Mark Levinson

Nº512

Disc Players

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OVERVIEW

Building upon their legacy of cutting-edge disc transports, digital-to-analog (DAC) converters and analog audio design, Mark Levinson engineers have created a CD player that brings new life and enjoyment to your CD collection. The Nº 512 represents the state of the art in CD playback. Its breathtaking transparency and detail reveal more than you ever knew your CDs contained. Further, the Nº 512 offers the finest in two-channel SACD playback for even greater dynamic range and natural sound. Thousands of SACD titles have been released, allowing audiophiles an even better musical experience. The Nº 512 extracts the most from both CDs and SACDs, allowing you to rediscover your CD collection and to enjoy even greater musical fidelity on SACD.

Audio engineers know that jitter – time-based errors in a digital signal – can have significant detrimental effects on sound quality. In severe cases, jitter can cause players to output loud clicks during the music, immediately ending any illusion of a live performance. But even small amounts of jitter are audible, and jitter is present to at least some degree in every digital device. How it is managed or minimized varies widely. In the Nº 512 , Mark Levinson engineers devised a proprietary anti-jitter technique employing a memory buffer and a Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) circuit. After the transport reads and decodes the digital steam, it is sent to a memory bank that stores it temporarily. The DDS circuit then accurately reclocks the output of the memory bank. By placing a buffer between the player’s transport and the rest of the digital circuitry and reclocking the signal, any jitter introduced by the transport itself is effectively removed, and the remainder of the digital path is slaved to the master clock. This ensures jitter is kept to a minimum, and that only one clock controls the internal timing of digital signals.

A critical design element in any digital device is the digital-to-analog (D/A) conversion process. In the Nº 512 , extremely high-quality 24-bit D/A converters in differential or dual mode are used. In other words, each channel utilizes two D/A converters instead of one. This is a more costly design solution, but it yields significantly better signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range, revealing more of the music playing through the device. In addition, the D/A converters themselves are equipped to convert audio with Direct StreamDigital™ (DSD) encoding from Super Audio CDs in the native format, avoiding any degradation that could be caused by converting the signal to accommodate D/A converters that are not DSD capable. By avoiding this conversion step, the analog output much more closely matches the original signal on the disc. Additionally the DAC PCB is built on six-layer, high-speed Nelco® N4000-13 SI laminate for increased audio purity and sonic fidelity.

To preserve the purity of audio output, the Nº 512 has two separate power supplies with independent, custom-designed, high-quality toroidal transformers. One power supply is dedicated to the digital circuitry and the other to the analog circuitry. Having completely independent power supplies safely isolates the delicate analog circuits from any potential noise or interference generated by the digital circuits, which would be detrimental to audio quality. Mark Levinson engineers have also completely enclosed the analog output board in a separate metal sub enclosure, and physically placed inherently noisy components as far away from it as possible. The analog signal is available on balanced or unbalanced outputs. There are also AES and S/PDIF digital outputs for sending PCM digital signals from conventional CDs to other devices. In addition, the Nº 512 features a metal loader assembly for greater durability.

The Nº 512 was designed for use in systems in which it can be connected to a preamplifier, or directly to the power amplifier(s) if it is the only system source. Although a direct connection precludes the convenience of the source switching offered by most preamplifiers, it eliminates one component (and the possible degradation it can cause) from the audio path. A heavy-duty metal remote control that provides a full complement of controls is included. The Nº 512 also includes several other options for control, including RS-232, Link2 and MLNet. RS-232 is compatible with third-party controllers, such as those available from Crestron Electronics, Inc. And the Link2 and MLNet protocols facilitate communication with other compatible Mark Levinson products.

The Nº 512 is the first dedicated high-resolution playback source device to carry the Mark Levinson name. In addition to unlocking the impressive dynamics of the SACD format, the Nº 512 is designed to extract the very best from your existing CD collection. There’s no doubt that the Nº 512 will open a new world of listening enjoyment.

SPECIFICATIONS

Compatible Formats CD and SACD
Analog Audio Outputs two balanced XLR analog outputs; two single-ended RCA analog outputs
Digital Audio Outputs two digital outputs – one AES (XLR) and one S/PDIF (RCA)
Communication and Control one Ethernet port; one RS-232 port; one IR port, 3.5mm mono mini plug; one 3.5mm mono (tip/sleeve) mini plug trigger input, 12V; one 3.5mm mono (tip/sleeve) mini plug trigger output, 12V; three-pin IEC standard power connector
Frequency Response +0.0dB/–0.2dB PCM/CD; +0.0dB/–0.5dB DSD/SACD
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 108dB
Dynamic Range 108dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) 92dB PCM/CD; 99dB DSD/SACD
Fixed Output Level 4V (balanced), 2V (single-ended)
Maximum Output Level 16V (balanced), 8V (single-ended)
Output Impedance 10Ω
Power Requirements 100/120/220/230–240V∼, 50/60Hz, factory set for destination country
Power Consumption 100W
Height 4.56 in (116mm)
Width 17.39 in (442mm)
Depth 17.63 in (448mm)
Weight 32.5 lb ( kg)

REVIEWS

2011 Review by Bill Armstrong, SixMoons.com (UK)

2010 Review by Keith Howard, HiFi News (UK)

2009 “Outstanding Overall Performance CD/SACD Player – Prestige/Super AV" Award, Sound Concepts (China)

2008 “ML First SACD Player” Article, by Daniel Lim, SlashGear.com

 

DOWNLOADS

No512 Owner's Manual
No512 Serial Protocol
No512 Brochure
No512 Chinese Owner's Manual


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