Luxman Bows Flagship CL-1000 Vacuum Tube Control Amp
Luxman will officially unveil to the North American market at November’s Capital Audio Fest its new flagship control amplifier, the CL-1000, which it is touting as the spiritual heir to the model C-1000, launched in 1975. It is available later this month at $19,995. It follows a companion piece, the Luxman MQ-300 tube stereo power amp, into the market.
“The CL-1000 represents everything Luxman knows about vacuum tube audio,” said Jeff Sigmund, president of Luxman America. “It’s not just our newest preamp, it’s our new benchmark.”
The new preamp offers an all-new LECUTA (short for Luxman Electronically Controlled Ultimate Transformer Attenuator) volume control system, a nanocrystal core transformer, Luxman’s proprietary oil-impregnated capacitors and more.
The LECUTA system is said by the company to assure that left/right channel imbalances will be avoided when the component is set a low volume, with a 34-step rotary volume knob that triggers 34 relays located completely outside the signal path. In turn, the relays activate 34 taps on matching left and right transformers. These transformer taps set the volume in carefully calibrated steps. And because transformer cores can influence sound quality, Luxman engineers say they selected FineMet® core material from Hitachi Metals, Ltd., with its nanocrystal structure for high saturation flux density, high relative permeability and low core loss, enabling the CL-1000 to deliver uncompromed sound, even at low volumes, according to Luxman.
Some of the other features include:
- Super Permalloy input transformer. Because transformers can have a profound impact on vacuum tube audio quality, Luxman chose an input transformer with a high-permeability Super Permalloy core.
- Six JJ Electronic E88CC dual triodes. The CL-1000 uses two-stage PK NF amplification, with both the attenuator driver and the output stage built with vacuum tubes from JJ Electronic. Luxman selected E88CC dual triodes for reliability, low noise, attractive dynamics and a densely detailed midrange.
- Custom capacitors. Luxman couples the two stages with the company’s own, oil-impregnated capacitors. Originally developed for the MQ-300 amplifier, these help deliver satisfying music reproduction with superb current handling.
- Left/right Super Permalloy output transformers. The output stage features the sonic benefits of Super Permalloy cores in independent left and right transformers.
- Articulator function. Luxman’s experience with signal path transformers has revealed one downside: residual magnetic fields in the cores. For this reason, the CL-1000 oscillates and demagnetizes the transformer cores every time the owner turns on the power. For an even higher degree of sonic purity, users can perform manual demagnetization with the Articulator switch.
- Versatile MM/MC phono preamp. The CL-1000 accommodates both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges with an audiophile-grade phono preamplifier. Six-position switches on the rear panel enable users to optimize impedance and capacitance.
- Robust, stable power supply. To deliver musical peaks without effort, the CL-1000 power supply features large, independent left and right transformers and high-grade filter capacitors.