Mark Levinson N°5206

Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual-Monaural Preamplifier

The new Mark Levinson 5000 Series preamplifier, the Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier, is based on the same Pure Path design philosophy as the Mark Levinson 500 Series products. It has been designed to deliver the performance and quality expected by Mark Levinson at a new affordable price and exceptional value, according to the US high-end hi-fi manufacturer’s promise.


For the latest preamplifier in the Mark Levinson 5000 Series, which the US-American high-end hi-fi manufacturer Mark Levinson founded last year, big things have been planned. All in all, all the solutions in the Mark Levinson 5000 Series are designed to provide discerning hi-fi enthusiasts with products that offer Mark Levinson’s usual excellent performance and outstanding quality at a particularly attractive price point. This was the company’s intention when the product line was first presented at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.

While the Mark Levinson 5000 Series was initially founded with two integrated amplifiers, the Mark Levinson N°5805 Integrated Amplifier and Mark Levinson N°5802 Integrated Amplifier, the company now wants to offer a combination of preamplifier and power amplifier. In addition to the new Mark Levinson N°5302 Bridgeable Dual Monaural Amplifier, the US-American high-end hi-fi manufacturer is now presenting the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier.

“Mark Levinson is synonymous with unparalleled audio performance. The brand new Mark Levinson N°5206 preamplifier meets all expectations of equipment performance, with the difference that it is more affordable than other offerings in our product line. As such, it offers new audiences a compelling option to gain access to sound that they may never have heard before.”

Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, HARMAN Luxury Audio

The Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier, as the name suggests, is a dual monaural preamplifier that offers the performance and quality of Mark Levinson at an exceptional price, while relying on the wealth of technical experience of its designers and proven design philosophies.

The basis for this is a completely discrete design in dual-mono construction. A special feature, according to the manufacturer, is the unique single-gain stage, which uses a digitally controlled resistor network to control the volume, providing maximum signal integrity and bandwidth.

The new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier has no shortage of inputs, both analogue and digital.

Four line ins are available in total, two in unbalanced form and two as balanced inputs. The input selection is made by means of high quality relays.

For vinyl lovers, the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier is equipped with an integrated phono preamplifier, a circuit designed for both MM and MC with a so-called hybrid gain topology. The designers have chosen to use discrete components that are equivalent to the Mark Levinson 500 Series Pure Phono Stage and high quality low-noise integrated circuits to achieve exceptional accuracy and clarity in RIAA equalisation. The phono preamplifier is suitable for both MM and MC pickup systems, as described above, each with its own RCA inputs. The phono preamplifier has an optional sub-bass filter. This can be activated directly via the menu, and the gain can also be adjusted via the menu. The other parameters for optimum adaptation to different pick-up systems – impedance and capacity – can be set on the rear of the Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier.

It is also interesting to note that the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier has an integrated headphone amplifier, which is intended to be a particularly high-quality solution. The so-called Main Drive Headphone Amplifier is used here, which should be able to drive any headphones without any problems, making the purchase of an additional headphone amplifier obsolete even for demanding users.

For digital sources the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier is equipped with a Mark Levinson Precision Link II DAC. This is a flawless 32-bit DAC from the ESS Sabre Pro Series with special jitter suppression. The D/A converter was combined with five independent, low-noise power supplies and my fully balanced, discrete current-to-voltage converter, according to the manufacturer, who expects this to deliver extremely accurate signal processing with maximum dynamic range, fine detail and minimum noise. Six inputs are available. Starting with an AES/EBU interface, two optical and also two coaxial S/PDIF interfaces, up to an asynchronously operating USB port, everything is available to integrate the most diverse digital sources. The full potential of the D/A converter is of course opened up via the USB port. This allows data to be processed in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz, DSD up to DSD with 11.2 MHz. Content encoded in MQA is also supported.

A Bluetooth module is also implemented here, whereby signals can be transmitted “wirelessly” not only with aptX in “CD quality”, but also via aptX HD in Hi-res Audio with up to 24 bit and 48 kHz.

The Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier with two outputs, one unbalanced as a pair of RCA sockets, the other XLR and thus balanced. Each output pair can be configured by the user according to individual requirements, including assignment for a subwoofer as a 2.1-channel system. Accordingly, a completely discrete high-pass filter can be optionally switched on.

For system integrators, the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier is of course equipped with everything required for integration into control solutions. In addition to an RS232 interface, an RJ45 Ethernet interface and a USB port for updates, trigger inputs and outputs as well as an IR input are available.

“Audio insiders will recognise the DNA of the prestigious Mark Levinson 500 series in the new N°5206. If they have a basic technology like this and can then use the engineering skills from HARMAN’s innovation centre in Shelton to develop new ideas such as circuit topology and amplification structure, then you can only win. I am delighted to be able to use proprietary technology in this way and offer the N°5206 at prices that will appeal to new consumer groups!”

Jim Garrett, Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning, HARMAN Luxury Audio

The design of the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier is, of course, entirely in line with that of all the other components in the Mark Levinson 5000 Series. The manufacturer refers to this as the most modern industrial design, whereby naturally characteristic elements have been incorporated for the manufacturer over the years. Details that the manufacturer has paid particular attention to include embossed openings on the top of the cover, specially milled standby and menu buttons in aluminium and matching feet, which are intended to give the Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier elegance and style. High-quality materials, elaborate surfaces and a unique geometry have become the hallmark of Mark Levinson design and form the basis for this too.

The 2.5 cm thick, glass bead blasted, black anodised, solid aluminium front panels alone make a statement, according to the manufacturer, and in this case are shaped and profiled in such a way that they merge seamlessly into the slim glass display, which in turn is embedded in a glass bead blasted, clear anodised aluminium panel. The new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier is handmade in the USA. Incidentally, the scope of delivery includes a new system remote control, which is made of aluminium. The Mark Levinson 5Kontrol App is also available for control and configuration.

The new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier measures 438 mm in width, 126 mm in height, including feet, and 489 mm in depth.

According to the manufacturer, the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier should be available in specialist shops within the next few days. The recommended retail price is € 9.500,-.

Getting to the point

While the Mark Levinson 5000 Series was initially founded with two integrated amplifiers, the Mark Levinson N°5805 Integrated Amplifier and Mark Levinson N°5802 Integrated Amplifier, the company now wants to offer a combination of preamplifier and power amplifier. In addition to the new Mark Levinson N°5302 Bridgeable Dual Monaural Amplifier, the US-American high-end hi-fi manufacturer is now presenting the new Mark Levinson N°5206 Dual Monaural Preamplifier.

Manufacturer:Mark Levinson
Distribution:Harman Luxury Audio Group
Price:€ 9.500,-

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