Long-time Japanese audiophile brand is further extending its reach into the analog domain with the announcement of the LUXMAN LMC-5 Phono Cartridge this week. The Luxman LMC-5 is the first cart in 40 years for the company, and comes hot on the heels from the new flagship M-10x power amplifier released earlier this year. According to the press release, the moving coil cartridge utilizes a Shibata profile stylus to help pull every detail from the groove, especially from the inner parts of the record. You can hear more about the complications of this part of the record from mastering engineer Dave McNair on this episode of The Occasional Podcast. The process of mastering a record is really quite fascinating, and totally worth a listen for anyone who ever wondered how things are made.
More info on the Luxman LMC-5 from the press release:
Luxman releases LMC-5
moving coil phono cartridge
The company’s first cartridge in 40 years
BALLSTON SPA, New York, March 2022 – Not since the original LMC-1 of 1981 and 1982 follow-up model LMC-2 has Luxman offered a phono cartridge. That 40-year absence ends now with the introduction of the LMC-5 moving coil cartridge. “This new reference class MC cartridge is the result of two years of research into every aspect of cartridge design,” says Jeff Sigmund, president of Luxman America. “Our LMC-5 is designed and intended to satisfy demanding music listeners with a unique purity of reproduction; the result of painstaking materials evaluations, repeated prototyping and extensive listening tests. The resulting sound quality must be heard to be appreciated.”
The LMC-5 moving coil cartridge is available now at a suggested retail price of $2,695.
Stylus and mechanics
To reveal the full richness of vinyl music playback, Luxman engineers decided on a moving coil design, preferred for ultra-low armature moving mass. A Shibata profile stylus type was selected for its ability to deliver extended high frequencies with low groove tracing noise, even on challenging inner grooves. This solid nude, square shank diamond stylus is fixed to a low mass, 0.5 mm aluminum pipe cantilever, with this combination preferred for sonic characteristics and high trackability. To secure the fulcrum of the vibrating system, the single-point support uses a high-precision piano wire some 80 micrometers in diameter, about the thickness of a human hair.
The MC generator incorporates a cross-mounted iron core with the left and right coils wound symmetrically for superior channel separation. To achieve optimally consistent coil windings with minimum moving mass, the coils themselves are even thinner than the piano wire. Luxman chose the thinnest available Urethane Enameled Wire (UEW), 30 micrometers in diameter. Because the coil and magnetic field are uncommonly compact, the cartridge is highly resistant to external noise.
Structure and design
Like a microphone, a phono cartridge converts mechanical motion into voltage. So it’s no surprise that phono cartridges are subject to microphonics, the unwanted pickup of ambient sound that inevitably colors the music reproduction. Luxman engineers understood that the coil and the cantilever of closed-body moving coil cartridges are particularly sensitive to reflected sound. For this reason, the LMC-5 has an open-body design. To control weight and suppress resonance, the cartridge outer housing is pared down substantially. Even the housing’s inverted egg shape is carefully tailored to minimize sound reflection and resonance. The product of painstaking engineering and extended listening tests, the LMC-5 reproduces treasured vinyl with effortless musicality.
The precision machined aluminum body is anodized to a deep red, Luxman’s corporate color, with a laser etched Luxman “L” in front. In the best tradition of Japanese cartridge manufacture, each cartridge is carefully assembled by Luxman’s craftspeople and delivered to music lovers worldwide.
Completing the circuit
The launch of the LMC-5 phono cartridge means than listeners can now experience Luxman quality all the way from the vinyl groove to the loudspeaker input terminals. The new cartridge is a good choice for the Luxman PD-171A, PD-171AL and PD-151 analog players and anticipated future models. Every Luxman control amplifier and integrated amplifier that has a phono input stage accepts moving coil signals and will team beautifully with the cartridge. While the CL-1000 control amplifier includes switchable High/Medium/Low moving coil capability, the C-900u and C-700u control amplifiers are designed to work with outboard phono preamplifiers, such as the Luxman EQ-500 and E-250, both of which are ideal partners for the LMC-5.
More info: Luxman America