Mark Levinson no. 20 monoblocks

Hi, i just purchase a very nice pair of Vintage Mark levinson no.20 monoblock amplifiers, i would love to know which brand of preamp to go with these vintage amplifiers. Any suggestion will help.


Nice purchase Banmac, The No.20's have 50kohm input impedance and 26db of gain which will lend itself very well to a passive pre of 10kohm.
Looking at some of your other posts it seems you may have a ML No51 cd player, which has it's own very good built in volume control. If so I would go direct from the No51 straight to the No20's. You may never look at an active preamp the same way again.

From ML about the No51's volume control.
The Nº51 volume control uses a hybrid analog/digital
attenuation scheme to achieve a remarkable 80dB control range at
0.1dB resolution from 20 to 80 dB and 1dB resolution from 0 to 20dB.
By applying DSP-based digital attenuation only to fill in the gaps for
the very lowest level volume control steps, the Nº51 does not suffer the loss of resolution (EG: Bit Stripping) associated with pure digital volume controls.

Cheers George
Hi George
What about a 390s straight to the no.20? What you think?
The 390s better or the no51? Which one would you prefer?
Yes 390s maybe even better, I belive that it has internal buffer gain adjustment pins, so the output can then be gain matched to any system, so you can get it close to 100% full up on the remote volume for the loudest you will ever want to listen to.

A quote from Stereophile on the 390s directly connected to a poweramp.
"Overall, particularly when the No.390S was used straight into the power amplifiers with its volume control active, there was an addictive vitality to its sound, a superb retrieval of recorded detail. Even weary old recordings"

Cheers George
Hi, george
Thank you so much for your suggestion. I will try the 390s going straight to the Mark Levinson no.20 and see how it turn out. I will keep you posted.


Hi, George
Your advices are very helpful. The last few night i have used the mark levinson no.390s cd/pre to go straight to the mark levinon no.20 amps, amazing result very analog sounding. ( From 390s to 20.5 i use transparent reference XLR with xl technology. The amps to speakers, because of fischer connectors i use cardas wires 12 feet long 11.5 gauge, used silver solder.


Good to hear Mac, you are now hearing your ML #39 cdp for what it is, in the the most transparent most dynamic way you can you can do, nothing added nothing subtracted in the way of colourations or distortions.

Cheers George
Hi. George
Looking to up grade, is the Mark levinson no.33h a better choice to replace the ML. no.20?


I ran the ML20.1 with the ML26S. Match made in heaven. Although I did not own the 33H, I owned the little brother ML333 and it was not up to par with the 20.1. Be aware of the significant repair cost of the 33 series amps.
My ML no.20s are running with ML326s, sounded beautifully also. Just curious on the sound between ML33H and ML no.20 .

In my opinion the best ML for sound quality was the old ML2 Class A monoblocks.
They have low wattage but could drive anything to a certain level because they could really double their wattage all the way down to 1ohm.

Some guys love these so so much.

Cheers George