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: The D-06 has a very delicate and vivid sound that immediately inspired confidence, sharing sonic roots with the L-590 AII and delivering musical immediacy, dynamic skills and a rigorous sense of pace. I mostly used the Luxman player via its XLR outputs into the L-590 AII and Vincent SV238. The D-06 is tonally neutral and not designed to compensate for any system imbalance. The overall result is clean and realistic but never cold or surgical even if it is a bit more forward than my Audio Analogue Grand Maestro. The Luxman player offers outstanding fluidity and lucidity over the entire bandwidth. More than a forward sound, the D-06 shows extraordinary resolution, crisp transients and rich harmonics.

As CDs continue to represent the largest part of most audiophiles’ personal music libraries, the first thing I consider with new dual-format players is RedBook performance. Here the D-06 is outstanding. Compared to my Italian Grand Maestro, the Japanese is considerably more resolved and better balanced even though I do not consider my player particularly weak in these areas. It offers a more romantic reproduction of music with great enthusiasm, superb harmonics and deep bass. The Luxman nevertheless retaliates with far higher accuracy, a total absence of any treble harshness and a more developed sense of tempo.

Both are fine machines which satisfy most my personal requirements for a digital source: ‘analogue’ sound (no electronic signature in the treble as is the case with the Marantz SA-11-1 for example), communicative enthusiasm, good extension and the ability to be used as a standalone D/A converter. The Audio Analogue has all this and while the Luxman exceeds each criteria only by degrees, that’s quite normal in these leagues. The Luxman is involving as is the Audio Analogue to where I could easily live with the Luxman. I prefer it to the relatively duller Accuphase DP-500. Neither Japanese has any particular weakness but the Luxman leads you inside the music where the other remains more distant. One of the most similar performers to the Luxman on CD is Gamut’s CD3, one of my favorites above €5.000.

The D-06’s prowess at handling CD presents the small inconvenience of occasionally making it hard to distinguish significant differences with SACD. That does not imply the Luxman’s SACD performance is inferior I think. The machine’s overall performance simply assures us how competitive good RedBook discs can be and how SACD at times can be disappointing. In both modes, the D-06 keeps the same excellent dynamics. One useful function is the ability to convert DSD to PCM prior to conversion. The sonic differences can be difficult to establish precisely and will vary from recording to recording. On Harnoncourt’s Mozart Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 on RCA, I preferred DSD to PCM. With Salonen’s reading of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps [DG] the reverse was true.

Harnoncourt’s masterpiece has astounding clarity and DSD seemed to reinforce the impression of naturalness by keeping a subtle rhythmic tension. It also laid bare the stunning ethereal ambience and maximized the amazing crescendos without obscuring the fine details in the orchestration. The color palette of this recording is exceptional and delivers tremendous emotions. It’s a poster child for demonstrating the advantages of a good SACD player like this Luxman. In this particular instance, my reference CD player was no match on presence and resolution. Conversely, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s reading with the Los Angeles Philharmonic gained subtle timbre improvements by converting SACD to PCM. I confess being unable to precisely identify the reasons for this slight difference but each time I switched from DSD to PCM on this specific recording, I was surprised to notice the better tonality in PCM mode.

Perhaps this was linked to the special acoustics of the Disney Concert hall, which is not as auspicious to a warm colorful atmosphere? Whatever the cause, this kind of subtle transformation led me to view the DSD to PCM conversion option a very useful feature to optimize SACD enjoyment.  Regardless, Salonen’s performance remains breathtaking and it takes a psychotic audio reviewer to even attempt to distinguish such subtle differences in so complicated a score.

Used the Luxman as a standalone DAC was impressive too. During the last high-end show in Paris, the D-06 was used with a Meridian Soloos server. The result was truly tremendous and I continue to think what a pity it is that Luxman decided against including a USB port to upgrade streaming media. In the same way I previously had little interest in the digital output given the high performance of the D-06’s internal DAC, I am also not completely convinced why one would attach an external CD reader to its internal converter. The quality of this drive is among the best I have experienced. To reach more performance with an outboard spinner seems quite illusory or at the very least an exercise in conspicuous spending. The Luxman before anything else is an excellent CD/SACD player and was designed accordingly. Interfacing a computer would require something like Trend’s UD-10.1 or April Music’s Stello U2 – unless your PC had Toslink.

Conclusion: Do not expect additive contributions from the D-06. This player was not made to enhance warmth. Au contraire, the Luxman is highly neutral to reveal tiny details otherwise inaccessible. This is definitely a great player with top-level resolution, an impressive sense of rhythm and a kind of joyous brightness. If the price tag seems steep,  sonics and construction are completely convincing - not always the case in this class. The D-06 merely misses a blue Moon Award because of the absentee USB feature. That’s the only real criticism I could level at this superior machine. I can easily recommend the D-06 to any SACD lover or CD fan – which I assume is still the majority of us…
Quality of packing: Extremely good.
Reusability of packing: Several times without any problems.
Ease of unpacking/repacking: Very easy.
Condition of component received: Flawless.
Completeness of delivery: Remote control and Japanese manual.
Quality of owner's manual: An English version would be nice.
Website comments:  Complete.
Human interactions: French distributor always responsive and helpful.
Pricing: In line with the competition.

Luxman website