Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mark Levinson 390S owners, pls. note

OK, I confess, I have to take back what I said in previous post concerning ML390S. After I got it back from service it went back to my primary system due to reason that the player was in essence some 50% revised.

As 200hrs burn-in is now completed I can give initial assessment. The story is that transport gave in and I had to sent ML 390S to service. Typical Levinson stuff, service took 2 months and costed me €780 - yes, forget Levinson's international guarantee, evidently if you seek service outside the country of origin, you pay. Love to be ex-pat.

The interesting point, though, is that since my 390S was one of the first to be upgraded from model 39, during this particular service the DAC was changed for no charge for the current status. I personally always suspected that early upgrades were more or less hacks (my unit went back 3 times to upgrade service due to various problems). The good news is that this new DAC raises the 390S onto a new level in terms of resolution and soundstage projection. The sound is more upfront instead of tightly focused as before, there is more presence, midrange is more palpable, soundstage is as deep as before but noticeable more wider. I already mentioned improved resolution and transparency, proof is that I keep throwing in various CDs just to hear what I've been missing before.

Two possibilities. First, my original upgrade was somewhat defective, and yet even that unit had fabulous transparency. Or second, ML has indeed made some improvements for the original upgrade and the latest upgrade illustrates what an upgrade 390S is fully capable of. Actually I don't mind, I keep smiling when I listen to music. But if you own one of the early upgraded units, check with ML local service whether you are eligible for DAC revision.

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