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Mark Levinson Sound that Speaks for Itself

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Old 07-02-2022, 02:20 AM
mjs mjs is offline
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Default Mark Levinson No.5206 preamplifier

I would appreciate it if there anyone who has tried this preamp and would care to comment? Does it perform to a price or is it better than that?

I'm looking for something to pair with Pass X260.8's other than say an XP22 (which is still an option). Magnepan 3.7i speakers. It's potentially an attractive proposition given its a bit of a Swiss Army knife, MC phono/pre/dac/Roon ready. Just not sure whether it is really excels or whether it just does most things well. It would simplify the front end a lot for both analog and digital. Boulder 812 is somewhat similar albeit no phono input. Not sure how either would suit the Pass amps, very difficult to demo that, ML is currently on four months wait in Oz.

TIA
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Old 07-02-2022, 07:11 AM
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I own this preamp and its matching amp they drive Sonus Faber Serafino's. I am quite happy with their performance and feel they are much better than the 585 integrated amp they replaced. Is there something better, always, it's a matter of how much you want to spend. I cannot address its compatibility with Pass Labs, not made that comparison.
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System: ML:5206,5302 Serafino's Nordost Lumin U1 RM15
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Old 07-02-2022, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdelahanty View Post
I own this preamp and its matching amp they drive Sonus Faber Serafino's. I am quite happy with their performance and feel they are much better than the 585 integrated amp they replaced. Is there something better, always, it's a matter of how much you want to spend. I cannot address its compatibility with Pass Labs, not made that comparison.
Thanks @tdelahunty Just out of interest, what inputs do you use into the ML, do you use digital inputs (including streaming) and therefore the DAC? Do you use a remote to control or the app? Do you feel the pre is relatively transparent allowing good detail and sound stage or does it add something?
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Old 07-03-2022, 05:55 AM
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The preamp is transparent, detailed and neutral, it has only one gain stage that is operated in "class A". The DAC is very good and better than that in the 585 or 526. That being said the DAC in my Esoteric KO1x is better in every aspect and is used for streaming from a Lumin U1 and NAS drive. I only use the balanced inputs and remote for switching sources and volume. The Lumin is controlled by an I-Pad.
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Old 07-03-2022, 06:34 PM
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In that case, I suspect my Auralic Vega G2.1 will also best the DAC in the ML. Probably a bit much to expect a one box solution. Thanks
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:17 AM
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Don't sell the DAC short. My preference is for a mid-hall presentation which the KO1x DAC provides. The 5206's DAC is more of a front row seat, it has a multitude of filters to tailor the sound and has a very quiet background. If not for the KO1x I could happily live with this DAC. It also plays DSD without any annoying pops, cracks or unwanted pauses.
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