Mark Levinson has announced it is now shipping the No326S Stereo Preamplifier. The announcement was made by Wayne Morris, President of Harman Specialty Group, and further emphasizes Harman International’s ongoing commitment to the Mark Levinson line of high-end audio components.
Based on the No320S Preamplifier and a direct descendant of the critically acclaimed No32 Reference Preamplifier, the No326S features audio circuits, controls, architecture, and an optional phono module all adapted from the legendary No32. In fact, some audio circuits, such as the proprietary discrete volume attenuators, are identical to those found in the No32.
To offer audiophiles the highest signal purity, the Mark Levinson engineers have chosen to use an exotic circuit board material, Arlon 25, in the design and construction of the No326S’ main circuit board. By utilizing this material in the No326S, the team was able to conduct extensive listening evaluations and employ subtle component changes — the result is that the No326S yields an open, detailed sound with the engaging textural signature that only Arlon 25 can provide.
Featuring a single-chassis design, the No326S achieves similar separation of audio circuit, control and power supply sections as the dual-chassis No32. Inside the No326S, these sections are separated by physical layout as well as a steel shield box that protects against electrostatic and magnetic interference. Filtered AC power is routed outside audio circuit sections, providing audio circuits with the quiet, shielded environment essential for superior sound.
The new No326S offers a series of highly effective noise suppression and isolation technologies. Two active voltage regulation stages filter AC power for noise as soon as it enters the chassis. A high-power stage absorbs line voltage and temperature variations, while a second high-performance stage provides audio circuits with local high-speed power. Audio circuit and control sections have separate power supplies, each with their own low-noise toroidal transformer. The audio circuit transformer includes a Faraday shield to separate AC power from low-voltage secondaries for improved isolation.
Featuring an advanced dual-mono design, the No326S is endowed with remarkable channel separation and exceptional sonic imaging. All audio channels use independent power supplies, communication circuits, and audio circuits. In addition, each channel’s audio circuits are located in a separate area of the chassis. This innovative design isolates each channel from the others, allowing the No326S to produce vividly rich, three-dimensional sonic images with stunning precision.
For even greater channel isolation, the No326S can deactivate unused inputs to prevent interference from associated components. When an input is deactivated, the No326S disconnects the input signal and ground connection, eliminating ground loop noise between the No326S and the associated component. As a result, input signals pass through the No326S without even the slightest interference from other components.
Two Mark Levinson-designed discrete volume attenuator modules control master volume level with unparalleled accuracy and sonic neutrality. Constructed with Arlon 25 circuit boards with local power supply regulation and bypass capacitors, these modules generate optimal power and isolation for even the most sensitive adjustments. Precision surface-mounted resistors accommodate adjustments in 1.0 dB increments up to 23.0 dB and 0.1 dB increments above 23.0 dB.
Unlike other stereo preamplifiers, the No326S is designed to integrate with multi-channel surround sound processors — minus the drawback of competing master volume level controls. A unique surround sound processor mode allows the No326S to deactivate its master volume level control, passing complete control to the surround sound processor. With no interference from the No326S, the surround sound processor can maintain the relative volume level of all channels without distorting its carefully calibrated input and output levels.
Connectors include three balanced (XLR) and four single-ended (RCA) inputs. Single-ended input signals are converted to balanced signals upon entering the chassis, and processed as balanced signals thereafter. During this conversion process, meticulous balanced circuits preserve all input signal information, passing it to the power amplifier without the limitations of more asymmetrical single-ended designs. The rear panel also includes separate main and record output connectors, as well as two Link communication ports that make it possible for the No326S to be included in Mark Levinson Link systems.
A large front panel select knob provides quick selection of the desired input. When an input is selected, the user just presses and holds the front panel or remote control setup button to open the corresponding Set Inputs menu. This can be used to select a custom name, optimize gain levels, set a master volume level offset or assign record output connectors to individual inputs.
Following in the footsteps of the No32, the No326S exceeds all reasonable expectations for a stereo preamplifier. Its flexible design, including seven configurable inputs, separate main and record outputs, and full surround sound processor integration, allow it to accommodate a wide range of demands. Even more, an excess of advanced technologies protect audio circuits for a superior sound sure to complement even the most sophisticated home entertainment systems.
The No326S product highlights include:
• Arlon 25 circuit boards
• 7 configurable inputs
• Separate main and record outputs
• 3 balanced (XLR) inputs
• 4 single-ended (RCA) inputs
• Complete surround sound processor integration
• Advanced dual-mono design
• Maximum channel isolation
• Separate audio circuit, control, and power supply sections
• Independent power supplies for audio circuit and control sections, each with its own low-noise toroidal transformer
• Effective noise suppression and isolation technologies
• AC power filtering
• 2 active voltage regulation stages
• Faraday shield to separate AC power from low-voltage secondaries
• Independent audio circuits, communication circuits, and power supplies for each channel
• 2 proprietary discrete volume attenuator modules
• Deactivation of unused inputs to eliminate ground loop noise
• Balanced processing for single-ended input signals
• Intuitive Set Inputs menu
• Large front panel display
• 2 Mark Levinson Link communication ports
• RS-232 communication port
• Trigger output connector
• IR input connector
• Optional 19-inch rack-mount kit
• Optional phono modules
–For more information on the complete range of Mark Levinson, Revel, and Lexicon products, contact Harman Specialty Group, 3 Oak Park Drive, Bedford, MA 01730-1413.
Tel: (781) 280-0300; Fax: (781) 280-0490; Web: www.harmanspecialtygroup.com