I have the 532H and couldn't be happier. I auditioned the 433 in my home and also thought it was fine. The 532H is the most recent line of amps from Mark Levinson and I believe beside the quality of sound being excellent, the more recent line will hold its value longer.
I have a 532 (previously owned 4 436's) and its light years ahead in sound. I auditioned most of the high end stuff -Classe Krell Bryston Belles CJ Pass etc and really liked the 532 in comparison. The other amp I would choose is Pass.
I have a 432 and really like it. I have not compared it to the new 5xx models. It seems like the No 532 is an update to the 432 (although at a much higher price) and the 532H is a new, different model. Just from a weight perspective the 432 and No 532 are comparable (120 lb), but the 532H is 40 lbs lighter. Obviously, weight is not necessarily correlated to the sound, but the 532H does seem to be a new line. The 532H is 300 watts/channel versus 400 for ther 432 and No 532. The 532H also does not "double down" when going from 8 to 4 ohm, whearas the 432 and No 532 do. The 532H really looks like a new design for home theater use. I would not be surprised to find that the 432 sounds at least as good if not better than the 532H. The No 532 is twice the price, so should sound better than the 532H and probably the 432. Again, I have not heard these new amps so am just speculating. Maybe someone who has followed the line more closely lately will have more information
The #532 is the little sister of of the famed #53 , and uses the same technology . Harmon insists there not digital . The #532H is from the old technology . Both sound great to me but the #532 is far superior .
Tmsorosk - Thanks for the insights. But I am a little confused (which is not unusual). It looks like the 532H is a new development for home theater. It is lighter, it is optimized for quick, high peaks (according to ML literature) and does not double down. If it is based on the 432 technology, it looks like they made some significant changes to it.
The 53 is a switching design that uses MOSFETs for its output stages. I do not see any reference to either of those technologies in the No 532 literature. The No 532 looks more like it is a traditional design, updated to be fully differential. Do you have any reference to the No 532 using the 53 technology?
I heard the 53 with the big Revels, but unfortunately it was in their traveling truck. The "accoustics" made it difficult to really evaluate them. I have not heard the No 532.
I have confirmed that the No 532 is an upgrade of the 432 design rather than a scaled down 53. It is fully differential from input to output, which the 432 apparently is not, to my surprise. The 532H is a new design. Without listening, it is probably hard to say whether the 432 or the 532H would work better in a given setup. But, my guess is that the 532H is probably not signficiantly better than the 432 in most cases and the 432 may well beat the 532H is many cases. The No 532 is probably much better than either the 432 or 532H, but at a much higher price. Sounds like I need to find a No 532 to listen to. Starcon - you are a luck man!
Dtc ... Iv'e been using the #431 since new , the little sister to the #432 , ( less power but sweeter sounding ) and recently tried the #532H , the difference was substantial . I'm considering both the #532 and #532H as well as the Classe CTM 600 . Richard at Harmon stated the #532 used the same technology as the #53 , myself I could not say either way .
Tmsorosk - interesting - since my discussion with ML said the No 532 was definitely not the same technology as the 53. Looking at the technical specs, it just seems like the 532 is not using switching technology. My discussion with ML was that the 532H and the 432 were somewhat comparable, but would probably depend on the other components. Beside the technical issue of what technology is in the 532, as always, it may depend on the synergy with the pre and the speakers. I have not found a No 532 to try yet. I did hear a 532H today, but with speakers than I have never heard before, so I cannot make any judgement. I will keep looking. What speakers are you using?
happy 432 owner here. recently had a chance to hear the 532 and was very impressed. no chance to compare directly with my 432 but the 532 sounded fantastic to my ears. matched with the right gear, i think it would be a fantastic amp to own.
that being said....i love my 432. it's a wonderful sounding amp imho and one i have no intention of parting with any time soon. i'm not a big shooter and operate with a budget. a pre-owned 432 gave me what i wanted without busting the bank (under 4k usd). should i win he lottery anytime soon....the 532 will be considered.
The 532H is obviously built to a price point, made with many cost cutting features. It has power supplies that are about 1/3 the rating of similar power spec. Levinson amps preceding it. I've also noticed in the brochure, what might be a "Levinson" first actually, that Harman doesn't show off the interior with photographs of the power supply design and layout, and for a good reason. It's a half empty box, filled with cost cutting measures. Harman looks to be capitalizing on the Levinson name, with an amp that Madrigal would have marketed as a Proceed for about half of the price. For comparison, the venerable 23.5 was packed full, literally, of the best solid state had to offer at the time, close to 300watts into 8 ohms, with 1258VA, and 72,000mF filter capacitance per channel! It also "doubled down," which the 532H does not. The 23.5 retailed for $5900 in 92', and adjusted for inflation, would put it at about $7630 today. Also, remeber that when Madrigal upped the specs from the 20 series to the 331, 332, and 333, they lowered the price, citing the use of less expensive production techniques. If Harman has any advantage over Madrigal, I would think it would be in the area of production cost. Good as the 532H may sound, it is overpriced at $8500. Owning a Levinson amp, for me at least, has been for more than just the sound. Its for having high fidelity, as well as the confidence that you own a powerful, stable amp, that can drive ANY load, and is never the weak link in the chain. I don't feel the 532H offers this, and that Harman is devaluing the Levinson brand by using the Levinson name for the "H' series. As far as I'm aware, they now have rights to the Proceed name, so why not use it? Greed, perhaps?
Harman (ok...Levinson) doesn't even spec the 532 into 4/2 ohms. That's really a departure for a company with the type of history that ML has. It's also $20K, which is a heckuva jump from the 432 - which looks to have nice build quality, large toroids, etc. I'm not making a judgement on the 532 as I have not heard it, but IMHO if it takes less (expensive) parts to make comparable products as time marches on - great - but the price should be going in the opposite direction.
I don't own a Lenvinson product at the moment but have always admired their older amps. When I saw the specs and pictures of the internals of the 532H the first two things that came to my mind were "Where's The Beef" and "Why is this thing $8k again", especially considering that it isn't a Class D design.
Does Harman have new technology that allows them to use such small components in their product when compared to the majority of the other Class A/B designed Amps?
I say look for an older model with some meat on it's bones otherwise you may need to keep that 532 warranty card close in hand. This of course is just one more opinion in a sea of many opinions.
I can confirm that the 532 is analog, not switching like model 53, having seem them all disassembled. I spoke with some of the engineers behind the H series design and implementation, and while actually the PSU is smaller than prior ML products, its size, components and capabilities are founded in solid engineering and exhaustive listening tests. A lot of people even prefer the 532H sound than the 532. Oddly, even owning a 532 and a 533H I had not listened to them yet (moving out of country, so I will wait to get there) I listened model 53's with Salon 2 and with JBL Everest's at a Harman facility, and I can honestly said that they blew me away! I used to own a pair of B&W 802D, and I had to sell them just because of that particular experience. Never heard my speakers the same way after that afternoon with the Salon 2's and 53's. I found out that they used 2 532's as development amps while developing the Salon 2 (one for each speaker bi wired), which was what made me decide for it.
Just today brought home my No 532 to replace my 532H.
The 532H is a great amplifier. I would have been happy to have it in my system for the long-term. However, an opportunity to purchase a 532 came up and I made the leap.
The 532 is brand new out of box, not broken in. The differences that I can hear so are: 1. better separation of every sound - highs are a bit clearer, background singers more distinct, highs have more "air" around them.
2. Lows are more well defined. Not that the 532H was a slouch at this, but bass is more defined and forceful.
3. Big picture: Some HD downloads from HD Tracks that were disappointing before sound better already, in the first hour of amplifier use - before any real break-in.
To be clear, I HIGHLY recommend the 532H as it was noticeably better than my Chord CPM 2600 integrated (no slacker on its own). I emphasize that I LOVED my Chord CPM 2600. It was easily livable and the 532H was better yet. Now, the 532 bests that.
I just think that 1 hour in, the No 532 is a noticeable step up from the 532H. Each individual should decide if the upgrade cost is worth the sonic improvement.
The No. 532H is a great amp. Don't worry about the chassis seeming sparse. The Chassis is designed to hold up to 5 channels of their newer compact design using numerous smaller capacitors instead of a couple large one's in the center. They're using two of their amplifiers for the 523H and two torrodial transformers for dual mono operation mounted vertically in the front, so it looks a bit sparse, but don't worry it's all about the sound. If anything it'll give more cooling space. The amp sounds like a good pair of monoblocks built into one chassis. It is fully differential balanced, so that can explain a bit of the price increase. It is a top notch stereo amplifier with an iron grip on the bass and exceptional soundstaging.
My 532H arrived today. I switched out my Rogue Stereo 100 (which I really like) and installed the 532H into my rack. The preamp is a Sonic Frontiers Line 2 SE and the speakers are KEF Blade 2's.
It was one of those holy Mother Of God experiences!!! It was the best I have heard in my home in so many ways! Effortless power and dynamics, deep tight tuneful bass, pinpoint sound staging that was also deep and wide...
Compared to my more recent amplifiers (Rogue Stereo 100, Muse Model 160, Parasound Halo A21, & Sonic Frontiers Power 1), There was no contest! I think I may have found my "forever" amplifier!
The good deal Levinson amps are the 400 series which everyone bitched and complained that they used proceed parts. Good sounding amps that stack up well to a 532H and you can get a 431 for under 2 grand.
This may not answer your specific question but I still hope it helps. I attended a Chicago audio society event and the system was this:
Sonus faber Amati Futura speakers. Kubala Sosna Emotion speaker wires and interconnects. Mark Levinson 432 stereo amplifier some homemade preamp from a guy named Harry Paller was introducing to the public which was the reason for the event this preamp had a retail price of $2500.00 and was solid state and when it comes to preamps I’m a died in the wool tube guy. source was an Esoteric CD player that sold for $5000.00.
I was very familiar with all the gear with the obvious exception of the preamp and let me tell you.
That system was spectacular. It was one of the best systems I have ever heard and the audio store hosting the event was owned by one of my closest friends and I hang out at his store a lot and have had the opportunity to hear a lot of gear. Until that day, I NEVER fully realized how good that Levinson amp was. It truly made me realize that that amp was a giant killer. At the time the retail on that amp was $8000.00. 400 wpc into 8 ohms and 800 into 4 ohms so it will drive any speaker on the planet. I was most shocked at the beauty and the musicality of that system. It was simply mesmerizing! Guys are usually not listening closely and talking to the guy sitting next to them and this was a packed room, at least 50-60 guys and when the music was playing NO ONE SAID A WORD!
I own a ML 336 and I must say that that series of amp is the Worst amps ML ever built . I had it over 20 years and nothing but headaches ! So so sound maybe a little soft or tube like , it's dark typical ML sound . If you like to listen for long periods you risk blowing the amp . The last time it died I got fed up and decided to move on . Someone I knew was raving about the 532 H and that it has a very cool surprise . There was one for sale and the person selling it knew I was sceptical about ML and let me try it for a few weeks . This amp , the 532 H is very strange, the first hour of listening is exactly typical ML sound and yes it's fast , bass is nice same sound as the ml 336 maybe faster? Really not much difference one way or the other they are close . The second hour the amp completely changes sound ! It just gives more ! More everything ! The first time I heard this I thought it was my speakers but speakers don't do that . Then I thought it was my source . Then I read a review of this amp and in the review that the amp just goes into an other gear the longer you listen . Some say this is the best amp ML ever built . I can say that if you like listening to music for long periods this is could be the best ML amp you will ever own and that includes their flag ship amps .
Hi Brad , I gave WYWH a listen on my Beyerdynamic head phone amp and T1 headphones just to give my self a reference . Then I listen on my 532 H and 380 s with Dynaudio c 4 and I can honestly say dynamics was a very big wow ! My headphones and headphone amp are pretty darn good too but not the same . I am very surprised that someone sold you a new 532 h considering how long it's been discontinued . I hope you got a good deal . That said I love this amp and I owned the ML 336 for 20 years and still have it but the 532 h is my go to amp. Maybe the amp you bought is a defect, if it is you won't be happy . My 336 is a pain to fix and I find that it has not been the same for the last few years also ML out sources repairs also could be a pain . Good luck I hope things work out .
Accidentally deleted my post somehow, basically it talked about my 532H lacking bass and dynamics. (from 11/21/2020)
It was sold used/open box, I picked it up for $3,200 +shipping and tax. I feel I got a great deal on what turned out to be a new 532H. I am also ecstatic that it is under warranty, I didn't think it was. It was sold from Harmon to the dealer I bought it from in Feb 2020. It had only been taken out of the box for bench testing at the dealer, it was in perfect cosmetic shape. I even got the gloves. Hopefully it doesn't suffer any damage in shipping...
Some have asked if maybe I just don't like its sound, but the more I think about it, it is so far out of the range that pretty much all SS amps fall into (sound wise), there has to be something wrong with it. Waiting to here back from LA service center.