The Mark Levinson No.526 is the first preamplifier designed by a new 12-person team led by Todd Eichenbaum, director of engineering at the Harman Luxury Audio Group's Engineering Center of Excellence (ECOE), in Shelton, Connecticut. Designed to fit the price niche between the company's least and most expensive preampsthe No.326S ($10,000) and No.52 ($30,000)the No.526 costs $20,000.
The Flying Burrito Brothers: The Gilded Palace of Sin
A&M/Intervention SP 4175 (LP). 1969/2017. Larry Marks, prod.; Henry Lewy, prod., eng.; Kevin Gray, remastering. AAA. TT: 35:24
The International Submarine Band, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and finally, just Gram Parsons. He was a Snively on his mother's side, scion of a vast citrus-growing fortune. A trust-fund baby who, unlike most of the struggling musicians he hung out with, could go to a bank and withdraw large amounts of cash. When he was 12, two days before Christmas, his father killed himself. Seven years later, on the day he graduated from high school, his mother finally drank herself to death. He lasted one semester at Harvard before becoming a denizen of Los Angeles, and eventually a powerful force in the Sunset Strip music scene.
As I mentioned in my review eight years ago of Meridian Audio's 808.2 Signature Reference CD player, I have long been impressed by the British company's componentsin fact, ever since the early 1980s, when I purchased a Meridian 101 preamplifier, followed by my very positive experiences with Meridian's MCD Pro and 208 CD players, 518 digital audio processor, D600 and DSP8000 digital active loudspeakers, and, most recently, the Prime and Explorer D/A headphone amplifiers.
Actually, it retired to an exclusive country club in the skybut as far as the enduring, salt-of-the-earth audio hobbyist is concerned, it may as well be dead. The reason is simple: The old audiophile paradigm used to be mostly about when we were going to get that top-shelf component we had our eye on; it was rarely an if proposition. That's because, if you were an average, determined audiophile, it wasn't prohibitively expensive to buy top-shelf equipment. That's what made our hobby so exciting back then: the idea that you could actually own the best sound around. Damn!
The biggest audio show in the United States, AXPONA (Audio Expo North America), takes place April 2123 at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont, close to Chicago O'Hare International airport. Since planting its roots in America's heartland just a few years back, the show has grown to offer, in 2017, at least 142 active exhibit rooms, 453 unique brands and exhibitors, an Ear Gear Expo so large that it has spilled over into surrounding hallways, and a full schedule of seminars and entertainment.
The pianist John Lewis, who died in 2001 at the age of 79, is best known as the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, but throughout that group's long life (19521992), he also composed, conducted, and played music for many other ensembles, large and small, tinged with influences from swing and the blues to Baroque, Renaissance, and Third Stream avant-garde. The Wonderful World of Jazz, recorded in 1960 on the Atlantic label, is one of his more obscure albums, but it's also one of his freshest.
I'd never heard it, until I received this new 180gm stereo LP, reissued by Pure Pleasure Recordings...