Mark Levinson 20.0 amps, "Anyone with info on it"

I'm currently running a ML333, I'm thinking of replacing it with the Mark Levinson 20.0. I try to look around for infomation about the amps, but there was very few resources. If someone who have or had the 20.0, or know about, can you please tell me what it is all about. How would you compare it to other monoblock, how does it sound compare to the newer ML's, etc. Thanks,Danny
I have a pair of the ML 20.0s and love them. I have considered replacing them with the upgraded 20.5 or 20.6 but have not done so. I have compared this to the 333, Krell KMA 100s, KMA 160, Classe (too many to mention), and Rowland 5. ML 20.0 is definitely my favorite, but there is some personal taste involved here and equipment matching. I had used them to run Martin Logan Monolith IIs. Levinson 20s are proported as having a "dark" character. This may be true, but it works very well with the Martin Logans (particularly the panels, as I am now bi-amping them with Krell KMA 160s on the bottom end). Some of my specific findings on the ML 20s are: They are very detailed and very quiet amps (in terms of background noise level). There is no grain or edge to these amps. The bottom end is very full and extended, but not quite as dynamic as the Krells KMA 160 (keep in mind the Krell's are higher powered which may the majority of the reason I have found this to be true). Keep in mind these amps use camac (or Fischer) connectors, rather than typical binding posts and RCA phono plugs (the XLR connectors are standard). These amps also double as space heaters, and can be really useful if you live in Montana, but are not as welcomed in Florida. Hope that helps.
RivesAudio, thanks for the response....Amazing, I can't believe this but I'm going for the same same set-up too. Levinson 20s for highs, Krell KMA160s for lows working together. You have sweet set-up there....I really appricate your break-down in the ML20's, you can't explain it any better. I also heard other people said the same about the ML20s, that it has a "dark" character sound to it. I'm still puzzle about the "dark" sounding description word. I have heard ML23, Krell KAS, or ML33s, and the ML333. Would any of these amp fit the description of having a dark sound to it. Thanks,Danny
The ML 23, although I have not heard it. I have heard an ML 27 and it had the same character as the 20.0 (actually maybe even slightly darker). I expect that the whole 20 series would have this similar character, but can't be 100% sure. As to the word "dark", there is a thread about the audiophile lingo. The link is:
As to what is dark, well I suppose it's the opposite of bright. Bright generally has a lot of high end information and with that frequently comes grain or harshness. It frequently has the "in your face" kind of presentation. Dark does not have that character, it's laid back, free from grain, but does not have the immediacy that something "bright" would. Dark can be a real detriment in some systems, but in others where the speakers might lean towards the bright side, it would likely work very well--at least that's what I found in my system. What speakers are you planning to bi-amp? Have you selected a crossover?
Thanks again for the explaination. I have the Mc XR19 which sounded bright but I've replace the passive cross-over with the B&W's 801 matix x-over and I made a world of a different, much smoother. I listen to techno and trance and I listen to my music very loud (close to max. gain on my ML380s preamp). Therefore, I needed speaker that have multi. woofers, that's why I selected the Mc XR19, which have two 12' woofer per encloser, along with one 8'mids and (12) tweeters. I'm getting the Krell KBX crossover or the Mark Levinson LNC. There seem very few selection of x-over out there. What crossover are you using and what would yo recommend. Thanks
I'm using a Bryston 10B cross over. I tired the KBX and liked this one better. I have not tried the LNC, but if I'm not mistaken it is single ended only and I wanted to use balanced. I think Marchand makes excellent cross overs as well. At the time I bought my Bryston they did not make a balanced model, but I believe they do now. I am somewhat familiar with the XR19s--is it easy to bipass the internal cross-over in order to do active bi-amping as you are planning? I generally don't care for McIntosh equipment, but they did a remarkable job with that line of speakers. I'm surprised it has not been better received than it has. It can play the techno, classical, pretty much anything thrown at it. When properly set up I've heard those speakers really sound fantastic.
When biamping your speakers, did you have to deal with the issue of adjusting your crossover at the right slope.
Not so much the right slope as the right cross-over point. You should get the slope that is recommended by the speaker manufacturer. For my Martin Logans it was the steepest slope possible (24dB per octave). For the McIntosh I would guess it would be 18 dB per octave, but you should call McIntosh and ask them the optimum cross over point and slope for that speaker. Also, as the "dark" characteristic: "Almost inevitably, a dark sounding unit (all of the early Madrigal/Mark Levinson designs) will be dynamically constricted in the top two octaves." Harry Pearson, the Absolute Sound, Issue 137 August/September 2002, page 101.