When it comes to power amps and ultra-high-end home theater components Mark Levinson has to rest near or at the top of the list. No other brand, save maybe Krell, posses such a storied reputation for quality and performance than Mark Levinson. Their triple mono amplifier, the No. 433 reviewed here, is no exception. Designed for those not looking for sonic compromises in 5.1 or 7.1 home theater or music playback systems, there are some who suggest this is one of the most relevant products Mark Levinson has built in over a decade.
Retailing for a hefty $10,000.00 retail, the No. 433 is by no means inexpensive though its far from the most expensive offering from Mark Levinson or their lofty competition. The No. 433 sports an attractive finish with a modern design flare that sits well with me and looks absolutely stunning in a custom configured rack. It's a beast of an amp weighing in at 115 pounds and measuring in at nearly 18 inches wide by seven and a half inches tall and 20 inches deep. The No. 433 boasts a power rating of 200 Watts per channel into eight ohms and doubles to 400 into four Ohms. The No. 433 is a true triple mono design for maximum sonic clarity and performance, with each amplifier section having its own low noise (and I mean low) torodial transformer mated to each channel. Unlike other amplifiers in the No. 433's class it is void of sharp heat sinks, utilizing a convection style thermal system that keeps it remarkably cool to the touch even under strenuous playback levels.
The rear panel of the No. 433 features three sets of wing nut style binding posts, a Mark Levinson staple, capable of accepting bare wire or spade terminations only. You can connect the No. 433 to your processor via unbalanced or balanced inputs, with the balanced inputs sounding marginally better overall. It has a 12-volt trigger and a detachable power cord that round out its list of features.
Read The High Points, The Low Points and the Conclusion on Page 2
• Incredible power output capable of powering any speaker on the market today with juice to spare making the Mark Levinson No. 433 a very versatile amplifier for a variety of system and needs.
• The No. 433 has a smooth, rich textured sound that is rife with air and possesses striking dynamics that bring movie soundtracks to life.
• A slightly warm midrange and solid bass impact make the No. 433 one of the most musical solid-state amplifiers on the market today.
• The No. 433's high frequency response is so nimble and airy you'd swear it was a tube-based design - that is until it blows every tube amp the planet with fast, dynamic bass the likes you will never get from anything tube-oriented.
• The convection cooling design on the No. 433 actually works and aides in placement options. While not stackable the No. 433 doesn't take up more space than is necessary in a custom rack configuration.
• Stunning good looks and build quality that feels every bit as right as it sounds.
• The No. 433's wing nut style binding posts limit your speaker cable options. The posts themselves are a bit wide so not every size spade termination is going to fit. Check with your dealer as to which speaker cables fit best as you can always have your cables re-terminated if needed either by the dealer or the cable manufacturer.
• The No. 433 sounds noticeably better when utilized with its balanced inputs though adapters may be used on unbalanced connections to help coax that last ounce of performance out of it.
With a retail price of $10,000.00 the No. 433 is a big-bucks power amp and you unquestionably get what you pay for. While you can pay less for the same power output from other amps, I assure you you're not getting the same sound quality. The musicality and purity the No. 433 is capable of is addicting and can be enjoyed across a broad spectrum of musical and cinematic tastes for hours on end making it a very versatile amplifier indeed. A personal favorite and a reference point from which all other cost no object amps must be judged.