bass region.  

Hegel is the exact opposite.  It is crisp and precise while remaining relatively neutral.  This is extraordinary because usually this is accompanied by a tinge of brightness from many manufacturers.  Bass will be tight and refined but at the expense of somewhat analytic sounding treble and mids.  

In this ~$6 to $8K range this is the tradeoff you will make.  There are many amps in this range that will be in the middle.  More liquid than Hegel, more analytic than Luxman.  Better or worse is a matter of taste.  

Regarding impedance which is far more important than topline power, you need an amp that is comfortable at 3 ohms.  Even at 88dB efficiency, you aren't using very much power at normal listening levels.  It is typically only in dynamic peaks that you need that headroom and that tends to be at the lowest frequencies.  

Regarding Class A sound - I have heard bright and annoying Class A amps and warm and sweet Class A amps.  Output stage design, transformers, and choice of transistor matter.  Don't assume because it is Class A, this it will sound a certain way.  Since the transistors are receiving full power 100% of the time, Class A amps tend to be slightly faster and slightly more powerful at the same power rating vs an AB.  

For some perspective though, an 88dB speaker will output 94.3dB of volume if you are seated 10' from it in a normal environment (speaker about 3' from the wall).  This means for most music, you are not going to use much more than 10w, even if you are listening at close to reference levels, ~85dB as you need about 10dB of headroom for most music.  20dB of headroom is optimal and meets THX standards which for those speakers is 120w of power.  Unless you like to really turn it up or you are in a big room...120w is plenty for those Revels.  


I’ve heard this argument many times before that Luxman sounds soft overall and flabby in the bass department. I guess I must have heard something totally different, or perhaps people making such claims are relying on aural memories of the old Luxman sound. I home auditioned a lot of amps in my house and did not find anything remotely soft or flabby. The 590 is fairly neutral with just a hint of sweetness. When I compared it to Hegel 390, there was no difference in clarity and detail at all. They definitely have different presentation styles but you will never complain about lack of detail or flabby bass with either one. I do agree that the bass output on Hegel is better than Luxman. But for everything else my preference was Luxman. 

@verdantaudio  This is a slight digression, but how would you describe  the sound of the Hegel H30, if you have heard it.

@arafiq i agree with you regarding luxman’s sound. I was maybe generalizing the critique. I agree that detail is there. It is a lack of crispness that is quite musical and engaging with luxman. It is definitely softer than the crisper sound of Hegel.
Neither is good or bad. Just different.

@dbb nope. I have heard the H390 and H590, the latter is my current sample.  I have never heard the H30.

Luxman very neutral and refine. Depends on your speakers your using. H390 made have a tad more bass and thump.  Just on the looks itself, its Luxman.  My 590 AXii is clean and detail sounding. I'm using Nautilus B&W 803 speakers with them.

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