(January 4, 2022) Drawing inspiration from 50 years of industry excellence, the engineers at Mark Levinson have crafted a devastatingly gorgeous limited edition celebratory monoaural amp package. Exclusively limited to 100 pairs, the ML-50 looks the part and houses componentry capable of delivering highly refined sound.
Priced at $50,000 per pair, the ML-50 proudly carries aspects associated with some of Mark Levinson's most storied products. For instance, its name harkens back to the first Mark Levinson power amplifier – the ML-2 – produced from 1977 to 1986, and its large front-mounted handles are inspired by the № 20, № 20.5, № 20.6 power amplifiers produced between 1986 and 1995. Designers looked to the № 33 (1994-2003) and № 33H (1997-2007) reference amplifiers for outrigger feet that provide the solid foundation for the ML-50 chassis. And then there's the amp's most alluring design element: thick topside glass that gives curious eyes a glimpse of the ML-50's powerful innards inspired by the company's № 536 amp. That and the ML-50's glass front panel and red backlit Mark Levinson logo were borrowed from the incredible № 53 reference amplifier built from 2008 to 2019.
The ML-50 is a serious work of art. The amp's solid aluminum front panel carries the aforementioned glass panel and a machined aluminum standby power button encircled with a red LED light ring, flanked by a pair of functional silver machined aluminum handles. The top glass shows off the ML-50's optimized circuitry for buzz-inducing visual pop, with the added benefit of red or white LED lighting (which can also be turned off). Lastly, a new vibration-damping mechanically isolated foot design can be found at all four corners underneath the chassis. These feet mimic the curved shape of the front panel and elevate the chassis further above the surface for increased convection cooling in conjunction with the new twin-channel top panel venting and massive external heat sinks.
“The ML-50 is a celebration of the 50 years of products and performance that have made Mark Levinson the benchmark for no-compromise audio that it is today,” said Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, HARMAN Luxury Audio. “With only 100 pairs to be offered globally, this statement amplifier package is an heirloom investment in the finest luxury audio equipment available.”
The power supply and audio circuits of the № 536 platform have been borrowed and enhanced to goose performance. The ML-50 manages a lower noise floor by increasing the high-voltage supply (voltage gain and pre-driver circuits) capacitance by 50% (from 8,800uF to 13,200uF) and an increased dynamic power thanks to a 20-percent increase in the capacitance of the main high-current supply (169,200uF to 206,800uF) and reconfigured Schottky rectifiers for a lower-impedance path from the transformer to the filter caps. Engineers also lowered distortion by doubling the output stage bias resulting in more than quadruple the amount of Class A power (20W into 8-ohms). And, most impressively, overall Class AB power has been increased to 425W into 8-ohms.
As a fully balanced design, the ML-50 offers balanced XLR and single-ended RCA audio jack inputs and two sets of Mark Levinson Hurricane binding post speaker terminals. Advanced internal protection and monitoring ensure reliable performance under demanding conditions, while Ethernet, serial, and 12V trigger connections provide complete external control.
Each ML-50 amplifier package includes two monaural amplifiers and an accessory kit comprised of two 3m power cords, a microfiber polishing cloth, white gloves, and owner’s documentation. It's delivered in three cartons that are vertically stacked on a wooden pallet base and protected with a triple-wall cardboard sleeve and banding straps.
The ML-50 has hurdled prototyping and is in line to be produced this year. Shipping is expected to happen during Q4, but if you're interested in grabbing a pair for your home, contact your preferred dealer sooner than later. Mark Levinson believes these amp packages will sell out prior to production.