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Nov 14 2014

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Mark Levinson 585 – made EVEREST K2 sing

An English language followup, on the Mark Levinson 585 – a new integrated amplifier from Mark Levinson. As I remember it from the recent AudioShow 2014, held in Warsaw as of this last weekend, it was the amplifying component with one of those so-called killer configurations – delivering the highest level of hiend sound quality, that frankly speaking … blew my boots off.

And not because of the fact that I was sitting in the front row.

ML_585 Amplifer

Now, indeed, it so happens that I did build some DIY amps in my life.  Just as I did prep up and/or build from scratch some speaker cabinets. With which, of course, I am very happy with, these DIY devices, which are currently standing in my living room at home and that provide me regularly with a healthy daily portion of pure listening pleasure.

Hmmm …. but to say it quite frankly, I think I have to honestly admit that this DIY kit of mine comes close, albeit not quite, to the sheer clout and realism of the delivery, as I have experienced whilst listening to this killer configuration: a Mark Levinson 585, in conjunction with the JBL Everest, model K2 S9900, which I had the opportunity do experience during a presentation as conducted this past weekend at the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw.

ML_585 Amplifer

The Everest K2 S9900 was specifically a slightly smaller model than those Everests which have been presented last year. Anyway – the sound, for me at least, was just perfect.

Precision. Air. Detail. Lung-smashing clout.  Imaging. Ambience. Wood sounded like wood. Percussion sounded like a percussion. It was all there.  Experienced on a myriad of various quality recordings.

I would say that it was one of the better “sounds of the exhibition.”

That is my personal and subjective feeling.

The JBL Everest series speakers – well – these deserve a separate story of sorts, and maybe I will get some info on them, as they were definitely mind blowers. A separate issue, a distinct piece of art, worthy of a separate article.

ML_585 Amplifer

Due to the fact that the configuration presented has played so fantastically and to my liking, I have undertaken a little extra effort and turned (“with some kind of shyness”) to the distributor of these devices with a kind request to provide me with some more information about this particular Levinson, the one that I have experienced during the presentation.

ML_585 Amplifer

 

Well, yes, indeed, they replied and provided me with quite a substantial package of information relating to the device, so now I would like to share the stuff with you folks.

 

As the information was prepared by professionals, I shall rest my case, I shall not try to fix it, … I shall simply quote extensive fragments of the official press release from Mark Levinson, pertaining to the model 585 integrated amplifier.

ML_585 Amplifer

…The (…)  Mark Levinson No 585 Integrated Amplifier, is designed to deliver ultimate-quality music reproduction from analog and digital sources, including computers and music servers.

The No 585 combines a host of engineering advancements with complete ease of use and Mark Levinson’s striking, next-generation industrial design. (…)

The No 585 is engineered to be the finest integrated amplifier ever created by Mark Levinson – or anyone – and is the first of a new generation of products to be designed at HARMAN’s new state-of-the-art engineering facility located in Shelton, CT. According to Todd Eichenbaum, Luxury Audio’s Director of Engineering, “The No 585 is engineered for ultimate audio quality in every respect. It combines exceptional versatility with a powerful Class AB amplifier delivering 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms and 350 watts per channel into 4 ohms and will accommodate a wide variety of digital music sources including high resolution 32-bit/192kHz computer audio and DSD over USB. As we all know, many owners of high-end systems also want the convenience of playing compressed audio files but do not want to sacrifice sound quality. As an industry first, we have solved this challenge by incorporating HARMAN Clari-Fi™ processing, which employs proprietary signal-enhancement techniques to any compressed file format selectable at the user’s option.”

ML_585 Amplifer

The No 585 offers six digital and four analog inputs including USB, optical, coaxial, AES/EBU XLR and RCA for ultimate flexibility. It employs fully discrete, mirror-imaged, dual-monaural analog input and output circuitry, optimized for sonic integrity as evidenced by its symmetrical, clean interior design. The No 585 uses individual signal switching relays for each of its four analog stereo inputs: one XLR and three RCA. The volume controls use discrete 15-bit R-2R resistor ladder networks and low-noise analog switches for maximum signal integrity with the widest possible bandwidth.

 

Its high-current, fully differential (balanced) Class AB power amplifier section utilizes an oversized 900VA custom toroidal transformer with individual secondary windings for the left and right channels. Separate left- and right-channel regulated linear power supplies are used for all the analog circuitry, to maintain maximum signal purity. Each amplifier channel employs 12 output transistors for a power rating of 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms.

 

At the heart of the No. 585’s digital audio processing stage is an ESS Sabre 32-bit D/A converter with proprietary jitter elimination and fully balanced, discrete I/V (current-to-voltage) circuitry. The Cmedia USB audio processor is capable of asynchronous data transfer of high-resolution DSD and PCM files at up to 192kHz/32-bit resolution. For lower-resolution audio formats, HARMAN’s Clari-Fi signal processing reconstructs information and bandwidth that is lost in compressed file formats restoring higher-fidelity sound. In contrast to competitor offerings, Clari-Fi™ does not blindly add equalization, bass boost, or other effects that alter the intended listening experience.

 

The No 585 provides a stereo preamp/subwoofer output with a selectable 80Hz high-pass filter for use in a properly implemented 2.1-channel system, and includes Ethernet, RS-232, IR and 12V trigger ports to facilitate its use audio/video installations with integrated systems control.

 

ML_585 Amplifer

 

Like every Mark Levinson component, the No 585 integrated amplifier is built without compromise to the highest standards, using a heavy-gauge chassis and card-cage architecture to isolate critical low-level analog and digital circuitry, and featuring audiophile-grade internal components and premium rear-panel connectors.
Though sophisticated in its capabilities, the Mark Levinson No 585 is simplicity itself to operate via its dual front-panel knobs and six function buttons or using its included remote control. The No 585 is as stunning in appearance as it is in performance – its next-generation industrial design and superior casework blends iconic Mark Levinson historical elements with a crisp modern look. The No 585’s substantial extruded and machined aluminum front panel has a two-tone brushed black and textured silver finish, accented by the company’s iconic red panel display and LED indicators.
The Mark Levinson No 585 Integrated Amplifier will be available in September 2014 at a suggested retail price of $12,000.

{{ Now, this following photo is FULL SIZE – just so that you can appreciate the construction art in detail }}

ML_585 Amplifer ML_585 Amplifer

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of 15,200 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.1 billion for the last twelve months ended March 31, 2014. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR

Last but not least, … Many kind thanks to Magdalena, who has provided me with the support and materials necessary to prepare this information about this outstanding piece of electronics for you.

Cheers,

Ziggy.

 

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