CES 2016 • Hot Product

One thing you have to give Mark Levinson (the brand, not the man): it hasn't merely preserved its technological edge throughout the years, even as some of its competitors have lost it, but expanded on it. The first case in point is the new No.526 dual-mono preamp (above, $15,000), which uses fully discrete, fully balanced circuitry, like earlier Mark Levinson preamps. . .

. . . while offering both digital and analog inputs, including support for up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM, 2x DSD and MM/MC phono. It also includes Harman's Clari-Fi "music-restoration" technology for extracting the most music from lossy digital formats. Connectivity via both RCAs and XLRs is generous.

Also new, and another example of Mark Levinson's technology preservation, is the No.519 digital audio player ($17,000). Ostensibly the latest in the line of digital players beginning with the No.39, the No.519 will play CDs and has onboard volume control.

But resemblance to the earlier Mark Levinson digital players ends there. As you'd expect, the No.519 is a DAC as well as a player, but it can stream music wirelessly. Its ESS Sabre32 Reference DACs can, like the No.526, handle 24-bit/192kHz PCM and double-speed DSD, but the No.512 supports streaming services such as Spotify, Connect, Tidal, Deezer, Rhapsody and Napster as well as Internet radio. Like the No.526, the No.519 also has Clari-Fi support onboard. Outputs are both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR.

Both the No.526 and No.519 include headphone jacks driven by high-quality amps.

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