Spin, Stream, or Connect to Music with the Mark Levinson № 519 Audio Player: Hear Native 2x DSD and High-Res 32-Bit/192kHz PCM Via Precision Link DAC and Pure Path Signal Path
The choice is yours: Spin, stream, or connect your music. The pioneering Mark Levinson № 519 audio player not only plays it but delivers everything from native 2x DSD and TIDAL to high-resolution 32-bit/192kHz PCM and CDs in arresting sound. Equipped for wired and wireless streaming, and loaded with over-built connectivity that includes six digital inputs, No 519 beats to the rhythms of a reference-setting 32-bit Precision Link DAC with seven power supplies and three selectable filters. Patented Clari-Fi technology even restores information lost during compression. The U.S.A.-made № 519 also doubles as a digital preamplifier and connect to amplifiers or powered speakers without any need for an external preamp.
An analog output volume control, Class A Main Drive headphone amplifier, and the company's signature Pure Path discrete, direct-coupled, fully discrete dual-mono signal path design with Folded Cascode connections round out the stunning architecture. A full-color TFT display, machined-metal remote, and dedicated app control via mobile devices make every operation easy and fun. We encourage you to read more about № 519's mind-blowing abilities and feature set below. More importantly, we invite you to audition this cutting-edge unit in your home today with the security of our 100% Money-Back Guarantee.
"It delivers a hugely informative and powerful sound whatever you choose to play..."
– Hi-Fi News, Outstanding Product Review
Spin, Stream, and Connect: Includes Precision Stream Processing
Far from merely a network player, № 519 is a complex, yet easy-to-master unit containing a complete, embedded Precision Stream Linux® computer running a custom Mark Levinson version of the operating system to deliver outstanding headroom for incredible performance, regardless of configuration. In addition to its ability to browse, access, and play music from a variety of connected sources, № 519 doubles as a complete Mark Levinson digital preamplifier and DAC, which is able to directly connect to amplifiers or active loudspeakers without need for a preamplifier. № 519 plays from network-connected devices and drives including NAS, using its Ethernet wired and Wi-Fi wireless connections. It contains a slot-loading disc drive for enjoying disc collections of standard Redbook and MP3 compact discs. A full complement of digital inputs enables connection of external digital music sources, including an asynchronous USB connection for streaming high-resolution PCM, DSD, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, APE, AIFF, and WMV files from computers. A Bluetooth receiver with an aptX AAC high-quality codec enables convenient wireless music connection from virtually any handheld, tablet, or computing device. Two additional USB ports enable local connection of hard drives and thumb drives.
Built-In Streaming Services, Internet Radio, and Updatable Technology
№ 519's Precision Stream also contains a wide range of embedded streaming music services. Built-in Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer, Rhapsody/Napster, plus thousands of Internet radio stations and podcasts deliver hundreds of millions of tracks in standard and high-resolution formats. Because № 519's Precision Stream is a powerful Internet-connected computer built on a 1GHz ARM® Cortex® multicore 32‑bit processor with 4GB each of RAM and flash, its feature and content portfolios will continue to grow over time. Mark Levinson is committed to delivering continued feature and content expansion over the player's lifespan. № 519 is updateable over its network connection and by inserting a USB drive containing software updates.
A Mark Levinson Exclusive: Pure Path Circuit Design
Since 1972, Mark Levinson has been dedicated to the uncompromising art of sound, guided by the principle of musical purity. To achieve that goal like never before, Mark Levinson engineers scoured company archives and developed a circuit-design philosophy called Pure Path. On a conceptual level, its hallmark principles include a discrete, direct-coupled, fully balanced, dual-monaural signal path that delivers unrestricted, uncompromising purity. Far from merely arranging high quality components in an intelligent manner, Pure Path represents the meeting of science and art – and both measured and subjective performance. Pure Path highlights in the № 519 include Folded Cascodes, a Precision Link DAC, and Main Drive Headphone Amplifier output.
Furthering Analog Mastery: The Folded Cascode
Mark Levinson components are designed around a Pure Path amplifier circuit concept that makes heavy use of a circuit design element called a cascode. Originally created for improving the bandwidth of vacuum-tube circuits in radios, cascodes both improve bandwidth and enhance linearity. A cascode combines two transistors so that they operate as a single composite device that functions like a single transistor, using the wanted characteristics of each component transistor, and rejecting the unwanted characteristics. Mark Levinson engineers began their design of the preamp gain stage with pairs of JFETs (junction field-effect transistors) chosen for their low noise and high gain. JFETs achieve such characteristics by being large, and with their size comes nonlinear gain – or distortion. To mitigate this, BJTs (bipolar junction transistors) are added to the circuit. BJTs exhibit very low input impedance and very high output impedance, which translates to excellent bandwidth and linearity. By creating a cascode of the JFETs and BJTs, Levinson engineers created a design with the best characteristics of both sets of devices. The output of the cascode is then connected to another transistor of the opposite "gender." Current flows through it in the opposite direction to "turn around" the direction of the signal current. This special connection is called a Folded Cascode and a hallmark of the Pure Path circuit: High gain with low noise, wide bandwidth, and excellent linearity.
Only from Mark Levinson: The Precision Link DAC
The Mark Levinson Precision Link DAC transforms digital data streams into analog audio art. It combines unique Pure Path engineering design approaches with painstakingly selected components to deliver impeccable performance than can be appreciated both on the test bench and in the listening room. The converter chip comes from ESS Technologies, known for jitter-elimination circuitry, and resynchronizes incoming data to its own extraordinarily stable clock. Combined with its 32-bit resolution, the low-jitter stream reduces distortion and noise, allowing remarkable retrieval of ambient detail that other DACs miss. The Precision Link DAC operates the converter's outputs in current mode, where they are fed into a fully balanced current-to-voltage (I/V) converter that provides the exact signal level desired. Maintaining near-zero voltage keeps the current sources virtually immune to nonlinearity, maximizing bandwidth and minimizing distortion. Common-mode noise and distortion are cancelled in this mirror-imaged, differential configuration, resulting in a pristine signal with a vanishingly low noise floor. A unique power supply configuration – five independent power supplies operate the converter chip alone, and individual linear power supplies for the left and right channels power the discrete I/V and antialiasing filter circuits – further advance the reference performance.
Personalized Performance with Precision Link DAC Filters
The Precision Link DAC performs oversampling and digital filtering of digital audio data, increasing the effective sample rate by filling in additional data points between the actual data present, which in turn reduces the demands on the low-pass (antialiasing) filter required on the analog output of the converter. Three digital filter options are available in the Mark Levinson Precision Link DAC. The Fast filter has a steep roll-off for maximum attenuation of unwanted high frequency information. It offers the best noise and distortion measurements. The Slow filter has a gentler roll-off of high frequencies and exhibits less pre- and post-ringing on transients. The Minimum Phase filter has a steep roll-off of high frequencies. These filters are selectable because there is no one correct choice. Some listeners are sensitive to pre-ringing on transients and believe it sounds unnatural. A digital filter with pre-ringing exhibits excellent frequency response behavior precisely because of its transient behavior. Other listeners might be more sensitive to the relatively long period of ringing exhibited by the Minimum Phase filter and therefore would prefer the Fast or Slow filter. More likely, listeners will prefer different filters with different genres of music, and they have that option with № 519.
Pure Path Digital Inputs and Reference Signal Transmission
№ 519 offers six digital inputs for system flexibility. One balanced AES/EBU (XLR) input and two coaxial (RCA) inputs use high-speed differential receivers to reject noise and provide clean digital waveforms to the Cirrus Logic digital audio receiver chip. Two additional Optical (Toslink) receivers directly drive the digital audio receiver. For direct connection to a computer, № 519 also offers an asynchronous USB Type B input built around a CMedia USB audio processor chip. Using the high-speed USB 2.0 standard, the CMedia chip reliably and accurately receives audio data over USB in PCM format at up to 32-bit/192 kHz or in native DSD at up to double speed (5.6 MHz). The CMedia chip transfers USB data asynchronously. It gets as much data as possible as and when it is available, rather than transferring the data in sync with the music playback, which reduces demands on the computer and instead allows the processor chip to precisely control the flow of data to the DAC.
Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology Defeats Compression
Clari-Fi music restoration technology analyzes compressed digital audio files during playback in real time and reconstructs much of what was lost in the compression process. The complex Clari-Fi processing algorithm is implemented on a powerful Analog Devices SHARC DSP. Unlike simple equalization, Clari-Fi continuously and automatically adapts the amount of reconstruction it performs to the degree to which an audio file has been compressed. № 519 offers an Intensity control, enabling fine adjustment of the amount of reconstruction applied to the signal – or bypass, if preferred.
Stellar Connectivity Extends to Simple System Integration
№ 519 delivers its signal to balanced (XLR) and single-ended (RCA) stereo analog outputs, as well as a 1/4-inch (6.3mm) Main Drive Headphone output integrated into the front-panel metalwork. The Main Drive Headphone amplifier circuit drives up to 32-ohm headphones in Class A by employing the main output circuit rather than a secondary signal path. A selectable fourth-order, 80Hz high-pass filter enables seamless integration of a single or dual subwoofers for full-range performance with a wide range of loudspeakers. № 519 also offers three digital output connectors – balanced (AES/EBU), coaxial (RCA), and optical (Toslink) – for direct connection to separate DACs, preamplifiers with internal DACs, and other components with digital inputs.
Best-In-Class User Interface and Easy Control Options
With so many connections and capabilities, the № 519 requires a beautiful, easy-to-understand control interface. To create a best-in-class user experience, designers started with a large five-inch, full-color TFT front-panel display flanked by eight aluminum buttons and iconic Mark Levinson twin-knob controls. Following a series of studies, designers created a gorgeous style that suits the № 519's place within Mark Levinson systems, yet looks to the future in terms of detail and resolution. In addition to its front-panel control and display, № 519 also features matching iOS and Android apps for remote control from virtually any smartphone, tablet, or other device. Additionally, № 519 can be controlled from any major web browser on laptop and desktop computers thanks to its matching webpage interface. System-integration connectivity includes Ethernet/IP control, RS-232, plus 12V triggers and an IR input. A machined metal remote delivers the robust feel and precise control befitting of a component of the № 519's caliber.
Built to Last: Military-Grade Components
All Mark Levinson equipment employs electronic components carefully chosen for their specific task. Gain-stage JFET pairs have high gain, low noise, and low distortion. And since they are encapsulated in the same package, the two devices operate under nearly identical conditions. Capacitors used in critical filtering locations are film types, noted for their consistent performance regardless of temperature and frequency. Finally, resistors in critical gain-setting and feedback locations use tantalum nitride thin-film elements. Tantalum nitride typically finds use in sensitive military equipment because it is unusually stable with respect to temperature, exhibits very low noise, and is unaffected by magnetic fields. In fine audio equipment, those characteristics make the sound more revealing and effortless, free of the low-level nonlinearities caused by lesser resistive materials as they heat and cool under dynamic conditions.
- Pure Path discrete, direct-coupled, fully balanced, dual-monaural signal path
- Plays up to 32-bit/192kHz PCM, 2xDSD, CD, and virtually all two-channel formats
- 32-bit Precision Link DAC with three selectable filters and seven power supplies
- Six high-resolution digital inputs: balanced, coaxial, optical, and async. USB
- Plays from networked drives and devices, streaming services, Bluetooth, and connected media
- Built-in Spotify, TIDAL, Qobuz, Deezer, Rhapsody/Napster, Internet radio
- Analog output for direct connection to amplifiers or active loudspeakers
- Class A Main Drive Headphone output for up to 32-ohm headphones
- Designed and handcrafted in the U.S.A.
DAC frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz, +0 / ¬–0.2dB
DAC THD, full scale (0dBFS): <0.0001% @ 1kHz, <0.0003% @ 20kHz
DAC SNR (referred to 3.7VRMS / 0dBFS output): >120dB (A-weighted)
PCM sample rates/bit depth: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192kHz; up to 32 bits
DSD: Native or DoP (DSD over PCM), single- and double-speed (2.8 and 5.6MHz)
Processor: 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 Sitara
Memory: 4GB RAM and 4GB Flash
Digital inputs: 1 balanced (XLR); 2 coaxial (RCA); 2 optical (Toslink); 1 USB-B asynchronous
Mass storage connectors: 2 USB type A
Analog outputs: 1 balanced (XLR); 1 pair single-ended (RCA), 1 headphone (¼”, 6.3mm TS)
Digital outputs: 1 balanced (XLR); 1 single-ended (RCA), 1 optical (Toslink)
Control connectors: Ethernet (RJ45), RS-232 (RJ12), Trigger In and Out, IR In, USB-A, Mini USB
Network: Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
Mains voltage: 100VAC, 115VAC, or 230VAC, factory set
Software update: Network, USB
Control apps: iOS, Android, web browser
User Manual (PDF, 4.5 MB)