New Mark Levinson 5000 Series Integrated Amplifiers and Integrated Streaming SACD Player and DAC

May 15 2019, 00:45
Harman introduced the latest products from its Luxury Audio Group at the High End 2019 show in Munich. Following a repositioning of the division, announced at the end of 2018, Harman is now focusing on launching new products. In the Mark Levinson brand, Harman introduced two integrated amplifiers from the Mark Levinson 5000 series, the Nº5805 and Nº5802. And in a world premiere, Mark Levinson revealed the Nº5101 integrated player, streamer and DAC.

The Mark Levinson 5000 series integrated amplifiers continue the brand's tradition high-quality and performance. Unveiled during the High End Munich show, the first two models from the new 5000 series, the Nº5805 and Nº5802 integrated amplifiers combine renowned Mark Levinson fidelity in two models that should respond to the needs of a new generation of users. The Nº 5802 is equipped exclusively with digital inputs, while the Nº 5805 adds an additional analogue pre-stage.

“The Nº 5805 and Nº 5802 were created to deliver all of the performance and quality expected from Mark Levinson while implementing state of the art features and efficiencies gained from decades of superlative audio engineering and technological advancements,” says Jim Garrett, Senior Product Director, Harman Luxury Audio. "Proudly designed, engineered and precision crafted in the USA, the 5000 series looks great, sounds amazing, and is re-defining performance expectations."

The foundation of the Nº 5805 is its patent-pending, fully discrete, direct-coupled, dual-monaural line-level preamp circuitry. 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 three stereo line level inputs — one balanced XLR and two single-ended, using custom Mark Levinson RCA connectors — has its own individual high-reliability signal switching relays. 

Like the 500 series components, the Main Drive headphone output employs a preamp output stage specifically designed with the current and power capacity to drive headphones directly, in Pure Class A, without a separate headphone amp. The 5805 also includes a newly designed MM/MC phono stage with front panel selectable gain levels and infrasonic filters, and rear panel capacitive and resistive loading settings.

Building upon the same analog platform, the Nº 5805 adds digital audio capabilities through the Mark Levinson Precision- Link II DAC. The latest generation ESS Sabre 32-bit D/A converter with jitter elimination circuitry and a fully balanced, discrete current-to-voltage converter form the heart of the digital audio processing stage. Four digital audio inputs are provided: one coaxial and two optical S/PDIF, and one asynchronous USB for playback of high resolution PCM (up to 192kHz/32 bits) and DSD (up to DSD 5.6) files. A powerful XMOS USB audio processor also decodes and renders MQA-encoded files.

The 5802 is an all-digital integrated amplifier featuring the same Precision-Link II DAC expanded to six digital audio inputs: One AES, two coaxial and two optical S/PDIF, and one asynchronous USB for playback of high resolution PCM (up to 192kHz/32 bits) and DSD (up to DSD 5.6) files. The Nº 5802 includes MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology, which enables playback and streaming of MQA audio files. There's also a Bluetooth receiver equipped with aptX HD.

Both amplifiers feature fully discrete, direct-coupled, class AB amplifier channels powered from an oversized (500+ VA) toroidal transformer with individual secondary windings for the left and right channels. The voltage gain stage employs a topology directly descended from the Nº 534 amplifier, which is mated to an output stage comprising two high-speed driver transistors operating in class A and six 260V, 15A output transistors. Two Thermal-Trak devices in a unique configuration guarantee stable output bias regardless of load or temperature. Four 10,000-microfarad capacitors per channel, located directly on the output stage circuit board, easily provide enough current for a conservative 125W/channel at 8 ohms, 250W/channel at 4 ohms, and stable operation down to 2 ohms.

Both units use one-inch thick, bead-blasted, black-anodized, solid aluminum front panels, machined and contoured to flow seamlessly into the sleek glass display, which itself is recessed into a bead-blasted, clear-anodized aluminum bezel. The iconic hourglass knobs are machined with a gently curved profile softly transitioning into a rounded front, beat-blasted and clear anodized, with feet to match. Top cover vents, screen-printed logo, legends behind the glass panel, and machined aluminum buttons, provide a distinctive touch.

System integration and communication ports on the 5000 series models include Ethernet, USB, RS-232, IR input, and 12V trigger input and output. A newly designed, solid aluminum IR remote is included with the Nº 5805. Finally, an internal webpage allows setup, import and export of configurations, and software updates using a PC and standard web browser. In addition, drivers will be available for major third-party control systems.

The Nº 5805 and Nº 5802 will be shipping from Q2 2019 at MSRPs of $9,520 and $8,330 respectively.

New 5101 Series Integrated Streaming SACD Player and DAC
The other completely new product from Mark Levinson is the Nº 5101 Network Streaming, Super Audio CD (SACD) player and Digital to Analog Converter (DAC). With a bold new industrial design and Precision-Link II DAC, the Mark Levinson 5101 is designed, engineered, and precision-crafted in the USA.

"The Nº 5101 is a very exciting new product. There are high-end CD players on the market though few that support the SACD format and feature integrated streaming," adds Jim Garrett. "The Mark Levinson level of industrial design and ground-breaking engineering that has gone into this player are remarkable, and we expect the Nº 5101 will redefine expectations for integrated audio media players."

With a wide range of supported digital audio sources and formats, the 5101 allows playback of physical media including SACD, CD-A, CD-R and CD-RW. It supports FLAC, WAV, AIFF, OGG, MP3, AAC and WMA formats. The 5101 can stream from NAS drives as well and DLNA and UPnP devices connected to the same network as the 5101 via Ethernet or WiFi. It can also navigate and playback audio files from a USB flash drive connected to the USB type A input. Additionally, with one coaxial and one optical S/PDIF digital input, the5101 serves as a premium stand-alone DAC for digital sources.

The Mark Levinson Precision-Link II DAC features the latest generation ESS PRO Sabre 32-bit D/A converter with jitter elimination circuitry and a fully balanced, discrete current-to-voltage converter directly descended from the 5802 and 5805 integrated amps. In addition, to digital inputs, it has one coaxial and one optical S/PDIF digital output which will pass a PCM stereo signal through to devices such as the Mark Levinson 5802 or 5805 integrated amplifiers. A toroidal transformer mated to 13,600uF of filter capacitance forms the heart of the linear power supply which powers the DAC and all analog circuitry. Individual regulators for each channel assure dual monaural operation. The discrete PurePath class A line output stage delivers the exceptional transparency and dynamic range for which Mark Levinson products are renowned.

The Nº 5101 also offers flexible control with system integration and communication ports include IP (Ethernet), RS-232, IR input, and 12V trigger input. With attention to detail inside and out, the power supply, transformer and control PCBA’s are encased in a steel cage shield isolated from the digital and analog audio signal path. The robust slot-loading transport is suspended on steel standoffs floating on a PVC and styrene-butadiene rubber sandwich and shielded with a steel cover.

And as with all Mark Levinson components, the 5101 features one-inch-thick solid aluminum front panels that are bead blasted, black anodized, and machine contoured to flow seamlessly into the sleek glass display, which itself is recessed into a bead-blasted and clear-anodized aluminum bezel - all resting on matching custom aluminum feet.

The Nº 5101 will be available in the fourth quarter 2019 with an estimated pricing of $5,500 US. |
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