Mark Levinson offers audiophiles a cheaper high-end turntable
Mark Levinson has been in the audio business for nearly 50 years, and if you're not familiar with the company from its hi-fi gear, then you may have heard the Harman brand's sound systems in cars like the Lexus RC350. The company launched its first turntable at CES 2017, and has now returned to Las Vegas with its second – № 5105.
Said to be the first turntable worthy of the Mark Levinson name, 2017's № 515 features an aluminum chassis wrapped in vinyl-covered MDF and supported by vibration-damping Delrin and aluminum feet. Aluminum also find use in the 20-lb platter, and the high-torque AC synchronous motor that drives the belt slots into the side, enclosed in its own mechanically-isolated housing. A gimbal-mounted, 3D-printed tonearm completes a basic setup that carried a cool US$10k price tag when released (it's pricier now).
If you've been putting the pennies aside for that turntable, but haven't quite made it yet, the launch of № 5105 might be music to your ears.
"Engineered and built for the discriminating analog music lover, the № 5105 delivers an amazing level of warmth and fidelity, and an overall listening experience that we have not seen before at this price point," said Harman Luxury Audio's Jim Garrett. "The quality of the № 5105 must be heard to be appreciated, and we're very proud to be able to introduce legendary Mark Levinson quality to a broader set of recorded music enthusiasts."
The standby and play buttons out front of the 2-inch-thick solid aluminum plinth flow into the inch-thick, bead-blasted anodized aluminum front panels on either side, and the whole shebang is suspended on three adjustable aluminum feet rocking mixed-material suspension. A bubble level should help with leveling.
The power supply has been designed for use globally and is integrated into the turntable this time, and low pitch variation (wow and flutter) is promised from the digitally-controlled 12 V synchronous motor. Up top is a 14-lb aluminum platter and an "oil-free bearing bottom made of a mix of composite material with integrated lubrication and a maintenance-free sintered brass bushing ensures reliable operation for years to come." And a 10-inch custom carbon fiber tonearm tube is joined to a solid aluminum headshell, and is balanced atop a custom aluminum gimbal.
The Mark Levinson № 5105 is being offered with or without a phono cartridge. The naked version starts at $6,000, while the model that includes an Ortophon moving coil phono cartridge comes in at a thousand bucks more. Either way, you'll have to wait until the middle of the year for availability.