Mark Levinson #432 power amp. or ESL Amp. of Saunders Sound System

default -- Tue, 02/03/2009 - 19:06

I am intending to buy either Mark Levinson #432 power amp. or ESL power amp. of Saunders Sound System.
Is there anyone who knows which one is a better quality amplifier?

David Matz -- Sat, 02/14/2009 - 20:07

Not sure what you mean by quality.  Mark Levinson has had serious quality problems.  People had to wait 6-12 months to get something fixed.  Many long time dealers dropped them.  Not sure if this changed.  As for Sanders, as long as Roger Sanders is in good health, you are in luck.  He is a stand up guy and will fix your amp if there is a problem.
If you are referring to sound quality, the Levonson sound is analytical and emotionless.  Personally, I can't understand why people would spend huge sums of money on it.  However,  we all have different preferences...
The Sanders amps are musical.  They are good for solid state amps, but a bit lean for my taste.  I did like them a lot with Martin Logans as well as with the new Sanders 10b speakers.  I liked the Ayre v1-xe and Cj Premier 350 better, though.

Johnny (not verified) -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 06:26

I think those quality control problems are past now. It was a period when Harman change their facilities to the new location.
I've bought an 432 a few months ago and i'm very happy with it. Zero problems and excelent sound.

Stereophile (not verified) -- Sun, 02/15/2009 - 17:49

Dear Curiousmind:
Many thanks for your precious experience.   I am using Maggie 3.6R speaker, Placette Audio Passive line stage preamp and Edge G8 amplifier.
Because the Edge G8 only has 330 watt/ch. in 4 ohm which is not sufficient for Maggie 3.6.   Would you please give your opinion which one
(Ayre V1-xe or CJ Premier 350)  you recommend for my system or any other alternative.

David Matz -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 00:55

Hi Stereophile,
I want to preface this post by saying that these are my personal tastes.  Your tastes may vary - so please listen for yourself to make the decision.
I listened to a dozen high quality SS amps(and some tube amps also) before settling on the CJ Premier 350 for my Martin Logans.  This amp had the best of both worlds - tube warmth and excellent control of the electrostatic panel and great bass, which are solid state virtues .  I can't imagine a better solid state amp.  It has no sonic signature of its own.   You are listening to the music, not the equipment.   I liked the Ayre amp a lot.  It had a great midrange and excellent microdynamics.  I thought it was a bit under-powered for my Logans.  I believe your Maggies are power hungry also, so I would recommend an amp with lot of power for you .  If you play loud, the Sanders amp makes more sense than the Ayre because it won't clip as easily.  Most audiophiles do not have enough juice to run their speakers, so I think you are on the right track.
Good Luck!

David Matz -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 00:54


Stereophile (not verified) -- Mon, 02/16/2009 - 11:53

Dear Curiousmind:
I deeply appreciated your advice.  Thank you.

Robert Harley -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 15:20

The quality control problems in Mark Levinson products have long since been resolved. They occured during a period when the factory was moved. I've lived with two ML products manufacturered after the move, and both are built to the same standard as those made in the earlier factory (which I've visited). Those two products are the No.433 and the No.326S. I used both on a daily basis for more than a year with no problems. Moreover, I found their musical performance outstanding. These were the electronics I used during the set-up and auditioning of the Magico V3 and the Revel Salon2.
I have no experience with the Saunders amplifier.

Stereophile (not verified) -- Tue, 02/17/2009 - 16:48

Dear Robert:
I understand  that you are a very busy Editor-in-Chief,  yet  you find time to clarify ML information to us.  I appreciated your kindness in the above regard.

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