Mark Levinson No.31 Reference CD transport Review System
Though the No.31 was auditioned primarily with the No.30 processor, it saw action with a variety of other converters. These included the Meitner IDAT, Sumo Theorem, Meridian 263, PS Audio UltraLink, and a Proceed PDP 3. I also experimented with the different interface types and will report on these comparisons.
Loudspeakers were Thiel CS3.6es, driven by a Mark Levinson No.23.5 via an 8' run of AudioQuest Sterling. The No.30's balanced outputs drove an Audio Research LS2B through short balanced lengths of AudioQuest Lapis or Diamond. A second run of balanced Lapis connected the LS2B to the No.23.5 power amplifier. Unbalanced interconnects included AudioQuest Diamond and Monster Cable Sigma. AC power was conditioned by a Tice Power Block and Titan.
Digital interfaces included a standard ST-Type optical cable, AudioQuest's Digital Pro 2 ST-Type cable and AES/EBU Pro, Madrigal's MDC-1 (AES/EBU), a variety of coaxial interconnects (but primarily Aural Symphonics Digital Standard), and generic and high-end Toslink cables. When driving the No.30 from the No.31's coaxial output (for interface comparisons), I used a Madrigal cable with RCA on one end and XLR on the other: the No.30 has no RCA input.—Robert Harley