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
Yes Dtc, I am thinking the same as you. Thats why I am curious at the 432, as its specs look more like the 532.
The 532H was very good though.
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?
Dtc... Revel Salon one's . See my system link for more details and pictures .
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 considered buying the 532h, but after seeing it with it's cover off I simply couldn't bring myself to close the deal, and ended up with a pair of Parasound JC1's (amazing amplifiers by the way).
I love the 532 but Levinson's prices have really gone off the deep end lately and it's well out of the realm of what I'm willing to pay.
I am still a fan of ML products, but the "gotta have it factor" has waned since it's peak in the late 90's (my opinion).
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.
Sorry for all the ramblings!
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.