The PD-151 incorporates a new DC brushless motor. Features include three speeds with independent pitch adjustment; massive, anti-resonant construction with 10 mm thick aluminum top plate and 4 kg platter; high-precision Jelco tonearm; oxygen-free copper wiring; magnesium alloy headshell and detachable IEC power cord. Optional accessories include a dust cover and a second tonearm counterweight. The turntable received its international debut on November 16 at the 2018 Tokyo International Audio Show. The Luxman PD-151 is now on sale in the United States at a suggested retail price of $3,895.
As vinyl enthusiasts know, even small variations in platter speed, measured as wow & flutter, can blur the musical pitch, placing the sound behind an unnatural veil. Luxman engineers have gone to extraordinary lengths to maintain precise platter speed. It starts with the company’s unique sine wave/Pulse Width Modulation power supply, which provides ultra-stable direct current to the new DC brushless motor. This high-torque motor continually monitors and maintains speed with a sophisticated Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) feedback control loop. The motor drives the outside flange of the platter through an uncommonly wide belt, identical to the belt of the PD-171A.
The final guarantor of rotational stability is the 4 kg (8.8 pound) platter itself. The platter acts as a flywheel with extremely high moment of inertia, 22.4 kgf mm2, to suppress even minuscule speed variations. The machined aluminum platter is meticulously finished with a diamond-cut surface. A platter this heavy requires bearings capable of sustaining extremely high pressure. Luxman engineers specified polyether ether ketone (PEEK) thrust bearings and brass radial bearings for effortlessly smooth rotation and long life. These exhaustive measures require time, attention and cost. But they pay off in exceptionally stable platter rotation. Conservatively rated, wow & flutter is less than 0.04%, weighted RMS. In this way, the PD-151 delivers music with uncommon clarity, faithfully reproducing the original.
When music lovers turn up the volume, vibration in the air or the shelf can strike audio circuits and wiring. The result can be microphonics, unwanted variations in voltage that subtly degrade sound quality. In particular, phono cartridges operate by converting motion into voltage and cannot distinguish between the desired motion of tracing the record groove from the unwanted motion of resonance. This renders turntables uniquely vulnerable to vibration and microphonic effects.
Luxman engineers implemented a rigorous strategy to suppress vibration and resonance. It begins with large, rubber isolator feet, carefully selected for superb damping and excellent temperature characteristics. Each isolator foot offers 8 mm (3/8 inch) of independent height adjustment. Next, the PD-151 incorporates a 10mm machined aluminum top plate. At nearly 1/2-inch thick, it provides much-needed weight and creates an exceptionally stable platform. Suspended from the top plate is an underslung chassis that protects the music with yet another layer of vibration damping. Inside the player, rubber damping mounts isolate the chassis from two additional sources of potential vibration: the motor and power transformer. While these chassis features are undoubtedly expensive, they yield music reproduction of the highest order.
The tonearm comes from Jelco, audio innovators, experts in jewel bearings and builders of some of the world’s most celebrated tonearms. Luxman engineers specified a static balance, S-shaped, 7-inch arm with a one-point-cross suspension of extremely low friction. The headshell, tonearm and output cables all feature oxygen-free copper wiring for sonic purity. Overall length is 229 mm while effective length is 214 mm and overhang is 15 mm. The supplied counterweight accommodates phono cartridges from 4 to 12 grams and the accessory counterweight accepts cartridges of 9 to 19 grams. The magnesium alloy headshell weighs just 13 g.
The PD-151 embodies Luxman’s steadfast attention to fit and finish, resulting in a component that is a pleasure to see, touch and use. The design sensibility is elegant, almost Spartan, with a minimum of indicator lights and buttons. The front panel features only controls for power, motor on/off and operating speed (33-1/3, 45 and 78 rpm). Three recessed set-screws enable independent pitch fine-tuning for each speed, while protecting against accidental mis-adjustment.
Other features include a high-precision stainless steel center spindle, an EP adaptor, an uncommonly inert turntable slip-sheet and detachable output and IEC power cables that owners can substitute with aftermarket cables. An optional acrylic dust cover is 4 mm thick and features cam support hinges. The PD-151 is now shipping for $3,895 MSRP.
Luxman America, based in Ballston Spa, NY, is a subsidiary of Luxman Corporation of Yokohama, Japan. Luxman was among the world’s first consumer electronics companies, founded at the dawn of the radio age in 1925. Over the years, Luxman audio components have become synonymous with timeless styling, exquisite fit and finish, and above all, uncompromising sound quality. When the audio industry moved en masse into transistor amplifiers, Luxman continued to create vacuum tube amplifiers without interruption. Landmark products include the SQ-5A vacuum tube integrated amplifier (1961), the PD-300 turntable with vacuum disc stabilizer (1980) and the DU-10 universal disc player for CD, SACD and DVD Audio (2001).