Mark Levinson No.30.5 Reference digital processor Review System

Sidebar 1: Review System

I had the Mark Levinson No.30 and the No.30.5 at the same time, so I was able to make direct comparisons, and also to listen to each one at length. Both processors were driven by the Mark Levinson No.31 Reference CD Transport via an AES/EBU link (AudioQuest's new Diamond x3 analog cable, which works very well as a digital cable). The processors fed a Sonic Frontiers SFL-2 line-stage preamp, which in turn drove a pair of Audio Research VT150 tubed monoblock power amplifiers. The loudspeakers were Genesis II.5s, with the Genesis servo amplifier powering the woofers. Loudspeaker cables were Transparent Ultra, and the balanced interconnects between the processors and the preamp were AudioQuest Diamond x3.

I also heard brief comparisons between the No.30 and No.30.5 at JA's house through a No.38S preamplifier, No.20.6 power amplifiers, and the B&W Silver Signature speakers. That system was magical. The differences heard in JA's listening room were amplified by extended auditioning in my own room.—Robert Harley

Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc.
Harman High Performance Audio/Video Group
1718 West Mishawaka Road
Elkhart, IN 46517
(516) 594-0300