Mark Levinson 5000 Series Gains Four Additions
Mark Levinson announces its №5302 amplifier and №5206 pre-amplifier flagships along with a new turntable and streaming SACD player.
Mark Levinson's 5000 range has seen the recently-introduced №5105 turntable, the teased №5101 streaming CD player and №5206 pre-amplifier officially join its 'affordable' line along with the powerful-looking №5302 amplifier.
The 5000 series was launched last year with the 5805 stereo amplifier and the pared-down, digital-only 5802. Using those as a kick-off point, as well as the two patents born from the 5805's design, the Connecticut-based high-end hi-fi maker certainly hasn't been twiddling its thumbs.
Mark Levinson №5302 Amplifier
The №5302 bridgeable dual-monaural amplifier is the range's new flagship power amplifier and sports the unmistakable Mark Levinson industrial design. The №5302 amplifier delivers 135W/channel in stereo mode and 275W in bridged monaural mode into 8 Ohms. Gain in stereo mode is 25.8dB and 31.8dB in bridged monaural mode.
Power comes in via an oversized 1100 VA toroidal transformer with individual secondary windings for the left and right channels that feed fully discrete, direct-coupled, class AB amplifier channels.
We were told that the №5302, as well as the rest of the range, have to survive Mark Levinson's own, in-house durability tests known as HALT testing (Highly-Accelerated Life Testing). Taking a look at those heat sinks and the front grab-handles, this amp looks like it could outlast most of us.
You get a pair of balanced line-level XLR inputs and a pair of unbalanced RCAs. Output connectors are two pairs of high current multi-way binding posts and control is enabled via Ethernet and RS 232.
Mark Levinson №5206 Preamplifier
Naturally, a new power amp needs an equally impressive pre. Enter the №5206 dual-monaural pre-amplifier. Derived from Mark Levinson's highly-acclaimed Pure Path design philosophy and based heavily on the 5805 but the company “repurposed the 'building blocks' and 'hot-rodded' aspects”. The company has also used a dedicated encapsulated toroidal transformer for the analogue section.
A unique single gain stage mated to a digitally controlled resistor network for volume adjustment maintains maximum signal integrity and widest possible bandwidth. Each of its four-stereo line-level inputs—two balanced XLR and two single-ended, using custom Mark Levinson RCA connectors—has its own individual high-reliability signal switching relays. There are also six digital inputs.
Like the 500 Series components, the MainDrive headphone output employs a preamp output stage designed explicitly with the current and power capacity to drive headphones directly, without a separate headphone amp. Additionally, you get a home theatre pass-through, for a 2.1 system, and Bluetooth aptX HD for wireless tune-sharing.
The MM/MC phono stage features a hybrid gain topology that borrows from the upper-tier 500 Series Pure Phono stage. This boasts a hybrid active/passive RIAA equaliser and an optional infrasonic filter.
Mark Levinson №5105 Turntable
Outed at this year's CES, the Mark Levinson №5105 premium turntable is now shipping after a slight delay because, well, 2020.
The new turntable features an almost two-inch thick, solid aluminium plinth machined from a single billet. There is also a one-inch thick, bead-blasted, black-anodised solid aluminium front panel that contours into the sleek tinted glass display.
The record weight is yet more bead-blasted machined aluminium with a gently curved profile mass-loaded with solid brass. However, the tonearm tube, that sits in a dual-axis gimbal bearing, is 10-inch high-gloss back carbon fibre fused to a, you've guessed it, solid aluminium headshell with an integrated finger lift. You can opt for the arm to be loaded with the company's choice of Ortofon Quintet Black moving coil cartridge.
The platter is 14lb more of solid aluminium, and this is suspended on a ground, hardened steel axle and rotates on ultra-precise bearings. The oil-free bearing bottom, made of a mix of composite materials with integrated lubrication and maintenance-free sintered brass bushing, ensures reliable operation for years to come, says the brand.
The 12V synchronous motor's control signal is digitally generated to eliminate temperature drift and ensure speed stability and low wow/flutter. The integrated, wide-range power supply is designed for global use with 90-260 VAC.
All of that sits on a trio of adjustable aluminium feet, with each one using a mixed-material internal suspension system. A particularly nice touch is that the platter mat and instruction manual come packaged in a gatefold LP album-style package.
Mark Levinson №5101 Streaming Player
We first heard about this neat three-in-one before heading out to High End Munich 2019. The Mark Levinson №5101 features a slot-loading SACD/CD player coupled with a high-end streamer that all relies on Mark Levinson's renowned PrecisionLink II DAC.
The Nº5101 also boasts the latest generation ESS PRO Sabre 32-bit D/A converter with jitter elimination circuitry. The SACD supports disc formats including SACD, CD-A, CD-R, and CD-RW. You can add further sources via the coaxial, optical S/PDIF, and USB inputs for playback of high-resolution PCM (up to 24 bit/192k). Additionally, there is WiFi and Ethernet to access your library on a NAS drive which supports FLAC, WAV, AIFF, OGG, MP3, AAC and WMA. Finally, there is a pair of single-ended line-level (RCA) outputs and one pair of balanced line-level outputs (XLR).
The design theme continues with a one-inch thick, bead-blasted, black-anodised, solid aluminium front panel, a sleek glass display, debossed top cover vents, back-printed logo and machined aluminium buttons.
The №5105 turntable and №5101 streaming SACD player will be available around end December 2020. Whereas, the flagship №5302 amplifier and №5206 pre-amplifier will ship early in 2021.
Prices are AUD $15,995 for the №5302 amplifier and №5206 Pre-amplifier each. The №5105 Turntable is priced at AUD $12,499 without phono cartridge and AUD $14,499 with the Ortofon Quintet Black. The №5101 Streaming SACD player comes in at AUD $9,999 RRP.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.