CES 2012: Mark Levinson starts its celebrations with 40th Anniversary Collection

One of the best-known names in US high-end audio, Mark Levinson, is 40 this year.

Founded in 1972, and now part of the Harman Audio group, the company is marking its birthday with a 40th Anniversary Collection, with a dual-mono preamp, integrated amplifier, SACD player and digital audio processor all to be launched during 2012.

They're on display as 'show and no go' models here at CES 2012, and Mark Levinson says 'delivery dates will be announced', but here's what we have so far.

The No52 Reference Dual Monaural Preamplifier at the top of this story will sell for $25,000, and has a dual-chassis design to separate the analogue audio circuitry from the control section.

It has three balanced XLR inputs and four on standard pairs of RCAs. and a moving coil/moving magnet phono stage.

Two sets of preamp outputs apiece are provided on XLRs and phonos, and there's also an auxiliary preout able to be configured as fixed or variable level, and with independent source selection, plus a unity gain output for use with a surround sound processor.

The design includes mirror-image DC power supplies, separate connections from the power supply/control unit for left and right channels and control signals.

It uses mirrored left and right channel audio circuits, with separate boards for volume, main and aux signal paths, extensive shielding between sections, and a chassis and casework built from heavyweight aluminium extrusions and plates.

The No 585 Integrated Amplifier is unusual in having not only four analogue but also six digital inputs (on optical and S/PDIF and AES/EBU electrical connections, and also an HDMI 1.3 digital input).

It has 32-bit/192kHz digital-to-analogue converters, optimised analogue circuitry with three line-ins and a moving coil/moving magnet phono input, and delivers 225W per channel into 8 ohms. Yours for $10,000…

The $8000 No 519 SACD/CD player uses dual 32-bit/192kHz DACs, and has four S/PDIF and USB digital inputs for external sources. Outputs are provided on XLR and RCA analogue sockets, plus AES/EBU, optical and electrical outputs – and an HDMI 1.3 socket able to output direct DSD from SACD as well as LPCM.

Finally, the $6000 No560 Digital Audio Processor has two HDMI inputs, also with DSD-direct capability, two optical and two electrical S/PDIF inputs, an AES/EBU XLR input and three USB 2.0 inputs, plus RCA and XLR analogue outs.

It has 'isolated digital and analogue circuitry with independent power supplies, asynchronous clocking to ensure jitter-free performance from the dual 32-bit DACs, premium quality internal components throughout and many additional enhancements.'

Jim Garrett, of Harman's Luxury Audio Group, says that '“Since its founding in 1972, no other brand has been as consistently synonymous with ultimate-performance audio as Mark Levinson.

'Our heritage has always been one of uncompromising technological innovation in the service of pure music reproduction, and the 40th Anniversary Collection is the embodiment of everything we’ve learned in the last 40 years – along with significant new design and engineering advancements.'

Mark Levinson is distributed in the UK by Karma AV.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.