High-Performance from Harman International

Harman International’s High-Performance Group’s exhibit featured a live demonstration of its most expensive equipment, including two Revel Rhythm 2 18" subwoofers ($10,000 each); two Revel Ultima2 Salons ($22,000/pair); a Macintosh MacBook Pro running Amarra software driving a Mark Levinson No.502 Sound Processor; a No.52 preamplifier ($30,000); two No.53 Reference monoblock amplifiers ($25,000 each); and Transparent power conditioners for the digital equipment and for the amplifiers. The rack also included a No.512 SACD player. The Revel Ultima2 Salons were crossed over to the subs at 80Hz with 4th-order slopes for both high-pass and low-pass filters. Listening to Diana Krall singing "I Used to Love You," I was struck by how all the loudspeakers and electronics disappeared leaving a holographic image of her voice, with a wide and deep soundstage.

The Mark Levinson No.52 Reference Preamplifier ($30,000) is the company's flagship audio preamplifier, and is now being shipped. Like the No.32 Reference that proceeded it, the No.52 is a two-chassis preamplifier, with a control unit that contains all user switches and controls plus the power supply. The audio circuitry is in a separate chassis. The control chassis includes system readouts, pushbuttons to select functions and a rotary volume control that, like that of the No.32, is a digitally controlled analog device using a ladder DAC. Its power supply features AC regeneration. The audio chassis contains a phono module for both moving-magnet and moving-coil cartridges, which had been optional in the No. 2. The audio chassis's rear panel sports three pairs of both RCA and XLR inputs and outputs, a socket for a control cable, and two 9-pin DC connectors to receive DC power from the control module. One of the output pairs is configurable to act as a tape loop or become a dedicated subwoofer output.

Mark Levinson also showed a newly revised concept design for a powerful integrated amplifier, the No.585 ($12,000), which would follow the No.383 integrated from a decade ago, which is no longer in production. It’s rated at 200Wpc into 8 ohms, and 400Wpc into 4 ohms. Besides greater power than the No.383, the No.585 will have many more inputs and outputs than the earlier model, including an asynchronous USB input; S/PDIF, optical, HDMI, and AES/EBU digital inputs; outputs will be analog (preamplifier line stage, speaker outputs) and digital (coaxial, optical, and AES/EBU). The front panel will keep the same interface as the company's flagship No.52 preamplifier. Harman International and Mark Levinson hope to finalize the design and ship it this year.

tmsorosk's picture

  Very nice stuff .

HiFi's picture

That's an amazing setup, I only dream of that stuff and enjoy reading about it.

dushoan's picture

Nice system but I think my ML no32 with Halcro DM68 and Wilson X1 still yet obsolete and could sound better than this new toys with more $$$