Derived from the same Pure Path design philosophy as the distinguished Mark Levinson 500 Series products, the № 5206 preamplifier was created to deliver all the performance and quality expected from Mark Levinson with new affordability and exceptional value.
The foundation of the № 5206 is its fully discrete, direct-coupled, dual-monaural line-level preamp circuitry, for which the Shelton design team has been awarded two patents. A unique single gain stage mated to a digitally controlled resistor network for volume adjustment maintains maximum signal integrity and widest possible bandwidth. Each of its four stereo line-level inputs—two balanced XLR and two single-ended, using custom Mark Levinson RCA connectors—has its own individual high-reliability signal switching relays. Like the № 500 series components, the Main Drive headphone output employs a preamp output stage specifically designed with the current and power capacity to drive headphones directly, without a separate headphone amp.
A newly designed phono stage features a hybrid gain topology, mating key discrete components from the acclaimed 500 Series Pure Phono stage with low-noise pre circuits for high performance at a lower cost. Also, like the 500 Series, a hybrid active/passive RIAA equalizer employs precision resistors and polypropylene capacitors for exceptional accuracy and sonic clarity. The user can select MM/MC gain and optional infrasonic filter from the setup menu, while capacitive and resistive loading settings are easily accessed from the rear panel. Variable line-level RCA outputs allow system expansion and flexibility.
The № 5206 delivers outstanding digital audio capability through the Mark Levinson Precision Link II™ DAC. The class-leading ESS Sabre Pro series 32-bit D/A converter with jitter elimination circuitry and a fully balanced, discrete current-to-voltage converter form the heart of the digital audio processing stage. Six digital audio inputs are provided: One AES, two coaxial and two optical S/PDIF, and one asynchronous USB for playback of high-resolution PCM (up to 32 bit/384kHz) and DSD (up to 11.2MHz) files. The № 5206 includes MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology, which enables playback of MQA audio files and streams. A Bluetooth receiver equipped with aptX-HD enables the high-quality Bluetooth playback.
System integration and communication ports include Ethernet, USB, RS-232, IR input, and 12V trigger input and output. A newly designed, solid aluminum IR remote is included with the № 5206. Finally, an internal webpage allows setup, import and export of configurations, and software updates using a PC and standard web browser.
Robust materials, lavish finishes, and bold geometry are hallmark attributes of Mark Levinson designs. The one-inch-thick, bead-blasted, black-anodized, solid aluminum front panels are machined and contoured to flow seamlessly into the sleek glass display, which itself is recessed into a bead-blasted, clear-anodized aluminum bezel. The iconic hourglass knobs redefined with a gently curved profile softly transitioning into a rounded front. With meticulous details, including, debossed top cover vents, screen-printed logo and legends behind the glass panel, and custom machined aluminum Standby and Menu buttons, and matching feet, the № 5206 exudes elegance and style.