Naim/PMC to Luxman Neo Classico II/Omega

This is supposed to be a temporary system while my NDX/XPSdr,282/SCdr/250dr/HCdr/HL2 are in storage with my PMC Twenty5.23s. This is a second main system comprised of the current Luxman Neo Classico amp and CD player/DAC pair SQ-N150 and D-N150. With only an A4 footprint, it goes nicely on a tiny Quadraspire Midi rack. This way, separates take up a tiny footprint. The DAC is fed via a Lenovo fanless ThinkCentre on the bottom shelf running Audirvana. All cables and interconnects are also Luxman entry level cables.

Cost target was everything together (excluding headphones which I already had), must be had for the cost of one new SuperCap or less. The Luxman’s cost a lot less in Japan, otherwise this would have been impossible.

Build Quality
These are tactile units meant to be touched. The finish on them is absolutely perfect. The solid heavy motion of the switches and knobs; the joins on the casing; the quality of the casing itself and thought to layout is just incredible. I hate to admit it, but, at least in terms of casework and external build quality, the Luxman leaves my Naim components a bit lacking. I think Naim components are built with amazing care. The Luxman is just in another league here. Even the remote control is a throwback to another time. It has about 20 buttons but they are spaced out with oceans of space between them on a remote that is big enough for 200 buttons. It’s a gigantic metal thing screwed together and as thick as a pack of cigarettes.

There is a lovely touch where the the Orange LED for power on both the amp and DAC, and the LED on the volume knob are obsessively matched to the exact (really exact) same shade of orange as the glow from the EL84 vacuum tubes. I cannot even say the green Naim logo LEDs on my other system are all the same exact shade of green.

The Omega Junior 8 XRS
These are an unusual speaker sold direct from the tiny US factory mostly. The are about the same size as my PMC Twenty5.23 and similar dimensions to the 23s if turned sideways. They are clearly hand made rather than given the consistency of a larger production line. The veneers are superb though. They use a single full range 8 inch driver and a large rear port with a fabric diffuser. Although rear ported, it is a large and fluted port and allows them to be totally happy up to 6 inches to a rear wall. Unusually, they use no crossover of any kind. Nearly all single driver speakers still require some sort of crossover to limit the output extremes and prevent damage or make them listenable. The Omega drivers don’t. They have very tube friendly phase angles and at 97db sensitivity combine to make them a good choice for a puny 10w amp and a large room.

Benefits of Active with none of the fuss
First of all, this is not an active system. Let me make that clear. However, The crossoverless Omegas, with their single drive unit form a direct coupling with the amp, which is the main benefit of an active system, rather than the active crossover itself.

After 100 hrs of running in, I fell totally in love with how this system presents music. One afternoon I took the time to finally position the speakers properly. I wanted them to work firing straight - they looked so gorgeous this way - but alas they needed toe in. When I got them into the right position and it clicked, I actually burst out laughing. It was a total joke how good this dinky system sounded.

It is very hard to make an accurate comparison of the amp to my Naim amp, or DAC to my NDX or speakers to my PMCs because too many variables have changed at once. The source, the cables, and amp, the speakers and the room have all be changed at the same time. I can only really comment about the system as a whole. I had pretty modest expectations given the massive difference in cost and the speakers were a punt. I was prepared for it to be a failure actually and see the back of it when the Naim gets rolled out again. But this system is a delight. The speakers work amazingly well with the amp and have no problems on 10w at filling a large room at realistic volumes.

What was really shocking is that this modest system actually did some things better than the big Naim/PMC system. Not everything, but given the cost difference, it shouldn’t be doing anything better. Yet this system is more than just a compact toy. Up to now, I would have said that “transparency” was just a synonym for “detail” but I think the Luxman/Omega system has educated me here. There is a sort of total separation on the Luxman/Omega where notes flow free and distinct from each other without ever merging that is beguiling and yet never clinical. I don’t know if that mainly comes from the lack of a crossover or the system as a whole but it makes listening just so darn easy and even at low levels, it all just comes free of the speakers without any smearing that tends to happen with the other system unless you crank the volume a bit. Vocal clarity is truly astounding too with such a real pinpoint presence and timbral accuracy. I once read a review of the bookshelf version of the Omegas where they described them having the midrange superiority of Harbeth with the rocking soul of a pair of JBLs. Not sure what to make of that. They aren’t particularly weighty in the bass department (compared to PMCs), but what is there is just incredibly clear and easy to follow. The top end is smooth and doesn’t have the aggressive bite of the PMCs, but that that might not be a bad thing. The system is extremely easy on the ear without being laid back. It does rock.

Things the Luxman/Omega does better

  • Separation. Manages this and steers clear of clinical by a mile.
  • Frequency linearity. My perception is that everything is part of a whole. I would never before have said I was aware of individual HF/LF drive units on a good multi driver speaker. Except now I’ve heard how a good point source sounds. I guess hearing units working independantly is something you aren’t aware of until you hear something that isn’t doing that.
  • Left to right soundstaging. It’s precise. Laser precise.
  • Noise floor. It’s not just the absence of the Naim characteristic background hiss. Sounds just come out of nowhere and this is true of headphone listening too. I suspect the D-N150 DAC and how Luxman have implemented the Ti PCM5102A chip is playing a large role here. This is really an incredibly good source. The cost performance is superb. In fact, the noise floor is probably the reason for the separation. I can’t wait to plug it into the 282 and see how it fares against the NDX/XPSdr. I’m also afraid to.
  • Transparency. Soundstaging and detail aside, somehow there is just less between the listener and the music.
  • Smooth top end. It’s just lovely on the ear.
  • Forgiving of imperfect recordings. The low noise floor and greater separation makes some older, less than perfect recordings really shine. The Naim/PMC can sometimes show up all the flaws. This is really the system for digging out the oldies. Sly and The Family Stone is sounding like actual hifi now.

Things the Naim/PMC does better

  • Detail. It does extract more from the material.
  • Front to back soundstaging. The Luxman does this just fine, but the Naim/PMC has an incredibly deep front to back presentation that really puts a band in the room.
  • Bass. There is plenty on tap and it is controlled.
  • Off axis soundstaging. You can really wander around the room away from the listening position and be way off to one side and the “in the room” illusion still hangs together. The PMCs are just great for enjoying with other people. The Omegas on the other hand do suddenly change presentation if you are not between the speakers. Their laser like precision relies heavily on positioning relative to the listener whereas the PMCs are not that fussy.
  • The band “jammin’ in your room” feeling. The aggressive bite that the Naim/PMC can deliver really goes a long way to the live feel.

Ultimately, the Luxman system is just utterly brilliant (and small!). I could so live with it as my main system. I may have to do some real soul searching. Both systems are keepers, but which will end up in the living room and which the kitchen or office?

Headphone amp
The headphone out on the Luxman isn’t a built in headphone amp. You basically get the same amp section driving headphones as you do for speakers. I was amazed find the Luxman works miles better with my HD-800 than the HL2/HCdr did. It could all get a bit fatiguing before but suddenly it sounds effortless and long listening sessions on heaphones are truly engaging. It is less clinical sounding than the Naim and yet somehow more coherent and easy to follow too. It’s no surprise that the majority of people buying the SQ-N150 do so without speakers and use it purely as a dedicated headphone amp. It is utterly superb. I probably need to think about moving the HL2/HCdr on. I can’t see myself going back to them.


Thanks feeling_zen. I am feeling a lot of love for that gorgeous Luxman amplifier, basking in the orange glow from the valves.

It’s funny how we convince ourselves that each upgrade will bring so much more musical enjoyment, yet paradoxically we find that we lose so little when we downsize or simplify our systems. Sure, the big Vertere/Chord/Naim/ART system in our living room is more capable than the tiny little mac mini/DAC-V1/NAP140/PMC DB1i system in our office, yet it has taken years of tweaking & set-up optimisation to get there. I’m not entirely convinced that the big system is more fun though. Fortunately, we are now delighted with both.

Whichever system you prefer, do keep enjoying the music though, as that’s the most important aspect to us.

Best regards, BF


Cheers. Currently everyone’s gushing about the Chord alternative experience. But it turns out there are other ways to go.

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You could sign up to become a professional reviewer. Very well written. Actually we have the same dilemma. In my case, I have Naim/Harbeth and Luxman/Marten. I have been living with the Luxman system for 8 months now and don’t know when I’ll ever switch to the Naim/Harbeth. The qualities of the Luxman really shine through when matched with Marten speakers, not so much with Harbeth though.

Similarly I need to do some soul searching. One of the main reasons I’m hanging onto the Naim and Harbeth is they still sound great albeit in a different way. I have a long history with Harbeth (more than 10 years) and couldn’t seem to part with them just yet. I bought all the Naim gear new as I wanted to hang on to them.

I agree with the build quality of the Luxman and the solid chunk of remote control. The remote not only looks good but the volume control is very usable in comparison to Naim’s NAC 282. It’s very easy to control the volume with small increments without going overboard.

The warm glowing orange also looks rather good.

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My Luxman L-590AXII


Beautiful system. Didn’t know the Omega brand.
Thanks for sharing the experience @feeling_zen

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Glad this has worked out for you.
As always, reading through so many bumpf that kit sellers put out about their gear, it can be bewildering what to make of it and how that could possibly translate to making music in the home - hence the trial before buy chorus that most sing along with.
Putting a punt successfully together is mostly what I’d imagine you have done of going through extensive research of well received items together. Going through many options until that “penny dropped” and perhaps some magical magnetism drawing some things out over others.
You must have had a big laugh of relief, and it seems learning something new about hifi - which should be just as important as forgetting about it and enjoying the music.
Best wishes.

My Zu speakers have no crossover. Just a high pass filter to a super tweeter. The coherence is effortless and something which other speakers like those which traditionally match with Naim come nowhere near. I would imagine the slight lack of detail is down to the Luxman but the gains are likely to outweighs the losses.

Superb write up FZ, I understand where you are coming from because for about 8-10 months I was running Dynaudio excite12’s directly off my TT2 DAC. By eliminating components, it just gets you closer to the music.
Quite a few guys run Omega speakers directly off Chord DAC’s, with great results apparently. One guy on the TT2 forum was running Omega alinco moniters and a JL audio sub directly off his TT2, and was almost coming to tears when he listened to music that way, it was so good. I would love to try a pair of Omegas one day too. I used to own a pair of Taksim Reference 3A’s, which do not use crossovers either. I really regret selling those speakers…less is more sometimes.

The Omegas are really quite lovely and sold direct made to order from the factory (assuming you can wait a few months), you get a lot of speaker for the money. The shallowness and the fact they come in hundreds of veneers makes them extremely living room friendly. I kind of expected, before they arrived, I would be letting them go eventually and using the system as a headphone system only. But the Omega’s are staying. They complement the Luxman like Branston Pickle and Cheese.


I live in Canada, so not far from me actually. I know one guy who bought a pair (online friend), and said the owner is a real nice guy to deal with. No rush really for me, just an itch I want to scratch one day.
The closest I have come to single driver speakers is I had a pair of NSMT jazz speakers at home for a week, surprisingly good, but I never kept them.

He certainly is. I had a brief email exchange where I had a budget for a larger Super 8 XRS, but the chap was very familiar with the SQ-N150 and put me onto the Junior 8 as the right match for the amp and room constraints. It was a totally bespoke experience.

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I believe for anyone after a 500 series SuperNait, the L-590AXII is basically it.

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After careful listening, I’m not so sure the Naim/PMC is extracting more detail on reflection. Listening on headphones, the D-N150/SQ-N150 combo is clearly resolving more information. But as a whole the Luxman/Omega just isn’t as bright at the top end where this seems noticeable.

The D-N150 is really a hugely capable DAC. They me be using similar technology and Ti chips to Naim but their implementation is showing just some amazing achievement. It is clear Luxman know a thing or two about getting the most from this type of legacy technology. This is really a cost effective performant DAC. It’s low on features. No BNC or other more modern connections. No balanced outputs. No DSD. But the money has really gone into making it perform it’s core duties fantastically well.


I can’t comment on the result with headphones. However, based on experience comparing the Luxman L-590AXII and Naim 282/HCDR/250DR on different speakers, my own conclusion is the Luxman is generally more relaxed, balanced and neutral (nothing sticks out). Clarity appears slightly better on the Luxman with clearer detail in the midrange and cleaner bass. As it plays safer than the Naim, the Luxman sounds a little soft in comparison but this is only with select speakers. On the other hand, the Naim surely sounds more lively, exuberant and dynamic than the Luxman. The character is shown in the drive of the mid or upper bass where the bass sticks out more than the Luxman. This upper bass of the Naim gives music the punch and drive. The bass of the Luxman is cleaner and better defined without the upper mid bass hump. Due to the absence of this mid bass lift, there seems to be better clarity and detail with the bass of the Luxman.

The treble of the Luxman is also smoother than the Naim. There is a hint of brightness with the Naim when it’s matched with the wrong speakers. In my case Marten.

In summary, what I think is both amps surely have a character of their own and loudspeaker match is crucial in optimising the strengths of both amps. With more time and comparison with your Naim and PMC, I am sure you will be able to come up with a more informed decision whether the Luxman/Omega or Naim/PMC is more desirable for your tastes or preferences. I haven’t reached to a conclusion yet but I am really enjoying the Luxman/Marten a lot at the moment.

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Key words I would use to describe the Luxman and Naim amps in optimised setups, in general:-

Luxman L-590AXII : Refined, Sophisticated

Naim 282/HCDR/250DR : Dynamic, Robust, Punch, Attack, Forward

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Great write up… thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

I have to admit I’d like to demo the Luxman CL-38uC tube preamp and the MQ-88uC tube amp with my ProAc K6 Sig’s. The build quality is gorgeous and I love the industrial design. Got to love high-end Japanese craftsmanship.

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Luxman - do the demo - take one for the Saturday “team”!

GREAT write-up! I just texted a fellow Naim friend and pointed him to this thread. A quick look shows the two Luxman units cost less than the Chord Music cable I use between my KDS/Rossini and 552 - and costs less than the TT2 I am looking at. Something does not make sense :upside_down_face:

The other bizarre thing - it is the first time I am hearing of Omega speakers - and a Google showed that they are actually 20 minutes away from my house. Strange!

Thanks for the nice read


PS - how are you finding the LEUCA digital volume control? I had the Luxnan P750u headphone amp here for demo and did not get on with it.


The SQ-N150 doesn’t use it. That’s just for the higher end components. Certainly I have no issues with the one it has. Though, because the power amp stage is redirected as is to the headphone socket, the usable travel for headphone listening is just 7-8 O’clock (9 probably equals hearing loss).

@ryder pretty spot on. The luxman is more intimate. If I want to listen to and appreciate the musical composition, the Luxman allows such sessions where every note is laid effortlessly bare. The Naim gives less compositional insight but maybe more emotion and a live feel.

It might be a long time before I decide which one is the main system.

The Omegas are proving to be a real star though. I’d not have expected a single 8" driver to be able to untangle busy pieces with bass lines and higher frequences on top of each other better than a multi driver speaker but they do. It’s really quite incredible what they resolve.

Slight shame that their presentation between a sweet spot versus off axis is so different. But anyone with a listening chair/spot won’t care/notice. I can’t think of a speaker that delivers this much for the price bracket. They cant really be used with any amp over 50w though. A Nait 2 might be interesting.

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Yes, agreed (again) on the intimacy of the Luxman and live feel of the Naim. Although we don’t exactly own the same Luxman model, I can surely relate to the experience. The intimacy of the Luxman comes from the delicate touch. It’s more refined in the manner it plays the notes. The finer details and nuance in music are better captured by the Luxman. The Naim excels in macrodynamics whereby it presents music with sheer power and force where refinement and poise take a back seat. The Naim sounds slightly rough in comparison to the Luxman with this less refined sound. The dynamic and power-packed delivery of the Naim contributes to the live feel.

Take your time to decide. It will not be easy especially when both systems do things differently. I have come to realisation that it doesn’t make too much sense to keep 2 systems although both may sound good. The system that you spend more time listening to will eventually be the system you want to end up with in the long run. Although I wanted to give the other system another chance, I can’t bring myself to switch over at this point of time or anytime in the near future. That’s the dilemma I am currently facing as music sounds so good!

It is good to know about the Omega speakers as they appear to be well built and look like incredible value. Unfortunately, it’s the end of the road for me with regard to trying out new speakers and amp. I still have 2 pairs of unused speakers and 2 amplifiers currently sitting around collecting dust…