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?


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. 

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