|Mark Levinson No. 336 Dual Monaural Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Mono Amplifiers|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Wednesday, 01 November 2000|
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The Mark Levinson No. 336 is the most powerful of Madrigal's second offering of their 300 series amplifiers. Rated at 350 watts per channel into eight ohms, 700 watts into 4 ohms and 1400 watts into 2 ohms, this dual mono, single-chassis power amp is designed to handle the most challenging of impedance loads on the most demanding genres of music. Priced at $9,500, the No. 336 replaces the No. 333. As compared to the No. 333, the No. 336 has slightly modified industrial design and different heat sinks than the No. 333, but it takes a trained eye to be able to tell the difference without bending down to read the front faceplate. Listening to a No. 336 vs. a No. 333 is a different story.
The No. 336 is a tank, as you'd expect with a beefy 350-watt-per-channel amplifier. One man can not lift it alone. In fact, it comes with two sets of nifty gloves so that you and your strongest buddy can place the amp in its upright and locked position in your listening room. Once you have it positioned (my No. 336 is located between my two Wilson WATT Puppies, closer to the left speaker than the right), plugging the No. 336 in is the next logical step. I ran into a problem because the two-meter cord for the No. 336 wasn't nearly long enough to both discreetly hide the power cable and still reach the closest A/C receptacle. Madrigal has a solution for this in a factory two-meter extension cable, which I special-ordered. The last step in getting rockin' with a No. 336 is hooking up your interconnects and speaker cables. Obviously, you know whether you are going to run your No. 336 balanced or unbalanced. If you want to run it balanced, you must remove the small pins that short out the balanced connections. I recommend tastefully taping them with, say, a little clear packing tape to the back of the amp and/or safely packing them in the No. 336's box for possible future use. Hooking up your speaker cables is a snap with the No. 336's hand-twist knobs. They effectively avoid the natural urge to crank down on the connections too tightly.
Once you are done with the physical set-up, be prepared for a prolonged break-in period. I am not going to tell you not to listen to the amp, because I couldn’t resist and I don’t expect you to resist, either. I cannot stress to you more strongly that you need to repeatedly play a CD for two or three weeks, even at low levels, to get this amp up to its full potential. Madrigal recommends 400 hours or more of break-in and I don’t disagree with them. Out of the box, ice cold, the No. 336 shows off some of its strong points – it’s very quick and dynamic - yet it takes the full break-in period to hear the highs smooth out and the No. 336 to really warm up and become more three-dimensional.