My Mark Levinson system help

I own a 335 a 38 a theta miles & a pair of martin logan sl3s. I want to buy the 39 would my system sound better running the 39 direct into the 335. Or should I keep the 38 with the 39. Email me with any input thanks I think the 39 direct is the way to go..
39 is kinda "long in the tooth" as it was introduced in '96.
Lots of better players out there but you won't listen.
Levinson is good but it's not the end of the world.
Sony SCD777ES and SCD1 sound better on redbook, never mind the SACD capability. Goldmund 39xx will slaughter the Lev39.
Wadia 850 and up will also do it in. BAT VKD5 or VKD5SE will also better it.



I currently own a ML335, ML380S, RA55, Dunlavy SCIV, PS Audio 600 in the same system. I had a ML332, and tried a ML38, ML38S before the ML380S. I have run the RA 55 directly into the ML332 and ML335 as well as through each of the pre-amps.

I found that the RA55 loses detail and dynamics without the preamp. I thought the ML38 was worthless in the system. I bought it to upgrade to the ML380S($2650).
Running the CD thought the ML38 was worse than nothing. The ML38S was slightly better and the ML380S was clearly better.

The real issue appears to be the voltage output of the 39 which I believe is 5 volts vs 16 volts for the 380S.

I was hoping I wouldn't like the ML380S because I figured I save $4000+ by reselling it. Didn't work out as planned.

Good luck.

Bill Eichengrun
Thank you for the input. I disagree with paul the wadia gear is good but not as sweet sounding as the 39. The sony doesnt even compare to the levinson it sounds great when you put a sacd in but when you put a regular cd in its a sony.come on thats a no brainer. as far as the goldmund I never tried but I hear the levinson is better. MY QUESTION IS WILL MY SYSTEM SOUND BETTER WITH JUST THE 39 OR SHOULD I RUN THE 39 DIRECT????? From what I understand is once you own the 39 you are at the point of diminishing returns. Adn I hear the 39 is much better than my Theta Miles? Is it??
I would run the 39 directly into your amp. I believe it has a better front end than your Theta Miles which is also very good by the way.
the 39 is very good as a cd player and pre amp. I have a39 and 360s going thru a 32 to either krell 600c or vtl1250 wotans or levinson 33 amps speakers are ml statement evolution2 s . I also run rel studio2 sub systems. all interconnects and speaker cables are world class. preference is a matter of taste so i wont disclose what i prefer since everybody has their own favorite, as far as theta miles good but the 39 will kill it a b yourself will only take a second to tell the difference. I have now gone to a reference levinson front end 30.6 31.6 marginally better than my 39 360s . when i ran my 39 direct thru my amps and again thru pre amp only gained a little performancewhen going into the pre amp but not worth all the extra cash for cables etc unless your just nsane like me . enjoy the music thats what its all about. mike
I have listened to the 39 run directly to levinson 27 amps to SL3s. It sounds excellent. The 39 keeps the volume control in the analog domain unlike many digital processors that do the volume control in the digital domain. In the digital domain bits are cut off to control the volume and the result affects not only the volume but the quality of signal. Levinson did it right by keeping it in the analog domain. If you do not need additional inputs, run it directly. If you do need additional inputs you will probably want to upgrade your 38 to a 380S. I had a 38S and upgraded it--it is a huge difference in transparancy.
Comments such as those by Paul are those that you just ignore and move on. Typical anti-ML response.
Thanks for all the feedback except for Pauls nonsense. Wadia lol lol. keep it coming guys
Go to this link,, and scroll down to the heading "Being direct". They discuss their findings running it direct.
I would have thought this is a forum for open discussion. Beemer (Paul) certainly has a right to his opinion, why did he get slashed ? Lev335, you are the one who asked in the first place, is it courteous to Paul to call his view 'nonsense' ?
Paul I have had the Lev 39 the Wadia 7 (I know the 7 is a transport and not a player) and the Sony SCD1. Regardless of the naysayers, I agree with you, they all sounded better on redbook than does the 39 IMHO. Now with that said I realize this was not the gentlemens question. Based on the outcry I thought I would throw in some support for Paul. I thought the 39 was dark, murky and just plain non-involving. But that is what makes this hobby fun, the diverse taste of its' participants.
Best regards,

I own a pair of 33H's, a 333 and an ML3. A sizeable investment in Levinson gear. In my opinion, when I demo'd a 39 player IN MY HOME, the bass was quite wooly and the player DID NOT satisfy my ears. TO ME, the BAT VKD5 sounds much better, WITH MY OTHER LEVINSON AND BAT GEAR!
I find LEV335 so levinson-centered in his other posts that I don't think he can even listen to anything else with an open mind. A poster boy for the Harman Group!

Paul, forgive me of my judgment. I have seen to many comments from anti-ML people that bash ML just because it’s ML. I evaluated your comments and misjudged, concluding that was your stance. (Even though it was not an answer to his question.)
I will thank everyone once again. as far as me being levinson minded as someone put it. well maybe its true but remember I have been through all the gear these people are claiming to be better. so that makes me wrong. no. I unlike other people finally found equipment that Iam happy with. MY QUESTION WAS KEEP THE 38 WITH THE 39 OR DUMP IT. DOES IT SOUND BETTER DIRECT.? And I have heard the 39 in the store and it was far from uninvolving. Thanks to all the good advice.
I have heard extensively the 39 with 334 and the 380 + 380S. The speakers were Audio Physic Avanti 3, cables Nordost SPM.

The combination 39/334 was not much different than 39/380/334. They were pretty much the same, with a minor soundstage advantage on the seperates side, which may be caused by the cables. The separates with the 380S were clearly better. Either way, it was an excellent combination.

I ended-up buying the Meridian 805-24 and the 380S with the left-over money, rather than the 380. I thought the combination was more transparent and musical.

The bottom line is that if you only listen to cd, 39 into 335 is very hard to beat and at a lower cost. Buy some cd's with the change.

I hope it helped.

Re-viving an older thread here;

Are you guys still using ML gear? Have you upgraded/updated to the newer ML offerings?