40 years ago we were introduced to the world of digital music with the introduction of the Compact Disc. In terms of spanet share, CDs have now been overtaken by streaming—even vinyl in more recent times—however, they’re still a quality medium. Plus, there are now high-resolution versions of the CD, such as SACD and MQA-CD. Today, they’re predominantly aimed at music lovers who’ve built up their music collections over time and enjoy physical contact with their records, as well as younger generations who are rediscovering the physical media of vinyl and CD.
Luxman has always made CD players. They’ve created legendary models such as the D-500xs or the D-107u. The more recent Luxman 'u' series of players has now been replaced by the 'X' series, and the new D-07X is a part of this family. The series also includes two other models: the D-10X and the D-03X. Unsurprisingly, the D-07X is situated between the two. The outer aesthetic is similar, with the components and internal design evolving as you go up the range.
● CD/SACD player & DAC
● Price: €10,990
● Converter: 2x Rohm BD34301EKV, 768 kHz/32 bits, DSD, MQA
● Total harmonic distortion: CD 0,0016 %, SACD 0,0007 %, USB 0,001 %
● Signal-to-noise ratio (IHF-A): CD 122 dB, SACD 125 dB, USB 122 dB
● Connectivity: 3x coaxial/optical/USB-B digital inputs, 2x coaxial/optical digital outputs, 2x RCA/XLR line outputs, control & trigger inputs
● Other: Infrared remote control
● Dimensions (l x h x d) : 440 x 132 x 410 mm
● Weight : 17 kg
Overview of the Luxman D-07X
The D-07X looks like a high-end hi-fi device. It’s made from high-quality materials, and the fit and feel of the buttons are top-notch. The D-07X is manufactured in Japan, and many of its design features are derived from the superior D-10X model.
The lines are clean and simple. The design isn’t extravagant, apart from the recessed power button at the bottom left of the front panel—one of the brand's discreet tradespans. The other buttons are arranged in groups of two different sizes. The larger ones are located below the screen and handle playback management. The other four smaller ones are used to access a few functions, which we’ll look at later.
The thin disc tray moves slowly and almost silently, without any free play—exactly what you’d expect from a player of this level. The high rigidity LxDTM mechanism is developed by Luxman. It includes a robust box structure, a top plate and a cast aluminium tray to eliminate any risk of vibration to ensure the best possible laser reading.
Inside, all the circuits are partitioned. Overall, the player is divided into seven sections separated by panels, all on two levels. Above, you’ll find the transformer, which is 50% more powerful than the model the D-07X replaces in the range, the playback mechanism, the analogue output board and the front panel and screen management circuits. Below, you’ll find the power supply board, the playback mechanism management board and the digital input and output board.
One of the standout features of the D-07X is that it has a built-in DAC with digital inputs. The rear panel is therefore quite full for a CD player. First of all, there are the analogue outputs—available in unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR. There are also two digital outputs—one coaxial and one optical—which disable the conversion stage. Finally, the three digital inputs (coaxial, optical and USB-B) mean you can connect as many external sources as the D-07X can convert to analogue.
This conversion is entrusted to two top-end BD34301EKV chips manufactured by Rohm. These are used to convert both the content of the discs and that of external digital sources. They’re combined with a high-precision, low-noise clock. The dual DAC is combined with a buffer circuit that incorporates very high-frequency filtering to improve the analogue output signal.
Using the Luxman D-07X
The display consists of orange pixels—again, a Luxman tradespan. It displays the usual information, such as track number and elapsed time, as well as the sample rate in DAC mode. It features tiny LEDs that indicate the state of the additional buttons. For example, when the digital output is active, an LED lights up. This is also the case for phase inversion, traditionally offered by some Luxman products, which consists of reversing the hot and cold points on the XLR connection.
The D-07X is a multi-format stereo player. It plays CDs, SACDs and MQA-CDs. The latter are less common, but still a nice bonus. Three of the LEDs on the front panel are tasked with indicating precisely which type of disc is being played. In addition, the MQA LED changes colour depending on the file type since the D-07X also plays MQA from an external drive via its digital USB input.
The D-07X acts as a two-in-one device thanks to the fact that it shares its DAC with other sources. The coaxial and optical inputs are compatible with streams up to 192 kHz and 24 bits. The USB input accepts files with up to 768 kHz and 32 bits, as well as MQA and DSD512. In this respect, the D-07X is therefore a fully-fledged, stand-alone DAC. One of the small buttons on the front panel allows you to switch from the disc player to the digital inputs.
Luxman provides a large aluminium remote control to control all functions from your sofa. Just like the front panel buttons, the remote can switch between the two FIR filters in DSD playback, adjust the brightness of the player's display, and switch the information display from two lines to a single, larger line so that you can see it better from a distance. It also provides a numeric keypad as well as programming and loop and shuffle playback.
We set up the Luxman D-07X in our test system by connecting it (in balanced analogue) to a Merging Anubis pre-amp, an Elac DPA-2 amplifier and a pair of Dynaudio Special 40 bookshelf speakers. We used CDs, SACDs and MQA-CDs, and a Mac computer with Roon and Qobuz connected to the D-07X via USB.
We started the test with vocal jazz. Gabi Herman's voice on her eponymous album is reproduced with fullness and a good pinch of sweetness. The sound renders the natural, delicate tones obvious. Well-defined and detached from the backing instruments, the voice begins to take shape behind the speakers. The impact and depth of the drums in the low frequencies are interesting, again with a nice authentic effect. The clarinet and piano tones are also rendered with great accuracy.
We then enjoyed Schvitz, the latest funky album by the band Vulfpeck. You can really feel the attack of the drums and guitars, and there’s a good sense of speed both in the onset of the notes and their release, which excludes any trailing sound. Softer sounds are also well-reproduced on this album without unnecessary projection. The D-07X never overdoes it and beautifully transmits the analogue converted stream.
Although this D-07X is able to read and reproduce any musical style, it really shines when listening to large orchestral ensembles. Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3 conducted by John Wilson, filled our listening room with impressive breadth and depth. The D-07X doesn’t overlook any micro-information, which contributes to the effective placement of the different music sections and the accurate layering of sound. It’s as if the loudspeakers completely disappear, and the symphony is authentically reproduced with a passion free from aggression.
We concluded our session by listening to a few discs in the different supported formats. We found, on the same albums, that the CD format enjoyed the same qualities as those listed above. We played a few SACDs and MQA-CDs to enjoy the high resolution. We obviously benefited from the same qualities as we did when streaming via the DAC in terms of dynamics, respect for tone and overall fullness.
The Luxman D-07X can be seen either as a CD player with an added DAC function or as a DAC with an integrated CD player! You can easily use this as your main DAC, and it’s the perfect way to enjoy your music library, both physical and dematerialised, through a single conversion platform. With the D-07X, you’ll be wanting to turn the sound up higher than usual, as it won’t give you any hearing fatigue—a sign of a high-quality product. It’s as if this device removes sonic tension to deliver a more relaxing sound that’s easy on the ear. Plus, you get all this without affecting the original naturalness of the music. The D-07X is a total success and would be right at home in any high-quality Hi-Fi system that aims to seamlessly bring together the physical and the dematerialised.