Your question is a bit like asking: will I regret buying a Mercedes 600? If you can afford it, the chances are you will love it, and have a wonderful, long-term investment. (I look at all Mark Levinson products as an investment.)
The only issue I'd raise regards the mating with the Maggie 1.6's. The 383 is a lot more amp (in terms of quality) than the 1.6's really need, although the Maggies should shine with this pairing. Over time, your listening interests may be best served by upgrading the speakers -- maybe to the Maggie 3.6's if you want to stay with electrostatics.
To be honest, I have never lived with a Mark Levinson amp -- only listened to them in dealer rooms, and with a friend who owns an earlier model. I have, however, followed ML products for more than 30 years as a serious hobbyist, and they are certainly in the Mercedes-Benz 600 class.
I have a 383 matched up to my Hales Trancendence 5's and
it's the best sound I've had from my system. The 383 sounds
a lot more powerful than it's 100 wpc rating. This is my
first Levinson product and I am very impressed with both
the quality and sound. I would think the 383 and 390 CD
player would be a match made in heaven!
You will regret if you don't buy them.
I have no.383 with no.39 which make me always at home and i was thinking about upgrade to no.390.
One more thing,you can save 1 interconnect or 2 interconnects(if you buy CD/DAC combo).
I agree that Mark Levinson stuff are Mercedes-Benz 600 Class.
Simple is the best ! Good Luck !
You may have already seen this if you are researching the 383, but there is a review at www.soundstage.com. They loved it, and gave it a Reviewer's Choice Award. I also remember reading about it in Stereophile, which also gave it a great review. Based on the reviews, and comments from actual owners, it seems to be a serious instrument with serious sound.
For integrateds in this price range, I would also be looking at the Rowland Concentra II, or maybe the new MAC MA6900.
I must remind you that Mercedes 600 is a 600 cc small car, very popular in Europe. If this is the object of your comparison I have to agree. As a Levinson ex owner I must say that I was never happy with the sound produced at first by a 390 383 combo, upgraded later to a 390 380S 334.
There are two types of stereo systems: those that bring music to your room and those who take you to the place where music was played. Levinson is incapable of doing any of the above. If you don't have detail and dynamics you can talk all you want about soundstage etc. and Levinson is known as one of the most non dynamic amplifiers on the market.
I would also like to remind you that Mr. Levinson is now the designer of Cello and Mark Levinson, the company is part of Harman International which also purchased a few years ago Infinity and ruined their reputation on the hi end market.
So, How good is it? Not good! But don't trust me; Go to some live performances then listen to as much equipement as you can, then read the Stereophile reviewers associated equipement apendix and see how many of them are using Levinson and if, in fact, one of them is (JA), see what kind of Levinson is he using. I'm afraid that in order to keep the Mercedes comparison straight you'll have to look accross the ocean for electronics too.
Levinson gear is impeccably well made and throws a huge soundstage in terms of both width and depth. It may not be toe-tapping dynamic (PRAT) but it does have tremendous air for solid state equipment. I think the 383 alone would be a great piece but would consider using a different CD source to avoid over-emphasizing Levinson's sonic traits. It's definitely well made, probably the best in the US (Rowland is up there, too) and competes with Goldmund and Accuphase for build quality (I own/owned this all). 383 may be like a C320 not a CL600 (that would be the Levinson 32).
I owned the 383 for a year and enjoyed it the whole time. I got caught up in reading about audio and convinced myself I needed a change.
The 383 is an absolute joy to use, excellent design; it is a great performer as well. I found it very musical and never fatiguing, a joy to have on all the time.
I had talked with another person that said they found the performance to be nicely improved by upgrading the power cord, his words were something like, "it can sound bigger than it is...". As someone who just purchased his first aftermarket power cord, I can attest to the enhancements they add.
It's well known that separates give the most flexibility, but having the single unit is nice!
Someone above mentioned the Mac MA6900, I read, or rather skimmed, the comments of Sam Telig in Stereophile on this integrated and he was very pleased with it's performance; if possible try to listen to it as well.
I believe with some careful shopping you could meet or exceed the 383's performance at the price, but ask yourself "how you listen". If you spend most of your time between the speakers "critical" listening, you "may" want separates. If you spend a lot of time with it on while doing things, not just sitting between the speakers, the 383 may be perfect.
Dear Nicolae: With due respect, the M-B 600 is their limo, with a 6-liter engine. In the U.S., the numbers associated with M-B models refer to the engine displacement, which is in liters. Thus, a 560 is a 5.6 liter engine, a 300 is a 3.0 liter engine, etc. The M-B 600 is the top of the line model in the U.S., with a price to match. It's possible that M-B has a European model that uses a different numerical nomenclature than the U.S. I remember during the years that I lived in Germany I used to watch in awe when I'd get passed on the autobahn by someone in a 600 travelling in comfort at 130 mph. Truly awesome cars.
Mr. Sdcampbell, I was just beeing sarcastic: there is a Mercedes 600, a very small car, as I said 600 cc, half the size of a Renault 5, and I see no mistake in the comparison between the M.L. 383 and a motorized rain coat. It's cool to have one now, it has good reviews, but by May you'd wish you were smart enough to have purchased a motorcycle.
Mr. Clennon, don't waste your money on technology without style. Listen to live music and then find the system who can most accurately reproduce it. The "investment" of a 383 can almost buy you an active Linn system or a Nu Vista 3D and Nu Vista Integrated by Musical Fidelity. You were asking how musical is the 383... Try Naim if you want a truly musical system.
Looks are deciving, what you hear matters!
It's not bad, but there's something about the No. 383 that has been puzzling me for some time.. A lot of them show up on auctions, and of course the unit could not be very old.
I think what happens a lot is that people buy the No. 383 as it represent a good value for what it offers, but they're expecting more than what it's intended to deliver. This is not unlike the situation with the No. 390S CD player. If you want excellent performance (but not the best), it's a steal.
But if you want the best - and the best that the brand is able to deliver - you need separates. The devil is in the details, and a No. 390S does NOT sound as open as a No. 37 / No. 360S / No. 380S / No. . I think a lot of folks who buy the No. 383 are ultimately disappointed, but I think they're just expecting too much.
As my dealer would say: "What do you expect for $6,000?"
I myself seriously considered the unit - it's still quite a bargain, and I wasn't shooting for the best performance, just "very, very good". I had to pass on the No. 383 as my speaker choice (Aerial 7B) really needs more power than what the No. 383 delivers.
For the money (and this is just my opinion, of course), I think you would be better off with a used No. 300 series amp and a used No. 36/No. 38 combo. Yes, the DAC and pre are quite a bit older, but they perform much better, and they can both be completely upgraded to a 360S/380S, respectively, and you'll get a new five-year warranty when you do so. The prices I've been quoted for upgrades still makes them cheaper than new units, and with a new warranty, there's no investment to lose.
As for the complaints I've seen regarding the sound, the Mark Levinson brand is known for sounding like there's nothing there. I've noticed that a lot of owners don't even take advantage of its fully balanced operation.
Personally, I would probably be disappointed if I chose a very accurate loudspeaker rather than my beloved and very musical Aerials.
Allmost bought the Levinson . I was 1 inch away from doing it . I heard the new Rowland Intergrate 11 smoother more power, transparent,biult like a Tomb give it a try .I went with the Rowland and also can be pre out .
Any of you guys upgraded to the new No. 585 ML integrated?
Here are your votes/points from the Netherlands.
My brother has a Levinson 383. It is a great amp. It sounds realy good. He had it paired with a sony scd 555 es, revel performa speakers and nordost cabling.
It sounds great. But with all audio alwys try to keep all the components at the same level.
But off course the source is the most important one.
There is a new one the 585 with dac etc.
It sounds great. I myself bought the T+A PDP 3000HV cd-player/sacd-player/pcm-dac/dsd-dac all in one. It sounds great.
Your cabling is allso important. The NBS black label interc/speaker/power cables. Amazing improvement. I can recommend them to you (i have no company shares (yet)).
May i ask you a question: i am looking for a 100/110v Sharp sm-sx300 amplifier (marketed 2005 ). Any idea where i could buy/find this in the US?
Hope to hear from you.
TY- for chiming in- Robert.
you have a very nice set-up. Happy Listening!