Mark Levinson No 532H Two Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Mark Levinson No 532H Two Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Mark Levinson's new No 532H two channel amplifier ushers in a new aesthetic appearance for the company. Reviewer Andrew Robinson explores whether or not the sound quality has changed with the look.

Mark_Levinson_No532H_amp.jpgEveryone wants to save a buck these days. Consumers want to spend less and manufacturers, even the biggest in the business, are looking to cut costs. Well, venerable manufacturer, Mark Levinson, is doing both with the introduction of their new No 500H series of amplifiers, all of which offer up the traditional Mark Levinson sound but at a more advantageous price - for Mark Levinson and for you. The No 532H reviewed here is Mark Levinson's two-channel offering in the No 500H series, a series that includes a monaural amplifier (No 531H), a three-channel amp (No 533H) as well as a five-channel amp (No 535H). The No 532H reviewed here is said to be the workhorse of the bunch and is offered at $8,000 retail -a lot of money but nowhere near as expensive as Mark Levinson's other two-channel amp, the No 532 at $21,000.

Additional Resources
• Read more stereo amplifier reviews by the staff at Home Theater Review.
• Find source components in our Source Component Review section.
• Look for Floorstanding Speakers or Bookshelf Speakers for the No 532H to drive.

Mark Levinson is able to keep costs in check with the new No 500H series due to the fact that they largely all share the same chassis and internal construction, meaning whether you want a monaural or five-channel amp you can rest assured you're going to be getting similar if not the same performance across the line. The No 532H features a pretty clean façade with only a grey standby button present on the front panel. Mark Levinson's trademark rounded edges help dress up the No 532H's otherwise plain looks though it's clear that Mark Levinson has spent the bulk of their investment in the No 532H's performance and not its appearance. The No 532H measures in at 17 and three quarter inches wide by nearly eight inches high and almost 20 inches deep, making it one of the larger, rack mountable two channel amps I've come across in recent memory. Its weight of 74 pounds isn't backbreaking, though due to the No 532H's size it's a bit awkward. Around back the No 532H has both balanced and unbalanced input options as well as Mark Levinson's trademark hurricane style binding posts. There are a few trigger ports as well as an Ethernet 10Base-T port rounding out the No 532H's connection options, not to mention a standard IEC power connector and cord. In terms of power the No 532H boasts 300 Watts into eight Ohms and 450 Watts into four. For more on what makes the No 500H series unique for Mark Levinson check out my review of the No 533H that I did earlier in the year.

In terms of sound the No 532H is identical to its stable mates and possesses the same trademark sound Mark Levinson amps are known for. The No 532H's midrange is rich, full bodied and a touch laid back while its bass remains taut, controlled and deep. High frequencies are airy and sparkle with a sort of analog-like flare to them while never becoming fatiguing even at high volumes. The No 532H is a truly unflappable amplifier, falling somewhere in the middle between the dark, lush sound of McIntosh and the neutral and energetic sound of Krell. One area where the No 532H parts with tradition is in its dynamic presentation, which is far more exciting and nimble than previous Mark Levinson designs. Also the No 532H's soundstage is also more open versus recessed and dark as was the case with previous designs as well.

Read about the high points and low points of the No 532H amplifier.

Mark_Levinson_No532H_amp_Rear.jpgHigh Points
• Despite its somewhat plain appearance, the No 532H manages to be
rather stylish and modern, which makes me wonder what it might look like
mounted along side other Mark Levinson products in a Middle Atlantic
rack type install.
• The No 532H's binding posts are among the best in the business and an
absolute joy to use so long as you're using either bare or spade
terminated speaker cable.
• The No 532H's convection cooling system works like a champ, keeping it cool even after some spirited listening sessions.
• The No 532H sound is a perfect blend of what I like about McIntosh and
Krell products, making it ideal for a wide variety of music and movies.
Even low resolution downloaded music manages to sound rather good
through the No 532H.

Low Points
• The No 532H power, while on paper seems rather abundant, can feel a
bit limited when paired to less than efficient loudspeakers like
Magnepans.
• As much as I love the No 532H's hurricane style binding posts, they
don't accept all speaker cable types and are easy to over tighten,
possibly ruining your cables.
• The No 532H sounds noticeably better after being powered on for about
an hour or two, which is not very green given that we're all trying to
do our part to save and conserve.

Competition and Comparisons
There are a number of $8,000 amplifiers on the market today, not to
mention there are even more, less expensive options available too.
Directly in the No 532H's crosshairs is Classé's Delta Series CA-2300 and Krell's Evolution 2250e; both cost about the same and offer up
the same power, making ones' buying decision a matter of personal
preference. If you don't have $8,000 to spend on a two-channel amp but
are looking for 200 to 300 Watts of power per channel, then there's
Parasound's Halo A21 or perhaps
even Emotiva's XPA-2.

For more on two-channel amplifiers including the latest news and
reviews please visit Home Theater Review's Stereo Amplifier page.

Conclusion
The Mark Levinson No 532H is a wonderful amplifier that continues in the
Mark Levinson tradition in terms of style and performance. While it may
be indistinguishable from its stable mates in terms of looks and sound,
it's a far cry from its largest sibling, the No 532, in terms of price,
making it the better value. Frankly I prefer the No 532H's sound over
that of the No 532; in fact some may even prefer it over Mark Levinson's
own flagship, the No 53 digital hybrid monaural amplifier.

Additional Resources
• Read more stereo amplifier reviews by the staff at Home Theater Review.
• Find source components in our Source Component Review section.
• Look for Floorstanding Speakers or Bookshelf Speakers for the No 532H to drive.

Subscribe To Home Theater Review

You'll automatically be entered in the HTR Sweepstakes, and get the hottest audio deals directly in your inbox.
HomeTheaterReview Product Rating
Value: 
Performance: 
Overall Rating: 
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Your support is greatly appreciated!
© JRW Publishing Company, 2020
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram