The Luxman M-900u Amplifier -- as Good as Before?

To Doug Schneider,

I just ordered a Luxman M-900u to replace my Audio Research GS150, and realized that you had actually reviewed them both!

In your review of the M-900u, you actually said (at the time) it was the best-sounding power amp you’d heard. That’s quite a statement! You’ve heard a lot since then, so where would you put it now, and how would you compare it to the GS150? How do you compare it to other well-known amps such as the Audio Research Ref 160S, as well as the D’Agostino Momentum (which costs quite a bit more, I know!).

My system is comprised of Esoteric digital, Clearaudio analog, an Audio Research Reference 6 preamp, and Wilson Alexia speakers. My goal for this upgrade is to improve the depth of the bass, uncover a bit more detail, and run cooler. I would like to retain the sound signature that Audio Research is famous for: huge soundstage and a sweet, lifelike midrange.

Do you think I’ll achieve these goals with the M-900u?

I’m also in the queue for the Reference 6 SE upgrade.

Love to get your quick thoughts.

United States

It’s funny you should bring the Luxman M-900u up. Just the other day, I was talking to editor-in-chief Jeff Fritz about this amp, telling him it’s one of the best amplifiers you can buy, regardless of price. It’s built extraordinarily well and sounds spectacular, making it as good as pretty much anything out there. It’s a solid-state amp that has the sweetness of tubes, though you will have to write back to tell me if it provides the soundstage spaciousness of the GS150, which I remember being one of that amp’s strengths -- music really filled the room when played through it. Regardless, I’m even more enthusiastic about the Luxman now than when I reviewed it, because its price is even lower -- it cost $20,000 USD at the time of the review, but is now $15,000. That’s still not cheap, but nothing about the M-900u is cheap, so that new price, in high-end hi-fi terms, actually makes it a steal. The M-900u is an amplifier that I think you’ll be happy with for a long time. . . . Doug Schneider