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Thread: help me choose

  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    help me choose

    Hi Guys,

    I am looking to get a s/s power amp. I have a choice between 3 Mark Levinsons, a 27.5, a 29, a 331 or a Macintosh MC302. And maybe a Bryston but can't remember the model ( 3B perhaps ? )

    The lower powered 27.5 at 100W into 8 ohm is sufficient for my speakers which I am presently driving with a 25W diy valve job.

    The quality of sound is the most important. I listen to all music and want the amp that draws me into the music the most. It must have boogie factor and PRaT. Detail is not king for me !

    Any light that can be thrown on their relative sound will be most helpful.

  2. #2
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Well hello, sailor,

    Do you have the opportunity to listen to any of them? Nothing will serve you better than your own ears.

    I'm not familiar with any of these amp models by personal experience But the older Brystons have a reputation for sounding a bit "dry" which might not be what you want, so it might matter whether that amp is a 3B or a newer 3B-SST2 or later still version.

  3. #3
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    I've had Krell, Pass, an older Bryston 3Bst, to name a few amps, in my opinion the Levinson will get you closer to what you describe you are looking for out of your list. The Mac won't be quite as revealing, should be warmer and leaning more toward the tube sound than the Levinson, yet still a sound some really enjoy.

    Welcome to AR. What other associated equipment will you be using? In amps like Levinson & Bryston I like to use the XLR throughout.

  4. #4
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    The Bryston amp I had was well built and had good grip and power, I just didn't rate it high on PR&T. Cool design and it can be bridged to mono, at least the 3Bst could.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I agree with Mr. P on this as well about the Levinson. It has been years since I have been around one but from what I remember they would fit the bill nicely. To bad you don't have a Pass amp on that list because to me my Pass draws me more into the music than any amp I have heard in my years in audio.

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
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  6. #6
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    Unfortunately I will not be able to audition before I buy. I am leaning more towards the ML 27.5. I have read on the net that the 27.5, 29 and 23.5 are possibly the best Levinson has done. Also the 27.5 is the cheapest of those on offer but I did not want to buy on price alone.

    My source will be digital, probably Bryston BDA-1 and BDP-1 which I have heard and was impressed. They have been replaced by newer models and are available at a good price. This will feed a DIY Aikido valve preamp into the as yet undecided power amp driving some Tannoys in OB with servo subs.

    With subs fleshing out the low end I do not have to have an amp that specializes in bass like some Krell I heard. The mids and tops of the Krell were not to my liking but the propulsive bottom end was a treat.

    My circumstances have changed and it is unlikely that I will be able to build any more valve stuff hence my interest in a transistor hulk.

    Used Pass amps seldom show up in my country. Maybe that tells me owners do not readily part with their Pass kit . What I did hear that suggested itself as ideal is a Plinius. Sounded gorgeous with an Audio Note DAC. Only once have I seen a used Plinius for sale.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sailor View Post
    Unfortunately I will not be able to audition before I buy. I am leaning more towards the ML 27.5. I have read on the net that the 27.5, 29 and 23.5 are possibly the best Levinson has done. Also the 27.5 is the cheapest of those on offer but I did not want to buy on price alone.

    My source will be digital, probably Bryston BDA-1 and BDP-1 which I have heard and was impressed. They have been replaced by newer models and are available at a good price. This will feed a DIY Aikido valve preamp into the as yet undecided power amp driving some Tannoys in OB with servo subs.

    With subs fleshing out the low end I do not have to have an amp that specializes in bass like some Krell I heard. The mids and tops of the Krell were not to my liking but the propulsive bottom end was a treat.

    My circumstances have changed and it is unlikely that I will be able to build any more valve stuff hence my interest in a transistor hulk.

    Used Pass amps seldom show up in my country. Maybe that tells me owners do not readily part with their Pass kit . What I did hear that suggested itself as ideal is a Plinius. Sounded gorgeous with an Audio Note DAC. Only once have I seen a used Plinius for sale.
    My friend has a Plinius SA-102 driving his Revel Studio 2's and loves it. He also has a pair of Rogue mono blocks that he uses in the cooler months as the tubes run a bit warm in the summer. I'll be curious to see which he likes better when he switches back in the fall.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
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