Mark Levinson No. 26 S Preamplifiers

No. 26 S

User Reviews (1)

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carl11529   AudioPhile [Feb 06, 2004]

musicality, fantastic bass, solid and dynamic


none as I can perceive (perhaps not as warm as the best tube preamp, but superior in other aspects)

In the long search for a soul mate for my Apogee Diva, I finally come across a pair of Mark Levinson 23.5’s. Bi-amped via DAX, the dedicated active crossover for Diva, they have the power to control the very tough bass panel, yet keep the delicate treble and full-blown mid. Projecting a huge and well-differentiated sound stage. The sound of 23.5 is solid, dynamic and balanced. I realized that most of the buzzing and rattling came from the distortion of underpowered amp(s), not Diva’s age. I can finally lie back in the sofa and enjoy the music, without thinking the next stage upgrade. The amps previously used were Jadis JA200, a very fine tube amp with four chases, regrettably did not have the juice to pump Diva. Next came a pair of Boulder 500ae, dutifully fulfilled their job but still not up to the ultimate demand of Diva. Then I tried a Jadis Defy 7 and a Krell KSA-150. A very good combination, plus these two seemed to have about the same gain. However, the KSA-150 I got was not perfect, and Defy 7 would run out of steam in demanding passages. So came in the ML 23.5. One more advantage of 23.5 is that they run a little bit warm, should last longer than class-A Krell’s. As for the preamp, I switch from a very refined Accuphase C-290 to Mark Levinson 26. My feeling is that 26 is not better than C-290. Then I switch to ML 26s. Bingo!! Much superior to 26 in every regard, and more dynamic and solid than C-290. This setting is going to stay for a long time.

Similar Products Used: ML 26, Accuphase 290, Cello Encore, Jadis JPL.
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