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Can Harman Resuscitate the Mark Levinson Line?

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  • Can Harman Resuscitate the Mark Levinson Line?

    Twenty years ago, Mark Levinson amps, preamplifiers and especially digital gear was along with Krell, at the top of the solid-state food chain. Then because of a number of reasons, ML fell off the map and is now trying to rebuild the line's reputation with a series of new products that have been debuted at several shows this year. Will they win back customers and again be among the top high-end companies in the world?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Is that a statement or question? Arguably, John Curl and Tom Colangelo put Mark on the map. The decline has been 30 years in the making ever since Madrigal owned them, Is Krell the same company with Dan gone?
    Simon Yorke + MSL > B.M.C .> Valvet > Linear Tube Audio > Avantgarde

    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

    Comment


    • MylesBAstor
      MylesBAstor commented
      Editing a comment
      Question.

  • #3
    Originally posted by Rob View Post
    Is that a statement or question? Arguably, John Curl and Tom Colangelo put Mark on the map. The decline has been 30 years in the making ever since Madrigal owned them, Is Krell the same company with Dan gone?

    I think that Madrigal did justice to the Mark Levinson name after they acquired the company. Mark's track record at starting a company and successfully running it is not the greatest. Harman's biggest interest seems to be in car audio and there are Lexus commercials on TV where they are showing close ups of the Levinson car stereo units. The real question is how serious is Harman about hi-end audio?
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by Rob View Post
      Is that a statement or question? Arguably, John Curl and Tom Colangelo put Mark on the map. The decline has been 30 years in the making ever since Madrigal owned them, Is Krell the same company with Dan gone?
      I believe Dan lost all or some part of the Krell company to his X some years ago and the current Krell acquired the name. His newest company is his new venture. Is the current Krell in business? I'm not sure. Levinson electronics have been less than stellar for a number of years. They are trying to revive the brand but if that can be done remains a question. The Revel Loudspeakers haven't had an update in maybe 5 years? Stay tuned.
      TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

      Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

      VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
      Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

      Piega C711 Loudspeakers

      Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

      Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator, Synergistic Research 12 UEF SE Line Conditioner, Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cords, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates, Synergistic Research Orange Outlet, & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

      Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD800s Headphones.

      Comment


      • Rob
        Rob commented
        Editing a comment
        re Krell, that was a rhetorical question. they are nowhere without Dan, he was the co.

    • #5
      Originally posted by 1morerecord2clean View Post

      I believe Dan lost all or some part of the Krell company to his X some years ago and the current Krell acquired the name. His newest company is his new venture. Is the current Krell in business? I'm not sure. Levinson electronics have been less than stellar for a number of years. They are trying to revive the brand but if that can be done remains a question. The Revel Loudspeakers haven't had an update in maybe 5 years? Stay tuned.
      Dan and Rondi still have significant or majority control of the shares in Krell. There was a pending court case (2009?) but have no idea where that lies. Or even if it is still being pursued. You know how those things go.

      Yes Krell is still around but recently it seems Krell's chief designer Todd Eichelbaum left for Mark Levinson, Bill McKiegan joined Dan and Peter MacKay joined Magico.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by mep View Post


        I think that Madrigal did justice to the Mark Levinson name after they acquired the company. Mark's track record at starting a company and successfully running it is not the greatest. Harman's biggest interest seems to be in car audio and there are Lexus commercials on TV where they are showing close ups of the Levinson car stereo units. The real question is how serious is Harman about hi-end audio?
        agree. Madrigal didn't diminish the brand the way Harman has (for the one size fits all customer). Mark's first ever product was a preamp with a tape head amp no less! everything he did in those days was geared to the perfectionist that was playing with gear at the top level. The gear made under Madrigal was in keeping with ML style/construction but dumbed down somewhat for the average audiophile. When Cello came about, Mark went back to making gear from the recording chain on down.
        Simon Yorke + MSL > B.M.C .> Valvet > Linear Tube Audio > Avantgarde

        "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

          Dan and Rondi still have significant or majority control of the shares in Krell. There was a pending court case (2009?) but have no idea where that lies. Or even if it is still being pursued. You know how those things go.

          Yes Krell is still around but recently it seems Krell's chief designer Todd Eichelbaum left for Mark Levinson, Bill McKiegan joined Dan and Peter MacKay joined Magico.
          http://www.twice.com/news/news/krell...-company/18287
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #8
            Like with many things, once you fall out of favour it's difficult to regain your former status.
            Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by Rob View Post

              agree. Madrigal didn't diminish the brand the way Harman has (for the one size fits all customer). Mark's first ever product was a preamp with a tape head amp no less! everything he did in those days was geared to the perfectionist that was playing with gear at the top level. The gear made under Madrigal was in keeping with ML style/construction but dumbed down somewhat for the average audiophile. When Cello came about, Mark went back to making gear from the recording chain on down.

              If you look at lots of older gear (integrated amps and preamps), you will see that many of them had a tape head input. Cello was another company that Mark started that went up in flames. Then Red Rose Audio was next up to bat. Mark may have had his finger on the high-end pulse, but he couldn't keep his eye on how to run a business.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                But the electronics came from Victor/AudioPrism in Seattle. They were also built in China? Wonder what happened to these investors? http://www.stereophile.com/news/1145...cqKfaRTx27z.97

              • Rob
                Rob commented
                Editing a comment
                the Rosette 1 sparked the controversy about Red Rose sourcing from the PRC.

              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks, never knew that Rob. Certainly know and have seen Opera/Consonance. Don't know about the performance but their table and electronics are sexy looking.

            • #10
              Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
              Like with many things, once you fall out of favour it's difficult to regain your former status.
              The thing is, Mark Levinson as a brand is just that-a brand. It's a name that is being traded off of because of what Mark Levinson gear used to stand for. You can buy a name, but you can't buy the mojo that made the name magic at one point in time.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #11
                And the folks that remember the name during the glory days are, shall we say, not young any more? It would be like rebooting Maybach as an automobile. Benz did it - the Maybach was a glorious pig of a car from the pre-WWII era, so heavy, as I recall, that on the viewing stand at Pebble, an original one started to crack through the floor, but the reboot is really an uber "S" class meant for oil sheiks and those with a preference for Benz over Rolls. Its original followers are pushing up daisies, or however you say that in German. Kinda sad that Levinson had been reduced to a car audio brand. What's Harman's premiere audio electronics line?
                Last edited by Bill Hart; 05-08-2016, 10:16 PM.

                Comment


                • Rob
                  Rob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  to your point, is anyone really fooled that today's Bugatti resembles in any way, shape or form the co. that Etorre founded?

                • Bill Hart
                  Bill Hart commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yeah, I thought of that one too. Wanna see how fast I can empty a gas tank? You wanna go that fast, buy a jet. Man, the old ones though.... You've seen the photos of the -Shakespeare- collection being loaded onto those old train cars back in the day? Classic.

                • Rob
                  Rob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  besides the gorgeous art deco bodies, the true beauty was under the skin. the mechanicals like the engine block were, as you know, embellished with 'machine turned' finish like a watch maker would decorate a special hand made movement.

              • #12
                Originally posted by mep View Post

                The thing is, Mark Levinson as a brand is just that-a brand. It's a name that is being traded off of because of what Mark Levinson gear used to stand for. You can buy a name, but you can't buy the mojo that made the name magic at one point in time.
                One thing Mark knew how to do--besides sell that is--was hire/work with the right people. Among them included John Curl, Tom Colangelo, Dick Burwen, Paul Jayson (now Viola Labs), etc. With them came some real innovation--like the ML JC2 and later the Cello Palette (from Dick Burwen) and Cello Suite. I even got to hear and review an updated version of the original Cello amplifiers and was amazed how good they sounded even today. (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Iss...lo_encore.htmf) Better in fact, than when when they amplifiers were originally released.

                The companies relocations from CT to MA certainly didn't help and they also lost quite a few employees (see Bricasti). Somehow a Class D ML53 amplifier doesn't smack of innovation. And I still don't understand Harley's review. I don't think Harley's or Fremer's reviews were all that different; just that Mikey reached the conclusion that seemed to better fit the review and what I've heard.

                Mark Levinson (the man) had a dedicated following; all his loyal followers would faithfully trudge to Lyric to hear and buy the latest and greatest from Levinson. Times have changed though now and there's a lot more competition than back then for the consumer's dollar. Can they as Mark said, recapture the company's original "mojo?"
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • #13
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                  One thing Mark knew how to do--besides sell that is--was hire/work with the right people. Among them included John Curl, Tom Colangelo, Dick Burwen, Paul Jayson (now Viola Labs), etc. With them came some real innovation--like the Cello Palette--from Dick Burwen. Somehow a Class D ML53 amplifier doesn't smack of innovation. And I still don't understand Harley's review. I don't think Harley's or Fremer's reviews were all that different; just that Mikey reached the conclusion that seemed to better fit the review and what I've heard.

                  Mark Levinson (the man) had a dedicated following; all his loyal followers would faithfully trudge to Lyric to hear and buy the latest and greatest from Levinson. Times have changed though now and there's a lot more competition than back then for the consumer's dollar. Can they as Mark said, recapture the company's origi "mojo?"
                  Possible, but as Johnny V. said, once out of the game, it's hard to get back in as a brand. At least Marantz kept their brand going, and still has this "premium" rep as a consumer box good, even if people know zero about the original Saul Marantz stuff . Levinson? I doubt anybody but hardcore old audiophiles know who he is. (Said with respect, of course, for the man).

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Four Decades of Contributions

                    A partial list of high-performance audio products developed by Mark Levinson:

                    1970’s – Mark Levinson Audio Systems (MLAS)

                    LNP-1 Preamplifier
                    LNP-2 Professional Preamplifier
                    JC-1 Moving Coil Cartridge Preamplifier
                    JC-1AC Moving Coil Cartridge Preamplifier
                    JC-2 Straightline Preamplifier
                    LNC-2 Electronic Crossover ML-1 Preamplifier
                    ML-2 Class A Mono Amplifier with regulated power supplies
                    ML-3 Stereo Power Amplifier
                    ML-5 modified Studer A-80 professional tape recorder with custom electronics
                    ML-6A Dual Mono Preamplifier
                    ML-7 Preamplifier
                    ML-7A Preamplifier
                    ML-8 Microphone Preamplifier
                    ML-9 Power Amplifier
                    ML-10 Preamplifier
                    ML-11 Preamplifier
                    ML-12 Power Amplifier


                    The world’s first tri-amplified reference system for music listening: The HQD system – 2 x Hartley 24” woofers, 4 x QUAD electrostatic midranges, 2 xDecca ribbon tweeters, powered by six ML-2 amplifiers and two LNC-2 Electronic Crossovers, with custom pure silver interconnect cables and custom speaker wires. Click image for larger version

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                    HQD system




                    From 1974 to 1978, Mark Levinson Acoustic Recordings produced a series of LP’s that set new industry standards for sonic quality in recordings. The series included LP’s of artists such as organist Myrtle Regier, pianist Lois Shapiro, percussionist Bill Elgart, classical guitarist Eliot Fisk, and organist Charles Krigbaum. Levinson’s classic 1978 recording of Eliot Fisk (Bach and Scarlatti) has been reissued as part of the LG Reference CD Collection.

                    1980’s – mid 1990’s: Cello

                    Cello Audio Palette, world’s first no-compromise analog equalizer Cello Audio Suite
                    Cello Performance Mono Power Amplifier with regulated choke power supplies, 6,000 Watts @ 2 Ohms in bridged mode.
                    Cello Encore preamp Cello Encore 1MΩ preamp
                    Cello Encore Mono Power Amplifier Cello Duet 350 amplifier
                    Cello Amati loudspeaker Cello Premier loudspeaker Cello Master loudspeaker
                    Grand Master Reference loudspeaker Cello Serafin active monitor loudspeaker Cello Legend loudspeaker
                    Cello Strings cables and interconnects, industry first with Litz construction, Teflon dielectric, and Swiss-made Fischer connectors.
                    Cello Reference Digital to Analog Converter
                    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/MYLESB~1.AST/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image004.jpg[/IMG]
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • Johnny Vinyl
                      Johnny Vinyl commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Wow Hartley! Haven't heard that name in a dog's age. My brother still has a pair of the Zodiac 300-A (4 ohm). He sold all of his electronics when he moved to Vietnam, but brought the speakers with him.
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