Why is the market for used Levinson amps so slow?


I've tried to sell my 334s without luck, and I've been watching others have similar problems. The used Levinson market was so hot a couple of years ago. What gives?
irvrobinson
I suspect more people are aware of the 'reputation' for very poor service and high cost for repair/parts. Who wants to put up with that these days?
Only one possible reason - Sellers believe the pieces are worth more than they are worth.
I agree with Sebrof, you can sell anything at the right price.
Agree with the above two posts.

Beyond anything ML specific, most who sell on this site have bemoaned to me that the collapse of Audiogon this year has mostly brought the used market machine to a halt.
Trelja, could you explain what you mean by "collapse?" Thanks.
Where have you been trying to sell the amp? Can't find an ad under your user name here....

The high-end market has taken a dump over the last couple of years. Simply, people are more careful with their disposable income (or disposable income has been reduced in many cases). Hobbies are the first things to go.

Also, many times the private sellers do not respond to the changes in the market as quick as the dealers.... I understand that it may hurt that the price you can get now is 1/2 of what you paid used only a couple of years ago.
I agree with the first two posts as well.

I don't know that I agree with Trelja that the used market has been brought to a halt. It may have slowed slightly as some have looked for other avenues, but I don't think it has stopped. The CURE for the disease isn't THAT easy. ;)
05-14-12: Sebrof
Only one possible reason - Sellers believe the pieces are worth more than they are worth.

I agree, of course. Just last year 334s were going for ~$3500, and I think to move mine now I'd have to offer them for $2000. I need the space more than the money, but perhaps I need to just bite the bullet and list them for $2000 and get it over with. :-)
Could it be because most people by now have figured out the Levinson "house" sound and don't like it?

I have heard ML amps in three different systems and never cared for the sound any time. Now it might have been something other than the amps, but they were the only common denominator.

Shakey
Could it be because most people by now have figured out the Levinson "house" sound and don't like it?

I have heard ML amps in three different systems and never cared for the sound any time. Now it might have been something other than the amps, but they were the only common denominator

I'm not a believer that solid state amps that measure similarly sound significantly different. I know that's heresy to some, but the value proposition (at least for me) for amps like Levinson and Krell is that they act like consistent voltage sources with low distortion and low noise into low impedance or highly capacitive loads. Not too many amps can do that. They also have very low distortion at sub-1W output. These are differences which are known to audible. But I don't understand how there can be a "house sound" signature that can't be measured.

Just thinking about it, it might be that the economic situation in the US is hitting people who tend to spend a lot on high-end audio pretty hard, reducing the market. ;-)
The audiogon web site redesign launched this year had a lot of issues it would seem. If audiogon has collapsed this year, that is a likely factor. Hopefully agon will recover.

LEvinson used to be the cats meow of high end audio performance wise. Prices reflected that. Both LEvinson the company and markets have changed. Others have caught up and some may offer better value. Prices reflect that I would assume.

Also I note that there is not a lot of buzz about Levinson products these days on Agon it seems compared to others. Maybe there is potential there that might help generate new/more interest?
Bravo Trelja. I have to agree. Anyone who watches this stuff know exactly what has happened..
Pity.
More cannot be said about that particular topic.
And I also agree with the first two responses...
I wonder if one of the reasons for slowness in the market for Levinson amps, aside from the situation on Agon, is growing recognition that there are "two Levinsons" -- the equipment Mark Levinson actually designed himself, and the stuff designed and sold after he sold the company. In many cases, it takes a lot of effort to sort out which is which, and most folks probably don't want to invest the effort. And it's been so long since he had any association with the name that I suspect virtually all the cache is gone.
First three got it right. (how often does that happen?) Surprised Trelja's post got through.
Where have you been trying to sell the amp? Can't find an ad under your user name here....

It was a few months ago on Audiogon, and after the failure I've been watching the Levinson amp market for awhile to see what was going on, hence this thread.
Wow! I completely agree with Charles1dad on this one.
I wonder if one of the reasons for slowness in the market for Levinson amps, aside from the situation on Agon, is growing recognition that there are "two Levinsons" -- the equipment Mark Levinson actually designed himself, and the stuff designed and sold after he sold the company. In many cases, it takes a lot of effort to sort out which is which, and most folks probably don't want to invest the effort. And it's been so long since he had any association with the name that I suspect virtually all the cache is gone.

Levinson wasn't the engineer who designed the components; that was Tom Colangelo, who went on with Levinson to form Cello. Levinson isn't a EE, he's a musician / recording engineer sort of guy.

Levinson the man moved on from Mark Levinson the company before 1984, so the brand name has been without its name sake for a very long time.
The ML series are still wonderful. I agree that this is simply a matter of financial situations being very low and slow right now. Everything is cyclic and the used market will rebound just like the home market will. Sort of. in the case of the home market, it had escalated way out of control to the point of insanity. people sitting on the sidelines knew (no way were houses worth that much). reality caught up with the market. For audio, well with people worried about their families and jobs, buying items that don't feed, house, educate, etc. your family take a back seat. If you are not in a rush or desperate for cash, be patient. Prices for decent high-end equipment will come back significantly. However, keep in mind that when companies change their equipment or redesign every other year, that kills the resale price of used equipment. These companies attitude is to always have something new (not necessarily better) being reviewed).

A great pre-amp or amp are just that. they will survive the test of down times. Speakers also.

enjoy
Levinson wasn't the engineer who designed the components; that was Tom Colangelo, who went on with Levinson to form Cello. Levinson isn't a EE, he's a musician / recording engineer sort of guy.

Levinson the man moved on from Mark Levinson the company before 1984, so the brand name has been without its name sake for a very long time.
To give credit where credit is due, it should also be mentioned that several of the earliest products of the original Mark Levinson Audio Sytems company, headed by Mark Levinson, were designed by John Curl. Tom Colangelo assumed primary design responsibility a bit later.

Re the post early in the thread by Charles1dad, I too have seen a considerable number of comments in recent years about the difficulty and expense that are involved in getting ML equipment serviced.

Best regards,
-- Al
Hi Unsound,
I guess miracles do happen.LOL.
Regards,
Not sure where our OP got his info, but my ML stuff sells quickly and for premoe dollars.
I've had many generations of the stuff and have always had great service and at exceptable prices.
I do believe that AudiogoN is not what is was. The change in the site is one factor as well as the economy. No doubt in my mind that this site is NOT what is once was. It has hurt used sellers as well as builders.

The sense of community and belonging is gone, gone, gone. This impacts our desire to trade, buy, sell and live out our hobby on this site. I feel this change to be as real as the computer I am now typing on.

Maybe I'm changing and all of this is just my perspective. The problem is many of my close audio friends have shared the same feelings. We feel a sense of loss, like losing a good old friend.
Well said Bill.

I think the inability to IM one another has done the most damage to that sense of community that we all felt. We used to be able to take these threads off-line for some real interesting discussions and to share our perspectives and recommendations in greater detail. We can't do that anymore. It's a shame.
Listen, the redesign is awful, and no fixes are in the works that I can see, but the "collapse" of the used market likely has more to do with people being more careful with their purse-strings as the economy suffers a prolonged heart attack.
It seems like a lot of users still contribute here though despite all the problems. I agree, the inability to do PMs doesn't make any sense. And there are a number of contributors, old and new, who continue to provide good insight, are knowledgeable and have a wide range of experience and in many cases pretty deep technical knowledge as well. I don't know that the software and administrative issues have had an impact on sales. I have gotten a fair number of responses to stuff I recently listed ( although mostly from overseas and a few with no feedback). As to new v old Levinson, the really early stuff was legendary; the stuff after he left and the company got sold seemed to be competitive sonically but expensive. The current stuff, I have no clue and perhaps that is part of the problem- a lot of stuff moves because it is a buzz worthy product- you can probably identify a brand or line within a brand at a given time that is " hot." Not sure ML has that buzz right now- there may be a killer product but if it is not widely regarded right now, it may be tougher to sell.
FWIW, I listed a 334 today for $2100, and it sold within an hour.
Harman betrayed their own subsidiary, the Mark Levinson line, about 6 years ago. They have relocated the company several times, fired the engineers who designed such great products like the 33, 332, 334, 336, 436 and 33h amps, 32 preamp, 31.5, 390, 360, 30.6 and 39cd players, transports, and DACs and several other pieces I can't remember. Not only did they discontinue these products they also stopped repairing them in house and charge a set, nonnegotiable very expensive price to service each piece. Worse still the new service centers sometimes took months to repair equipment and many times the equipment was not repaired when it arrived back to the dealer or back home. I had a pair of amps that went MIA for a year and a half and I owned the Levinson Reference system so I know first hand what I'm talking about. Since then I have sadly sold all my Levinson equipment before it became rather expensive boat anchors.
Irvrobinson,
If you put a Krell amp in your system and a Levinson amp in the system unless you have hearing problems it is easy to hear the difference. I've owned both, I like the sound of both, but the products are voiced much differently and it is relatively easy to hear the differences in the designer's choices.
Grannyring,
I agree with you and others, this site has become way less user friendly
(some features just don't work anymore) as well as lost the sense of community. It is as if the Gods of Audiogon have taken lessons from the Harman Inc.'s business plan on how to destroy a well oiled business machine. They seem to have adopted the same uncaring and unresponsive attitude. I wonder which university is teaching such modern business practices?
And some wonder why in some ways the USA is losing its edge?
If you put a Krell amp in your system and a Levinson amp in the system unless you have hearing problems it is easy to hear the difference. I've owned both, I like the sound of both, but the products are voiced much differently and it is relatively easy to hear the differences in the designer's choices.

I've owned Krell amps, and I guess we'll have to respectfully just agree to disagree. The newest Krell amps are pretty nice, IMO. Very low noise, incredible power.
Congrats Irvrobinson. I won't get in the middle of a Krell/Levinson debate, as I'm not a fan of either brand.
Bryston 28B-SST2 over Krell or Levinson now.. Or Lamm
Just sayin' LOL
Congrats Irvrobinson. I won't get in the middle of a Krell/Levinson debate, as I'm not a fan of either brand.

I'm not trying to start a this versus that debate. I'm just saying I don't think either amp has a signature sound, especially since they both have ruler-flat frequency response curves.
err, because they sound so poor?
Sorry,
I was not attempting to start one of those endless debates between Levinson vs Krell or any other amplifier. I could easily live and have lived with both amps in past systems. I believe both amps to be sonically equal with many other high end amps on the market today. I've heard the new Levinson stuff and the new Krell EVO and if I was made of money I'd probably have a system amplified by both. All I was trying to say is, one can readily hear the difference in the voicing choices made by each amplifier's designer. The amps share many similarities and specifications, but they do sound different in the way they present the music. If one used the exact same setup that you had listened too for a while and just substituted the amp of the approximate same power and made sure the volume was the same using a meter, you could hear the difference between two given amps be they Krell, Levinson, Bryston, ARC or Sim.
And just to be sure no one thanks I'm endorsing the above brands of amps over other unnamed ones, I just didn't feel like listing every brand of amp manufactured. One's final choice for the amp in their system might depend on personal taste, finances, system integration, reliability, and availability in your area among other factors.
Sorry if my above comments were misunderstood by any and all.
err, because they sound so poor?

So far I've typed in and not posted five responses.

Go away.
Nicely put Irvrobinson. Both amps can sound amazing.
I think, there are various reasons and it has to do with marketing in general.
There are lots of brands out there which are great but are not so successful in
sales like others who are better to keep the fire "burning". Harmon
Kardon made huge investments in advertisements and these ads were
responsible for good reviews, listings in reviewers Systems and so on.
In all the postings above there is truth in it excepts sound quality. No one from
those potential product buyers is interested in that. The buyer wants something
which is up to date (whatever this means), he wants something which has good
reviews, something serious, something heavy, something which can be sold
later easily....a typical turnaround product. And when the fuel for the motor
(advertising, reduction of quality, complicated service) is no longer premium,
well..we know what will happen...
The discussions of sound 'quality' comes later, to support a product...(we all
know, you find a positive review for everything...) to give merits, to make it
interesting to the next row of guys who have money and don't know where to
go ...
Audiogon helped to reduce sales because they no longer allow to communicate
with the seller, that feature is gone. This drops any sale to the ground because
a potential buyer always has questions about this and that and ebay isn't the
solution, too. Some simply don't want to sell there.
I would never buy due to the known cap problems and expense to repair.
Rhijazz, I believe that was covered by Charles1dad in the first reply.
I suspect the market for used Levinson amps is slow because the general movement in the audiophile realm is towards high efficiency / low power setups.

Err, and the sound of levinson.
05-17-12: Rhljazz
I would never buy due to the known cap problems and expense to repair.

I talked to Harman about the so-called cap problem a while back. There were apparently some weak parts, not an endemic problem, and it wasn't even in the 334-336 series. The whole re-capping thing is audiophile paranoia nonsense. Just think about it... capacitors are commodities, they're not made special just for Harman. If Levinson amps need new capacitors so often, why don't all other class A/AB amps?
05-18-12: Kcufnogoidua
I suspect the market for used Levinson amps is slow because the general movement in the audiophile realm is towards high efficiency / low power setups.

High efficiency? You mean like Class D Crown amps? Or are you referring to something else? Please don't tell us about 6W single-ended tube amps or whatever, and they're somehow converting all of the Levinson buyers. :-)
I don't think the high efficiency/low power setups have any effect on the Levinson market. I do think that more folks now are using tube amps. Two gents that I know who used to be Levinson owners are now running tube amps. Not the flea powered SET amps, but tube amps nonetheless.
I talked to Harman about the so-called cap problem a while back. There were apparently some weak parts, not an endemic problem, and it wasn't even in the 334-336 series. The whole re-capping thing is audiophile paranoia nonsense. Just think about it... capacitors are commodities, they're not made special just for Harman. If Levinson amps need new capacitors so often, why don't all other class A/AB amps?

Not all circuits are created equal, even if many of the components used in competing designs are identical.

As a previous owner of a 336 (which I absolutely adored) and experienced the capacitor problem, I can sympathize with those who are leery of the 3xx series of amplifiers.

It's a nerve-wracking experience trusting your mega-buck, 100+ lb baby with any of our shipping agents. Mine luckily was repaired and returned without incident, and sounded better than ever upon it's return. Sadly, I will not be considering another 3xx.

With that said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 4xx or 5xx ML amplifier.
As a previous owner of a 336 (which I absolutely adored) and experienced the capacitor problem, I can sympathize with those who are leery of the 3xx series of amplifiers.

How did the problem manifest itself? Did the amp fail?
The Levinson 300s series is JUNK IMO...I wouldnt want it at any price.Prices on the cheap has nothing to do with the site,its the gear.Good luck with that one.
The Levinson 300s series is JUNK IMO...I wouldnt want it at any price.Prices on the cheap has nothing to do with the site,its the gear.Good luck with that one.

Interesting perspective. Have you ever owned one?
Irvrobinson ...Are you kidding,lol... but my bro-in-law was an authorized dealer.They had so many returns for warranty work.Compiled with bad customer service from factory and their customers being pissed off at them they dropped the line.Its documented fact the 300 series has/had issues out the yingyang (and has since day one).JUNK!!!If you own one dump it and run,if buying good luck.
How did the problem manifest itself? Did the amp fail?

One morning I turned it on and there was static on the right channel. I power cycled it a few times, made sure there were no cabling issues, etc and could not get it to stop.

I called the ML support number and they said that more than likely it was a cap failing, which they confirmed and repaired. At the time they were still repairing the amplifiers in-house.
One morning I turned it on and there was static on the right channel. I power cycled it a few times, made sure there were no cabling issues, etc and could not get it to stop.

I called the ML support number and they said that more than likely it was a cap failing, which they confirmed and repaired. At the time they were still repairing the amplifiers in-house.

Interesting. Thanks.
Its documented fact the 300 series has/had issues out the yingyang (and has since day one).JUNK!!!

Where is this documented? Just posts like yours? (I figured you never owned an ML product.)