Mark Levinson No.51 Media Player

Codenamed "ML-DVD" during its development, the Mark Levinson No.51 Media Player made its debut at CES. The $18,000, limited-edition player (only 150 will be offered for sale) is intended to get all there is to be gotten from CDs and DVD-Vs, but pointedly will not play SACDs or DVD-As (though it will, of course, play the video-zone Dolby Digital tracks of the latter). I listened to the No.51 in a system comprising the Mark Levinson No.40 controller, the new No.433 three-channel amplifier for the LCR speakers (a pair of Revel F52s and a C32) and a No.431 two-channel amp for the Revel M22 rears, along with two Revel F15 subs. Whether it was two-channel music—Greg Browne's "Who Killed Cock Robin?", which was everywhere at the Show—or film surround sound—Pleasantville—there was an addictive ease to the system's sound, coupled with extraordinary dynamic range.

Mark's picture

Why in the world would I pay that much for a player that won't play any of the high resolution formats available? This is the kind of #%*! that gives high end audio a snotty reputation. Why pay 18k for some company to express an opinion? At half that price or less, you can get a Bel Canto universal deck that I'll bet sounds at least as good.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I'm with you. I could buy an Ayre C5-XE and a LINN Unidisc and have $7-8 grand left over for what ever my heart desires. Maybe I could get a good deal from the same dealer for all of it with a pair of Quad 989s. Ya think?

Jeff Wong's picture

Only 150 people need to be worried about being called snots in this instance.

Billy's picture

As somebody who works in retail it's not unusal for some high rolling customers who arrive at our shop wanting a 'universal player' to soon realise that what they relly want is a machine that can play there thousands of cds & hundreds of DVD films. The fact that they might look forward to owning five or six 'high res' dicsc soons transpires as irrelevant, especially when they hear just how good the humble cd can currently sound. I think in the light of this Levinson are actually being wholly realistic.

Mark's picture

To Billy-- How realistic is a limited player for 18k? Get real. This is all vanity puff, and if you really want to give give good service to your clients, suggest a charity. How dare you suggest that spending 18k on a cd player is realistic. Can you honestly say that this Levinson sounds that much better than an Ayre, Bel Canto or an Audiomeca? What a rip off.Mark

Luis's picture

I agree and disagree with comments. I am a happy owner of a ML n39, and since september I was happy with the idea of replacing my 39 with a universal way from ML. Bad news were from I put in contact to ML. They told me n51 is intended to be in a different context, aka a part of ML40 increible expensive AV console, and play only DVD/CD.Worst news came from this blog, only 150 and 18K ?? Joder !!!One question remains for me. If it is intended to stack on a n40. Why create a Player (instead of a transport) with variable volume like n39 to feed directly your amps? and have internal decoders for DTS/Dolby, configuration, etc.Maybe the answer will be a future Media Player (510?) to replace directly the n

Tom's picture

Proceed was great product I happened to upgrade to Lexicon and love the A/V performance. I do own a Mark Levinson gear a two channel system and find the 326s preamp to be addictive too. I look forward to hearing and seeing the No. 51 (at 18K...well the 326s cost 10K or 16K for the No.32 preamp). You have to be an audio fanatic to buy ML or very well heeled.

Edgardo Silva Stambuk's picture

The 51 look terrific.We hope not to have the several technical problems we had with the PROCEED MDT.Congratulation for the products; we was waiting to see new devices like this one.

MUSMANNI's picture

In our showroom private theater A (24 seats) we have the #40, with all top of the lines.but always a ML DVD/CD for the BIG BIG expenders .make sense . its a matter of class (or Ego? )but our customers always want apples with apples!! in the theater B Just Lexicon (Mc12v5Live.eq)RT10,CX5. oranges w/oranges!!Vini certified THX

P. Markus's picture

The ML No. 40 is a great sounding product with unique features and very user friendly. The No. 51 would be a great companion to my No. 40 in looks and hopefully in performance. If you have owned a No. 40 like me, you will appreciate its built quality and feel. But if you have never owned one, you would probably make comments like Mr. Mark who seems to favor Bel Canto and so on. Are you a Bel Canto dealer, Mark?. Well, one man's meat is another man's poison.

Jason's picture

I am an owner of the 40 and very soon will be one of the 150 with a 51. If it was worth a Lynn Sondek at 20K for just CD

renken's picture

Instead of making a shell around the Proceed MDT and then sell it for the double price,they should of upgraded the Hardware and Software of the PMDT and keep in the Programm.The owners of the PMDT would be happy and Harman could sell more than 150 units for half the price and make a bigger profit.

gord's picture

its sad the way harman group handled the warranty issues with the pmdt showed no stength in the product , lexicon is not a levinson or a proceed ? We arn't fools ,yet they feed us fools pie, and frankly it leaves a bad taste in my mouth about levinson combined with the fact that i purchased a levinson amp 433 D.O.A. and no place to send it for repair in B.C. Canada !! nice!!, its now out of warranty due to couriers wouldn't take it, to much weight and to expensive , but make a great paper weight?!?!?, but i have to say in their defence which hurt is the 51 sounds incredible on my system , beyond what i expected pricey !!, but very nice .

Edgar S. Stambuk's picture

Everybody knows Mark Levison electronics have an extraordinary design and wonderful finish. But also it is very delicate equipment.Unfortunately the brand goes flying down with not a service, not replacement parts, no stocks, not a "clever head". We all miss Madrigal's people and the love they had for the product, for the music, for the perfection. We all hope HSG "wake up" soon and take the track Madrigal has instead to just see the business.Good luck Mr. Harman!! you really need it.

fender's picture

too bad my 899$ Oppo blu-ray blows it away with the touch of one