After hearing about his own disappearance, Mark Twain is known to have noticed that such rumors were “very exaggerated”. The same goes for claims by streaming music champions that “the CD is dead”. Many of them believe that everything has moved to the cloud and that only listeners trapped in the 20th century amass true libraries of music. But in fact, physical media, including vinyl and reel-to-reel tape, have a vibrant user base, as evidenced by the introduction of Luxman’s new cutting edge CD player, the D-10X.
Luxman, the patriarch of Japanese audio brands, was founded in 1925 and has earned its respected status as a manufacturer of some of the best two-channel audio equipment available. Its product line is very wide and includes electronic semiconductor and vacuum tube components. At $ 16,495, its pure solid-state D-10X drive isn’t a frivolous acquisition; rather, it is an “endgame” source component that will find its place in systems where spinning silver discs – both CD and SACD – is a primary method of playing music. One glance at the sandblasted white finish and its thick aluminum front panel and casing leaves no doubt that this is a standout product.
Tipping the scales at nearly 50 pounds, the billet of a box contains substantial internals. It is the company’s flagship disc player that replaces the D-08u, which in its original form was in the Luxman catalog for more than a decade, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to premium components. long life and not annual model upgrades for the sake of pushing the product.
The D-10X upgrades its predecessor with an even more powerful disc drive, an internal design called LxDTM-i (Luxman original Disc Transport Mechanism-enhanced) developed to further eliminate vibration and resonance that contributes to distortion. Seeing the drawer working, we imagine a miniature bank safe with a tray that opens to swallow a silver disc, all with a strange silence punctuated by a solid âthunkâ.
The digital-to-analog conversion is performed with a brand new chipset, from the Japanese manufacturer ROHM Semiconductor, called MUS-IC BD34301EKV. All of these letters and numbers identify what could become the industry benchmark DAC chip, and the D-10X is the first application of this technology in a consumer audio product.
The D-10X is a versatile performer; it is a CD player, a SACD player and, most importantly, it allows the playback of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) CDs and the decoding of MQA files up to 24 bits. Luxman Audio Player software is also included which handles multiple file formats including WAV, FLAC and (horrors!) MP3.
With optical, coaxial and USB digital inputs on its rear panel, the D-10X is ideally suited to function as a stand-alone DAC for playing music files on a computer or streaming. The corresponding RD-29 remote control (aluminum) duplicates all the functions of the front panel and has a few other tricks, like zooming in or dimming the panel display. Also new is the D-03X, a $ 3,295 CD player – and DAC with MQA – for those looking for a taste of elegant Luxman performance at a fifth of the bill.