Luxman upon Alpine acquisition -- junk?

Discussion in 'Solid State' started by myu701, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. myu701

    myu701 Vintage futurist

    I've seen a number of people say that when Luxman was acquired by Alpine, the brand rather quickly slipped in quality and design. But then, weren't the well respected R-11x series receivers made after the acquisition? Alpine apparently held onto the brand up until the early 2000's, so it was a good long 15 years of ownership.

    I'm just wondering if there was a certain period where Alpine had not yet contaminated the brand too much. I understand the acquisition took place in 1984, so certainly anything released in the mid 1980's had probably been on the drawing board before then. What models or years of Luxman/Alpine gear should be avoided?
  2. jhoyt

    jhoyt Addicted Member

    My meager experience with that era of Luxman is this: the LX-104 integrated amp is nothing special, but the R-115/117 is. The LX-104 had some interesting design touches, such as input switching relays, but the sound quality and overall design really weren't worth doing backflips over. But the R-115 that I have is simply a fantastic piece of work, with excellent sound.
  3. ryuuoh

    ryuuoh FFXIV Summoner Subscriber

    I feel that as long as you stay away from the gimmicky cheaper stuff, the quality and reliability will be good.
  4. oldgringo

    oldgringo Ehh, What's up, Doc? Subscriber

    They named that 'Arrested Development' show after me, as I initially thought that 'separates' were too much trouble :D ; but I did do one or two things 'right'. One of them was buying an R-117 brand new in 1991 and enjoying it's near perfection until 2009, when I sold it prior to 'de-immigrating' from Canada [great place to have lived/brought up my kids!]. The buyer emailed me, just before I left, to extol it's virtues; and mention that he was then going to seek another one :yes:

    We ['us lot'] earlier discussed the above referenced pieces here:

    And these guys seemed to like it too:

    I have heard 'bad' things about life after the Alpine 'takeover'; but my experience is tres positive.

    Cheers, Dave :thmbsp:
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  5. jimtranr

    jimtranr Member

    I worked at Garland Audio in San Jose, CA, for most of the period from 1977 to 1980 and thus left about four years before Alpine acquired Luxman. Lux receivers, particularly the 1050 and 1070, were our "entry-level" product, and I loved store and in-home demo'ing the rated 55-wpc 1050 against customers' higher-rated-powered integrateds, where the Luxman consistently punched well above its class and demonstrated the worth of paying attention to power supply design and execution.

    I moved on to other business pursuits after that, but auditioning Luxmans in various stores in the mid-to-late '80's (i.e., after the Alpine acquisition) was a letdown, leaving me with the impression that there was nothing special to distinguish them from their mass-market competition. Not "junk," just ordinary.
  6. thedelihaus

    thedelihaus Questionable Morels Subscriber

    Alpine owned Luxman still turned out a very good product.

    It's just this-

    The pre-Alpine Luxman wasn't good. It was great.

    So, while Alpine owned Luxman is far from junk, it's not the level of premium product that it was prior to this change of ownership.
  7. jhoyt

    jhoyt Addicted Member

    I think the company's priorities changed. Some of the Alp/Lux products seem to be more "gimmicky" than simply based on sound engineering. In fact, the more simple the product, the better it is. The R-115 that I have is simple, has no "frills" per se, just excellent performance. The R-117 is legendary, as is the rest of the 117 series.
  8. superdog

    superdog AK Member Subscriber

    The R-117 may not have the classy looks of earlier Luxmans but that is all it is lacking.
  9. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I personally don't see the point in acquiring Alpine Luxman when 'real' Luxman can be had. Unless one of the R-117s falls in your lap- as that seems to be an almost universally loved product regardless of its lineage.
  10. botrytis

    botrytis Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    There is nothing wrong with Alpine-Luxman products at all. Just because it is not the best - it means it doesn't cost an arm and a leg like the Luxman alone products. For me that is a bargain in the making.
  11. jhoyt

    jhoyt Addicted Member

    Or R-115, as it is nearly identical. And mine did nearly fall into my lap. :yes: Other than that, I agree with John.
  12. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    I'm just of the opinion now, after spending a few years in the 'buy what finds me' camp, that a better route to audio happiness is to save more, buy fewer things, and make them better things. I don't think there's anything wrong with Alpine Luxman. I just think they were better before, and after, Alpine owned the name.
  13. ranch 22b

    ranch 22b AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I picked up a R-114 (50wpc, 1990) recently, based on feedback from other AKers. You sure couldn't tell by its appearance or weight, but in my opinion it has a very nice sound, not to mention pretty darn sensitive FM tuner.

    It sounds a bit bright with EPI 100 speakers but just right with Paradigm 5SE MkII - somehow, rich and detailed at the same time.

    I did notice on the rear it says: "A or B - Speakers 8 - 16 Ohms" "A and B - Speakers 16 Ohm minimum". 'Not exactly a high current design. That said, 1/2 volume on the Paradigms is quite loud and still relatively clean.

    I'd love to hear a "real" Luxman someday!
  14. superdog

    superdog AK Member Subscriber

    Exactly when is the Alpine -Luxman era?
  15. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    Starting around '84 I think, until they stopped using the name. It was sold again then Luxman came back, privately owned, around 2000. IIRC.
  16. luxmaster

    luxmaster AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I always thought Alpine was more of a partnership of Luxman as suppose to an ownership. Luxman was still high end but being sold in big box stores instead of private outlets. The downfall of luxman was more bad marketing choices the overall quality of luxman gear. What makes a Luxman so special is the overall clean sound it produced through out the years.
  17. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    The old Luxman never would have put their gear in a black box with a red Luxman on it, with a tube in a window....:)
  18. luxmaster

    luxmaster AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I couldn't guess where luxman would be if it never partnered with Alpine. I do know that most stereo manufacturing in the 80's did lean towards black and plastic. I believe that the technology inside was still very advanced and always stayed one step ahead of the game of most systems from that era.
  19. myu701

    myu701 Vintage futurist

    Thanks for the input. I think I've got a good sense of it then. Opinions are just that, but when coming from people that seem well respected, it makes one stop to think. So in general, the Alpine years still produced some fine equipment, but the better examples are mostly found pre-1985.

    Some rather interesting designs came out after Alpine took ownership. I never quite got the sense as to whether or not those hybrids (SS and tube) were ever any good.

    Are there any particular years when Luxman faltered in reliability?
  20. blackfly

    blackfly Fidelius Claritus

    I have a Luxman C 05/M 05 combo that I would gladly put up against anything today, and I have absolutely no interest in parting with the set. Period. Build quality is phenomenal and sound is simply stunning; better than a lot of new gear, believe me. And despite age, it is relatively simple and with a good electronics shop nearby, should the worst happen I am sure it could be fixed in minimal time (I hope)

    Strange the idea of the amp being class A (which means running hot) and you get all this "talk" about dry caps etc yet the one I have now is all original and when I bought it all specs were to design numbers.

    Well engineered is an overstatement. Look at what a Luxman 800A goes for today.

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