Mark Levinson’s Flagship Preamplifier: The Ultimate Stereo Component

  • Bailey S. Barnard

For the last 41 years, the Mark Levinson brand has produced reference-grade audio gear garnering praises from audiophiles the world over. For its 40th anniversary last year, the company (now part of the Harman Luxury Audio Group) pulled out all the stops to produce concepts for new top-of-the-line components. The No. 52 Stereo Preamplifier($30,000), which will begin shipping this month, is one of the shining results of that effort. In addition to its dual-monaural, two-chassis design—which keeps the audio circuitry isolated from the controls, digital circuitry, and power supplies to ensure the purity of the signal paths—the No. 52 features enough input options to connect with just about any combination of audio source and power amplifier. It offers three balanced XLR inputs and four unbalanced RCA ones, as well as a dedicated phonostage for pairing with turntables using either moving-magnet or moving-coil cartridges. The No. 52’s control section has plenty of technology in place to provide clean, stable power, as well as a plethora of ports to sync it with a variety of external control devices. All of this comes in a 60-pound package with a two-tone brushed-aluminum faceplate that gives the No. 52 a look that is considerably easier on the eyes than the average “black box” preamplifier. (www.marklevinson.com)

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