Luxman R-117

Some audio purists believe that quality audio died in the late 1970’s. However, the Luxman R-117 refutes this view. No, it doesn’t have a silver face. Yes, it was built in late 1980’s at the edge of what some might call the vintage era. But, at 160 watts per channel it is a monster receiver. Not only does it have power it has the features to make it arguably the best receiver Luxman ever made. Referred to in the advertising literature as the Ultimate Power Receiver it was theirs top of the line receiver and was made in Japan. It retailed for $1200 in 1987 but had dropped to close out pricing of $1000 by 1992.

With the advent of the compact disc era audio manufacturers had to adapt to the changing market. CD’s have a wider dynamic range than LP’s and a good amplifier needs to have ample reserve power to handle that range. Also, speaker manufacturers were beginning to build speakers with higher sonic performance that could expose amplifiers to very low impedance loads. Luxman used a dual rail designed power supply, massive, triple-shielded, high-energy power transformer, fast-recovery rectifier diodes and matched high-current, bipolar transistor pairs in the design that result in the R-117 being able to produce a staggering 700 dynamic watts per channel into 2 ohms. Impressive!

The display is fully digital.

What’s interesting about Luxman’s R-117 is that it had to accommodate a number of different audio sources. LP’s were still being played, as were cassettes, and CD’s were just becoming the rage at the time. So, the R-117 needed to handle all of these sources well. And it does.

Want to listen to the radio? The 5-gang varactor, dual-gate MOSFET FM front end, with automatic hi-blend circuitry will give you clean, distortion-free FM performance. The tuning section incorporates Luxman’s proprietary Star circuit pattern and Duo-Beta negative feedback circuitry as well.

Ready for some vinyl? The phono section can accommodate low-output moving-coil (MC) cartridges, as well as moving magnet (MM) cartridges. Notice that the R-117 even has a 3 position loudness control.

Perhaps a compact disc? The CD Straight circuitry routes CD input signals past all signal processor and switching functions to provide optimum accuracy, imaging and impact.

The R-117 can even handle up to three video sources, and professional-grade video amplifiers were incorporated to maintain a high-quality picture.

All of the major functionality can be handled from the RR-117 factory remote.

Specifications:

  • Tuning range: FM, AM (MW)
  • Power output: 160 watts per channel into 8 ohms (stereo)
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Total harmonic distortion: 0.03%
  • Damping factor: 80
  • Input sensitivity: 0.22mV (MC), 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)
  • Signal to noise ratio: 70dB (MC), 88dB (MM), 100dB (line)
  • Speaker load impedance: 8ohms to 16ohms
  • Video Connections: composite
  • Dimensions: 438 x 139 x 424mm
  • Weight: 15.2kg
  • Accessories: RR-117 remote control

Some of the other capabilities of the R-117 are:

  • 20 AM/FM Random Access memories
  • Auto Seek Tuning
  • AM/FM memory Scan
  • Cable-ready Fm Fine-tuning
  • FM Muting
  • FM IF bandwidth switch
  • Multipath Detection Circuit and Indicator
  • CD Straight Switches
  • Tone Defeat Switch
  • MC/MM Cartridge Switches
  • Record-out Selector Switch
  • Three-position loudness Switch
  • Multi-function Remote Control
  • Unified Remote DIN Jacks
  • Unified Remote Serial Output jack
  • Remote Eye Connection (DIN)
  • Signal processor jack/Switch
  • 2 Pair Pre-out Jacks and 1 Pair Main-in Jacks
  • Speakers Terminals Accept Single Banana

In an early nod to the smart home concept, The R-117 can interconnect with an external remote eye to allow complete system operation from any room in your house. Install the required cables and accessories and virtually all functions of the main system can be controlled at each remote location.

Some bench tests back in the late 1980’s showed that the R-117 could reach up to 250 watts per channel before clipping. Given all of its technical prowess you might think the R-117 would have a sterile sound. But, the reality is that its circuitry is designed to provide a very clean but warm, tube like, sound. Debuting just before the A/V revolution it performs far better when listening to stereo than any later A/V receiver at most any price point.


The Luxman R-117 is one of the best receivers ever built. While it doesn’t have the stereotypical vintage audio look it is a classic and in high demand by audio enthusiasts. If you don’t mind the more modern look and have a chance to pick up a fully functional unit at a reasonable price then do it.

Available on eBay

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