Karma AV Adds Some Mark Levinson Leverage

UK distributor, Karma-AV added two Mark Levinson products to the expanded range, available to UK audiophiles and suppliers.

Offered individually to upgrade systems, the No 523 pure analogue preamplifier and No 534 dual-monaural power amplifier can also be combined to create a strong one-brand pre-power partnership having matching Mark Levinson Pure Path discrete, dual-monaural signal path system topology from source input to speaker output.

No 523 preamplifier

With a discrete, balanced R-2R Ladder volume control, Class-A phono stage, and Class-A main drive headphone output, the maker says the No 523 preamplifier delivers an uncompromised performance regardless of analogue source. The machine offers five line-level analogue inputs: Two balanced (XLR), and three single-ended (RCA) in addition to the Pure Phono (RCA with grounding pin) input. The preamplifier delivers its signal to balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) stereo outputs, as well as a 1/4in (6.3mm) main drive headphone output integrated into the front panel metalwork – a first for Mark Levinson. A selectable, fourth-order, 80Hz high-pass filter enables seamless integration of subwoofers for full-range performance.

R-2R Ladder volume control

Replacing the analogue potentiometer in the volume control, Mark Levinson engineers have employed an R-2R Ladder design, in which a string of resistors, all with identical resistance (R), form the side of the ladder, with another set of resistors having double the resistance (2R) forming the rungs. An R-2R Ladder is designed to be very accurate and has no mechanical contacts to wear out. Because the No 523’s R-2R Ladder uses low-value, precision resistors throughout and operates in current-output mode, Mark Levinson says the bandwidth and transient response of the volume control are almost perfectly ideal and consistent regardless of the volume setting.

Mark Levinson Pure Phono stage

Newly developed for the No 523 and No 526 preamplifiers, the Mark Levinson Pure Phono stage features fully discrete, extremely low noise gain stages, with RIAA equalisation implemented using a combination of active and passive filter circuits.  Four gain settings, multiple resistive and capacitive loading settings, and an infrasonic filter are conveniently adjustable from the preamplifier’s front panel and remote control, optimising the performance of virtually any turntable and cartridge pairing.

System integration connectivity includes Ethernet/IP control, RS-232, USB for monitoring and configuration via web page, plus DC triggers and an IR input. The included machined metal remote delivers the robust feel and precise control befitting of a component of this preamplifier’s calibre.

No 534 Dual-Monaural Power Amplifier

Featuring Mark Levinson’s proprietary Pure Path circuit design, the № 534 Dual-Monaural Amplifier delivers 250W per channel into 8ohms, operating purely in class A for most listening conditions, doubling to 500W into 4 ohms, with stable operation into 2-ohm loads. Between balanced and single-ended inputs, and four pairs of gold-plated binding posts complete with Mark Levinson Hurricane terminals, its Pure Path discrete, direct-coupled, highly linear, wide bandwidth, dual-monaural signal paths are designed for uncompromised sonic purity.

Gain-stage JFET pairs have high gain, low noise, low distortion, and because they are encapsulated in the same package, the two devices operate under nearly identical conditions. Capacitors used in critical filtering locations are film types, noted for their consistent performance regardless of temperature and frequency.

Resistors in critical gain-setting and feedback locations use tantalum nitride thin-film elements, chosen for their stability and low noise. The aim is to make the sound more revealing and effortless, free of the low level nonlinearities caused by lesser resistive materials as they heat and cool under dynamic conditions.

Housed in a cold rolled steel and 6000-series aluminium chassis, the No 523 and No 534 are designed and handcrafted in the USA.

The No 523 Dual-Monaural Analogue Preamplifier delivers an end user price of inc VAT: £16,000.00, with the No 534 Dual-Monaural Power Amplifier at £21,000.00.

Installers and AV dealers can begin supplying their audiophile clients from this October.

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