Luxman CL-38u SE and MQ-88u SE preamp and amp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Erocka2000, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Does anyone here have any experience with the Luxman CL-38u SE preamp and MQ-88u SE amp? Would love to hear your opinions. Especially how good is the phono stage on the CL-38s SE.

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  2. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
  3. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester NH
     
  4. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester NH
    I bought the CL38U-SE about 7 months ago and it the best preamp I have ever owned. Only 100 of the SE's were built so It's hard to find anybody who has used one. This preamp is not warm and fuzzy. Unlike my CJ ET-3SE which I sold the sound is smooth but very Dynamic. Your not going to get rolled of highs w/this preamp. As far as the phono is concerned it's one of the best features of the preamp. It uses 4 step up transformers. 2for MC High and 2 for MC Low carts. Records are dead quiet and therein plenty of detail in the music. I do not use the MQ-88U-SE amp but my local dealer has hooked it up in the demo room. The amp has powered a pair of Klipsch La Scalla's. Very impressive. He also had the Luxman TT in the system. I know Art Dudley of Stereophile has relied both these items over the past year and he compares them very favorably w/his much more expensive Shindo gear. My current setup has a Bryston 2.5 SST2 amp, Aerial 5T's, Linn TT w/a Lingo 3, Bluesound Node and a RME ADI 2-DAC.
     
    Rolltide likes this.
  5. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Interesting that you mention that it's not warm and fuzzy. I was expecting it would be on the warmer side of neutral, as Dudley this say it compares very favorably to his (at the time) Shindo Masseto preamp, which is on the warm side of neutral. In the latest Stereophile, he reviewed the MQ-88u SE and also said it is on par, though with some differences, with his Shindo Haut Brion amp. I love the Shindo sound, but not the Shindo prices and was hoping that this was a great alternative.

    I did love my previous KT-88 based Line Magnetic integrated amp (216IA). I'm just curious how this combo would stack up against my current Line Magnetic 518IA SET integrated as well as the included phonostage vs. my Acoustic Plan Phonomaster SE. What would I gain and what would I lose? There doesn't seem to be anywhere in NYC where I can hear the Luxman.
     
  6. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester NH
    Well I was comparing it to a CJ ET-3 SE which just lacked the top end dynamics. In my opinion it rolled off the top too much. My description of the CL 38 U Se would be smooth and neutral. Luxman has really stepped up it's game over the last few years. I had gone to another dealer and compared this preamp to a 10K VAC preamp and the Luxman IMHO was better. Luxman is coming out w/the CL38 U-C. Same preamp but w/a set of balanced outputs. Don't know the price but it should be on the market soon.
     
  7. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    I know the difference in the MQ-88u SE and MQ-88u C is the oil capacitors in the former vs. film caps in the latter (and how do you set the output impedance when there is only one set of outputs?). Other than the balanced outputs on the CL-38u C, what are the other differences in the SE model?
     
  8. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester NH
    I think the tubes too. The SE uses the JJ ECC 802S for the preamp and the ECC 803S for the phono. The new pre amp uses the cheaper JJ tubes.
     
  9. Erocka2000

    Erocka2000 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Anyone else here have any experience with the Luxman CL-38u preamp?
     
  10. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    Subscribed to see if you end up listening to this combo, but I'd be shocked if it were better than the Phonomaster/518i combo.
     
  11. Vinyl Archaeologist

    Vinyl Archaeologist Forum Resident

    Seeing this a bit late. I have the luxman and find the phonostage and overall sound to be excellent. I also like the convenience of the remote and toggle switche for mono. I have it connected into a older Mcintosh solid state which may be limiting it slightly. The Lux as a pre-amp for the 518ia might be an interesting pairing?
     
    Luxmancl38 likes this.
  12. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester NH
    I just added the Luxman PD-171 A TT to my CL38U SE. Love the combination.:righton:
     
    Vinyl Archaeologist likes this.
  13. FG1967

    FG1967 Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hi all,
    as a newcomer on this forum i just noticed this thread. I have played with lots of different gear (both tube and solid state) over the years now, but i have found my ease of mind and heart in the Luxman CL-38uC and MQ-88uC combo. I decided to go for the Luxman to replace my beloved but vulnerable Graaf amps after extensive research including Luxman solid state amps and other brands like Accuphase. Compared to the earlier limited SE versions the tubes are indeed the simpler ECC83S and ECC82 versions and the paper-in oil caps are replaced by film caps. As far as i know the used KT88's are the same. All tubes are new production by JJ. Another difference between the C and SE version is the newer pre amp also has a balanced line input. In my setup with a Benz Micro Wood S Medium cartridge the pre amp performs absolutely fantastic and is dead silent. A great soundstage, a real 3-D holographic projection. It's just like the old B&W slogan 'listen and you'll see' is coming to life. The power amp, driving 6 ohm Diapason Adamantes III, does it's job with great authority and ease. Smooth highs, deep and controlled bass and an all natural feeling. After extensive testing with different interconnects my DAC performs consistently best on the balanced input of the pre amp. This setup can be listened to for hours and hours without any fatigue. I looks stunning too, it is built beautifully and it has a great little remote control. So what can i wish for... maybe later on some tube rolling?
    Best regards.
     
  14. Luxmancl38

    Luxmancl38 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Manchester NH
    Congrats on the CL38uC. It's a great preamp. I have the SE version. I've had it for over 1 and 1/2 years. Just as quiet as the day I bought it. Have you tried the phono stage? I sold my outboard phono as the internal phono is very good. Hasn't been much conversation on the SE being only 100 were made for worldwide distribution. Hopefully more will discover the new version. I don't have the amp but heard it many time at my dealer. He usually had it hooked up to a pair of LaScalla's w/the Luxman PD-171A TT. Fantastic modern retro setup. Plenty of conversation on solid state Luxman's. But very little on the tube side which is a shame as their tube products can stand up to many of the competitors out there.
     
  15. FG1967

    FG1967 Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    My main source is vinyl, so i use the MC phono input most of the time (with the Benz Micro Wood cart mounted on a Transrotor turntable). I play a medium output version of this cartridge, but this pre amp is so quiet a low output will perform great as well. The MM input is tested with an Audio Technica cart mounted on a Thorens and is very very good also.
    Over the years i have played with many different phono stages, but after all i prefer an all-tube setup or a setup like the Luxman using tubes and a step up transformer. The way Luxman created a perfect combination at this price-performance level is impressive and a real joy.
     

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