Platinum-Level Realism, Definition, Dynamics, Ergonomics, and Flexibility: Mark Levinson № 585 Integrated Amplifier Features Enormous Power and Precision Link DAC with Clari-Fi Technology
Mark Levinson makes just one integrated amplifier archetype. Its upscale performance and award-winning track record defeats the need for any other model. Designed and built in Connecticut, № 585 features fully discrete, mirror-imaged, dual-mono analog circuitry with individual switching relays for all four inputs. A mammoth 900VA toroidal transformer and a purist-based volume control with 15-bit R-2R ladders reflect heightened engineering that delivers a platinum-level blend of realism, definition, dynamics, ergonomics, and flexibility.
Able to accommodate high-resolution audio up to native 2x DSD, № 585 touts a reference-grade 32-bit/192kHz Precision Link DAC with an asynchronous USB input and patented Clari-Fi technology that restores information lost during compression. We cannot emphasize the sonic and engineering quality of this built-in DAC. № 585 is also overly conservatively rated at 200Wpc into eight ohms. Stereophile measured the amplifier to deliver 250Wpc (and 390Wpc into four ohms). The recipient of both EISA and CES Innovation awards, № 585 also touts a second-order crossover filter for seamless integration with powered subs.
Equipped with a stellar user interface, № 585 is loaded for connections of any sort. Three pairs of single-ended inputs, one pair of balanced XLR inputs, a pair of single-ended line outputs, speaker outputs complete with Mark Levinson's Hurricane binding posts, and six digital audio inputs augment an RS-232 port, Ethernet port, IR input, programmable 12V DC trigger outputs and programmable 12V DC trigger input to give you every configuration option you need. Ladies and gents, this is what high-end excellence looks, feels, and sounds like. 100% Music Direct Guaranteed.
"...The № 585's sonic purity and ergonomics – its sophisticated but intuitive menu structure, and its simple but versatile remote control – made it easy for me to be drawn into the music again and again."
– Larry Greenhill, Stereophile, Class A Recommended Component
"Proof positive that you don't have to have a rack full of separate boxes in your living room to enjoy fabulous high-end music replay, the № 585 integrated unit sound simply sublime – and delivers adequate power to drive even pretty demanding loudspeakers."
– Hi-Fi News, Outstanding Product Award
"The Mark Levinson № 585 is the best-sounding integrated amplifier we have tested."
– Secrets of Home Theater and High-Fidelity, Best Digital High-End Integrated Amplifier
"In [resolution, control, and organization] it's pretty much as good as amplifiers get this price."
– What Hi-Fi?, four-star review
Inside the Brains Behind № 585
The foundation of № 585 resides with its fully discrete, mirror-imaged, dual-monaural analog circuitry featuring individual signal switching relays for each of its four stereo inputs: one XLR and three RCA. The fully differential Class AB power stage includes an oversized 900VA toroidal transformer with individual secondary windings for the left and right channels. Each elegantly simple amplifier channel utilizes 12 output transistors and multiple smaller local capacitors that allow them to be placed physically closer to the amplifiers for greater transient response when power is needed. System integration and expansion are possible using the stereo RCA pre-outs that can operate full-range or with an included switchable, second-order, 80Hz crossover filter allowing for seamless integration into 2.1-channel systems with powered subwoofers.
Building a Better Volume Control: R-2R Ladder
The analog potentiometer – a device with a number of performance drawbacks – is the basis of many volume controls. For starters: The mechanical connection wears out, creating scratching or crackling noises. It is nearly impossible to manufacture an identically performing pair, and mismatches in a stereo pair can cause level imbalances between the two channel. And, due to their varied reaction to parasitic capacitances at different volume settings, the sound changes depending on where the volume is set. Rather than attempting to improve upon this flawed design, Mark Levinson engineers abandoned it and employed a complex circuit architecture called an R-2R Ladder. In the R-2R Ladder, a string of resistors with identical resistance (R) form the side of the ladder, with another set of resistors forming the rungs, all identically with double the resistance (2R). This unique circuit takes whatever current appears at its input and successively divides it in half at each "rung" of the ladder. Different combinations of "rung" currents can then be selected and added together, precisely delivering nearly any output current, and thereby, volume setting. The currents through the rungs are determined by fixed resistors, capable of very tight tolerances, able to be closely matched to one another in value. Analog switches "steer" the currents, are precision devices, and have no mechanical contacts to wear out. In short, the R-2R Ladder solves all the problems inherent to potentiometer-based volume controls.
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.
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. № 585 offers an Intensity control, enabling fine adjustment of the amount of reconstruction applied to the signal—or bypass, if preferred.
The Mark Levinson Difference
Few, if any, names are more synonymous with premium-level high-end audio as Mark Levinson. Unafraid to take spare-no-expenses approaches and unbowed in their pursuit of absolute purity, U.S.A.-made Mark Levinson products continually set new standards for the entire industry. Focusing on prestigious sound quality, time-defying longevity, and meticulous craftsmanship, every component wearing the Mark Levinson badge is at once a symbol of sonic excellence – and a sign you and your music have arrived at an exclusive destination.