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  1. #1
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    Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    Is there anyone who has tried this preamp and would care to comment? I'm looking for something to pair with Pass X260.8's other than say XP22 (which is still an option). Magnepan 3.7i speakers. It's potentially an attractive proposition given its a bit of a Swiss Army knife, MC phono/pre/dac/Roon ready. Just not sure whether it is really excels or whether it just does most things well. It would simplify the front end a lot for both analog and digital. Boulder 812 is somewhat similar albeit no phono input. Not sure how either would suit the Pass amps, very difficult to demo that, ML is currently on four months wait in Oz.
    TIA

  2. #2
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    OK, have an XP22 coming in the next couple of days. also swapped out an Auralic Vega G2.1/Leo GX.1 for a Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Should be good to set the XP22 up with the Tambaqui and my analog front end
    Main System: Linn LP12/Ittok/DVxx2Mk2, ME25 as phono pre, Oppo BDP-95, Sangean WFT-3D, Auralic Aries G2.1, Mola Mola Tambaqui, Pass Labs XP22, Pass Labs X260.8, Magnepan MG3.7i
    Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini, iFi Hip DAC2, DCA Aeon2 Noire

  3. #3
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs View Post
    OK, have an XP22 coming in the next couple of days. also swapped out an Auralic Vega G2.1/Leo GX.1 for a Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Should be good to set the XP22 up with the Tambaqui and my analog front end
    I was sorry to see you had no replies to your post, even after over 4 months! Perhaps no one is using that ML amp. Certainly it looks to be very flexible in terms of inputs, outputs, etc. My only experience of the relatively new 5000 Series is with the 5805 Integrated. I had it on loan for 10 days 2 or 3 years ago and, although the sound quality was very good, I did have a few niggling issues. I passed these to the dealer who promised to send on to ML or their UK distributor as all could be resolved by firmware upgrades.

    In the end, I chose the modest NAD M33 all-in-one that I still use. It has all the input options of the 5805 and more, but also it has very useful settings that are useful for me - eg the ability to limit maximum output to my high sensitivity speakers. Also, sound-wise, I preferred the M33 despite its Class D technology (or maybe because of it) and the fact that the unit can be controlled from any of 5 platforms using the excellent BluOS app. In fact, I still have the digital-only 5802 on my list of possible amps if I switch from a one-box to a two-box system. I'm looking at the HiFi Rose RS150B as a front end, but I'll have to try both at home first. Peter
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33 all-in-one, NAD M12 preamp
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified

  4. #4
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Hear Here View Post
    I was sorry to see you had no replies to your post, even after over 4 months! Perhaps no one is using that ML amp. Certainly it looks to be very flexible in terms of inputs, outputs, etc. My only experience of the relatively new 5000 Series is with the 5805 Integrated. I had it on loan for 10 days 2 or 3 years ago and, although the sound quality was very good, I did have a few niggling issues. I passed these to the dealer who promised to send on to ML or their UK distributor as all could be resolved by firmware upgrades.

    In the end, I chose the modest NAD M33 all-in-one that I still use. It has all the input options of the 5805 and more, but also it has very useful settings that are useful for me - eg the ability to limit maximum output to my high sensitivity speakers. Also, sound-wise, I preferred the M33 despite its Class D technology (or maybe because of it) and the fact that the unit can be controlled from any of 5 platforms using the excellent BluOS app. In fact, I still have the digital-only 5802 on my list of possible amps if I switch from a one-box to a two-box system. I'm looking at the HiFi Rose RS150B as a front end, but I'll have to try both at home first. Peter
    Peter,
    Thanks for your comments. I guess at the time of my original post I was looking for potential “one box” solutions to simplify my setup. I had committed to the Pass Labs X260.8 which I’ve had for s few months now and really like. Just a question of managing both digital and analog sources. The ML would have done the trick in one box, but I also became interested is a better DAC, hence the Mola Mola. Keeping the Auralic G2.1 was a no-brainer, then just needed the ability to manage analog, so the XP22 got the gig, using an existing high quality pre just as a phono pre. We will see and hear how it all stacks up next week!
    Cheers, Malcolm
    Main System: Linn LP12/Ittok/DVxx2Mk2, ME25 as phono pre, Oppo BDP-95, Sangean WFT-3D, Auralic Aries G2.1, Mola Mola Tambaqui, Pass Labs XP22, Pass Labs X260.8, Magnepan MG3.7i
    Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini, iFi Hip DAC2, DCA Aeon2 Noire

  5. #5
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs View Post
    Peter,
    Thanks for your comments. I guess at the time of my original post I was looking for potential “one box” solutions to simplify my setup. I had committed to the Pass Labs X260.8 which I’ve had for s few months now and really like. Just a question of managing both digital and analog sources. The ML would have done the trick in one box, but I also became interested is a better DAC, hence the Mola Mola. Keeping the Auralic G2.1 was a no-brainer, then just needed the ability to manage analog, so the XP22 got the gig, using an existing high quality pre just as a phono pre. We will see and hear how it all stacks up next week!
    Cheers, Malcolm
    Malcolm. You kit list is much longer than mine, but largely as I have no interest in vinyl - or any other analogue sources.

    You mention the Auralic G2.1. That's the Aries (streaming only) I see from your profile I have this (or more likely the Altair with built-in DAC) as a possible new streamer, although I'm told Auralic's control app is so poor, most users resort to Roon to access their music. If I'm buying a costly streamer (well any streamer), it has to have a good user interface. This means a grown-up app that's able to access all my music sources, radio, etc from multiple platforms including Windows. I don't much like using a touch screen device for control as it's so easy to touch the screen slightly too firmly while selecting future tracks and the music playing is inmmediately interupted and replaced with whatever is under your finger! This is much less likely if using a mouse to search for tracks to add to a playlist, so I prefer Windows. I'd be interested to know if you use Roon or have some other good control system. Many thanks. Peter
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33 all-in-one, NAD M12 preamp
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified

  6. #6
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    Quote Originally Posted by Hear Here View Post
    Malcolm. You kit list is much longer than mine, but largely as I have no interest in vinyl - or any other analogue sources.

    You mention the Auralic G2.1. That's the Aries (streaming only) I see from your profile I have this (or more likely the Altair with built-in DAC) as a possible new streamer, although I'm told Auralic's control app is so poor, most users resort to Roon to access their music. If I'm buying a costly streamer (well any streamer), it has to have a good user interface. This means a grown-up app that's able to access all my music sources, radio, etc from multiple platforms including Windows. I don't much like using a touch screen device for control as it's so easy to touch the screen slightly too firmly while selecting future tracks and the music playing is inmmediately interupted and replaced with whatever is under your finger! This is much less likely if using a mouse to search for tracks to add to a playlist, so I prefer Windows. I'd be interested to know if you use Roon or have some other good control system. Many thanks. Peter
    Peter,

    Yes the Aries G2.1 is a digital transport only. I have a couple of options for control. I generally use the Auralic app Lightning DS. Contrary to your intel, it is actually an excellent control app. However, it does normally mean you have to use this on an iOS device (phone or iPad). I don’t find a touch pad device problematic at all. It manages local files, streaming (I generally use Qobuz, but have used Tidal and Amazon Music) and radio. All of this is in the app. A hand held device is preferable for me compared with a laptop for example. I also subscribe to Roon and occasionally use this with the Aries, again on an iOS device, although I find the quality through Lightning DS marginally better. There are other non-Auralic apps which can control the Aries, such as Linn and Lumin, both of which I have used, again on an iOS device, but they are not as convenient as Lightning DS.

    The Tambaqui gives me another option now as it is a proper Roon end point, so I can just stream local and Qobuz files directly from the Tambaqui using Roon, without using the Aries at all. For the time being though, I’m sticking with Lightning DS and the Aries G2.1 into the Tambaqui.

    Cheers, Malcolm
    Main System: Linn LP12/Ittok/DVxx2Mk2, ME25 as phono pre, Oppo BDP-95, Sangean WFT-3D, Auralic Aries G2.1, Mola Mola Tambaqui, Pass Labs XP22, Pass Labs X260.8, Magnepan MG3.7i
    Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini, iFi Hip DAC2, DCA Aeon2 Noire

  7. #7
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    Many thanks again. I must visit an Auralic dealer to get hands on with their app. I read recently that Lumin's control app is excellent. Peter
    Sources - NAD M50.2 (streamer, CD player, CD ripper, hard drive music store)
    Amplification - NAD M33 all-in-one, NAD M12 preamp
    Speakers - Avantgarde Duo XD, Avantgarde Duo (2006) - both aesthetically modified

  8. #8
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    Re: Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

    I like ML a lot but think you made the correct choice with the XP22. First, I like same brand synergy for the most part and I owned Pass at one point, tried a ML 326 with the Pass power amp and did not like the results, just not good synergy together. The 5206 could work better but without a trial you did the right thing and I believe the XP22 would be the better preamp in performance.
    Aurender ACS10 w/Audioquest Diamond USB,
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Mark Levinson No.5206 Preamplifier

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