Mark Levinson's Middle-Tier Stereo Amp

CES 2017 saw the introduction of the 350Wpc Mark Levinson No.534 stereo amplifier ($20,000). Todd Eichenbaum, Director of Engineering for Harman International's Luxury Audio Group and designer of the No.534, explained that it was developed to fit between Levinson's entry-level No.532H stereo amplifier ($8000) and the $50,000/pair No.53 reference monoblock amplifiers. The No.534 is a fully differential, fully discrete, dual-monaural amplifier. It uses the company's Pure Path circuit design, which includes a folded cascode, high-bias circuit to drive its 24 output transistors (12 per channel), and low negative feedback. All voltage-gain stages operate in class-A. The rear panel allows for modern systems integration capabilities: Ethernet, RS-232, and USB for upgrading, monitoring, and network control. I heard the No.534 drive Revel's new F208Be floorstanding loudspeakers in the Harman suite at the Hard Rock Casino/Hotel, and I loved the dynamics and soundstaging produced by the combination.