|Mark Levinson No. 433 Triple Mono Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Mono Amplifiers|
|Written by Andrew Robinson|
|Sunday, 01 April 2007|
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Normally, with an amp like the No. 433, the easiest downside would have to be heat. However, this time around, it isn’t. The No. 433 gets warm, but not so much that I’d have to label it as a downside. Instead, I took issue with the No. 433’s overall ergonomics. First, it’s a beast in terms of weight. While I can power-lift it myself, maneuvering it is a whole other story. Be sure to employ the help of a friend or two or, better yet, have your dealer/installer place it in your home to avoid any unsightly injuries. (Although I hear hernia surgery is quite painless and routine these days.)
I didn’t really like the No. 433’s binding posts. While the wing-nut style has been a staple for many years for Mark Levinson, I find its lack of acceptance of other wire a bit elitist. Not only will it only accept spade lugs, but you’ll have to make sure yours are the right size, a fact that I didn’t take into account until the amp arrived at my home. A quick trip to a local dealer was able to remedy this minor inconvenience. However, the binding posts are something to be aware of if you are considering connecting your old speaker cables with a new Mark Levinson amp.
Lastly, there’s the issue of the No. 433 unbalanced vs. balanced inputs. While there has been considerable debate on both sides for years, the No. 433 does sound noticeably better through its balanced outputs then through the unbalanced. Now, before you go off replacing your surround sound controller or preamp, be aware that there are adapters out there for a few bucks that will have you enjoying all that the No. 433 has to offer in no time.
With a retail price of $10,000, the Mark Levinson No. 433 exists in a category where words like absolute, benchmark, pinnacle and reference are commonplace. The No. 433 is all of these things and rightfully so, for it is truly a benchmark product, not only for Mark Levinson, but also for all price-no-object amplifiers everywhere. While the No. 433 has stiff competition, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-around performer. Given its ability to integrate in more ways than one into an existing system, be it high-end or budget, really speaks to the No. 433’s ultimate value.
I’ve been a fan and follower of Mark Levinson products for decades. I’ve spent ample time with almost every amp in their stable since the 1990s, including their Herculean mono blocks, and I must say, as impressed as I was over the years, nothing could have prepared me for the No. 433. Dollar for dollar, the Mark Levinson No. 433 quite possibly is the finest amp Mark Levinson has ever produced and, without hesitation, I am investing in the amp for my reference system.