Audio Physic Scorpio II with Luxman SQ-38U - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 01-05-2013, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
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As the title says, my system consists of Audio Physic Scorpio II loudspeakers, driven by a Luxman SQ-38U full tube integrated amplifier.

Luxman was an added after making lots of amp auditions and the reason I chose this one was because none of the powerful transistors I've had auditioned lacked of musicality and transparency. I might have some limitations concerning deep bass pressence but benefits in the rest are a lot.

The system consists of;

Audio Physic Scorpio II loudspeakers
Luxman SQ-38U integrated tube amplifier
Marantz CD 6000 OSE Limited Edition
Nottingham Analog Interspace turntable
Rega RB300 arm
Clearaudio Aurum Alpha Wood MK II mm cartridge
Audio Agile amplifier power cable
VDH The Second CD interconnect
VDH turntable cable (Idon't remember the model)
Ultralink Excelsior Time aligned Speaker cable

Some Pictures;







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post #2 of 34 Old 01-05-2013, 03:06 AM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 34 Old 01-05-2013, 07:31 PM
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Great looking setup! And a very sweet table too. I just recently received my Rega RP3 with the rb303 arm and I'm very impressed with the sound.
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post #4 of 34 Old 01-06-2013, 12:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by g8tr251 View Post

Great looking setup! And a very sweet table too. I just recently received my Rega RP3 with the rb303 arm and I'm very impressed with the sound.

Thank you very much for your nice words. The table is my wife's taste.

Enjoy your new analogue set up!smile.gif
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post #5 of 34 Old 01-06-2013, 07:22 AM
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Nice 2ch setup, I bet it sounds fantastic, congrats!


-
Rodrigues
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post #6 of 34 Old 01-06-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rodrigues_Brazil View Post

Nice 2ch setup, I bet it sounds fantastic, congrats!

Thanks Rodrigues! Yes it sounds very nice! Musicality and transparency at maximum!
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post #7 of 34 Old 05-06-2013, 03:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Here are some photos of my latest power tube upgrade of Luxman AQ-38U.








I remooved the factory installed electro harmonix el34 with a matched quad of 6CA7 electro harmonix.
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post #8 of 34 Old 05-06-2013, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
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The result is better drive tonal balance across the whole spectrum and greter transparency!

Excellent focusing an sound imaging!
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post #9 of 34 Old 06-16-2013, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently made some major changes in my Luxman SQ-38U amplifier. I changed all the pre amp and driving tubes. Soon I'll post comments and pictures!
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post #10 of 34 Old 06-16-2013, 04:11 PM
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Great stuff!

I love...LOVE...Audio Physic speakers. One of my top favorite speaker brands. I've had the original Audio Physic Virgos in my room, the Libras (they followed the Virgos), and a while back I had the Scorpios as well. I drove the Scorpios with Conrad Johnson tube monoblocks 140W/side and a tube pre-amp. Sounded glorious. They were perhaps the best looking speaker I ever owned as well. Sadly, being somewhat of a speaker collector, I had to pair down my collection a few years ago due to turning my 2 channel room into my home theater room (though I still listen to dedicated 2 channel gear in the room as well).

That's a beautiful looking system, panos_adgr.
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post #11 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Great stuff!

I love...LOVE...Audio Physic speakers. One of my top favorite speaker brands. I've had the original Audio Physic Virgos in my room, the Libras (they followed the Virgos), and a while back I had the Scorpios as well. I drove the Scorpios with Conrad Johnson tube monoblocks 140W/side and a tube pre-amp. Sounded glorious. They were perhaps the best looking speaker I ever owned as well. Sadly, being somewhat of a speaker collector, I had to pair down my collection a few years ago due to turning my 2 channel room into my home theater room (though I still listen to dedicated 2 channel gear in the room as well).

That's a beautiful looking system, panos_adgr.

Rich, thank you very much! I'm glad to get an answer from an Audio Physic fan. Audio Physic is a great brand with high value for money, rich equipment and a serious R&D behind the final product.

Audio Physics much greatly with tube amplifiers and they are capable of thrills if you go for the combination. In my countries forum where I'm participating a lot I had many conflicts when I expressed my thoughts of combining the Scorpio's with tube amplifiers. Most said that the seven drivers of the speaker plus the low nominal impedance plus the 3 and a half ways of the crossover would make an incompatible match with the Luxman SQ-38U amplifier. But when I auditioned this machine with my loudspeakers I couldn't believe my ears. Yes... It's a kind of a paradox if you think that I drive a 4 ohm, 7 driver loudspeaker with a pair of el34s delivering 25-30 watts per channel. But in action things were different.

I want to say that sometimes it's not good to go only with specs. It 's better to experiment. This is the best way to discover things if you go of course also parallel with specs and objectivity.

Ok there were some problems in the beginning. I had a lack of nerve and a bit laid back mids. But I had a suspicion of the the factory tubes of my Luxman being low quality. Have in mind that I bought my amp second handed with 3 years use from the previous user.

So after lot of reading in the internet I found out of the 6ca7 tubes and read of its characteristics. I read that they can replace any el34 and their benefits were more energy more nerve and more flat response across the whole spectrum, talking of the Electro Harmonix 6ca7.

So I went for it and I replaced the el34s with 6ca7.... The result was stunning. A Luxman SQ-38U on steroids. But there was again a suspicion of the character of the Chinese 12ax7 and 12au7 tubes. I finally had the nerve and energy but laid back mids insisted especially when listening to vinyl with the Luxmans tube phono. So one day a friend of mine borrowed me pair of Mullard bva nos 12ax7 tubes to replace the chinese of the phono. And it was the time that I lost my words. Superb results and immediate change of sonic performance.

Then I decided to change all the 12ax7 and 12au7 tubes of the amplifier. And so I did with 5 Tung Sol tubes. 3 in the driving stage of the 4 6ca7 and 2 in the pre amp section.

The amplifier now is like a different machine with what I had! Pin sharp imaging of music idols in the soundstage superb detail and description, rich mids with detail that reaches to the bone and super drive! Many audiophilers visited me to experience that hard believing result I was writting and describing in my local forums and the result was to earn a great reputation of my system.

Now I'm waiting a pair of High Output JJ 12ax7 for the phono stage of the Luxman to complete the tube upgrade.

The sonic result after these changes really exceeds my expectations I had before I start the upgrade.

I'll follow with some pictures.
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post #12 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Arrival of the 5 tubes I ordered from US ebay.



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post #13 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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post #14 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:51 PM - Thread Starter
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post #15 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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post #16 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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post #17 of 34 Old 06-23-2013, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I will write more comments after the completion of about 100 hours that the 12ax7 and 12au7 need as burning in time.
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post #18 of 34 Old 07-07-2013, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I've done quite a few hours with my new Tung Sol tubes and the sonic result is beyond my expectations. Now the 6CA7 power tubes are better driven and they reveal their driving capabilities. Bass control and bodies are well beyond my expectations and the overall behaviour does not remind in any case that you have a 25watt per channel in front of you. I'm not quite sure if now my amplifier delivers 25 watts per channel or more with the new 6ca7 but what is for sure is that you receive the feeling of at least double power drive!
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post #19 of 34 Old 07-11-2013, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panos_adgr View Post

I want to say that sometimes it's not good to go only with specs. It 's better to experiment.
 

This is extremely true.  I love your setup and those tubes are stunning to behold.  If they sound as good as they look (which I'm sure they do) then you'll be enjoying your system for a very long time :-)

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post #20 of 34 Old 07-11-2013, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BrolicBeast View Post

This is extremely true.  I love your setup and those tubes are stunning to behold.  If they sound as good as they look (which I'm sure they do) then you'll be enjoying your system for a very long time :-)

Thanks a lot BrolicBeast!

Thanks for the nice comments. Yes, the tubes are indeed great and they sound excellent. The reality is that when I bought the new tubes I had no experience with these which I bought. I made my decision, reading for days, articles in the internet and discussing in forums with audio friends. I ended up on Electro Harmonix 6CA7 and Tung Sol in order to change the behaviour sonic of my amplifier , to match better with the Scorpios. Before I change the tubes the amplifier sounded charming but it lacked the nerve in low frequencies. You see this was normal due to the electrical characteristics of my loudspeakers. So I started searching for a more powerful tube and more energetic. And this how I ended to the beaming tetrode 6ca7 which was far more powerful that the factory installed electro harmonix el34 pentode. After that I had a suspicion on the character of the 12ax7 and 12au7 tubes of the pre amp and drive stage which had laid back frequencies and weak spectrum edges. So I replaced them with Tung sol and since then I'm love with the result. I even had the Luxman dealer of my country as a visitor to audition my amp. He was amazed. I made many system set ups in the past and I lost my way when I mixed Home Theater and 2 channel set up.... So I started again building an audio only system to enjoy my music. I still have to upgrade my sources with better. I want to buy a D/A Converter to enjoy my lossless albums (about 1600) and later a better analogue system. The good thing is that Luxman has an excellent phono stage!

I love audio generally and I'm also a member of the Audiophile Club of Athens. Many of you must now it.
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post #21 of 34 Old 07-11-2013, 12:20 PM
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That is a sweet looking system. I have only heard of your speakers and integrated amp but even through the computer speakers, I can tell that it probably sounds very good. As a Greek, I would remiss if I did not comment smile.gif. I like tubes myself. The cool thing about tubes is that you can experiment like you are doing now. Enjoy that system.
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post #22 of 34 Old 07-11-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MIkeDuke View Post

That is a sweet looking system. I have only heard of your speakers and integrated amp but even through the computer speakers, I can tell that it probably sounds very good. As a Greek, I would remiss if I did not comment smile.gif. I like tubes myself. The cool thing about tubes is that you can experiment like you are doing now. Enjoy that system.

Thanks a lot Mike for your comments! I 've uploaded lots of videos in youtube with my system.

Experimenting with tubes is wonderful as long as you do not get addicted with tube rolling all the time. I only wanted to make some tuning to improve my systems sound. It's nice to get some good comments from another Greek audiophiler! I've checked your system and yoy have serious equipment! Enjoy your audio gear too!!!
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post #23 of 34 Old 07-11-2013, 12:38 PM
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No problem. I know tube rolling can be fun but expensive. I always imagined that the tubes give off a lot of heat. I think I have read that in a few places. Have you experienced that? Thanks for the nice words about my system. I do enjoy it a lot. I am still a dual purpose guy though with 2ch and HT but I have done a pretty good job incorporating both as others can confirm. About how many hours are those tubes good for?

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post #24 of 34 Old 07-11-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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No problem. I know tube rolling can be fun but expensive. I always imagined that the tubes give off a lot of heat. I think I have read that in a few places. Have you experienced that? Thanks for the nice words about my system. I do enjoy it a lot. I am still a dual purpose guy though with 2ch and HT but I have done a pretty good job incorporating both as others can confirm. About how many hours are those tubes good for?

Tubes can be very expensive if you go for NOS tubes (New Old Stock), but if you go for new production you can find great tubes for low prices. I changed all tubes of my amplifier which were 11 and they cost me about 200 dollars in total. I think that is a great price. About the heat now. The previous tubes (el34) ran cool but the new (6ca7) run very hot because they have also bigger mass. Bias is ok but they run hotter. About the hours it depends on the type of the tube and the way you use them. Power output tubes can run out easier because they work under harder conditions especially if you have a complicated speaker wit many ways and complicated crossover. Also speakers have composite electrical characteristics (like the ohm behaviour across the spectrum) that make tube life hard. This way ussually tube amps match better with simple speaker designs that have few crossover parts and more steady ohm behaviour across the whole spectrum. Also biassing is a vital factor for long lasting tube life. A power output can go for 4000-5000 hours. Pre amp stage tubes have very long life because they function in more steady electrical environment with less demands. Pre amp tubes can reach more than 10000 hours. You will see many old tubes that are used which measure very strong and they cost 250 dollars a piece or sometimes even 500 and they are 50 or 40 years old.
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post #25 of 34 Old 07-17-2013, 11:51 AM
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Hello!
You did replacement of lamps on Luxman SQ 38U and have received good result I too I want to make as you but there is a problem I do not know as to take out from a wooden box the metal case
Can be will give some councils about these questions?
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post #26 of 34 Old 07-17-2013, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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What you have to do is turn your amp upside down and remoove all the bottom screws carefuly. Then remoove the metal bottom cover. Then turn the amp at its normal position and push the metal body from behind very carefuly. Continiue pulling the metal body from the facia until you reveal all the tubes. Remoove the tubes gently and put the new again gently making sure they are installed well and tight steady. When I change the tubes i toych them with a soft clothe and not with naked hand. slide in the metal case in to the wooden body and put the metal bottom grill and re install and screw all the bottom screws carefuly

If you need anything else I will be around.
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post #27 of 34 Old 07-17-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Have in mind that you can use only el34 pentodes or 6ca7 beaming tetrodes, output tubes.
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post #28 of 34 Old 07-17-2013, 01:43 PM
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I read your blog in Greek about replacement of lamps
Maybe I not correctly made transfer but I understood so
1 . Capacity and quality of a sound grew when you replaced EL34 on 6Ca7
2 what lamps you consider 4x 12 ax7 best for replacement and 3x12au7?
Thanks for a prompt reply and understanding
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post #29 of 34 Old 07-17-2013, 01:43 PM
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I read your blog in Greek about replacement of lamps
Maybe I not correctly made transfer but I understood so
1 . Capacity and quality of a sound grew when you replaced EL34 on 6Ca7
2 what lamps you consider 4x 12 ax7 best for replacement and 3x12au7?
Thanks for a prompt reply and understanding
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post #30 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexey Suslov View Post

I read your blog in Greek about replacement of lamps
Maybe I not correctly made transfer but I understood so
1 . Capacity and quality of a sound grew when you replaced EL34 on 6Ca7
2 what lamps you consider 4x 12 ax7 best for replacement and 3x12au7?
Thanks for a prompt reply and understanding


Well... Things are bit more complicated.... I cannot tell you which tube is the best.... And the reason is because each tube has some characteristics which have to do with each person's taste plus the final result matching with the sonic characteristics-identity of each device in the system chain. I'm using a 4ohm speaker with 7 drive units per channel and I decided to find powerful and energetic tubes to achieve better matching with the demanding electrical behaviour of my loudspeakers. The 6ca7 gave this result in combination with the Tung Sols 12ax7 and 12au7. I fell in love with the sound of my Luxman but it needed a more powerful tube to better match the speakers. Now I have excellent bass and highs with reach mids transparent sound across the whole spectrum and pin point imaging with big soundstage and atmospheric sound. This recipe work perfect for my needs and set up. Then it's up to you to achieve the best result. And I mean that you have to think why you want to change the tubes and what kind of result you want to achieve. I'll be around for help!
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