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I don't know what replies you've got in your posting. In my opinion, run 39 direct to 335. Every additional equipment in the signal path is cause for detoriation. Being an ML posterboy myself, I'll stick to ML. I used to own a 37 which was one of the finest. As for Theta, somehow I did not care for the Theta sound too much.
Lev, what the heck do you want? Why are you even asking the questions? You've said you're gonna get the Levinson, period. That being the case, all the rest of this is just mental masturbation, and that's probably why the respondees have been less than excited about it. But if you need your preferences validated, okay, here goes - The sonic improvement you'll experience with the all Levinson setup over that Theta hodgepodge will be stunning. Shocking. Absolutely amazing. Then, when you run the 39 direct, it will be even more shocking, stunning and amazing. It will absolutely blow away every combination of gear you have ever heard or imagined. And you are an absolute genius for marrying all this up to the sl3s. It's incredible. Bravo.
Feel good about it all now? Wonderful. Our job here is done.
Whoa, chas, what scintillating wit and repartee!
Sure put that pesky, agressive question asker in his place dincha?
Very impressive indeed. Nothing like the internet to take out your misplaced angst and venom risk free. The net is a virtual playground for insecure jerks
Problem is, with posts like that, you come off sounding like a moron with a chip on his shoulder. Chill, or go take some prozac. See a thread or post you don't like? Ignore it, or is that too difficult for a feller like you?
As for the question asked... The 39 run direct will afford greater resoltion across the frequency band, more dimensional imaging and a blacker background than the combination you mention, IMO.
I was using the 39 and the $7k Thor TA-1000 together. One day I became curious what direct would sound like and the next day the TA-1000 went up for sale. I lost a little tube bloom and air, but the heightened rez, slam and spatial characteristics were worth the trade off. If I were to make a suggestion, I would recommend you experiment with some tubed amplification downstream from that combo. Could be the best of both worlds. Good luck with your purchase.
Sorry Lev, but I'm with Chas. I'm pretty much a newbie when it comes to audio, and I have come to rely on much of the information shared on this site. There are many experienced, intelligent, and giving individuals here. Sure, many are biased to a certain brand, for whatever reason. Yet it seems most approach other's opinions and comments with an open mind. However, in your case, you are so single-minded that I need not even read any of your replies, they all say the same thing, ML is great, anything else sucks! That type of attitude detracts from the actual purpose of these forums. If I've been too harsh I apologize. I believe your experience and love of this hobby makes you a very important addition here, but without flexibility and an open mind your opinions regarding anything but comparing Levinson products head to head is useless. I'm sorry I don't feel qualified to comment on your technical questions. Continued good listening.
Lev335, my understanding from Madrigal's website is that the No. 39 embodies a No. 380 preamplifier in it as its volume control. As such, it would seem unnecessary, and probably redundant, to use it with the No. 38 preamp, which is an earlier model as well. If you are going CD only and don't need the preamp for other sources, I would think you would be happier running the No. 39 without the preamp.
May I direct your attention to the thread "Upgrade Advice" dated 3/12; and the thread "My Mark Levinson System Help" dated 4/9. It's said the man who forgets history is doomed to repeat it, it appears the man who doesn't know history is doomed to make a fool of himself. Well done!
As to your psychological diagnoses and proclivity to prescribe medications (regardless of how inappropriate they may be for the malady you misdiagnosed), you would be well served to get the requisite education before playing Doctor on the net. But thanks for your concern.
Lev - have you considered mail order for the 39? I gotta believe there's a dealer somewhere out there that would give you a decent return policy, particularly on this level of gear. (But really, you know what you want, stop agonizing and go for it!)
lev: do you really want advice? ok, here's mine: don't buy the ml39. save a few hundred $$ more and wait for an accuphase 75v to show up on audiogon. you can run this one-box player direct, too. and, IMHO, it will, in fact, blow away your theta miles AND your ml "dream machine." i know you may find this hard to accept, but there are more people who believe that ml is NOT the be-all-and-end-all of highend gear than those who do; if this weren't true, then ml would have few, if any, competitors. fact is, ml has hundreds of competitors. as others have pointed out before: not everyone likes strawberry ice cream; that's why baskin-robbins used to make 31 flavors. just cuz your screen name is "lev" doesn't preclude you from tasting another kinda cone. and, you might even like it. happy hunting. -kelly
Cornfedboy maybe I will check that out. Thank you for your help. People understand I think the high end audio industry has alot to offer, is Levinson the best no. are there other companys that also offer great products of equal or greater sound yes. I just happen to love what I own and can everyone say that for what they own NO. I have had the other brands and I prefer what Levinson gives you interms of performance.
I owned an No.39 for 3 years, during which time I went back and forth on the issue of running it direct vs. using a separate pre-amp. There is a clarity and purity and image stability you get by running direct, which is mighty appealing. But when I would add a pre-amp, I always appreciated the extra ooomph I got out my system. With a high-gain amp or highly efficient speakers, it might have been a different story.
The Levinson is a great product, but it may be getting a little long in the tooth when it comes purely to the sonics of CD playback. In order to get it all in one box, including volume control, I don't think you will be getting the best CD playback available for $6K. The No. 37 transport in it is superb, but the No. 36 DAC is fair to middling by today's high-end standards, I think. -Dan
thats right,plus the39 is being updated to implement24/96 hence360-360s technology.but the39 killsthemiles , if you really need a39 for now buy a used one for half price. when running direct you lose a little dynamic punch compared to using a pre of high caliber,minimum of 380 s or 32 in a levinson only system or a art pre for superb sound. mike
I also owned a #39 run direct thru a ML#331. The noteworthy improvement being increased resolution and detail. However, the #331 being a little dry to begin with, the loss of my tubed pre's (AI M3A) bloom and warmth, was not worth the trade for higher rez. I think the Meridian CD might be a more suitable match for a Levinson amp. I do understand that you would like to stay within brand, pride of ownership and such. One caution, however. I bought the #39 based on the advertised flexibility of having three components on one chassis. I did this with an eye toward adding digital room compensation in the loop between the digital output and the DAC input of the #39. This can not be accomplised with the #39. It will not accept it's transports output back into it's DAC. When I explained this to Madrigal I was greeted with a bad attitude and a rude representative. I understand that you would like to stay within brand, pride of ownership etc. and they do make good equipment, but be wary. there is better out there. As for me I sold all my Levinson and won't buy again. GOOD LUCK
My advice is to consider the Meridian 508.24 and Wadia 860 or 861. you can get the Wadia for about the same price used, and I have had both and I think the Wadia is a lot better, but it is a taste thing. The Levinson is more laid back, while the Wadia is more accurate. The 508.24 is great as well, though you would have to keep your preamp for that one, it's also about 1/2 the price of the Wadia or Levinson (used) the best bet is to get both or all 3 and decide for yourself, if you only get the 39 you'll never know what your missing or not. There are some great comparisons done in Stereophile on these 3 players from a couple of years back. Good luck
I would prefer not to compalin in this way, but I feel compelled to express my disbelief at receiving negative votes for the post I made above. In a thread that contained a fair bit of sniping, I tried to give a balanced and honest assesment of my experience with the product Lev335 asked about.
I hope the rating was not because I did not uniformly sing the praises of Levinson.