Modifying my Mark Levinson 332 for a unique visual experience


I bought a Mark Levinson 332 in very bad shape. It had some serious internal problems and the exterior was showing 30+ years of neglect. I wanted a Levinson amp since I was a teen but there was no way I could drop that amount of coin on an amplifier. Well after 30+  years this amp has finally found me and we have been friends ever since.

Internally is was a mess. It needed to be fully recapped, needed various components that were exploded and needed a complete voltage gain board that looked like it served a few tours in Iraq. After I made the repairs and dialed in all the adjustments all was good in the world.

An amp of this magnitude is not only an aural experience but there is a visual experience too, right?

Time to tackle the cosmetics. Initially I was going to repaint the covers that were faded from sun or smoke exposure. There were some ugly scratches in the paint too. I decided to strip the paint from the covers with acetone. I didn't realize that the top cover was some top quality aluminum and it was beautiful once the paint was gone. The TIG welds were precise and the surface was smooth. That got my gears going. I was going to take it to the next level and have a unique amp that no one else on the planet has. I was going to polish that high grade aluminum to a mirror finish. The front bezel received the same treatment, as well as the power button, which to my surprise was aluminum as well.

This amp pays tribute to so many other high end amps like Dynas and McIntosh that have some meticulously polished frames and hopefully it is one-of-a-kind. Others suggest that modding it in this manner will drive resale value down. That is not a concern for me. I think this amp is a keeper and now that it is polished I fell in love with it all over again.

Here is a public link to a photo of it:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0yvjhlC62G7SHVJczc2ZUV2OGs/view?usp=sharing  

I welcome comments and thanks for looking!
generatorlabs
A tip of the hat to you sir, well done!

+1
Very nice complete restoration job on that 332,they are getting harder to find at all nowadays.

I hope you get many years of good service out of it,

Kenny.
I'm sure you're going to keep it but I don't think you hurt the resale value at all.  It's beautiful and I can't imagine anyone else not thinking so too.  Dick
It looks amazing...better than new. Congratulations on an job well done. What I'm curious about is why was it in such an abused condition inside and out? 
Wow you did a great job, looks fantastic. I have owned just about all of the Mark Levinson 3 series. They are great amps, using a 335 now.

Thanks! for sharing- generatorlabs


Beautiful pic. How did you originally come across this amp? What year was it built?


Happy Listening!

Thank you all for your kind words!

I bought it online with the knowledge that it was not functioning. I don't have any history on the amp but I do know there were very crude attempts at repair which probably caused more damage.  The vaporized voltage gain pcb is probably a result of amateur repairs. I am not tooting my own whistle here; I am far from a professional audio technician. I had more questions about how this amp worked than anyone! I did take my time and used sane methods to troubleshoot. An amp with power reserves like this is like a lightning bolt. It demands respect and we just have to keep that lightning controlled. I knew an amp of this age was going to need a recap anyway, so why pay premium for a working device that would probably need work? At least this way I knew it was done and could I document it. I also did many of the performance and safety enhancements that ML deemed necessary. As for the year it was built...I am not sure. There is no implicit date stamped on the back. There is only a serial number of 1618. I don’t know what the production rate of these monsters was but to me that number seems fairly low, so it could be an older unit. Thanks again.
Very nice remodel indeed. Though I've  a number of the ML pieces, I'm also not greatly familiar either. I'd just think it was supposed to look like that. Very beautiful; great work. Hopefully it sings for you now.
Wow! That polished surface is awesome! Kudos!

I seem to recall there was a problem with the original caps in early production models with that series anyway, so you're right to be ahead of the game than with a "working" resale.

I had a ML 333 years ago. A real beast. Two things I did that greatly improved performance were a custom stand from Sound Anchors that greatly improved bass and a dedicated 30 amp line that made it sing with ease.

Don't worry about resale . . . enjoy!
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There's Mark Levinson No.32 Reference preamp currently for sale on Audiogon.   It would make a nice match.

Very nice- generatorlabs


what other gear is in your system?

Happy Listening!

The ML332 isn't 30 plus years old. They came out in the 90's
Great looking transformation. I bought my no. 334 new in 2003,  Serial #1276. I love mine and don't see parting with it anytime soon either. 
Again, nice restoration!

N

@zavato  ...I stand corrected. I meant 20+ years. My mind is stuck in the era of the Model 23.

@jafant ...Currently the ML332 sits comfortably in my project studio. It has replaced a Carver amp which will soon earn a much deserved tear down and recap. It is being driven by a Ramsa DA7 automed console via balanced cables and it drives a pair of Event near-field monitors. Not an esoteric compliment of components but they do provide some exceptional sound.  The 332 is not really being challenged at all in its current environment but I will be damned if it does not look sexy lying there!

Eventually I may move the 332 to the main living space. I am certain it would outpace the Yamaha equipment there now. Baby steps.

I have always been an audiophile at heart but never in the practical sense. Could I get the gear? Probably, but the rational, responsible side of my brain prohibits me from making such purchases, especially brand new. I have always been the window shopping type, lurking in the shadows for the next good deal :)

Thank you all for your warm comments.
Thanks! for sharing- generatorlabs.
Happy Listening!
Definitely one of the top five best looking amps on this planet Earth.
    It is gorgeous and I wish you many many years of happy listening with your new 332, I wish it was mine.
Surprisingly, I like it!
Thank you all for your positive feedback so far. Anyone who has seen it in person was really impressed as well.

I am glad I took the risk and will be lurking in the shadows waiting to find the next one to do a matching makeover on!