Mark Levinson 333 (recapped)
I am considering purchase of a Mark Levinson 333, recapped in 2006.
Price is 2200 Euros (in the Netherlands).
I am wondering
should I be concerned about reliability, and whether it will bring me as sonic improvement.
--- I wonder if ML 333 is still good after 20 years (with 13 year old PSU caps), and how is ML legacy models' servicing and repair -- if anybody has recent experience in Europe.
My current speakers are old (1990) MBL 101, I use them without their optional separate active subwoofer (so it is "Radialstrahler heaven" - or hell, if the match is poor).
MBLs have only 80 db sensitivity (not sure if that is dB/W or dB/2.83V), and 4 Ohm resistance (dipping below that, but not much).
With Pass Aleph 4 they are OK, yet sometimes the sound lacks authority.
Obscure, moderately powered "Innovative Audio Ultrapath" are gutless when driving MBLs.
300B SET (Glasshouse 300BSEp from hificollective.co.uk ) is actually better than "Ultrapath", but obviously struggles.
Best match so far has been Mark Levinson 23. It is not perfect match (a bit hard sounding at times), but better than any combination other so far.
-- Could ML 333 bring improvement over ML 23?
If a recapped ML 333 is at least equally reliable as ML 23, and there is a sonic improvement, I'd go for that 333 (I can get back 1850 Euros invested in ML 23 sooner or later).
I also keep an eye on Krell (there is a KSA 250 for sale nearby, for 3250 Euros, but possibly negotiable), and Pass (probably Pass X250; Pass Aleph 1.2 are rare and more costly; finally, there is another Pass Aleph 4 (for 2500 Euros), I could parallel the channels and have close to 250 W in 4 Ohm. Of course a pair of Aleph 1.2 or Aleph 4 means 1000 W idle = winter amplifier; but I could live with that.
As a side note, I am looking at power 200W and up (doubling in 4 Ohm); still, I wonder how important is power vs other properties of the amplifier when MBLs are concerned (output topology, etc.).