Amplifier Luxman SQ 38u

Luxman sets the tube amp SQ 38 from 1964 to once again. And so that leaves a touch of melancholy…

  1. Amplifier Luxman SQ 38u
  2. Data sheet

With replicas, it is always an ambiguous thing. They may not be absolutely true to the original, since there are no longer many components and requirements (CE, various environmental regulations) make impossible a full replica. That replicas will reach the level of their role models or even modern devices under these circumstances, may safely be doubted. Why so the effort?

Because there are many customers who want exactly this type of amplifier, answers the Luxman responsible who were tired, constantly having to repair the old equipment. And because old tube amps exude still much more charming than modern, perhaps transistor-tipped designs.

The 1969 for the first time presented SQ 38 FD was the most successful tube amplifiers of the 1925 founded Luxman company over 30 years. He is the model of the now established SQ 38 – now in the “u”-version.

Modern under the lid

As befits a loving replica, he’s cut the ur-Ahn in the face: the high, veneered wood cabinet, the tired resting controls, are equipped with power tubes of EL 34 type (see right) – everything exactly as before.

The only recognizable bows before the modern age seem to be remote and the “CD” inputs. Hardly anything on the wild 60s recalls but removed the wooden chassis, except for the circuit. The free wiring – differed in use here at that time – a clean circuit board construction. No wonder: Free floating cable are difficult to get through a larger mass production quality control.

The transformer and the two output transformers are meticulously encapsulated, and the tubes sit in stable, gold-plated Sockets. Everything is so made that it keeps even the next decades and is service-safe.

The nice thing about the SQ 38u are the things that he brings with him almost from the past. For example, that his pre and power amplifiers are separable and can grind to a processor or connect with a more powerful amplifier. Or the real show-stopper, the elaborate MM and MC phono stage.

Superb phono stage

In the pre-digital 60s you had to bother himself correctly at the phono stages. What is the case for the SQ 38u. Only the slightly early bass drop of the tube stage clouded the otherwise superb image. With record certainly convinced the Japanese fully: A generous, yet precise soundstage at the Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (DG), much heat and power in the voice of Jack Johnson in “Better Together” (in between dreams/universal). And otherwise as to the measurements of bass held back hardly; the timpani had exactly the right portion of power and blackness.

Not so strong in digital

But, when the CD passages failings came to light. The generosity shown in the figure, Yes, great. The heat and the power in the fundamental, also an ornamental. The gauge resolution of guitar sounds top – first cream. But in the Middle it lacked clearly in resolution and clarity.

For many of the 80s pop productions, it may a gracious way they listen with real high end footage SQ 38u went across too quickly about fine details: voices worked somewhat covered, sound altogether too cozy. Here, modern constructions can do a lot more.

Whether Luxman so wanted that in the final analysis, is. But this newly created classic actually has a sound “as before”. It definitely has its charm…

Luxman SQ 38

Manufacturer Luxman
Price €4800.00
Rating 54.0 points
Test procedure 1.0

Technical data and test results

Dimensions (W x H x D) 40,0 x 19, 6 x 31.0 cm
Weight 20.0 kg
Genus (REC / GM) Integrated amplifier
Remote control available
System remote control / Adaptive
Front panel Black / Silver / champagne / /
Front panel other FB.
Muting (via FB)
Tone controls / switched off /
Monitor switch
Recording selector switch audio
Network jacks switched / unswitched
Memory / storage automatic
Sendersp. with aut. Sorting
Input phono MM / MC /
High level RCA inputs / XLR 5 /.
Digital inputs RCA / XLR
Boxes outputs A + B / switchable /
Headphone Jack
Pre-Out / main 1 /.
Recorder connections (a / from) 1
Processor input / output /
Unity gain input
Pre-Out subwoofer
Measured values
True sine wave power stereo 4 ohm / 8 ohm 29.0 W / 32.0 W
Music performance stereo 4 ohm / 8 ohm 21.0 W / 31.0 W
Noise line 95.0 DB (a)
Short conclusion Loving reissue of the classic 1969 visually identical mt Vorbiledd, also the sound is reminiscent of the 60s: pretty little middle resolution, but a wonderfully warm punchy sound. For lovers.
Sound Top-class
Sound points analog
(maximum 70 points)
Sound points Netzwerk-In
(maximum 70 points)
Sound points USB-In
(maximum 70 points)
Measured values
(maximum 10 points)
(max. 15 points)
(maximum 10 points)
Overall rating (maximum 120 good – very good-73 points
Price-performance ratio five -good
tested in issue: 3 / 10