New Luxman DA-06 doesnt sound so great. Will it get better?

Hi, I recently received a Luxman DA-06 dac (new, gray market Japan import) and it the sound doesnt seem to have any life.  It sounds a bit dull, uninvolving, and just low fidelity.  The best way can explain it is that it sounds like when a phono cartridge has a bad impedance mismatch with a preamp or if the signal gain is too high and it is clipping .  The unit only has less than 15 hours on it.  I wanted to know if this is normal and it would clear itself up or I have received a bad unit.  I have tried it in 2 different systems and it sounds the same. I have tried both outputs, balanced and unbalanced.  I have read this dac requires 100s of hours break in time and I hope the sound improves.  Anyone has any experience with this and could share their thoughts?  I would greatly appreciate it.  
No direct experience with Luxman, but IMO, all digital takes some time to open up.  Assuming it has no tubes, I would not shut it off at all, unless I were going on vacation.  I would say give it a month and just live with it.  I have gone through several painful break in periods and it can take time.  I would also buy a break in CD like a Purist or whatever to speed things along.  Just hang in.  But it should get better in a couple of days.  
It doesnt have any tubes.  We had some storms down here in Texas but last night I left the unit on while looping a cd.  I will let it play 24/7 for the next month or so as long as the weather doesnt get bad.  So far I havent heard the lush magic that I have read so much that this dac can provide.  
Are you using a voltage converter. I assume your CDP is 100v which needs to be converted to 115v.
Yes, I am using a Nissyo 550w converter to bring the voltage down to 100v.  The DA-06 is a dac and not a cdp.  
First impressions usually indicate whether or not a piece of audio gear will do it for you...sorry to say.  I've owned a lot of gear and break in IS real, but only goes so far.  If there is an inherent problem like your describing then it will most likely simply suck a little less over time.  So...Asian sourced grey market aye?  Sounds like a counterfeit...Music Direct would give you 30-60days return just in case.  Lesson learned...sell it fast if you can!
If it requires hundreds of hours of break-in (per Luxman, I assume?), then give it the required time, and you should be rewarded for your patience. The Isotek/Esoteric burn-in disc is a useful tool.

Don't give up on it yet!
100s of hours is what I read on forums with owners of the DA-06, not sure what Luxman's policy is regarding burn in.  Ive had very good luck with gray market imports.  There is no reason for me to believe that this is a counterfeit.  The build quality is outstanding, came with paperwork, and the insides are genuine.  Yes, I opened it up and took a good look inside.  Heck if this was a counterfeit, why would they waste their time doing that when they could be designing their own equipment because they are that good!  
Wouldn't surprise me if that step down wasn't killing the music....

If it was me, I would see about sending it in to Luxman to get the right transformer put in it for your voltage requirement.
Yeah I read much about using step down transformers.  Some say it degrades the music quality others say it increases it.  There are several transformers from the plant to my home, not sure why another one would degrade the quality.  I dont see how but I could always put a scope to the 100v to see if there excess noise or a distorted waveform.  I will do that during the week, we have some nice Tektronix scopes at work.  
You can’t compare the power grid setup to what you have there. It is all about having low impedance power delivery for digital gear IME, so that transformer really cannot help things.... You need fast current delivery for these high speed digital devices.
Thats why all those caps are there for.  I completely agree that digital devices need very high speed instantaneous current delivery.  With the small power draw of the dac, I bet that those big luxman caps are never completely drained.  

I just did a compairson with my old Onkyo  C-S5vl player.  The Luxman sounds a bit better after about 20 hours of use when I compare it to the Onkyo (which sounds low end to my other dacs).  Im also using this Onkyo to loop a cd continously.  The Luxman still isnt anywhere near the level of what it should produce however.  
(Please don't take this as an insult but check to make sure the tag behind the power receptacle says 100V and not 120V. If it's an import they may have changed the xfmr)

The easiest way to see if there are problems with the unit is to check the voltage at each RCA output to make sure there is 2.5 Vrms.  

If the output voltage is correct then leave it powered on for at least 72 hours and then run a disc on repeat for 8 hours or so with the RCA outputs loaded to a preamp (off or on doesn't matter). What you hear after that should be very close to what the unit will sound like.
I missed the note about the step down transformer.  Not a good idea...also, don't assume you understand what's going on in the audio chain.  There is still some things that remain unquantifiable!
I have heard a Luxman DA-06  from an authorized dealer in the US so its voltage was set to the US 115v standard. Using the DA-06 out of a Macbook Pro computer up sampling to DSD using JRiver Media 21, the DA-06 has different digital filter settings that may have an effect upon sound. My advice: You may achieve better results depending upon the digital signal sent from your computer which may be impacted by the cable (I heard a USB) and the filters. Maybe the step down converter has a deleterious effect that none of these factors may overcome but with the US version, the DA-06 produces a great result. Try different filter settings, cables, high resolution PCM and conversion to DSD before you give up. You may get a great result if you can try these things.

Check out the threads on step down transformers as there is a plethora of info on them. One member in particular, renjy651, has a lot of experience with them regarding model types, switch outs, and the like.

All the best,
IMO, all this trendy mix and match DAC stuff with assorted degrees of crap accessories is quite pointless unless your pursuit is pure functionality alone.   For great sound, a one box source and simplified amplification stage with quality cables/cords into highly dynamic speakers will yield better results.  Computers and DACS and converters...why?  Sit down, put on a great disc and turn out the lights.  Relax then repeat!
I think you are right. That is why I changed from a Spectral / dcs set to an all Nagra set: CD player, pre and power. No guess work involved. Still, Audioman, I hope you get things sorted out: contact Luxman and accept the costs if there are any. Good luck!
The US distributer " On a Higher Note" won’t touch a Grey market player with a ten foot pole. The OP is bound to the the country of origin for any service/support needs. If the player is legit Luxman, and no reason to believe it’s not. Then be patient for the player to break-in. Luxman is a great brand...sit back and enjoy.
It appears that the step-down transformer you are using probably has a two-prong plug and outlet, while the Luxman has a three-prong IEC receptacle. While in most circumstances that might be sonically advantageous, as it would break any ground loops with interconnected components, I’m wondering if in this case it might be causing or contributing to the problem.

For instance if the Luxman provides galvanic isolation of whatever digital inputs you are using, the lack of an AC safety ground connection may result in its digital and D/A converter circuitry being essentially "floating" in an uncontrolled manner relative to the ground of the signal source, perhaps resulting in noise issues and consequently in jitter issues.

I’m just speculating, of course, but it might be worthwhile investing $35 plus shipping in a converter such as this one, which provides three-prong connectivity:

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

Thank you for all the replies - this was my first post on Audiogon.  Great place!

almarg:  The Luxman does have a 3 plug receptacle.  If you look inside, the 3rd or the ground wire is not connected to anything.  The Nissyo transformer that I am using is only 2 plug. If the ground connection was connected, I agree the voltage converter you are recommending could offer a better ground.

maxboy00:  Yes, I am stuck with sending the unit back to Japan for service if it requires it.  Shipping was less than $100 for 1 way and took less than 3 days including time in customs!  There was no customs charge as the seller devalued the item's value.

nirodha35: Thanks!  Yes I will have to accept any costs that occur.  The unit is under warranty in Japan so I would have to pay only shipping costs. 

dave_b:  You are correct!  There are many times that I just want to put some music on, turn off the lights and forget about the hardware.  I do like to tinker around and in the process have learned a lot.  Still lots more to learn though.  Sometimes it pays off and result in a more pleasing sound, other times it sets me back a step or two.   

nonoise:  I have read a lot on step down transformers.  There are so much information to sift through and a lot of it can be false.

casaross:  So far I have tried the coax and USB inputs.  Right now I am just feeding it directly from a cd player with the coax going through a reclocker.  When I tried it on USB, I was using Foobar.  I have tried upsampling to DSD and the Sox upsampler to 2x and 4x. 

gs5556: The seller supplied a transformer with the unit so I am sure it is the Japanese version.  I checked the voltage it is around 2.5V, varies a little bit because I am playing a cd.  It has been playing for 2 days and I agree it is going to sound very close to what it sounds like right now. 

I am now leaning toward that there is nothing wrong with the dac.  I purchased it without a listening demo (wish I could go some place close by to listen to another da-06).  I won't be giving up on it and will continue burning it in.  Perhaps my ears are just spoiled -  I have a Litedac 60 that I have modded heavily and I have been comparing all other equipment with it.  BTW, I don't have any buyers remorse - the seller does accept returns however I am not going to return it.  I would like to get to the bottom of this.  Anyone know where I could listen to another da-06 in the DFW area?
I checked the voltage it is around 2.5V, varies a little bit because I am playing a cd.
As you appear to realize but others may not, 2.5 volts is the specified **maximum** output voltage of the DAC, that will only occur when the digital data corresponding to the instantaneous volume of the music is at its greatest possible value. Most of the time that voltage will be much lower, especially on recordings having wide dynamic range. And to be completely precise, that voltage is defined on the basis of the RMS (root mean square) value of a presumed sine wave, as opposed to the peak or peak-to-peak voltages of the waveform.

Also, John Atkinson’s measurements of the DA-06 indicate 2.36 volts, rather than the specified 2.5 volts:

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

Thanks for your help Al, I am getting close to 2.3 volts.  Yesterday I went out and purchased a hdmi de-embedder.  I played DSOTM and the bells at the beginning of the song Time sounded simply stunning.  I've never heard them sound so accurate, pure, and "tight".  I am using an Oppo BDP-95 and it is able to convert DSD to PCM at 88.2khz 24 bits.  I do hear the relay click occasionally during the middle of playback at 88.2khz and less at 44.1khz.  I know that the Luxman is very picky at the cable quality for its coax inputs.  I will try some other cables that I have to see if that fixes the problem.  It is most likely losing sync.
I recently purchased sacd player Luxman D-06.. Directly through On Higher Sound the USA distributor.. 9 grand..This is the DAC DA-06 with transport.. Sounded quite nice out of the box, but limited in what I know it will sound like after burn in period. Only about 40 hours on it and it sounding better by the hour. So don't listen to those who think burn in is a crock.. Any inexpensive cheaply made cables, interconnects, AC cables and especially 'in between' components like the regulator will DOWNGRADE any fine equipment to where you are hearing them instead of your costly stuff.. Like buying a $50 steak and slathering 10 cents worth of ketchup on it. Find out what voltage you are actually running and have it adjusted inside the unit by a trained engineer or authorized dealer if it's Asian or European voltage. Change the duplex you are plugged into, I recommend Furutech GTX-D $275).. This cleaned up my grid so well I tossed my conditioner and plugged straight into the wall. The Luxman DAC you have suggests a substantial outlay of $$ with the rest of your stuff. So if you haven't already, you should upgrade your interconnects (spend about 8/900.00), Your Speaker cables (spend about $3,000) and your AV/AC cable & plugs (spend about $3 to $500 apiece). I have Silnote's top 'o the line stuff and the difference upon connection was mind blowing. BUT GET RID OF THAT REGULATOR and fix the voltage correctly from the inside. Then you will be on the way to what you think you should be hearing with the DA-06 as I am with the D-06..
Hope this is helpful and makes sense.
I have direct experience with DA06 and  Luxman MQ88 and Vivid Audio B1....  Using MacBook Pro....  Sounds amazing....  

I I have also used it in a few other systems...  Always s sounded like a class A component to me.

Perhaps it has something to do with it being a Japanese version....  Plenty of USA versions for sale....   

It's not just about the step-down voltage. 
The cycles (hertz) is also different in Japan vs NA/Eu. They are at 50Hz I believe. 60Hz in NA/Eu. Makes a difference!
I have a Luxman integrated amp.  It took a long period of use until it really sounded its best.  First couple of days, I thought I made a big mistake buying it but am very happy now.
I did some research regarding using step up transformers with directly imported Luxman products.  No one actually using them reported any ill effects and a couple people suggested they were actually beneficial, working as power conditioners.
Luxman products are subject to a substantial mark up by the US distributors.  For some, this may be in some way justified.  I didn't have a pleasant experience working with an authorized dealer here and would consider directly importing next time.
About after over a week of burn in, the DA-06 now sounds "warm, dense, and clear".  It also has some magical sounding properties as the sound is very lush and polite.  I was laying down listening to some music streaming from my pc (Foobar using Sox upsampler to 174.6khz -> Schiit Wyrd -> Audiogd DI-2014 -> coax in DA-06, balanced out -> Goldpoint level controls -> Parasound A21 x2 -> custom speakers) and I was hearing sounds come from behind me.  I thought there was something outside but realized it was actually the music!  

It is an excellent dac that has a very unique sound but requires a very long time to break in.  I feel that there is no need to upgrade the transformer or the stock power cord (which is very nice btw) in my system.  Japan has both power systems 50hz and 60hz.  Consumer electronics will work on both.    

About the relay issue: it didn't like my Kanex Pro hdmi de-embedder.  Also on the USB input, the relay will click when skipping or fast forwarding tracks.  With the coax - there are 0 clicks.  I believe on the DA-06 the coax is treated as an asynchronous signal that further reduces jitter phase noise. Similar to the USB input.
Thanks for all the comments - I am a proud owner of a Luxman :).  
I'm just curious how this fares, 5 years after. I see Luxman has discontinued it, and has no real successor. Would you recommend getting it used, or to go for the D-03X in the same price range? (Or just some other brand?)
Wow time goes by fast...  Ive had everything packed up for the last couple of years due to moving around.   For the last year or so Ive just been using my bluetooth headphones - Sennheiser Momentum 3.  They actually sound pretty good for being wireless and it is also a relief to have things be so simple.  

Before you decide on Luxman, I would look at dacs based on AKM dac chips.  The sound is full bodied similar to the old BurrBrown chips but is clearer since they are newer.  
I think the D-06 has withstood the passage of time very gracefully. I bought a D-03X initially, and later got a good deal on a used DA-06. After comparing them for a couple of weeks, the D-03X was returned to the dealer. After all these years, the D-06 still retains top notch quality and can compete head to head with any modern sub $3k DAC.

I know it’s an old thread but I’m compelled to update this thread. Other than the Japanese unit needing a step down transformer, it can be cables as well particularly the power cord that’s connected to the DAC . The Luxman DA-06 is rather sensitive to power cords and can sound lacklustre or unengaging when used with most common power cords out there. Just make sure you get a good one for it.



Which Power Cord (PC) are you enjoying with your DA-06 ?


Happy Listening!

My DA-06 has been sitting for close to 7 years without use. I need to sell it. Honestly, it sounds terrible when compared to several other dacs that I have acquired over the years.

After living with a D10x for a over a year and also auditioning some other Luxman products, the only positive thing i can say about Luxman as a brand is that their products look very nice. Sound quality wise, they are consistently underwhelming and quality control is not consistent. That D10x despite all its heft did not sound as good as a Topping D90. I currently now use a Holo May and it absolutely runs circles around the Luxman D10x. If you don’t mind the ESS sound signature, there are far superior and dramatically cheaper options to any of the Luxman DACs.

It continually surprises me how much difference of opinion people can have over same pieces of audio equipment.   I have had a number of DACs.   One of them I still have is the Luxman DA-06.   It has not been active in my chain for some time, but was pulled to try some others, PS Audio DirectStream (still have), Vinnie Rossi DAC in L2 Signature pre-amp (sold), Lumin X1 (still have), and Mola Mola DAC in my Makua pre-amp.  The DA-06 does not have an ethernet connection and relies on separate server and streamer device(s) for streaming.   It was primarily marketed as a USB DAC, for the higher resolution files, but also has coax, optical S/PDIF, and AES/EBU.   Limitations I previously experienced with the DA-06 had very much to do with the source(s) feeding it, which have evolved considerably for me.    Similarly, I went through various source changes with the DirectStream.   The best sound quality I have experienced with it has been I2S from Antipodes K50.  I have yet to try the DA-06 with the K50, but intend to do so, with USB and AES/EBU.  I also have changed USB cabling since it was last in my rack as well as AES/EBU cabling, and had not tested that digital input with the DA-06.   I anticipate I will continue to prefer my X1 and Mola Mola over the DA-06, but neither do I anticipate it will sound "terrible".  I tend to evaluate these things more on preference for certain sound quality characteristics that exhibit in my system as differences.   I also have been much better on allowing equipment pieces, including cabling, to settle in to better evaluate sound quality than I have done in the past.  The X1 took considerable hours for me, and suggest at least 200 hours, but more like 400 hours for critical evaluation.   My K50 has seemed to me to improve over many months of playing.  I intend to allow the DA-06 to get at least a 100 hours on it again, since it has been quite some time since I have had it in the chain.

@arize84, your comments on the D10x are probably the most negative I have read on it.   I have read some who have preferred newer Esoteric CD/SACD players and    DAC's as well as others, but also have read highly enthusiastic owner reviews as well.   Out of curiosity, did you get yours directly from Japan and needed to make power modifications, or was it purchased factory configured for your local power requirements?   In any case, sorry to read it did not work out for you--not an inexpensive piece.   

@azwill I bought my unit from an authorized dealer in the US. My source (Aurender A10) is definitely a weakness. The A10 is one of Aurender's earlier units and its USB out is relatively not great (A10 was designed more as a DAC than streamer for outboard DAC). However, I have a DDC that in the chain that cleans up signal before going to DAC. I have used the following DACs while/since owning the D10x (Topping D90, Gustard x26, Holo Audio May, Lumin D2, T+A DAC 200); I would choose any of those DACs over the Luxman. Similar to your experience, I2S has been the best connection in my experience (a connection the D10x lacks). The USB input on the D10x is not very good either; its coaxial input has a much better sound but can't accept DSD signal. 

Newer DACs like the Holo May and T+A 200, do such a good job cleaning up incoming USB signals that a DDC is redundant with those units. The T+A is the most revealing DAC I have ever heard in my system; On one of my favorite jazz albums (Woody Shaw – In my own sweet way), I was able to pick up the minute vibrations and not just shimmer of the hi hats (I have never experienced that level of inner detail from a DAC or turntable). The DAC 200 also outpaced my Holo May with respect to bass and dynamics. It was almost shocking what that little box could deliver.
I decided not to keep the Total DAC and continue with the Holo May, because I could still pick up just a touch of that typical Delta Sigma sound signature (hints of glassiness and coldness that affects musicality). The T+A let me know what more was possible as you move up the ladder, something I never got from the much pricier D10x.


I am really surprised, as this in the first time (at least for me) that any one has said anything negative about the Luxman D10X. What changed in the past year? Last year you mentioned that the D10X sounds as good as $20k DACs. Any other changes in the system? If user "almarg" was around he would have identified a technical mismatch that might have have happened in your system due to component changes.

Since this tread is active again I will drop my thoughts.

DA-06 build quality is good but I was disappointed when I disassembled it many years ago and found a major part of the weight was due to a steel plate being mounted to the cover.

The PCM1792a dac chip is a hybrid design which is part r2r and delta-sigma. This was BurrBrown / TI’s attempt to produce a low cost to manufacturer chip than the PCM1704 r2r chip which to this day is still one of the top best sounding dac chips ever made for PCM. It was an expensive chip to make. I wish I would have known this way back then as I wouldnt have purchased thr DA-06 and would have gotten another implementation of a pcm1704 dac.  Even flagship dacs from ESS and AKM do not sound as good with this 30 year old PCM1704 chip for pcm. I think the $45k Trinity dac uses 8 of these chips.

I have multiple dacs that I have acquired over the years and here are some of my favs:

Holo Audio May KTE: I picked this up very recently for my main system and the other poster is correct. This dac runs circles around the Luxman DA-06. The DA-06 isnt even in the same league. The Holo May is probably my end dac because it is that good.  If you are looking for another dac, it ahould be on your list and if you are debating whether to get it or not, just get it. 

LiteDac 60 heavily modified by me and uses PCM1704 x2 dac chips. This one isnt as resolving as the May KTE but it has a better sound stage and instrument seperation. It also sounds more musical than the May. This is due to a battery powered Crystek clock mod and has tube out. I have about $900 invested in it and I would confidently let it compete with $10k dacs. Easily. This one is going to the grave with me.

Technics SL-g700. This sounds better than the DA-06 with a much bigger sound stage. More 3d sounding. It has more heft and body to the sound. It also is a sacd player and a streamer. Its a solid purchase and is in my bedroom system.

I always thought my DA-06 had something wrong with it but there was nothing wrong. It is at the limits of the PCM1792a chip. It is a good, probably one of the best implementations of that chip but it is bested by other dacs with different chips and also by discrete dacs.

I also have a couple of daps that sound better than the DA-06 from Cowon and A&K not to mention a RME all based on AKM chips.  The RME is used for digitizing vinly to DSD256.  The dsd files I create puts all pcm to shame.  My coworkers tell me they havent heard better sound ever when I demoed some select recordings I made from early 80s vinyl. 

The Luxman just is sitting there. I dont use it. It needs to be sold but Im lazy and also dont want to take on the burden if any issues arise in the sale.




Just comes to show you that brand names don't matter much.  Expensive stuff can still be disappointing.  It is getting harder and harder but we still need to figure out how to try stuff out without buying it and being stuck with it.

@milpai Maybe I did, but I don’t remember saying Luxman being as good as $20K DACs, because I have never evaluated a +$20K DAC in my system. In isolation, the D10x is a fine DAC; but when you start comparing it to cheaper high end Chinese/South Korean DACs, it quickly shows its weaknesses.

All my evaluation was done using Gryphon Pandora preamp and Gryphon Essence amp going into Fyne Audio F704 speakers. 


@arize84 ,

A Luxman DAC came up for sale here and I was researching on it. Going through various Luxman threads I came across Luxman D03x Vs D10x

Of course I did notice that you did not like the USB implementation of the Luxman:

Other than weak USB implementation, D10x sounds as good as some $20K DACs I have heard.