What's next after Luxman 550 AX/II with Harbeth C7

I recently bought and sold the Luxman (class A) 550 for my C7's. I won't waste all of your time with reasons, but let me sum it up with saying the pairing was good, but nothing special. I would go as far to say the Croft phono integrated I had prior engaged me a bit more. I'm now considering the Unison Unico integrated. I know this will sound odd, but the other integrated I'm considering is the Lab twelve integre. The latter cost $5K US, while the Unison is less than half the price of the all tube Lab twelve. No offense to anyone , but I'm not considering any all solid state units. The Unico is a hybrid, so I thought for the money, it would be worth trying. Just to avoid confusion, the Lab twelve actually used the numeral twelve, but it seems that audiogon flags my posts whenever I put in a number. So I spelled it out to avoid the aggravation. Life is hard enough (-: Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Cheers -Don


Ryder- my experience mirrors yours. The bass of the C7 with the (NOW SOLD) 550 AX/II was perfectly fine. Never bloated, yet satisfyingly full. The Luxman never played an offensive note with the C7’s. I can’t share one bad comment about the sound, because I didn’t experience anything negative. The Lux was also never dry sounding, but to my ears nothing special, so I moved on. I don’t know...maybe I just don’t love the C7’s. But it was time to break up that system, and I opted to move the Luxman. I have a history of preferring tubes, even when comparing phono stages. That being said, the Luxman was one of the best solid state amps I’ve heard.

I can't comment on the specific Lab 12 amp you are referring to but do iown their fabulous DAC and would definately vouch for their quality sound

That could be interesting news because that Lab 12 line is one I'd love to Hear. I've also been thinking about getting back in to digital, but not diving too deep. There is a dealer who is within a reasonable driving distance (2+ hrs) that has Lab 12, Audio Hungary and Harbeth. But the Audio Hungary he has is only 20 watts, so I don't think that would be ideal. The Cayin line is interesting too...very little chatter but they have been around a long time. I also happen to like the looks over many of it's competitors. 

I recently tried several tube amps, from $5000 to $20000. I found that price was not a great predictor of sound quality, in fact one of the most expensive was the worst by a margin. However visited a store that was closing down they had a Cayin CS55a that I got at half price? My advice, try as many as you can, but look out for a bargain.  The CS 55a is very, very nice at less than half of all the ones I tried.

I've heard an all Lab 12 setup. Dac1 Reference + Pre1 + Suara with a pair of QLN speakers. 

I liked it. There was a lot of energy but still very musical and pleasing to listen. I got the Dac1 Reference but if I got some spare money I would not mind the Pre1+Suara or Integre. I've heard the Line Magnetic amps with ATC speakers and they should warrant consideration if you are able to audition them.