This Hegel H590 and Luxman L-509X is most certainly a heavyweight battle for the ages! When it comes to high end amps, these two monsters are right up there. Hell, this is arguably the equivalent of Godzilla versus Kong in the amp world. Luxman makes amazing products and a few months back I was lucky enough to get the chance to play around with the Luxman L-509X for a little over a week and I had a fun time. However, a good friend of mine who owns a store had a Hegel H590 at his place and I knew I had to check it out. I thought that it would make for an interesting match-up with the L-509X.
Well, while we always start these comparison articles off by looking at the price, this Hegel H590 and Luxman L-509 one is very interesting as you are looking at a whole lot of money for both of these. I have to be honest and say that I am lucky to be in a position where I get to test these things out, but these would both be out of my price range and probably lead to a divorce if I bought one!
You are looking at around the 10 to 11 grand mark for the Hegel H590 if you were to buy it from a dealer. This is a very expensive and premium kind of product and I would say that the price is pretty comparable to the Luxman L-509X. Of course, I had to jump on eBay and have a look and see what this thing was going for on there. You have to be careful as eBay will show you the 390 when searching for this! I found one, just one on there for 7 grand! That is a hell of a saving, but the price for shipping was not listed, still, that is a hell of a saving.
You are easily looking at around 10 grand if you want to bring the Luxman L-509X home! This is one of the most high-end amps that the good folks at Luxman offer and I think that is very much reflected in the price. This is arguably as premium as it gets when it comes to an amp and when you want this kind of quality, you have to pay for it. As I am a tightfisted Scotsman, I did have a look on the old eBay and the prices on there are pretty insane, but I did find one on there for just under eight thousand bucks. Ok, so that is not a little chunk of change, but it is still saving you a couple of grand over the RRP.
The Verdict: The prices of these two are quite comparable and you will certainly want to shop around and be patient. At the time I looked, there was not a single Hegel H590 on eBay. In that regard, the Luxman L-509X is a little cheaper. I know that I have to pick a winner, but it is very hard to do, I think that as the Luxman can be currently found cheaper, I guess I do have to pick that one.
I have to say that out of all the categories we have going on in this Hegel H590 and Luxman L-509X battle, the design is the one I am most looking forward to. These are two amazing looking amps, but their design could not be any more different! One has a more retro kind of vibe and the other is going for something more modern. I think that this is really a personal preference kind of thing if I am being honest.
Hegel H590: I am a huge fan of the design of the Hegel H590 . This is one of the coolest looking amps that I have ever seen and I am blown away by how sleek and modern the design of this is. If you have read anything that I have written in the past, you know that I always tend to shy towards music equipment that is black as it always reminds me of the 80s. This is the exception to the rule because this has a way more modern look to the design. This is a pretty damn big unit too as it comes in at 17.5” x 6.73” x 16.9” so it is a little smaller than the L-509X, but it is still going to take up a fair bit of space. It is considerably lighter though as it weighs 22KG. The front of the Hegel H590 is very stylish. You have the display in the middle a dial for volume and a dial for input selection on either side and that is that. The LCD looks great and I think that the Hegel logo is a nice touch, although at this price I think some kind of 3D badge would have been nice.
Before we get to the back, I have to say that I love the feet this thing sits on, it raises it just enough, but it also helps give it a ton of personality too. On the back you have a nice selection of inputs, this offers both digital and analog so that is awesome. It looks very clean and it is super easy to figure out what input is what. The Hegel H590 also comes with a very cool remote control. As there are no physical buttons for control on the actual unit, you will be using the remote control a great deal. Thankfully, it has all the buttons you will need and it has a very cool and sleek style that fits in with the actual amp too.
Before I give you my thoughts on this, check out this Luxman L-509x Integrated Amplifier Overview and Features video to get an idea of what so many people are in love with this thing! I am a huge fan of Luxman products and the retro vibe that the Luxman L-509X has going on I something that I think is very cool. This is not exactly a small amp as it weighs a little under 30KG and it comes in at 17.3” x 7.5” x 18.2. This does mean, you will have to make sure you have a decent amount of real estate to house this thing! The design though really is awesome. You have that classic looking display front and center and then on one side of this you have a volume dial and on the other side your source selection dial. This is a design many amps go for and I always like it. Towards the bottom of the unit, we have all of your dials that you can play around with to make this thing really purr and get your music sounding just the way you want. The silver they have used for the casing is what really gives this its retro look and I do love it!
As we head around the back of the Luxman L-509X we can see our various ports that we have to play around with. Luxman has kept things very nice and clean around the back of this unit. Each port is clearly labeled and there are a decent number of connections for you to hook your various things up too with. I do have to tell you that this is an analog only kind of amp The retro design of the Luxman L-509X also trickles down to the remote control. This thing has a very 70s kind of style to it that I think is awesome, it has a very solid feel to it as well, and overall, it made tinkering with the amp very easy.
The Verdict: I know that this is going to sound like a huge cop-out here, but there really is no easy way to pick a winner here. I love the design of both of these amplifiers and think that both Luxman and Hegel have done a tremendous job with these. The thing is, while they both look great, they are so different! For me, I think that I prefer the black and more modern design of the Hegel H590, but I can see why someone else would prefer the retro design of the Luxman L-509X.
Next up we have the final round in this Hegel H590 and Luxman L-509X battle and it is the most important one, sound. These are two epic amps that are designed for those who consider themselves to be “audiophiles” … a term I am not a huge fan of! Anyway, these are for people that take their sound very seriously.
Video gives you a good idea of what this thing is all about. The sound this has is amazing, the power, the clarity, and the balance of the sound really is something that you have to hear to fully appreciate just how good it is. My buddy fired up Third Eye Blind so I could listen to Semi-Charmed Life which is a favorite song of his and it sounded great. This was a CD and it was amazing, but we all know that I am a vinyl guy at heart so we also spent some time hanging out and blasting some records so I could get a good sense of what this thing could really do!
The first record he ended up playing for me was Leftoverture by Kansas. This was a favorite of my dads back in the day and it has turned into one of my, of course, Carry on my Wayward Son is the go-to here and it was awesome. “Rich” is the best way that I can describe the sound offered here. It sounded like how I imagine it sounded like in the recording studio back in the 70s when they laid this album down. Look, the Hegel H590 is just a fantastic amplifier and out of all the higher-end amps I have had the pleasure to play around with, I would have to say it is one of the best.
Luxman L-509X: The Luxman L-509X is one of those rare products where you will not be able to find many negative comments about it. This is truly something incredible and I think that the way it manages to be so balanced is something that you have to experience yourself to truly appreciate how great this is. For example, I have listened to Stone Temple Pilots MTV Unplugged 1993 many times I would go as far as to say that this was the best I had ever heard it! Plush is my favorite song this band has done and this is the best version you can get. It is the kind of thing that is hard to explain, but every note truly does make you feel like you are there with the band live. I tell you, there is no way that you could not notice the difference between this and that 100 buck’s amp they sell in Walmart.
A huge problem in talking about a product like the Luxman L-509X is that it is the kind of thing you have to hear yourself to truly get what makes it so special. My wife loves and I mean loves Alanis Morissette! Jagged Little Pill is an album we must own about 10 versions of including this live version. Anyway, while I agree with Jack Pearson from This Is Us that she is kind of “whining with a guitar” my wife was floored by how this album she has heard a million times sounded when pumped through the Luxman L-509X. What I think really impressed me with this amp was how balanced the overall sound was. Yes, this thing has some serious kick and if you like loud and rowdy music like I do, it is going to make it all sound epic. However, I hand on heart do not think that there is anything that the Luxman L-509X could not do.
The Verdict: The design category was a tough one to call a winner for and the sound category is really just as tough. Granted I did not have as much time with the Hegel H590 as I would have liked, but I have to say this is so close, perhaps too close to call. However, I will pick a winner and I do think that I found that the Hegel had that little bit more oomph! However, on the flip side of this, I could probably re-write this thing tomorrow and go for the Luxman, that is how close this was! I would probably wager that most people will pick which one they experience first!
Which Is The Better Amplifier?
So our epic battle of the Hegel H590 and Luxman L-509X has come to an end and even as I write this I am not 100 percent sure which way I am going to go. I do have to say that I did only get to spend a short time with the Hegel H590. However, it impressed the hell out of me. Not just in terms of what I was hearing, but the whole style of it, it really did make me sound wow. Yet, I love the retro vibe that the Luxman L-509X has going on too, plus, I can tell you firsthand that this thing sounds epic. I think that I am going to pick the Hegel H590 as the winner. These are both great and it is perhaps too close to call, but if someone came to me with both of these and said I could have one, I would probably go for the Hegel as I like the style of that one more.