Has Mark Levinson Missed a Trick with their 5000 Series?

gadawg58

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Apr 7, 2018
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What those lack in regard to modern top amplification is speed .
Are the 536 s fast?

Are they fast? Compared to the top amps of today? No. They don't compare to Boulder, Gryphon, DartZeel etc. But then again all those amps are 2x-3x more expensive. The 536s are a real option in their price range. A legitimate High End amp in the 30k per pair range. Once you double that price or more though those amps excel in almost every way. I say almost because where the 536s will compete and exceed some of those top amps is in the soundstage size and depth given top front end gear and I think that was a choice they made ... a design goal which they achieved. They will give you a glimpse of what you can achieve if you are willing to spend much more and if not then they still give you that glimpse into that rarified air that many will simply never breath. But no ... ML doesn't offer a product today that will hold its place in history like the No33s did back in their day. I agree that's a shame ... and don't get me started again on their new digital. LOL

George

What I would really love to see is them take the No33s as the starting point and improve upon that design and bring that to market. Would be interesting ... Anyone at Harman listening in? :cool:
 

Hamburger

Well-Known Member
Nov 6, 2018
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Hi Gadawg58
What's your view on the 523 + 534 combination?
I have no experience on ML gear before, but I got attracted to the brand.
Appreciate your experience on them. Thank you.
 

Phillyb

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May 31, 2012
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I've heard the new stuff it sounds as good as most today, like the past, no, but then that is the past. I have fond memories of tube gear in the '70s the new tube gear doesn't cut it, because of my love of that old tube sound, which is right? Neither, it is what we all like and that is different from person to person. Think Rowland amps today sound like 8Ti I owned 20 years ago. But I bet it would still sound good today. We chase our tails by reviewers. In reality, good is always good. I like a change for change's sake at times, but I don't look at it as I am going to be shocked by the change, no it may give me a different sound/coloration that I may like or may not like. 40 years in this hobby and you learn a few things.
 
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Phillyb

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May 31, 2012
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What those lack in regard to modern top amplification is speed .
Are the 536 s fast?

Its a shame how they let that go to waiste .
They have that all in house already .
They should just take the old 360 s dac schematics and put them in a fancy housing with usb / modern connections and im sure they have a hit.
I have very revealing speakers no resistors in the signalpath and a 400 euro handwound duelund copper foil cap for the tweeter and the amount of detail they let through compared to the meitner ma 2 is amazing .
I use this only for transport with the 15-20 year old dac .
Regarding being able to give you a fascimile of what the musician intended there is no better dac in my view .
The old dac s that were made around the turn of the century are in my view the best product ml has ever made
I used to think it was the 32 pre that did that with the sound but it was because i always heard it with the ml dacs at the dealer .
The result i get with the cat pre and 360 s gives me exactly that what i always liked to hear
What the musician intended, we will never know, that is an audiophile byline of BS, only those in the studio know and the producer after that the mixer takes over and it is not like what was heard in the studio but only his decided interpretation on how he feels it would sound the best or how it should sound to fit into today's trends.

DAC's are only as good as our hearing is, and what we like for a sound that we feel is right, and that is how it should be, say a preamp, amp, or speaker is given you the way the musician intended it is 100% impossible because even they don't know how the final product will sound upon release. Today with recordings being overly processed and compressed, and tracks laid down in different locations then send in for the production team to put them together as they see fit. The days of a band being in the same room, working out arrangements, and they feel they wanted are long gone. Today they could put two artists who have died, and make a duet of them singing a song together.
 

Hear Here

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Feb 14, 2020
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What the musician intended, we will never know, that is an audiophile byline of BS, only those in the studio know and the producer after that the mixer takes over and it is not like what was heard in the studio but only his decided interpretation on how he feels it would sound the best or how it should sound to fit into today's trends.
Are you suggesting that after a recording is made, the musicians and producer go home and leave the rest of the process to a humble mixer? No, the producer and musicians will remain in the production process right up until both are happy with the mixer's job. If they don't like it, the mix is scrapped and the mixer starts again - or is replaced!
 
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Phillyb

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May 31, 2012
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Your talking about how it was done days gone by, sure it may be done from time to time today, but nowadays with digital files are sent with the part they played, and they could be in England, the USA, and another in France doing their parts then put together by the producer and mixed, of course, with the newer stars it is really all production sound driven. Producer and mixers are the final sound, unless as you say the band is playing in the same room along with the vocalist. Starting in the early '80s if you recall who produced the LP was a selling point to the point of being highlighted on the LP. Today they are using auto-tune more and more and even on the rerelease of older material. Times have changed, it is corporate-driven now, not artist and the ones we grew up with are in their 60's and 70's now. I saying how things are done today, not in the past. There are always exceptions of course but it is rare nowadays.
 

andromedaaudio

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Jan 23, 2011
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DAC's are only as good as our hearing is, and what we like for a sound that we feel is right,
Exactly , the dacs i feel are the best and i like listening too are still the old school ML dacs from around 2000.
They should just refine those designs and equip them with the latest connections .

At the dutch show i listened to many modern dacs and they just dont do it for me , incl the Taiko / Aries cerat combo .
 

masterapex1

New Member
Feb 16, 2022
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The 500 series is definitely a departure from the great ML amplifiers of the past so they aren't necessarily going to appeal to all former ML owners as they are something new and different with only a hint of the past ......That said I compared them to Pass, McIntosh, Bricasti,Luxman and VTL(not Seigfrieds) and preferred the No536's. ...

George

I agree as I had a chance to compare 536 with Pass Xs300, McIntosh 462, Bel Canto Class D and Benchmark AHB2.
The 536 has more dynamic and transparency.
 
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gadawg58

Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2018
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Hi Gadawg58
What's your view on the 523 + 534 combination?
I have no experience on ML gear before, but I got attracted to the brand.
Appreciate your experience on them. Thank you.
Hamburger,

The combo works really well together as they were certainly voiced together and exhibit I think the sound that the ML engineers were shooting for. For me personally I decided to go with a tube front end after starting with a 523 then moving over to a Ref 52 which was more detailed than the 523 for sure but didn't sound quite as natural as the 523. The BAT REX II was a good compromise for me but the 523 is certainly a great match for the 534. Had I not been addicted to the detail I heard at first with the Ref52 I would have stayed with the 523 and might have stayed with that preamp longer term. Really good match for the 534. Certainly take a listen to an ARC or BAT preamp with the 534 also if you can .. certainly is worth considering if you're open to the idea of a tube front end. BTW ... after 4 years with the 536's now I have zero desire to upgrade and the 534 is very close to the 536. Great amps!

Good Luck!

George
 
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