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The pursuit of perfect amplification is a well-known theme in high-end audio. New technologies present new approaches, while looking to the past provides inspiration for the future. It was in that spirit that the Mark Levinson® № 534 amplifier was developed: a design advised by the traditions and art of classic Mark Levinson amplifier designs, and with a specific target sound: a deep, expansive soundstage, accurate image placement, extended low bass response with good pitch definition, and detailed high frequencies free from “etching.” To that end, the Mark Levinson engineering team started with the following requirements:
- Harmonic distortion <0.02% at 1kHz and <0.2% at 20kHz - Bandwidth extending from 0.2Hz to 120kHz, and beyond if possible - Critically damped square wave response, with leading and trailing edges free of any slewing artifacts, and a slew rate of at least 100V/µs - Maximized open-loop linearity and bandwidth, with global negative feedback in the range of 12-20dB and without nested feedback loops
This fully differential, fully discrete, dual-monaural Pure Path amplifier drives virtually any loudspeaker effortlessly for impeccable imaging, musicality, and openness. A direct-coupled signal path; a highly linear, low-feedback design; and voltage gain and drive stages operating in class A, are joined by the modern system integration capabilities provided by Ethernet, RS-232, and USB for monitoring and network control. Housed in a 6000-series aluminum chassis, like all Mark Levinson equipment, the № 534 is designed and handcrafted in the USA.
Mark Levinson Pure Path Circuit Design
Since 1972, Mark Levinson has been dedicated to the uncompromising art of sound, with the guiding principle of musical purity above all else. To achieve that goal like never before, Mark Levinson engineers scoured company archives, ultimately developing 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, uncompromised sonic purity. Far from merely arranging high quality components in an intelligent manner, Pure Path is the meeting of science and art: Mark Levinson engineers are tasked to create the best possible measured AND subjective performance. To quote Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Pure Path highlights in the № 534 include Folded Cascodes, an extremely high bias current, and usage of very little negative feedback.