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Mark Levinson Sound that Speaks for Itself

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Old 11-11-2020, 01:41 AM
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Default Mark Levinson issue.

I ordered a Pair of Tekton Moabs earlier this year, and I decided to upgrade my amp to go along with them at the same time. I found a 532H for $3200, "open box" from "Audio Classics LTD". It was sold as used through eBay and came with only a 60 day wtty. I didn't look like it had ever been out of the box.

I never for a second considered the Levinson amp as a potential reason why I didn't always love my Moabs....
Some music sounds fantastic, but some sounds meh...

Last night I played Floyd Wish You Were Here, and was thoroughly underwhelmed....
Just the night before Norah Jones was sounding great.
But WYWH was lacking energy, bass was poor and I had no sense of being pulled in. I found myself turning it up trying to compensate for the lack of energy.
I decided to pull my Proceed BPA2 amp from my 2nd system and try it with the Moabs. The Moabs took on a completely different feel, bass was more full and they seemed overall more dynamic. They sounded incredible and I was pulled in right away

My quandary now, do I try to send it in for repair, is there even anything wrong with it? It might somehow just not be a good match for the Moabs, I could sell it and move on. If I do send it in it is a hard problem to quantify, I am worried I could be out near $1,000 with shipping for a NPF...

If there is something wrong with it, as great as the Proceed sounds, I would love to hear the Moabs with a properly functioning ML...

I am considering selling it and buying a Parasound A21+ new from a local dealer I used to work for. If it sounds at least as good as the Proceed, I would probably be happy with that.

EDIT: A few have mentioned it sounds like capacitors, but it is relatively new, and what are the odds both channels would have cap issues...

Last edited by brad1138; 02-01-2021 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 11-11-2020, 08:07 AM
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Most likely caps in the power supply, which are common to both channels. Have you talked to ML or done a bit of "internet research" to see if there are any known issues with the 532H? If there are, will likely be posted by someone.
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Old 11-11-2020, 08:23 AM
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Call Audio Classics. They will help you.
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Old 11-11-2020, 08:36 AM
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I owned the 532H it is completely dual mono. There are toroidal transformers and filter caps for each channel. Its design was derived from a Proceed amp with improvements to the power supply which also located the caps on the amp pc/bd.

Aside from the possibility of a failure this amp benefits greatly from being left on 24/7 and the use of a high-end power cord. I used Nordost or Shunyata.
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Old 11-11-2020, 10:13 AM
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Brad - based on your description, do you feel this is a pure sound quality issue or that the amplifier is defective? When it comes to amplifiers, I would think there would be a clear distinction between not being happy with the sound vs. an all out broken amplifier. Sometimes its hard to tell from a post, but it sounds like you’re more unhappy with he sound than thinking it’s just broken or am I wrong? Is it 100% night and day difference from the Proceed?

- Buck
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Old 11-11-2020, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy3107 View Post
Brad - based on your description, do you feel this is a pure sound quality issue or that the amplifier is defective? When it comes to amplifiers, I would think there would be a clear distinction between not being happy with the sound vs. an all out broken amplifier. Sometimes its hard to tell from a post, but it sounds like you’re more unhappy with he sound than thinking it’s just broken or am I wrong? Is it 100% night and day difference from the Proceed?

- Buck
That is my biggest question. Too me it is a big difference, but I could see how a "non audiophile" would think it isn't much of a difference.

I also hooked up a "NuForce STA-200" amp that I own, and it had the better energy, fuller bass like the Proceed. I only listen in the 60 to 70 dB range, I am not demanding much from the amps. I have never heard the 532H described as "bass shy".

I am leaning toward there being something wrong with it.
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Old 11-11-2020, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brad1138 View Post
That is my biggest question. Too me it is a big difference, but I could see how a "non audiophile" would think it isn't much of a difference.

I also hooked up a "NuForce STA-200" amp that I own, and it had the better energy, fuller bass like the Proceed. I only listen in the 60 to 70 dB range, I am not demanding much from the amps. I have never heard the 532H described as "bass shy".

I am leaning toward there being something wrong with it.
Gotcha......well, I suppose if you feel strongly about the sound issue, you’d have to have it get a once over by Mark Levinson to check all of the above. Audio Classics is a good retailer, I would think they’ll take care of you.

- Buck
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Old 11-11-2020, 01:58 PM
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Well, I got great news. I just got an email back from Levinson. They sold it to Audio Classics in Feb of 2020, it has a 5 year wtty!!!

I guess I will get it fixed.
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Old 11-11-2020, 02:14 PM
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Your Moab speakers (interesting speakers by the way) are 98dB efficient. As such and this is not always the case but....

Transistor power amp distortion characteristics are often dominated by harsh-sounding crossover notches at low power output settings. This effect disappears in class-A designs, which are well suited to driving high-efficiency speakers.

Transistors do have their "optimum range" of peak sound performance. Listening at a fraction of a watt is not something manufacturers of bigger solid state amps tune their amps for.

I would be very surprised if there is something wrong with your ML amp. But for the sake of peace of mind, I guess you should send it in if it is under warranty and all that.

Try a tube amp if you have that option on your speakers.
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Last edited by PHC1; 11-11-2020 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 11-11-2020, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
Your Moab speakers (interesting speakers by the way) are 98dB efficient. As such and this is not always the case but....

Transistor power amp distortion characteristics are often dominated by harsh-sounding crossover notches at low power output settings. This effect disappears in class-A designs, which are well suited to driving high-efficiency speakers.

Transistors do have their "optimum range" of peak sound performance. Listening at a fraction of a watt is not something manufacturers of bigger solid state amps tune their amps for.

I would be very surprised if there is something wrong with your ML amp. But for the sake of peace of mind, I guess you should send it in if it is under warranty and all that.

Try a tube amp if you have that option on your speakers.
I am trying a tube preamp currently, BAT VK-30, and I have tried others. I am trying to decide if I like it more than my Axiom II Walker Mod passive pre (my favorite preamp design-lets not get into a discussion over the term "passive preamp"). I have liked the ML sound since I had a 331 a while back.

There might not be anything wrong with it, but at least I will know that for sure and then I will have no misgivings selling it. And with a fresh ML checkup, I can get more $ for it. But with 2 other amps, a Proceed BPA2 which should be fairly similar and a Nuforce STA-200 that shouldn't be anywhere near as good, The dynamics, bass and just energy of dynamic music is so much better. Hard to believe anything about the ML should be markedly worse than those other amps.

Also, it does have a real problem that I had lived with, because I thought it was more trouble than it was worth to have it addressed. If a source is playing when it is turned on, it shouldn't output anything until the relays trip after about 2-3 seconds. But it does, sound comes out right away, and actually then goes off for a few seconds when the relays trip, then comes back on again... Also, when turning off, it doesn't kill the output properly. If you leave a source going, you can hear it run until the capacitors drain. I never turn it on or off with a source playing to get around that issue.

I don't know if that is related to the other issue or not.
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