How a pair of Mark Levinson ML2 stands with the best amps today ?

I saw a pair of these.  They appearead overkill amps with superb construction. Just about sound quality (not reliability) how they stand with today best amps ?

Today's ML's don't have much feedback as the distortion specs show on the 534 and 536 poweramps.
The the poweramps have input sensitivity that's almost 3v for full output this is a low gain amp, and distortion figures of 0.3%THD  showing low feedback designs.

  (they don't show the THD for the poweramp section of the integrated's, but one would think it's the same)

Maybe they lost their way in the 10-15 years ago when they dabbled in Class-D with the very expensive No.53 monoblocks, with very complex output filters to get rid of the switching frequency, they were probably high gain and high feedback

Interesting read that Mark Levinson wrote on Class-D.

"Interleaving of multiple Class D Amplifiers is potentially a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough.Personally I think that the best option would be something that combines a Class D Amplifier for the heavy lifting with something Class A for fine detail. Probably implemented in the style I did for AMR’s AM-77 "Jikoda" Style. In this case both of the circuits involved can operate fully open loop. In many ways the problems in Class D Amplifiers are analogous (but not identical to) those in Class B Amplifiers (but without an option to implement Class AB or Class A) so similar solutions apply. All Class D amplifiers are essentially delta-sigma DAC’s. If the input is not digital PWM signals (aka "DSD") but analogue audio then it is also a Delta Sigma Analogue to digital converter...Now DSD (aka SACD) which to my ears fails to come close, never mind equal true PCM CD Replay in most aspects of sound quality, operates at 2.8MHz switching, or around 10 times as fast as common Class D Amplifiers...Why anyone would want to listen through an A2D followed by an D2A Converter that are around 10 times worse than single speed DSD is beyond me. But with enough hype and snazzy naming it cannot help but sell high and wide."

And, don't worry, we haven't forgotten:

Cheers George

I appreciate ML's comments. I recognize technology moves onward and evolves. I just find it quite admirable that a class A transistor   amplifier  from 1977  still can on sonic grounds (the most important quality/criteria  IMO) outperform  so many current production amplifiers. A 43 year old SS amplifier that people still covet for excellent sound quality.


Any idea why the decision was made to add gain stages and feedback thus losing the "magic" of the original? Seems they should have left well enough alone.
According to my records the original Mark Levinson Audio Systems company produced three other amplifiers before Mark lost control of his company, and he and Tom Colangelo were no longer part of it (~1984). Those were the ML-3, ML-9, and ML-11.

All of them were much more powerful than the ML-2 (into 8 ohms!), while the ML-9 and ML-11 were designed to much lower price points. And I believe the ML-3 was also significantly less expensive than a pair of ML-2s, while being 8 times as powerful (into 8 ohms).

And after 1984 or thereabouts it was essentially a completely different company.

-- Al

Here is an very old shot of the ML3 I had to repair
200 W/channel at 8 ohms, 400 W/ch at 4 ohms, 800 W/ch at 2 ohms

It opens up like a clam very thoughtful design for techs and you can power it up like that, it was so big it wouldn’t fit on my work bench, so I used the kids homework table. Some 24 bi-polar outputs per channel 2 x massive transformers, true dual mono amp.
Didn’t come within cooee of the 25w ML2 monoblocks for sound quality

I just find it quite admirable that a class A transistor amplifier from 1977 still can on sonic grounds (the most important quality/criteria IMO) outperform so many current production amplifiers.
If you look at it nearly all tube amps today are based on the 1949 Williamson circuit,
Similar can be said about transistors, especially Matti Otala’s, Nelson Pass, John Curl, etc etc designs

Cheers George

Reading Al’s post concerning other "original" ML amps with higher power output, George answered my first thought/question. Did the higher powered ML3 rival the sound quality of the revered ML2? I should have known that would be the answer .How do true talents such as Mark Levinson and Dennis Had (Cary) get booted from their own companies? How can one discard that level of passion, commitment and talent? This would the same as Audio Research getting rid of the( late)  William Zane while still very active and involved with the company..