Luxman B-1000f Monoblock Power Amp
Founded in 1925, Luxman is one of Japan's oldest and most respected audio companies whose products are distributed in the US by On a Higher Note. Submitted for your consideration here is the mighty B-1000f monoblock, Luxman's flagship amp developed over 15 years for the company's 80th anniversary in 2005.
The meticulous attention to detail starts with the B-1000f's transformer, which is wound with a 2mm-thick copper band, insulated with paper and hand-hammered around the core. A single craftsman builds all transformers for this model, finishing only three per week.
A vibration-damping base forms the foundation on which the amp is built, and each section is isolated from the others with shielding and filtering. The circuitry is based on Luxman's proprietary Only Distortion Negative Feedback (ODNF) topology, which works by "isolating noise and distortion at the output from the music signal and sparingly applying negative feedback to suppress them."
The rear panel provides balanced and unbalanced inputs and two speaker outputs that deliver 250 watts into 8Ω (the first 30W in class-A mode), 500W into 4Ω, 1000W into 2Ω, and 2000W into 1Ω (!). Frequency response is spec'd from DC to 150kHz (+0/-3dB) with harmonic distortion of only 0.0007% at 1kHz (balanced) and signal-to-noise ratio of 118dB (A weighted).
Of course, such impressive specs come at a price$55,000/pair, plus the cost of AC power (439W at rated output, 232W at idle). Is it worth that much? Wes Phillips addresses this point in the conclusion of his review for Stereophile: "Define worth. In its construction, design, and meticulous attention to the smallest detail, no one could mistake the B-1000f for a bargain. But it's hand-built and beautiful, and is the best there is at what it doesand what it does is pretty. Pretty amazing."