Howdy folks today I have this Luxman L-509X and McIntosh MA9000 contest for you. Both the Luxman L-509X and the McIntosh MA9000 are very, very high end amps. These are for those that are not worried about throwing some serious money down when it comes to their home audio equipment. While I love my vinyl collection and my music collection in general. These would be 100 percent out of my price range, but as I have had the pleasure to play around with them a little bit, I thought I would share my thoughts on them and let you know what I think about each one and ultimately which one I liked the best!
We are looking at the price for these things first of all in our amplifiers contest. These are certainly a huge chunk of change, but let’s see the current prices that these things are going for.
Let’s get this out of the way right now, you are looking at the better part of 10 grand for this thing. I found the Luxman L-509X for sale by a reliable retailer for $9,995,95! I did have a look on eBay to see if there were any deals to be had for this on there and surprisingly there were. God bless those audio fanatics in Japan as that is where most of the deals are. You can get this for under eight grand on eBay from a few different sellers on there. Granted, this is still a huge amount of money, but a saving of a thousand bucks plus is not something to turn your nose up at!
How can it get more expensive? Well, the McIntosh MA9000 usually goes for around $11,000 when bought from a proper dealer! If you shop around, you might be able to save a few bucks as some dealers might have some kind of sale going on. However, for the most part in my experience, McIntosh products tend to hold their value very well. I saw someone on a forum post that you could buy this and then five years later, sell it and get around 75 percent of your money back. I did jump on eBay, but I could not find a single unit on sale as of writing.
When you are spending this kind of money is there actually a winner here? I have to be honest and this is jumping ahead a bit, but I just feel you are getting more options with the McIntosh in terms of what it can do so that is getting its hand raised in victory for this round!
We come to a round in this amplifier design’s contest that I am very excited to talk about and that is how these things look. These are two very different looking amplifiers so I think it is really going to come down to personal taste in regards to which one you like best.
I have to say that I get a massive kick out of the retro design that the Luxman L-509X has. This is also a pretty hefty piece of tech too as it comes in at 17.3” x 7.5” x 18.2” and it weighs just under 30KG! Have a look at this Luxman L-509X HiFi Integrated Amplifier Review – Sensational video and you will get a really good idea of why people who have looked at this thing are so wowed by it. It is a bit smaller than the McIntosh which might be a bonus for you guys. On the front of the unit, we have that awesome retro display. To one side we have a large volume dial and to the other, we have a source select dial. Below this, we have a selection of dials that let you get the sound just the way you want it. In all, I really do love the design of this and while it is silver (I usually prefer black) I could not imagine this looking any other way.
On the back of the Luxman L-509X, you have your various connectivity options. While I just hooked my turntable up to it, you have a nice selection of ports that you can make use of, but they are all analog, no digital here so that is something to keep in mind. I think that Luxman gives you all the choice you need, but without it becoming overwhelming. I also really like how everything is clearly labeled as to what it is too.
It would be impossible to have the McIntosh MA9000 in a room and people not gawk at it! This thing is designed to capture your attention. The dimensions of this are a whopping, 17.1/2” x 9.7/16” x 19-3/4 so it is a bit bigger than the Luxman, but it has a much larger “stature” if that makes sense. It is also a lot heavier as it comes in at just a hair over 45KG! The prominent black design of this is something I really like and this McIntosh MA9000 Integrated Amplifier Unboxing | The Listening Post | TLPCHC TLPWLG video does a great job of showing this monster off. The front has a lit up display right in the middle and under this, you have a little LCD that tells you the source and so on. You have a larger input and volume dial at the sides and along the middle, you have a selection of dials. I do have a couple of issues with the design. I do not like how the power button is red, it sticks out like a sore thumb, also, the silver handles look cool, but at the same time, they give this thing a kind of crate look about it.
While the front of the McIntosh MA9000 wowed me, the back really did make me go nuts. This thing has so many ports that I do not know where to start! I will say that as well as having a ton of analog connection options for you, this does also have an optical port on the back too. It may be a tad intimidating to look at the back of here for some people. However, the kind of person that is going to be throwing this kind of money down knows exactly what they are getting and what they are doing when it comes to their hi-fi equipment so they are going to get a real kick out of this.
This is such a tough one to call as they look so different and have different vibes going on. I like both the designs, to be honest with you, but I think those big handles on the front of the McIntosh spoil the flow of the design a bit. I very rarely pick silver over black, but in this case, Luxman has a much more “together” kind of design so they are winning this round…. However, when I think about the back, I do prefer what the McIntosh is offering in that regard!
Ladies and gentle I bring you the main event of this epic amplifiers contest, the sound. The point of having an amplifier like one of these is to get the best out of your turntable, speakers, and music collection. I used my trusty Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN Fully Manual Belt-Drive Turntable, with both of these amps along with these Edifier S2000MKIII speakers.
When you look around online, it is very hard to find anyone with something negative to say about the Luxman L-509X when it comes to the sound. I suggest you check out this Luxman L509X Integrated HiFi Amplifier Review Song Demo + Chord Qutest KEF Reference JPlay which gives you a small idea of what it is all about. My wife loves this video game series called Life is Strange and for our anniversary I got her the Life is Strange Before the Storm Vinyl Box Set. The first time she listened to this album was when I was testing out the Luxman L-509X and she was blown away. So much so that when I had to give this thing back and go back to our amp (no naming and shaming here) she said that it did not sound as good.
The Luxman L-509X is hard to talk about. Not for a bad reason, but the sound is just so rich and full that you truly have to experience it for yourself to appreciate it. One of my favorite greatest hits sets is the Motley Crue Greatest Hits Exclusive Crimson Red Smoke Vinyl. I put this record on and went straight to Home Sweet Home… goosebumps my friends, goosebumps! I have listened to this song probably a thousand times, even heard it live and this is as good as I have ever heard it. From the mids, to powerful bass, there is nothing that this amp cannot do. While the Luxman name may have changed hands over the years, the immense quality has never gone away. I would wager anyone listening to an album they have a lot of love for through this will pick up a few new things here and there.
For many people, McIntosh are the be all and end all of home audio, especially if you want to go the made in the USA route (I am pretty sure this is still the case) that is why the McIntosh MA9000 has such a strong reputation. I have to be honest; I threw a lot of records at this thing and it nailed every one. While you can play around with the various settings, just out of the box it is great. From an original pressing of Slippery When Wet that I have to a brand-new record in Detroit Stories by Alice Cooper that Santa Claus bought me recently. This amp handles everything with grace and power.
You get to truly embrace yourself in your favorite music when it is played through here. McIntosh has been making great amps for years and this would certainly make the top five of their amps that I have personally had the pleasure to test out over the years. I found this Mcintosh MA9000 integrated amplifier review which echoes a lot of the same sentiments that I have about it. I do like how this also allows for “digital” as well, I do also have an epic CD collection so something that allows me to fully embrace this is always going to go down extremely well with me.
Do you want to know who the winner here is? It is music, music is the winner! Man, could that have been any cheesier? It was like a line out of an 80s after school special! Truth be told I am having a very, very hard time picking a winner between these two as they are both just fantastic and there is very little between them as far as my ears could tell. I do think I have to give the win to the McIntosh MA9000, it did not sound a million times better, but the digital connectivity options just make it take this one for me.
The Remote Control
The remote control round in this battle of both amplifiers is kind of interesting and also it is giving me major Deja Vue. I put Luxman and McIntosh head-to-head not too long ago and what I said about the remotes there is going to be very similar to what I am saying today. These are two companies that both make fantastic remote controls and picking a winner (like most of the other rounds we have looked at today) is all going to come down to your personal preference.
I think that Luxman has done a great job with the look of the Luxman L-509X remote control. It is silver and fits in with the actual design of the amp perfectly and it has that same kind of retro design. It is a bit boxy, but I have to say I am digging the early 80s vibe that this thing has, I actually got a big kick out of it the first time I used it. It has all of the buttons that you need to have full control of the amp and they are clearly labeled. I had a fair bit of fun playing around with this and it can make quite a difference to the sound that this amp offers.
Now this is a remote control! I love the remote control that the McIntosh MA9000 comes with. I like the whole design that McIntosh went for it. It is quite large and has a TV remote control style to it which I do like. I think that McIntosh has tried to make the remote have that same kind of premium design as the actual amp itself and they succeeded. The remote control has a ton of buttons on it and that is something I always like. The more buttons the better is what I always say and I think that this remote just ticks all of the boxes for what I want in a remote control.
Both of these are fantastic remotes and as their styles are so different, it is kind of hard to pick a winner. I love the retro design of the remote that comes with the Luxman L-509X has gone for, but for my personal taste, the McIntosh MA9000 has to take this round. I just love the larger size, the black plastic, and the fact it has way more buttons than are really necessary. However, the things I like about the design may be things that others do not really think are all that great.
What Is The Best?
Putting together these two amplifiers has been a lot of fun and I am kind of bummed out that I have to send these things back as there is no way I could afford to drop this kind of money on an amp… well I technically could, but I would probably have to live in the box it came in as my wife would kick me out! Ok, enough stalling what is the amp I liked best out of the Luxman L-509X and the McIntosh MA9000? If you look online, people who have either one of these love them and I can see why. They both offered a similar kind of sound if I am being honest, but for me, the McIntosh MA9000 is the one that I would go for. I like the design of it better, the remote control and it does give you more connectivity options as well.
These are both fantastic amps, but as they are so expensive be sure to do as much research as you can and be sure to shop around. Even saving $100 would be great if you can.