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Mark Levinson Sound that Speaks for Itself

 
 
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:27 AM
kfr01's Avatar
kfr01 kfr01 is offline
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Default Mark Levinson 432 Amplifier on the Way

Since purchasing my Vandersteen 5As, I've been contemplating a move away from my integrated amplifier.

This move has been complicated by the fact that my wife loves the look of the MA6600 and I'm also rather enamored with the integrated amplifier. Therefore, I made the decision to keep the MA6600 and move it to the living room (where my wife spends most of her down time) and out of my two-channel cave. This also means that I don't get the benefit of the sale of the MA6600. Sub $5k was the budget for this experiment.

While I've briefly considered tubes, tubes just seem incompatible with the way I currently use my system: I want quick warm-up and I don't want to feel guilty if I fall asleep listening to music.

Mark Levinson has intrigued me and I've decided to give a used Mark Levinson 432 a try. There are a few things I really like about this particular model.
- truly balanced design
- true 'dual mono' design (two massive transformers, one for each channel)
- more power (for more headroom)
- no input buffer
- no autoformer
- a standby mode which keeps the amplifier warm
- extensive protection features (I do not want to risk harming my beloved 5As)

A number of these things I like might not make the amplifier any better than the MA6600, but they do make it different and will be interesting to me on my audio journey.

I will first be trying the ML432 driven directly from the Wadia 121 DAC being used as the preamplifier. I've been interested in trying the Wadia's famous digital volume control, and this will give me an opportunity to try directly driving a beast of an amplifier.

Mike from Audio Classics told me that my ML432 has a very clean front panel, has been fully tested, and is currently benching beyond manufacturer spec.

Stereophile's measurements of the ML432's smaller brother, the 200wpc 431, exhibited textbook performance and some of the lowest distortion levels I've seen from sub $10k amplifiers in that publication.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this next experiment on my audio journey. I'm also considering upgrading some of my cables in honor of the new arrival (should be late next week or early next). Wireworld XLR's and a new Wireworld PC are on my mind! Any other brands that I should be considering for good synergy between Wadia/Levinson?

Cheers

Some stock pics:





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Karl

Listening Room (2 Channel): Vandersteen 5A speakers, Simaudio Moon Neo 400M Mono Block Amplifiers, Esoteric D-07X DAC (preamp) via Apple Mac Mini (Roon), Furman IT-Reference 20i Power Cond., Wireworld.
Listening Room (HT Portion): Vandersteen VCC-5 Center, Vandersteen VSM Signature Surrounds, JL Audio CR1 Crossover, JL Audio f110 v2 Subwoofer, Marantz SR 5010 Receiver, Wireworld

Office: KEF R500 Speakers; rest of system temporarily deconstructed and TBD
Family Room: Monitor Audio Silver RX6 speakers, McIntosh MA6600 Integrated Amplifier, Pro-Ject RME 9.1 TT w/ Sumiko Blackbird MC Cart.

Last edited by kfr01; 09-08-2012 at 12:51 PM.
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