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Mark Levinson No. 331
17 Reviews
rating  3.76 of 5
Description: Power amplifier


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Reviews 1 - 5 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ckoffend a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: February 14, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I purchased this amp used from a person who was running it with Thiel 7.2 speakers (at the time I picked it up). It sounded very good with the 7.2's but my general comment is that these speakers probably need a bit more power than this amp is capable of to drive at higher volume levels.

I ran this amp in several configurations and a variety of equipment. I most prefered this amp running an Audio Aero Capitole direct and with either Wilson Duettes or Thiel 2.2 speakers. This amp really shined in this configuration in most all regards. It had very good control of the sound, bass was good (not Krell level slam, but overall good). Soundstage was nice, moderately deep, decent width but lacked a little in height and slightly less than perfect in focus (part of this may have likely been the AA Capitole with its warm sound may have caused some loss in the focus area).

I have heard people comment that this amp is not as musical as others. While I have heard other amps more musical, with my set-up this was not a noticeable issue. Based on my listening, I would say that this amp does well with more resolving speakers (like the Thiels and the Wilsons).

At the same time I owned this amp (which replaced a Pass Labs X150.5), I also owned a pair of BAT VK 60 factory monoblocks. Both of these amps (ML and BATs) were good amps, yet very different. I could not say one was better than the other across the board, each had their own strengths.

The BAT was warmer, more involving or musical, bigger sound stage (but not as well defined).

The ML 331.5 I felt had better overall control of the music, better bass control and defintion, better detail and in the long run more reliable (ie. less attention required).

Both of these amps set-ups worked very well for me, yet produced very different results - both satisfying in their own way. I get the impression that the ML would last a very long time while the BAT would require more attention and be more prone to needing periodic servicing (ie. not just the tubes). I have owned other BAT equipment as well and my experience with BAT is that when properly maintained and serviced a bit more frequently that most of us would like (ie. sending to the factory for replacement items other than tubes), they are great pieces. But I am a bit suspicious of their reliability and personally believe that many of their upgrades address reliability issues.

I can strongly recommend this amp if you have speakers that are:
detailed but not bright
good top and bottom extension

I can recommend this amp if your system is:
overly warm (due to existing AMP) and need a bit more detail without the risk of being bright
fairly neutral

If your system is overly bright and you are seeking an amp to tone this sound quality down a couple of steps, I would not recommend this amp. I am not saying this amp is bright, I don't feel it is, but at the same time it will not tame brightness that is the result of other components/speakers (other than the current amp).

This amp, along with the BAT VK 60 monoblocks, were ultimately replaced by a Krell FPB 200 amp, which in my system bettered both the ML 331.5 and the VK 60s.

The 331 (331.5) is a very good amp, not the best ever offered by ML or the best amp ever. But it is a good, solid performer and at the used price is a bargain.

I honestly feel that people that do not like this amp fall into one of several categories:
They are looking to change their sound more significantly than this amp will (ie. they are looking to add a lot of warmth for example)
They have a system which does not result in good synergy with this amp in place (ie. possibly poorer quality items and/or just bad symetry which is possible even with better items)
Some people just don't like Mark Levinson products for whatever reason. To say this is a bad amp that doesn't perform quite well in the right system is an indication that their experience with the amp is likely limited.

I was pleased with this amp overall. But I did ultimately replace it, so that being said, for my tastes and my system there are better amps. Would I recommend this amp to a friend or family member? If the conditions were right? Absolutely.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Udoxp a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 25, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I'm surprised at the reviews here - this is the best amplifier I've had in my system. There is no way you could rate this amp as poor. The biggest factors for me are the iron-fisted bass control and overall dynamics. I listen mainly to rock - this amp really makes a snare drum pop, but at the same time remains smooth as silk. I was stunned when I first listened to this amp it was so good. It took my system to a whole new level. Rated 100W, but I can't see running it out of power in any reasonable sized room, it's practically unstoppable. The sound is effortless; you can tell this amp has awesome reserve power available. Barely gets warm playing at moderate levels for hours. I can't say enough good things about it, I'm a Levinson fan now (at least of the 33x series I'm familiar with). I think Bryston makes a great product as well, you can't go wrong with either manufacturer. The Levinson is more refined, but close to 2X the price on the used market.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1996

Price Paid:    $2400.00

Purchased At:   Used

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Kevin Thomas a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 14, 2003

Bottom Line:   
A little while ago I had a Marsh system that sounded wonderful but for some reason I just couldn't leave well enough alone. I had to have a legendary Mark levinson amp. So I sold my perfectly good Marsh amp and got the levinson 331. When I first turned it on it sounded bad, I thought no problem it just eeds to brake in. The miracle change I was waiting for never hapened ( I got used so actually it was already burned in). For the amount of money you pay even used this thing is a huge disappointment. It's dark as night, it's mellow to he point of boring and it ha more vails than a belly dancer convention. Don't believe the hype! This amp, along with Krell are nothing but their famous names. We give non-audiophiles a hard time for faling for Bose's hype, we have to make sure that we don't make the same mistake.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Price Paid:    $2700.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Yuh-Herng Chen a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 30, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Recently I made some adjustment and I have different perspective on this amp. My SONY CD player had been replaced by Philips CD850 (CDM-4 pickup) and PS Audio Ultralink. Other than that, I removed the spikes and let the speakers sit on doormats.

Before those adjustments, I was not so satisfied to the system's mid and lower mid range. I thought it is probably the nature of the amp. But after the adjustment, I have a different perspective. The system bring out a terrific sound. No matter classical, Jazz or Rock.

From this result, I will have to sa this amp worths 5 stars (especially consider the price in second hand market). ML 331 users, you are the lucky one. Try to work on it, it pays.

Previously I mentioned some ML users in Taiwan have encountered problems (It does not happened to me, though), ML distributor here had announced a free of charge upgrade plan so ML user will not need to worry about it anymore. I will give a thumb up to this.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1999

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chris a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Excellent sounding amp. It is very smooth with a very deep sounstage. I am extremely happy with this product. It is a better match with my B&W 804's then the other mentioned amps.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $2200.00

Purchased At:   used

Reviews 1 - 5 (17 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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