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Mark Levinson Sound that Speaks for Itself

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Old 06-14-2017, 08:54 AM
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Default Mark Levinson 585

I have always been a fan of a simple easy to use setup, mostly because it keeps my wife happy that she can operate it without issue, and I can continue on with upgrades. My combination of Krell S300 integrated amp and PS Audio NuWave DAC was nice, but since there was no remote for the DAC it meant either walking up to the equipment rack to change inputs on it depending on which digital source we wanted to use, or potentially changing inputs on the Krell if we wanted to switch from a digital source to an analog one. My wife eventually got the hang of it, but there were still times where I got a text message asking why she wasn't getting sound.

A week ago I was talking with the guys at my local dealer that I have been doing business with for probably 15-20 years now (not sure I can mention their name, but they are the only Mark Levinson dealer in Iowa, so pretty easy to find) and they put together a deal I couldn't pass up. I traded in my Krell, PS NuWave DAC, and even the PS DLIII DAC I had laying around on a Mark Levinson 585. My wife liked the deal mostly because I took 3 things in to the stereo store and only returned with one

I have had the 585 up and running for about 15 hours only at this point, mostly just streaming from Spotify via Sonos to get some hours on it while I work from home so I don't have a lot of critical opinions of it yet, but even the difference between 0 hours and 15 is pretty impressive. The improvement over my Krell/NuWave combo is already huge, and more improvements beyond what it is now will just be gravy. It seems like this integrated amp was made specifically for my Revel Studio 2's, they work so well together.

It came double boxed, as expected, but there were a few extra nice touches that I didn't expect. The accessory box was fairly large with nice molded foam pockets for each thing, including a phillips screwdriver that was only needed to take one screw out of the remote to install the batteries.


Plenty of inputs, including USB that handles DSD content


Up and running after renaming the inputs to appropriate titles. It took me all of 15 minutes after plugging it in to get it all set up, including turning off the unused inputs so they don't show up as you cycle inputs.


Overall at the 15 hour mark I am very impressed with the unit. Even though I haven't done much "active" listening, I have noticed more detail than what was present in my Krell/PS Audio combination. Several times I have been just sitting in my chair, browsing something on my computer and heard something that made me look up from the screen and rewind the song. The only odd thing about this (and all other ML products I think) is in standby mode the typical red LED blinks slowly, instead of staying on. No clue why they set it up that way, but if that is my only "complaint" I think this integrated will have a place in my system for many years to come.

Last edited by stollen; 06-14-2017 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:28 AM
rnrmf1971 rnrmf1971 is offline
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That's a great looking integrated amp! Congratulations!
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:01 PM
Rex Anderson Rex Anderson is online now
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I spent some time with the 585 through Revel Studio2's last week at a dealer here. Both great pieces, great sounding together.

You should have many years of enjoyable listening, congrats!

FYI, the guys at the store recommended Bluesound and Tidal for higher quality streaming or the Meridian 218 (Sooloos) if you want best quality MQA.

Last edited by Rex Anderson; 09-08-2017 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
I spent some time with the 585 through Studio2's last week at a dealer here. Both great pieces, great sounding together.

You should have many years of enjoyable listening, congrats!

FYI, the guys at the store recommended Bluesound and Tidal for higher quality streaming or the Meridian 218 (Sooloos) if you want best quality MQA.
Yeah, I think something like a Bluesound unit and Tidal might be the next addition some time in the future, or some other device that does higher quality streaming.
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:37 PM
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stollen.......Congratulations on the Mark Levinson 585. It is one of the few integrated amplifiers that appeals to me. I will be watching for your additional comments.
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Old 06-14-2017, 06:41 PM
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It's great to see Levinson components once more becoming as highly regarded as they were back in the mid 1990s. It's a great looking integrated and I imagine that it was probably voiced using Revel speakers since they're both under the Harmon umbrella. Looks great!

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Old 06-15-2017, 12:46 AM
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Congrats on a great product and enjoy! As a fellow Levinson owner it's great to see others getting interested in the line again!
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:25 AM
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Well I have somewhere around 50 hours or so on the 585 now and it has gotten a little better, but the major improvements seem to have come in the first 20 hours. At this point it is safe to say this was a HUGE upgrade over the Krell/PS Audio combination. I am completely happy with the sound this simple system is producing. I have borrowed other integrated amps and preamps that have a DAC built in from my local store and always felt their performance was compromised, not so with how they have implemented the DAC in this unit.

I'm not very good at describing things, but compared to my previous setup there is way more detail, soundstage layering and placement is way better, and there is absolutely no digital "harshness" that I have heard in many other preamps/integrated amps that have a DAC built in to them. The largest improvements in the unit over the past 50 hours have been in the bass. At first the unit sounded a bit "thin" but now the texture in kick drums has really come out and there is a weight and control to the bass that I didn't have before. Everything just sounds so clean. I guess if I had to sum it up everything sound remarkably smooth and effortless.

While large stacks of equipment are impressive looking and certainly fun to own, I love the simplicity allowed by a nice all in one component. Am I worried about the built in DAC being outdated? Nope, if that ever does happen I can just get a stand alone DAC. I will enjoy this setup for a long time I think, really my only plan would be to add a Bluesound unit and a Tidal subscription to provide a higher quality streaming experience.

There are different filter settings for the digital inputs (Fast, Slow, Minimum Phase), and have currently set it to Slow, but may play around with this a bit more. There is also a Clari-Fi feature which is designed to reconstruct lost information when playing compressed audio files which has an adjustment range of 1-10, I have left that setting off. It also has home theater passthrough options and a high pass filter that sets an 80hz 12db/oct slope on the speaker outputs which I have yet to play with.

Features wise, this integrated pretty much has all I want and more. It is missing headphone output and there are no phono inputs, so those may be deal breakers for some. For me in my system it is perfect and I am totally happy with it. It is not the cheapest integrated amp out there, but for all the features it packs and its performance I would consider it a relative bargain.
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:13 AM
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Congrats. A great piece. Now you have to update you signature.
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:12 AM
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Gary.......Thanks for the performance update. Looks like the Mark Levinson 585 does everything you need it to do and does it well. I am happy for you.

Don't forget to update your signature.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell Never Connected PSU, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
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