I will go for 27.5.or 23.5
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I agree with Cip. I had a 27 and a 333. I loved the 27 and thought, of course, a newer, more powerful Levinson would be better. I was disappointed. The 27 is very warm and musical while the 333 was cold and analytical. Though I now use tube monos, I haven't been able to bring myself to sell the 27 because it is a terrific solid state amp. I have a friend who has a 27.5, but upgraded to a 23.5, which has the same character. If you're looking for a solid state amp at a reasonable (audiophile reasonable!) price, you can't go wrong with this series. I would assume the 331 has the same character as the 333.
I owned a No. 27 and a 27.5 and currently use a 23.5. I thought the 27.5 was an improvement over the 27, especially in the bass department. I upgraded to the 23.5 simply because my speakers benefit from the extra power. I think your money may be better spent on the older model amp which you should be able to find for under $2000 on the Audiogon.
I think the overall midrange and trebble character of the two amps (23.5 and 27.5) are similar. The 23.5 has more bass impact and seems to go deeper into the depths of the lower registers. I am not really familiar with the 300 series sound, but I can say that I am quite happy with the sound of both the 27.5 and 23.5. These both can be bought for quite a bit less than a 300 series. II don't think you would be disappointed with either the 23.5 or the 27.5. Only you can decide if it is worth spending the extra money for a 300 series amp.
How much power do you need?
Good luck with your search and happy listening.
Well everybody I have ended up with the 331, it just had a touch more bass extension and control that the 27.5, tonally slightly richer, however I would still recommend the 27.5 to anyone.
P.S I have just slotted a Nagra PLP preamp into my system which allows the Wadia 860x to run on full gain with simply astounding results. I believe that this quality of preamp more readily allows you to hear the overall gains the 331 has over the 27.5.