Mark Levinson 39 Drawer problem

I have a problem with my ML 39: It seems that the drawer is not communicating with the main unit. The loading drawer does not open or close, the display states "Drawer" or "opening" or "closing" before "Stopped!"
I checked the internal connections between drawer and main board and also looked for obvious issues on the drawer unit.
I do not have a service manual...

Thanks for all feedback
re calibrate the drawer.   It’s either that or a bad  eprom  ( hopefully the former) 
Thanks. Can you tell me how to calibrate the drawer? I am not familiar with the process.
 I no longer have  it around since I  Included all the manuals etc when I sold my 390S .

  I did find this on Audiogon---this should be your first thing to attempt. I have a 390S that is now my backup (since I jumped on the AR CD7/8 bandwagon) and I follow Levinson's recommended drawer calibration procedure about every two weeks. It works best if the drawer is open and even better if it is closed part way, but it works (so I have been told by the former dealer) even when you start with the drawer closed.

1. Turn off the power at the back of the 39.
2. Press the drawer open button on the front of the 39 and keep it pressed while you turn on the power switch on the back of the 39.
3. With the drawer open button still pressed, watch the front display on the 39 change as the 39 runs through its cold start procedure. When you see the word "calibrate" in the display, remove your finger from the drawer open button and let the 39 cycle through whatever number of drawer openings and closings its software determines to be necessary until the drawer is deemed (by the software) to be calibrated.

If this doesn't work, you will probably need to send it in for service. And from what I have heard/read, their service is unfortunately quite expensive.   Good luck.

much appreciated! Unfortunately, I just tried the calibration procedure and I got "Failed" on the display. So I think I am doomed...

And you are correct with the expensive service: A while ago, I had my 333 serviced. Good work - repaired, new caps and updated to the latest version but paid over $2,000 for it.
I am not sure if I want to go that route with the 39...

Again - many thanks
I don't know for sure but I have heard they will not sell parts to anyone so you are at their mercy.   I would not spend too much fixing it.  That drawer setup is prone to problems.

I saw one bill bill to fix a 390s for $2200.  I sold mine for $2500.
Hi, just maybe try one more thing first before giving up. 
Open the ML39, take an earbud, dip it in terpentine (terps) and clean the sticky old lub off the two transport rails/rods.
In fact do NOT re-lub, else if the unit is swiched off i.e. getting cold, it will cause issues yet again after some time. 
As the ML uses a class A output stage it runs quite warm(ish) after being in stand-by drying out the lub after a certain period. 
If switched off completely (at the rear) for some time, say over night, the lub gets too sticky, and after some time is now sticky enough to prevent proper function. 
After cleaning, reassemble, go through the calibration procedure and see what gives. 
If it still fails its more serious as alluded to earlier on. 
Maybe you're lucky like myself having had the same problems with my ML390S. 😉

I already cleaned the rails/rod before. They were sticky, indeed. However, the posted results of my calibration process are from after the cleaning process.
Thanks for your input.
😢 so sorry to learn, eish.
I specifically made the lenghty effort to register (quite a pain...) to share my own experience with this issue. 
In fact I have to do a 'rod cleaning' yet again some time soon. Having switched off the unit over last night it once again refused to open, and only worked once sufficiently warmed up. I'm using my ML390S mostly with my ML36 Dac as I generally prefer sound of this ladder dac. 
Truly such a PITTY! 


indeed a pity! I am going to replace one other component as a last resort. If that fails, I am doomed...

Noooo, only if you really must! And then what? Streaming, and junk all of your CD collection? 
How about sustainabilty, 'Nachhaltigkeit'? 
Those are such nice and ever so well build units, definately no cheap-skate trashy throw away consumer junk. 😟 
I know this sounds quite emotional, and it is. Eish! 😢😱😖
I appreciate your passion, and I have not given up (yet). I still own another CD player so I have a backup solution. On the other hand, "ianrmack""is right: The unit is 20+ years old...
Unfortunately, the unit is very difficult to service as the PCB is multilayer, so any soldering effort is easily compromised. My experience with ML when it comes to service is not good, as also expressed in this forum several times. I can appreciate that ML tries to protect their service agents, but they should make service manuals available for old models (they used to do this but stopped when - I believe - Harman International acquired them). This and the associated cost if you need to go to a service agent are definitely reasons for me not to purchase any new ML anymore.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Thank you for sharing agosto 😉
My ML390S started off life (with me) as a ML39 - then top of the pops CDP and cabel radio decoder DAC in Munich in about 1996.
Back in South Africa in ~ 2000 and after a nasty lightning strike wiping out my then satelite decoder and the connected ML39 too. I then had it repaired and fupgraded to a 390S. Did it sound as much better as was e.g. reported by John Atkinson and company? 🤔 Hardly that I could tell... 🙄
More recently it got a laser replacement also here in SA by the former ML service technician and got another lease of life. 
By some flight of fancy I acquired a ML36 Dac for almost peanuts... because I liked the idea to listen to an R-2R Dac once again like the original ML39 using the 390S as a transport. In many cases I now like this setup to the upgraded 390S, if just marginally.
This may be so of course, as the Burmesters 961s, having highly resolving JET Air Motion Transformer tweeters are not too kind to lesser CD material, more ruthlessly resolved by the 390S' high up-/over-sampling rate. 
All this may put some perspective to my soft spot for these ML products, including the 326S pre-amp also used as a phono-pre and all nicely talking to each other via the ML communication links. 👌
Hm, what a novel to explain 🙈


most of my equipment s from the 90s as well and I am quite happy with it. I concur that subsequent research in semiconductors and circuit designs should yield to better audible results when comparing new products with the ones I own. On the other hand, I am happy with what I got (mostly ML) and enjoy my music. Just a shame that the 39 won't do anymore.
Thank you for your thoughts
Hi again, maybe let us know what your replacement will turn out to be, will you?
Having had a look about for some such, before my laser replacement, I had more than a hard time to find ANYTHING comparable, never mind at serious price multiples of say e.g. some Esoteric units (also ML31.5 top loader reference transport...) which by no means could convince me of their sq superority, and this in a much more 'magnificent' setting of sound optimised demo room, B&W 802 D3, et al. 🥴
So, it be interesting to learn your findings for my personal edification. 😉
Thank you, Michélle 

I will keep you posted. My other unit is a 31.5 so I have means to listen to good music right now...
👍 ML 31.5, eh, such a lucky person!
And thanks again for your positive feedbacks. 
Update (as promised): Long story short: The 39 works again! I had several issues to deal with. First, I fixed a bad solder point with the result that the drawer started working (open and close). Then I had to deal with the non-spinning disk problem: There was a bad connection between the mainboard and the D/A board. Interesting enough, without connecting the D/A board, the CD would not spin. 
After a thorough cleaning and full assembly I tested the unit today on my system. Works great!

Bummer! I was hoping to get it off you cheap.

Good work with the perseverance, you got a killer R2R Multibit using 4 x PCM1704k (best ones ever) + PMD100 HDCD filter chip.
And with direct to amp digital volume control, it uses an output stage that would put many preamps to shame. 

Stereophile on the ML39
The ’39 really came into its own when I took the preamp out of the system and started using the variable output, digital switching, and digital processing.
You think your preamp is transparent? You’re probably wrong. I knew this, of course. Not even the best of ’em. So I was stunned by how good the ’39 sounded going straight in. It was fast and clean—and more. More depth, more dynamics, more detail, more air...
"Summing up, these measurements indicate the No.39 to be a superbly engineered design. Digital doesn’t get much better than this!"—John Atkinson

Just remember though, if that digital domain volume control is below <75% of maximum then you are going to start "bit stripping" (lowering the resolution)
If this is the case then install a passive preamp between the ML39 and the amp and adjust it’s volume and leave it, so the ML39’s remote digital volume control is then used at or above 75%.
This is what Wadia also found, that digital volume controls while fantastic have this flaw of "bit stripping" that’s why you’ll find opposition to going direct to amp, they just don’t know, or like the coloration’s/distortions preamps give.
Wadia did similar to ML but gave a fix if the volume was too low in their highend cd/dacs, inside using pins to set the output for different voltage gains, so their digital volume is used above 75% so there’s no chance of "bit stripping", here is Wadia’s instructions for it

Cheers George
Heia, good one!
"Was lange währt, wird endlich gut!"
Thanks for your feedback Jim.
Impressed by your skilled handy work, I may say? 😉
@george... There is a difference in the volume control of the WADIA (had one in my system also a short while) and the Levinson, if you don't mind me mentioning. 
The Levinson does NOT use bit-stripping to reduce volume but rather uses the analogue way implementation as used in their preamps, multi resistor controled step by 0.1 db step. By far more expensive/elaborate solution to prevent bit-stripping. 
I'm sure J. Atkinson has mentioned that in your quoted Stereophile article...?!? 
However, and despite this, going through their preamps, it somehow still sounds better as he'd also mentioned... he actually belaboured just this point at some length, as I recall. 
I personally can confirm this listening experience, also having had the ML39/390S used as pre-amp only - and only quite some time later added ML preamps... when adding analogue / vinyl playback. 
But as always... YMMV 😊
The Levinson does NOT use bit-stripping to reduce volume but rather uses the analogue way implementation as used in their preamps, multi resistor controled step by 0.1 db step. By far more expensive/elaborate solution to prevent bit-stripping.
This is even better, then there's no need to worry about "bit stripping" and it still has a bomb proof output stage that's has a 10ohm output Z, and can drive anything. (preamps need not apply)

Cheers George
George, @justmetoo thank you! I am glad that I was able to resolve this. Looking forward to many listening hours...

Hi everyone. Another problem was solved when calibrating the drawer. At my ML 39 the „play“ button did not work correctly. I had to push the button several times before the drawer worked. After calibration it works as it should. 
My 39 did not give me any further trouble since last reporting here. I only replaced the drawer belt and spent $50 for an original ML part. This certainly qualifies for extortion by ML, but I could not find a suitable belt elsewhere. 
Have fun with your 39