Seen & Heard at AXPONA: Luxman PD-191A Turntable, Acoustic Sounds Atlantic 75 Vinyl Listening Session

Now that we’ve all pretty much returned to our respective home listening labs after having an exhilarating four-day AXPONA experience at the Schaumburg Convention Center just outside of Chicago last week, we’re ready to do some deeper-dive show coverage here on AP, so buckle up! In the coming days, you will see a turntables-centric video from Ken Micallef as well as a pair of show reports from Julie Mullins that will focus on a number of booth visits and listening-room experiences accordingly, plus some long-throw listening-room impressions/evaluations from yours truly.


First up, I’m going to expound much further upon the hour-plus experience I had will all the new Luxman gear that was set up in the Prosperity room on Level 2 that essentially led off my AXPONA photo essay. Not long after I arrived at Prosperity a few ticks past 10 a.m., Luxman’s North American sales maestro John Pravel walked me through the company’s full-system setup that was anchored by the PD-191A turntable ($12,495) as fitted with the LMC-5 MC cartridge ($2,695) and buoyed by the E-07 phono preamp ($TBD).


The E-07 preamp features four MC transformers that are compatible with the varying impedance requirements of the listener’s preferred MC cart. There is also a triple transformer power supply system for the left and right channels and peripheral circuitry, all completely independent. As for its availability, I’m told the E-07’s availability is slated for the fall. (Incidentally, I was also told this E-07 prototype was personally hand-delivered by a company rep who brought it with them on the plane from Japan.)


Pravel then walked me through the PD-191A table’s specs, in addition to showing me some of its innards when we stepped outside the room, such as what’s seen above. The PD-191A is based on a belt-drive system using a brushless DC motor to maintain accurate rotation through a high-precision PID control. There is also an optional arm base for a second, 12in tonearm, as well as an optional hinged dust cover — of which, Pravel pointed out, the company outright rejected a good number of them early on, and at no small expense, as neither being symmetrically seamless in its design nor sturdy enough. (It’s all good and visibly clean ’n’ strong now, from what I saw of it firsthand.)


Speaking of tonearms, the PD-191A is fitted with the LTA-710 knife-edge bearing tonearm system, which has an effective length of 10in. (Luxman press materials further confirmed that the arm was jointly developed with SAEC.)

The LMC-5 cart sports a SHIBATA stylus, with directly wound cross-mounded coils with L/R symmetrically wound power-generation coils. Its low-distortion structure uses a single-point piano wire structure, and it boasts an Alumite body design.

The rest of the components in the Luxman-in-Prosperity demo system included the C-10X control preamp ($19,995), M-10X power amp ($19,995), D-10X SACD player ($16,995), NT-07 streaming network transport ($7,485), Magico S3 floorstanding speakers ($45,500/pr), Magico S-SUB subwoofer ($18,650 ea), and AudioQuest Dragon Series cables. [Update, 04.17.2024: I should also mention that HRS audio stand systems served as the literal backbones for the presentation of the Luxman gear on display in the room — namely, the EXR-1921-4V ($8,175/sys) and EXR-1921-3V ($6,275/sys).]


Normally, at this point during any room appointment, I would ask to cue up a number of choice LP cuts for a listening demo — and, in fact, I had been eyeing the copy of The Doors’ L.A. Woman that was in one of the two record crates on the floor nearby on the left side of the room — but since Acoustic Sounds head honcho Chad Kassem was already on hand to host a 40-minute listening session celebrating the Atlantic 75 Series at 11 a.m., I took a seat in Row 2 for his walkthrough of about a baker’s-dozen hand-selected tracks, as DJ’ed by the unflappable Pravel. (Listen — it’s not an easy task to swap out that many LPs at a moment’s notice to immediately cue up specified tracks in such a condensed period of time, as I can personally attest. Bravo, fellow Buffalonian Pravel!)


As a number of you probably know by now, 75 titles were chosen from the storied Atlantic Records catalog to be part of this joint Analogue Productions/Atlantic Records 75th anniversary series celebration, with each title having been cut at 45rpm, pressed at QRP, presented as AAA 180g 2LP sets, and remastered by the likes of Ryan K. Smith, Bernie Grundman, Chris Bellman, and Kevin Gray.

At an industry mixer held in the vast Schaumburg East ballroom the night before this Atlantic 75 event took place, Kassem personally told me he was legitimately surprised at how in-demand the two Genesis titles in this series were, in addition to those by ’90s artists like Stone Temple Pilots (sentiments he reiterated in his remarks before/during the next day’s listening session).


Of all the tracks spun that morning (for a session that lasted closer to 45 minutes than 40), I was most impressed by the breadth of arrangement in Charles Mingus’ “Moanin’” (Blues & Roots), the sinister build-up to and full-on payoff percussive moment in Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” (Face Value), the character of how each CSN vocalist aligned themselves in the harmony-climbing structure of “Helplessly Hoping” (Crosby, Stills and Nash, a.k.a. “The Couch Album,” as per Kassem), and the blend of vocal identity and acoustic guitar in John Prine’s “Illegal Smile” (John Prine). At the end of the session, Kassem added one bonus track not on the play sheet — Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (90125). The dynamic range of this track — in essence, the mindmeld of the two Trevors, producer Horn and guitarist/composer Rabin — most especially came through in the drum track, Chris Squire’s ’80s-embracing bass line, and the squeal of Rabin’s guitar solo.


“The greatest part of my job is to work on my favorite albums and have them come out better-sounding than the originals,” observed Kassem during one break between songs, and who could argue with such a sentiment? While the Atlantic 75 LPs themselves were indeed mostly impeccable source material on their own respective merits, the Luxman table, arm, cart, preamp, and full system combo in the Prosperity room locale collectively brought out and delivered the scope of this vast array of music the way it was, and is, meant to be heard.

For more about Luxman, go here.
To find an authorized Luxman dealer, go here.

For more about Acoustic Sounds, go here.
To order Atlantic 75 Series LPs, go here.


Glotz's picture

And great to see Luxman greater than ever for their 50th next year.

The Atlantic 75's of Crosby and CSNY destroy, destroy, destroy the MoFi's of the same title. No comparison whatsoever. Those digital LPs are nice, but QRP are better and more natural in every way.

Glotz's picture

are to DIE FOR.

vinyl listener's picture

Really good originals make QRPs sound like a joke.