Luxman 509x Mono Playback

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Dave Calarco, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. Dave Calarco

    Dave Calarco Forum Resident Thread Starter


    I am demoing a Luxman 509x right now, and hooked it up for the first time last night (with Rega P10 > Apheta 3 > Gold Note PH-10 and B&W CM9 speakers). On first run, the stereo playback of my 1st UK copy of "Wish You Were Here"—with the Line Straight setting which bypasses any tone control—was staggering. Huge soundstage, crazy dynamics—jaw dropping stuff. When I then played my all-but-pristine OG mono copy of "A Love Supreme" with the Mono setting, I didn't get the same results. I felt like the staging and imaging were compromised—like the instruments were on top of each other without enough space in the presentation and without the clarity of imaging. The overall authority just wasn't the same. I felt that the presentation wasn't even as good as my mediocre Integra home theatre amp I had just disconnected.

    Anyone have any experience with mono playback on a Luxman or have any thoughts on why I might have had this experience?
  2. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    Maybe too obvious a question, but did you also try listening to the mono record without the mono mode engaged?

    I've never used the mono switch on my L509X for mono recordings, but I think the idea is it's using DSP to sum stereo channels into mono, but isn't designed to make mono recordings sound better.
  3. Dave Calarco

    Dave Calarco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I will try that. But if it's not use to make mono recordings sound better, what is it used for? There was a striking difference on my old amp when playing mono records with the mono setting engaged vs. without it.
  4. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    There are various reasons, mostly related to only using one speaker or using all four speaker taps. I can't think of many reasons one would be using said Luxman for these reasons, but it just adds flexibility.

    Different amps might implement mono controls differently. Every amp I've ever owned didn't do anything to a mono signal because it's already mono. I don't understand how one makes a mono signal "more mono", but I do understand how stereo channels are summed into mono.

    In your case, if you're coming from a home theater receiver, there could be a big difference in how it works - generally home theater receivers convert analog signals to digital by default to make use of the DSP they're designed around, and the mono mode might have been disabling a lot of that.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
    Dave Calarco likes this.
  5. Dave Calarco

    Dave Calarco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Interesting. There’s been lots of discussion on this forum on how to play mono records on stereo rigs, especially around a switch that a member made that sums the channels like a y cord. The other option is mainly a mono switch on an amp.

    So you think that unless you have a mono cart there is nothing to do to improve mono playback?

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