About the Mark Levinson No.5206
A preamp built for pristine Mark Levinson sound
A preamp built for pristine Mark Levinson sound
Refined industrial cosmetic design is a Mark Levinson hallmark, and this stereo preamp has it in spades. The No.5206 weighs in at 48 pounds, and features a beautiful curved aluminum and glass front panel. Its 1"-thick aluminum chassis flows seamlessly into the elegant glass display.
But sound quality is the bottom line here, as you'd expect from a world famous audiophile brand like Mark Levinson. We love this preamp's performance-minded features, including its dual-monaural layout and unique line-level Class A circuitry.
Flexible connections for building a top-notch system
With an array of digital and analog audio inputs, Bluetooth® streaming capability, and home theater pass-through, you have a lot of options for building a great-sounding system around the '5206. This preamp can bring out the best from every component you plug into it — especially if you power it with the matching Mark Levinson No.5302 dual monaural amplifier.
And with moving coil and moving magnet modes in the on-board phono preamp — including an array of flexible capacitive and resistive loading switches on the rear panel — the '5206 allows you to get the best out of your favorite turntable cartridges.
Treat digital sources right
A total of six digital inputs — including optical and coaxial S/PDIF, USB Type-B, and AES/EBU digital XLR — feed through the '5206's Precision Link II DAC. This high-performance digital-to-analog converter makes the most of just about any digital source you send its way, including MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) music files. And with aptX-HD Bluetooth, even convenient wireless streaming from your compatible phone, tablet, or computer can sound excellent.
A legacy that sets the bar high
Since the company's inception in 1972, Mark Levinson has set world-class standards for quality, musicality and longevity. If you're lucky enough to find a vintage piece, the asking price may be higher than the original. And they're still designed and built in the USA.
We are thrilled that the recently developed 5000 Series brings the legendary sound of this brand into the realm of the attainable for more music lovers.
- dual monaural preamplifier
- total harmonic distortion: 0.003% (20-20,000 Hz)
- Class A analog preamp stage has enough current capability to drive your headphones directly (via front-panel 1/4" output)
- Precision Link II DAC
- full MQA decoding on all digital inputs including asynchronous USB
- 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD 11.2 MHz capability
- control with included aluminum remote or Mark Levinson 5Kontrol app for Android™ and iOS®
- integrated Bluetooth® receiver with aptX-HD
- No.5000 series signature curved aluminum and glass front panel design
- 2 balanced line-level XLR stereo inputs
- 2 unbalanced line-level RCA stereo inputs
- 1 pair single-ended MC (moving-coil) RCA phono inputs
- separate RCA phono inputs for MM (moving magnet) or MC (moving coil) cartridges
- 2 coaxial S/PDIF RCA inputs
- 2 optical S/PDIF Toslink inputs
- 1 AES/EBU digital XLR input
- 1 asynchronous USB Type-B input
- 1 pair unbalanced line-level RCA outputs
- 1 pair balanced line-level XLR outputs
- control ports include Ethernet (RJ-45), RS-232, 12V trigger input/output and IR input (3.5mm jack)
- 1/4" headphone jack on front panel
- USB Type A port for firmware updates
Dimensions & warranty:
- 17-1/4"W x 5"H x 19-1/4"D
- weight: 48 lbs.
- warranty: 5 years
- MFR # MLNO5206AM
What's in the box:
- 6' AC power cord
- Remote control
- 2 "AAA" batteries
- Owner's Manual
- Safety Information Sheet
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Features & specs
|Phono Input Type||Moving Magnet/Moving Coil|
|Optical Digital Inputs||2|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||2|
|Digital XLR Inputs||1|
|USB Type A||0|
|USB Type B||1|
|Optical Digital Outputs||0|
|Coaxial Digital Outputs||0|
|Digital XLR Outputs||0|
|Discrete Sub Outs||No|
|Audio Features & Specs|
|S/N Ratio (Phono)||---|
|S/N Ratio (Line)||93|
|DAC Bit Depth||32-bit|
|DAC Sample Rate||384 kHz|
|Home Theater Bypass||Yes|
|Bluetooth Formats Supported||SBC, aptX-HD|
|Apple Control App||No|
|Android Control App||No|
|12 Volt Trigger||In/Out|
|Parts Warranty||5 Years|
|Labor Warranty||5 Years|
Precision Preamplifier: The Mark Levinson No5206 is a class-A preamplifier that can serve as the hub of your entire audio system. By perfectly preserving both digital and analog audio signals, the No5206 delivers the purest possible signal, allowing you to hear the full potential of your music. The No5206 harnesses decades of superlative audio engineering and the latest advancements from Mark Levinson to deliver unmatched performance. With a bold industrial design, fully discrete PurePath cicuitry, Precision Link II DAC, MainDrive headphone power, the No5206 delivers luxurious fidelity with premium features and flexibility and is proudly designed, engineered, and precision-crafted in the USA.
Pure Path Circuit Design: The foundation of the No5206 is its proprietary PurePath circuitry - a fully discrete, direct-coupled, dual-monaural line-level preamp circuitry, for which the Shelton design team has filed two patent requests. Mark Levinson's proprietary Pure Path circuit design maximizes audio signal integrity with exceptional accuracy and sonic clarity from this high-end preamplifier with a premium phono pre-amp stage. 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.
Hybrid Gain Phono Stage: A newly designed phono stage features a hybrid gain topology, mating key discrete components from Mark Levinson's acclaimed 500 series Pure Phono stage with low-noise integrated circuits for high performance at 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. You are able to 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.
Precision Link II Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): The No5206 offer outstanding digital audio capability through the Mark Levinson Precision Link II DAC. The latest generation ESS Sabre 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. The Mark Levinson No5206 accurately reproduces digital audio signals and minimizes noise, so you can discover new details in your favorite songs. You'll experience outstanding audio quality from your entire digital music collection. The unit supports PCM, DSD, and MQA playback with seven user selectable PCM filters and four lowpass filters for DSD playback.
- PCM: The No5206 offers support for 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, and 384kHz PCM. You can set the filter characteristic for PCM digital content such as the digital output from a CD player. Try several of these filters with the types of music you typically listen to and choose the one you prefer. Choose from Apodiz Fast, Hybrid Fast, Brickwall, Fast Linear, Slow Linear, Slow Minimum, and Fast Minimum.
- DSD: The No5206 supports DSD Native/DoP 2.8, 5.6, or 11.2MHz. You can set the low-pass filter characteristic for DSD high-resolution digital content. You can select from roll-offs that begin at 47kHz, 50kHz, 60kHz or 70kHz. The audible effects of the different roll-off characteristics are subtle and will vary depending on the type of musical content and the high-frequency bandwidth of your speakers and headphones.
- MQA: The Mark Levinson No5206 preamplifier offers full MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) decoding technology, which enables playback of MQA audio files and streams from any digital input - including USB-B, Optical, Coaxial, and AES. MQA delivers sound of the original master recording in the highest possible sound quality. At this level of playback you are hearing what was created in the studio - with precise file and platform-specific DAC compensation and management.
352.8kHz or 384kHz PCM Upsampling: Upsampling is the process of increasing the effective sampling rate of a digital audio signal. PCM signals at 44.1, 88.2, or 176.4kHz are upsampled to 352.8kHz; while PCM signals at 48, 96, and 192kHz are upsampled to 384kHz. Because these lower resolution signals inherently have fewer samples per second, it is impossible to perfectly recreate the additional samples that would have been present in a higher resolution signal. However, the advanced up-sampling algorithm of the No5206 is able to approximate these additional data points very well, and with most program material it offers a noticeable improvement.
Class-A Analog Headphone Stage: The No5206 features a MainDrive headphone output which employs a preamp output stage specifically designed with the current and power capacity to drive headphones directly in pure class A, without a separate headphone amp. As a result, you'll unleash all the performance your headphones can deliver with the Mark Levinson No5206 for an incredibly personal listening experience.
Surround Sound Processor (SSP) Mode: The SSP (Surround Sound Processor) mode allows the No5206 to be seamlessly integrated into a multichannel home cinema system. Any analog input may be designated as the surround sound processor input. When the SSP mode is activated the No5206's volume control is deactivated and the level is fixed at unity gain. This allows the surround sound processor to control the volume of the left and right speakers in unison with the rest of the system. Room correction EQ and level calibrations performed in this mode and stored in the surround sound processor will be maintained unaltered.
Note: Prior to entering SSP mode make sure the volume of your surround sound processor is all the way down. Gradually increase volume as desired and perform calibration.
High-Pass Subwoofer Filter: You can activate a subwoofer high-pass filter via either the preamplifier's unbalanced RCA or balanced XLR outputs. The high-pass subwoofer filter is fixed at 80Hz; 12dB/oct (2nd order).
Audio Settings: The No5206 preamplifiers offers several audio adjustments for volume, mute, and source level.
- Max Volume: This setting determines the maximum volume level setting in 0.5dB increments between 40.0dB and 80.0dB. The factory default maximum volume is 80.0dB. Set this value to the volume slightly below where your speakers start to distort audibly.
- Turn-On Volume: This control lets you set the initial volume upon turn-on. Choose a turn-on volume level in 0.5dB increments between 10.0dB and 60.0dB. The factory default setting is 40.0dB. You can also set the turn-on volume level to the last used volume setting.
- Mute Level: This setting lets you set the amount of Speaker output and Line output level attenuation that occurs when the Mute button is engaged, in 0.5dB increments between -10dB and -80.0dB. The factory default mute attenuation is -40dB.
- Offset Adjustment: The output level of audio devices can vary from brand-to-brand and model-to-model, making some devices play louder or quieter than others. The Offset adjustment allows you precisely compensate for source volume differences so that all connected devices play at a similar volume level. The setting offers a range of -12.0dB to +12.0dB, in 0.5 dB steps.
Robust & Luxurious Design: From the gently curved profile to the beautiful glass panel, the No5206 is meticulously designed to exude excellence and luxury. Robust materials, lavish finishes and bold geometry are celebrated attributes of Mark Levinson designs. One-inch thick solid aluminum front panels are bead-blasted, black-anodized, and machine contoured to flow seamlessly into the sleek glass display, which itself is recessed into a bead-blasted and clear-anodized aluminum bezel. Two iconic hourglass knobs are machined with a gently curved profile softly transitioning into a rounded front. Meticulous artistry is evident in the fine details including debossed top cover vents, screen printing behind the glass panel and aluminum Standby and Menu buttons - all resting on matching custom aluminum feet.
Balanced & Unbalanced Connectivity: The Mark Levinson No5206 is outfitted balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs and inputs. Balanced connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.
- Preamp Outputs: Stereo balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA preamp outputs provide connection to your power amplifier (such as Mark Levinson's No5302 dual mono Class AB amplifier; sold separately. The balanced and unbalanced preamp outputs are variable and will follow the preamplifier's Volume, Balance and Mute controls.
- Analog Inputs: The Mark Levinson No5206 is outfitted with both balanced & unbalanced analog audio inputs. There are two stereo balanced XLR inputs and two stereo unbalanced RCA inputs.Any analog input can also be designated as the Surround Sound Processor (SSP) input.
MM & MC Phono Inputs: The No5206 has two stereo analog phono preamplifier inputs that accept left-channel and right-channel moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) phono cartridge input signals. Connect a turntable equipped with a moving coil cartridge to the MM inputs. Connect a turntable equipped with a moving coil cartridge to the MC inputs. You may connect only one turntable to the N05206. If the turntable is equipped with a ground wire, connect it to the ground screw. There is also an infrasonic "rumble" filter that can be turned on or off.
Note: The DIP switches adjacent to the phono inputs set the input Resistance for moving coil cartridges and the input Capacitance for moving magnet cartridges. Selecting the right setting is essential for getting the best performance from your turntable. Consult the cartridge's manual for the recommended load setting and follow the chart in the owner's manual of the No5206 to make the correct settings.
Digital Audio Inputs: The Mark Levinson No5206 is outfitted with a total of 5 digital audio inputs; including two optical (toslink) digital inputs, two coaxial (RCA) digital inputs, and one AES digital input. All digital inputs support 2ch stereo playback from PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz), DSD (up to 256/11.2MHz), and MQA music files. It is not compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS, or other multichannel audio formats.
Asynchronous USB-B Port: The No5206 preamplifier is equipped with an asynchronous USB-B port for connection to your Windows PC (7-up) or Mac computer (OSX 10.4-up), so you can play music files stored on your laptop or desktop through the Mark Levinson preamplifier. The USB-B input allows playback of PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz), DSD (up to 256/11.2MHz), and MQA music files. A Windows PC will require a dedicated USB audio driver; a Mac does not require an additional USB audio driver.
Note: There is also a rear-panel USB-A port that is used for firmware updates only. The USB-A port does not support audio playback.
Bluetooth aptX-HD: The No5206 features Qualcomm aptX HD, the latest 24-bit High Res version of Bluetooth that is being supported by newer smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It preserves sound data through the audio transmission, resulting in a "better-than-CD" listening experience. With aptX HD, listening to music at the highest audible quality is possible wirelessly trough the Mark Levinson No5206 preamplifier.
- Playback: You'll be able to stream stored music, music apps, and other audio content from your Bluetooth source device (such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer) to the No5206 preamplifier.
- Control: You can control basic playback functions (such as Play/Pause & Previous/Next Track) from the included IR remote; advanced music navigation will still need to be done from your Bluetooth source device.
- Pairing: You can pair multiple device with the No5206, but only one Bluetooth source device can be connected and used for playback at a time.
Note: Your Bluetooth source device must also support Qualcomm aptX HD to enjoy wireless HD audio. If your device does not support aptX HD, you can still enjoy standard Bluetooth audio streaming.
Front-Panel Headphone Output: The No5206 is outfitted with a front-panel 1/4" TRS headphone jack. The preamplifier's speaker and line outputs automatically mute when a set of headphones are plugged in.
Front Panel Display: The front-panel 32-character alphanumeric display provides information about the No5206's operating status. During normal operation, it indicates the name and volume level of the selected input.
IR Remote: An elegant 5000 Series custom aluminum IR remote control is included for wireless operation of the Mark Levinson No5206 preamplifier. The remote provides control functions such as Power On/Off, Input Selection, Volume Up/Down, Mute, Balance, Play/Pause, Previous/Next Track, Stop, Menu Selection.
5Kontrol App: The new Mark Levinson 5000 series 5Kontrol app (for Apple iOS 9.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) allows you to control select functions of the preamplifier from your compatible Apple iOS or Android mobile device, From the 5Kontroll app you can select inputs, control volume, mute, and standby from your supported smartphone or tablet device that is connected to the same network as the No5206 preamplifier.
- Make sure the No5206 has Firmware version 1.41 or above.
- The No5206 must be connected to the same network as your Apple iOS or Android OS device.
- The No5206 cannot be in Green Standby Mode. Green Standby mode disables network functions once in standby. Setup power to the Power Save mode or the Normal mode for the best user experience.
Control Ports: System integration and communication ports include Ethernet, RS-232, IR input, and 12V trigger In/Out.
- Ethernet: This RJ45 jack supports connection to a home network via Cat5e or CAT6 Ethernet cable and allows you to access the Setup menu and other controls via a browser-based setup panel on your laptop or desktop computer.
- RS-232: This DB9F connector provides serial control through a standard RS-232 protocol. Click here for RS232 code data.
- IR Input: This 3.5mm minijack port accepts IR (infrared) control signals from other equipment.
- 12V Trigger In/Out: The No5206 is outfitted with a 12V Trigger input (3.5mm) and output (3.5mm). These 12V triggers can be used to link other components in your system that also offer 12V triggers, so they turn on and off with one another.
Standby Modes: The No5206 preamplifier's Standby mode has three settings that can be selected via the Setup menu - Green, Power Save, and Normal. Off
- Normal: This mode shuts off the display and mutes its audio outputs, but keeps all of its control and audio circuits powered. This mode provides the least amount of power conservation, but allows the N05206s audio circuits to remain warmed up to deliver optimal performance at all times.
- Green: This mode removes power from almost all of the preamplifier's circuits, allowing the unit to be activated only via an IR control signal, a 5V - 12V trigger or a double press of the Standby button. This mode provides maximum power conservation and is the factory-default Standby mode.
- Power Save: This mode removes power from the audio circuits, but keeps the control circuitry powered and ready to receive commands from the front panel controls, or the remote control or the web-browser Graphical User Interface (GUI). This mode provides moderate power conservation.
Note: The No5206 has an Auto Off feature that automatically places it into the Standby mode after 20 minutes of no user control input or audio signal passing through the unit. The factory default setting for the Auto Off feature is On (engaged) as required for certain regions. You can disable the Auto Off.
Firmware Updates: The rear-panel USB (type-A) port allows you to perform firmware upgrades that may be offered in the future, and to import and export setup configurations via a standard USB thumbdrive (FAT32 formatted). Firmware updates may also be accomplished via download when the unit is connected to a local area network (LAN) via an Ethernet cable.
Note: The installation process for firmware updates takes at least 15 minutes and should never be interrupted.