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I've directly compared C2600 and 38UC. Skip the MAC, Luxman is way better in every sense of the word. I say this and I own C2600. The quality, craftsmanship, material, detail and of course the sound is much more refined. C38 also has a much better phono stage. I wish I knew about Luxman before I got into Mac. I didn't hear any distortion from either one. If you have efficient speakers, pair it with a Luxman tube amp and you won't regret it.
I've had the CL38U SE for about three years. Prior to that I had a CJ ET3 SE. There is no comparison. Just 1K difference in price but miles difference between the preamps. The 38 had more dynamics top end is detailed not rolled off like the CJ. When I demoed the Luxman at home I put on Black Magic Woman on my, at the time Linn TT. The whole song just came alive. The Guitar licks had bite that the CJ couldn't reproduce. The tubes are as quiet today as they were over three years ago. The built in three tube phono is excellent. I don't know of any built in phonos at this price that has four step up transformers. Since purchasing the preamp I sold the Linn and added the Luxman PD-171 TT. I'm using it w/a Dynavector 20xl2. LP's are dead quiet. Very rare do I get surface noise or pop's and clicks. This is my last preamp.
Reviving this thread, was wondering if anyone has used 12AX7 (ECC83) tubes instead of 12AU7 (ECC82) on the Luxman L-38Uc?
If so, are there any considerations/precautions needed?
I have some 12AX7 around for tube rolling, was looking to avoid having to buy more tubes XD
Any help is appreciated,