Mark Levinson 390S or Resolution Audio Opus 21

I know their is a big price difference, but has anyone done a shoot out between these two?
I sold my Wadia 270/27ix and kept the 390S Levinson.

Your mileage may vary. CD player's sound all boils down to personal preference. I could not justify keeping the Wadias after listening to the 390S.


Paul :-)
I owned both for over a year, the 390S in my primary system and the Opus in a second system. I could not justify keeping two such expensive players so I sold one. I kept the 390S. While the Opus 21 is very good, the 390S is clearly superior in an A B comparison. Whether or not it's worth twice as much as the Opus, that's a question you need to answer. For me, it was.
Don't know Resolution Opus.I own MLevinson 37/36s.From the ML stable also consider this.31.5/31 with 30.6/30.5/360s.Look for it used,otherwise way to expensive.Even 31.5/31 with 36/36s should be a very serious CD playback system.
I bought my 37/36s used.Well worth considering to buy used-huge savings but need to be patient.
Use Madrigal MBC 1 AES/EBU between 37and 36s.
Also Audio Aero Capitole MK2 worth considering.
Good Luck
Blue Bull
Resolution Opus 21 tested in this months Hi Fi News(UK).So so review.Check it out,good luck
Blueball, Are you referrring to the HiFi News July review of the RA Opus 21 system? If so, they loved it. They admit it's not for everyone because of it's single system configuration and both components show their best when used together, but they thought the amp was a "jewel" and is "one of the world's finest" for its price and in combination with the Opus 21 CDP. The CD player received a "strong recommendation in its own right." But I'm not just quoting others here; I own this system and I thoroughly enjoy it! The Opus 21 is a highly musical CDP IMO, very involving indeed. I've owned it for nearly two years, the s30 amp for about 4 months. You can also read an in-depth review of the Opus 21 on But having said all that, from what I understand, the ML will have a more detailed, authoritative sound.

Good luck with your decision, You probably won't go wrong either way.
No not the July test,but the November 2004 test by Christopher Breuning.So so Review.Check it out.
Liked it more when using Meridian 508.20 dig out and felt that the AVI Lab series int outperformed the s30.
The advantage of buying MLevinson used is that when you sell it one day you get most of your money back,if not all.They seldom go out of fashion.Come to think of it ,I may get more for my 37 and 36s than I payed for it,but I really dont want to .Good CD Player.
Blue Bull
390S is as good as it gets right now!! Use the preamp section...bested my RefII and Krell KCT!!
The Opus 21 also got a good review in
dont change the power supply voltage with getting permission or...."big brother" will scold you by lockign you out of your own player. See info below. Can someone reverse crunch the numbers to get the method used to determine the code, or would you need one more code for verification?
No 39/390S AC Mains setting procedures

To set the AC Mains:

1. Start with the No 39 power off.

2. While pressing and holding the “mode -“ and “mode +” keys turn power on. “idxxxx” will be displayed (in this instance xxxx represents the 4-digit code in No 39 memory).

3. The 4-digit code displayed to the user must be called/faxed or emailed to MADRIGAL service personnel to determine the required 5-digit access code required for initialization of the unit.

4. Once the access code is obtained, press the “pause” button. The display will now show “>= “ with the first digit flashing “0”. The “prev/rew” and “next/f.fwd” keys will allow the entry of the first digit in the access code by incrementing or decrementing the number to be entered. Once the correct number is displayed the “pause” key will advance to the second digit (which will now flash), then the third and so on until all five digits are displayed. If a mistake is made, repeatedly pressing “pause” will advance through the digits and will wrap around to the first digit for correction of any number.

5. When all the numbers have been entered, press and hold the “pause” button again. “AC Test” will be displayed.

6. If the 5-digit access code entered was correct, the No 39 will continue through its normal initialization sequence and operation will continue as normal.

7. If the 5-digit access code entered was not correct, the No 39 will display “id” and the 4-digit code again telling the user that the access code was incorrect and a new code must be entered.
I have Resolution audio Opus 21 for more than a year now. For 6 months I also lived with Mark Levinson no. 30.6 reference DAC. I have not heard 390S, but 30.6 is a good benchmark of the ML CD players sound.
Mark Levinson has strong, dark, stormy sound that is appealing from the first notes. It has good dynamics that is evenly spread all over the ferquency range (very rare quality). Another strong point for ML is excellent bulit quality. ML negatives: it has a very strange stereo picture. It is wide and high but the sound of instruments (and voice) seems to come from small points suspended in the air. A very strange effect (that may work with big speakers with vogue stereo picture). It is also very limited in the depth of the image - there is layering but it is more heard like height layering than in depth layering. Sound is, despite the good dynamics, very laid back. There is no microdynamic, the sound is very robust, present but with reduced `life`. This is pipe and slippers component.
On the other hand Opus 21 impress with it microdynamics and rhytmic interplay. It is one of the best PRAT players, sometimes it even seems that the instruments that had a good rhytmic quality or pace (guitar, drums etc) dominate over vocals and masses of violins. Sound is very smooth, not very extended in width but with beautiful feeling of depth that give the whole sound an etherical quality (like electrostatic speakers).
So in short ML is dark, stormy, with authorative presentation and laid back sound.
Opus is very light on his feet, airy, spacey, pacey and full of rhytm with good microdynamics, transparent and smooth but alive.
After living with both for 6 months I can not say which one is better. ML is much bettter built with more elaborated perifery (power supplies etc) but can sound more processed because of that (some call this laid back sound). Opus is much more transparent and has truer timbre. They are different and wil work differently in varoius systems. ML is more at home in big american systems with big speakers, Opus is better in horn systems, with electrostatics and in PRAT oriented systems (Naim and co.).
For me, Opus is a better player but this is based on my system (my opus is connected directly to ATC active monitors). While listening through my hedaphone system (Stax SR 007) I slightly prefered ML because of the more direct sound. Opus simply do better what is important to me in sound reproduction than ML. Please do also note that Opus is much more influenced by the quality of the electricity, ML has very good power supply - so take this into account when comparing. I am using Furutech schuko connectors and Eichman Express AC power cable which suits Opus very well.
So in my words, the Levinson sounds like solid state. While the Opus has some of the virtues of tubes.

Thanks for the info
Sold my up on high end! Heard a Denon 3805 and 3910 hooked to a pair of mirage om-9's that sounded more like music than most of the expensive gear I've owned...go figure?
ML 37 transport in for repairs.Now listening to very cheap Sony DVD player as CD source,sounds very nice!!Does make one wonder sometimes...........
Dude, no one was saying anything bad about the 390S. Relax.
Thanks for you time and all the great responses.