Mark Levinson Vs McIntosh Amplifiers




It is common practice for audiophiles to always try to see which speakers and amplifiers are the best. One such debate is between amplifiers and speakers created by top brands – Mark Levinson and McIntosh. Which brand is better and who makes the more powerful and sophisticated amplifiers.

Mark Levinson amps are better for subtle audio production with good detail at low volume as well as good midrange and highs. On the other hand, McIntosh amplifiers are mild and laid back and smooth in the mids and highs. They are however a good fit for competitive auditions.

Now, let’s get into a more detailed comparison of the two.

McIntosh Vs Mark Levinson Amplifiers

One thing that brings up issues with deciding which one to select between the two amplifiers is their close similarities.

But, while the two might look like they are almost the same, some key factors differentiate them.

For example, a major factor everyone considers before buying an amp is affordability. Mark Levinson Amplifiers are pretty expensive.

But, you can be very sure of getting an equal or even more value for every dollar spent. Mark Levinson amps (or preamps) have a known mark of distinction that is resonated in the listening experience.

The problem is, however, the fact that not everyone will be able to afford these expensive amps.

No matter how much quality they possess, as long as they are too expensive most people don’t see the need to buy them.

Is The Price Worth It For A Mark Levinson?

No one knows you better than “you”. The question you should be asking yourself is if you can afford the price tag on a Mark Levinson. As long as you can afford the price on the tag, every dollar is a worthy spend.

Alternatively, getting a used Mark Levinson is also an open option you can try to take. Although, used or not Mark Levinson will still cost you some dollars that might feel like getting a new amp. But if you are cool with this, go for it!

Mark Levinson Manufacturer

The name says it all! Mark Levinson amps and other audio devices with the brand name are products of the Mark Levinson Audio Systems.

The company was created by Mark Levinson in 1972, but the first product from the company was a Phono Module. It was produced in 1979 as a preamp for moving magnet cartridges.

The company has since experienced fast growth with a name change in 1983 to “Levinson Audio Systems”. Since 1983, the company has begun researching various methods of digital signal processing (DSP) for sound reproduction. This research led to the breakthrough of the patented Time Domain Jitter Eliminator.

Audiophile Amplifier Debate

Here are some direct product comparisons between the Levinson Amplifiers and McIntosh Amplifiers.

Levinson 585 Vs McIntosh Ma8000

  • The first and most important difference in this comparison is the price difference. There is a huge $50k difference between the two amplifiers. While McIntosh Ma8000 is $50k, the Mark Levinson 585 goes for a whopping $100k.

  • Mark Levinson 585 amplifiers are better power conservers. This means that when used with the same source, the McIntosh Ma8000 will consume more power to function.
  • Another major difference comes in the form of input support. So, while the McIntosh Ma8000 offers an unbalanced input, Mark Levinson 585 offers a more balanced input system.

  • McIntosh Ma8000 uses just one jack -the XLR jack- for digital input. Whereas, the Mark Levinson 585 comes with both RCA and XLR jack.
  • One major standout of the McIntosh Ma8000 feature is the auto-form feature. With this feature, it can easily use any class A, AB, or D operation without reconfiguring the amp.

McIntosh Vs Mark Levinson 331

  • Primarily, by now you should know that all Mark Levinson equipment cost almost as twice much as an average McIntosh equipment with the same feature.
  • One factor that can never be overemphasized, is the fact that the Mark Levinson 331 offers a sound quality that is far much better than McIntosh. However, McIntosh speakers are more stylish and presentable than those of Mark Levinson.
  • In terms of the target audience, McIntosh speakers are more suited for people who are music enthusiasts. Whereas, Mark Levinson speakers are better designed for music professionals who want the best they could get.

Mark Levinson 5805 Vs McIntosh

Comparing the Mark Levinson 5805 to McIntosh amplifiers will bring attention to the single input connection that is designed directly on the front panel.

Therefore, while the former is designed with a single end signal that is unbalanced, the latter is pretty much balanced with an interconnect available for its channels; including for headphone use.

The design shows that line-level inputs have RCA connections already, which helps with noise rejection and balanced sound.

Furthermore, the Mark Levinson easily makes up for its expensive price with premium sound quality. It also comes with state-of-the-art component quality including the REF phono stage and the D300 power supply.

Mark Levinson 585 Vs McIntosh Ma8000 Review

The McIntosh’s Ma8000 amplifier has an 8-channel with amplification power for up to 8 speakers.

On the other hand, Mark Levinson 585 is designed with a 5 channel amplification power with a design for 4 speaker channels and a subwoofer channel. Although Mark Levinson speakers are known for their strong power, these 5 channels can not be used in place of an 8-channel amp.

McIntosh Ma8000 comes with quite some input options that add to the quality delivery of its picture and sound.

This includes source direct connection, optimized sound quality with the balanced input, and direct digital connection through the asynchronous Type-B USB port. These input options make it a connection favorite for almost any device -including modern computers.


If you are also in the debate of which is better between the McIntosh and Mark Levinson amplifiers, by now it shouldn’t surprise you that Mark Levinson is better. However, this is just by a slight edge. The two are great brands and when all the factors are considered the difference is not one-sided. Although, when the price is considered, most beginners and sound enthusiasts might find the McIntosh amplifiers more pleasing.

Check out our guide on McIntosh Vs Bryston Amplifiers to learn more about McIntosh amps compare. If you are looking for a cheaper amp, you can check out our guide on Lepy vs Lepai to learn more.

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