Mark Levinson № 526 preamplifier

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Mark Levinson № 526 preamplifier
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Karma AV now has the new Mark-Levinson № 526 dual-monaural preamplifier, billed as being “the complete preamplifier for enthusiasts of all music formats”. The № 526 has 12-inputs, Pure Path circuit topology, a class-A ‘Pure Phono’ stage, a 32-bit DAC, and a class-A Main Drive headphone output. Designed and engineered at Harman’s Engineering Centre of Excellence in Shelton, CT, USA, the Mark Levinson № 526 offers a signal path that is fully discrete, fully balanced and completely dual-monaural, with a discrete, balanced R2R ladder volume control to maintain “the highest level of sonic purity, resolution, transparency and dynamic range”.

It provides connectivity to accommodate any analogue and digital music source, with the choice of two balanced and three single-ended analogue audio inputs, phono inputs and six digital inputs, supported by the Mark Levinson ‘Precision Link’ DAC and Harman Clari-Fi music restoration technology. It also offers high-resolution digital decoding up to 32-bit, 192kHz from PCM and double-speed DSD. The proprietary ‘Precision Link’ DAC incorporates an ESS Sabre32 Reference converter, six digital audio inputs including asynchronous USB, AES/EBU balanced, TOSLINK optical and coaxial unbalanced, and for listeners whose libraries contain older or lower resolution content, the Clari-Fi® music restoration technology, which “rebuilds musicality and detail lost in the compression process”. A ‘Pure Phono’ stage operates in class-A throughout, offering a fixed-gain MM section with five capacitive cartridge-loading settings, and an MC section with three gain settings and 10 resistive cartridge-loading settings. An infrasonic filter intelligently compensates for rumble and warping.

The № 526 preamplifier delivers its signal to balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) stereo outputs, as well as a 1/4-inch (6.3mm) Main Drive headphone output integrated with the front panel metalwork – a first for Mark Levinson. The Main Drive Headphone amplifier circuit drives up to 32-ohm headphones in class-A by employing the main output circuit rather than a secondary signal path. The № 526 is built to the finest standards of materials, fit and finish, featuring a 6000- series aluminium housing in black with silver trim. It can be controlled from the front panel, from the remote control supplied and via a comprehensive range of system integration connections.  Mark Levinson No 526 Dual-Monaural Preamplifier typical retail price inc VAT: £15,000.