Mark Levinson is an American private company, a subsidiary of Harman International Industries. The company specializes in the development of Hi-End audio equipment: audio amplifiers, preamplifiers, digital audio processors and other audio components for audiophiles. Headquarters are located in Elkhart, Indiana. Founded in 1972, the company of the same name Mark Levinson has in a short time become synonymous with the concept of High End. Mark was born in 1946 in Oakland, California. His father is Daniel J. Levinson, his mother is Maria Hertz Levinson. Mark grew up in the Boston area and then in New Haven. His father, a psychology professor, worked at Yale and Harvard for forty years. The author of the fundamental work – Seasons of a Man’s Life (Stages of a man’s life). Mark Levinson showed musical inclinations from childhood. By the time he was 20, he was already playing double bass and trumpet with the greatest jazzmen: John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Johnny Griffin, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett. This became possible thanks to his talent and his father’s professional connections.
At the age of 21, he created what would change his life – an audio console for the legendary Woodstock Music Festival (1969). Four years later, he founded his first company, Mark Levinson Systems. The first product was the LNP-2 preamplifier, which used circuit principles from the audio console. Ten years later, in 1982, the company named after him was taken over by Madrigal, after which many new products were released. Mark Levinson, as a developer, had nothing to do with them. But not only him, Madrigal management also fired his closest colleague, Tom Colangelo, and some other key employees. Levinson could not sit idle and in the same year (1982) he founded another company – Cello Technologies, which became a cult thanks to its products and, in particular, thanks to the Palette analog equalizer.
Founder of the company Mark Levinson
In 1999, he left the company, sold the rights to use his name, and founded another company, Red Rose Music.
Under this brand he has released several beautifully recorded SACD discs, as well as several amplifier and acoustic models. Some of them could be seen in the TV series Sex and the City. In 2000, Levinson began work on creating audio systems for Lexus cars. At the same time, the company bearing his name was purchased by the giant Harman International Group. After breaking up with Kim Cattrall, Levinson moved to Switzerland, his mother’s homeland. There, in 2007, he founded his new company – Daniel Hertz SA Hertz – his mother’s maiden name. The company’s products are very expensive audio systems that are very popular in Japan. It is worth noting that Mark Levinson is producing. He took part in several projects that were awarded various music awards. He works with Jacky Terrason, Joe Lovano and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.
Highlights of the release of products under the Mark Levinson brand
In 1972, the first JC-1 preamplifier was released, which symbolized the company’s approach to sound reproduction. Mark Levinson was not only a capable musician with good engineering training and a talented designer, but also had excellent hearing, which allowed him to rely solely on his “golden ears” in his own developments. The JC-1 was a testament to the synthesis of manufacturer vision and science. The product’s release marked the beginning of a number of innovative audio components that solidified America’s reputation for designing high-end audio equipment.
Despite the small production volumes, the company quickly became famous among admirers of the most perfect sound. High-End Mark Levinson equipment has consistently used the most expensive parts of the highest quality, regardless of cost and expense. The JC-1 subsequently gave birth to the ML-1, whose manufacturing technology and engineering innovations formed the basis for the creation of the ML-2 mono power amplifier. The ML-3 also appeared, a power amplifier built on two massive monoblocks. It was so monumental that it could control even the most unpredictable and capricious speaker systems of the day. In addition, the JC-1 convinced even the most die-hard audiophile that tubes do not have a monopoly on truthful sound. In the mid-1980s, despite a number of innovations such as a fully modular preamplifier and outstanding studio reel-to-reel tape recorders, and constant developments in audio, the Mark Levinson company found itself in a difficult financial situation. However, the traditional superiority of Mark Levinson’s handcrafted systems was undeniable. Madrigal Audio Laboratories, a distributor of a sister brand, came to the rescue. The personnel of the Madrigal Audio Laboratories and Mark Levinson subsidiary, whose composition underwent some changes, safely continued design and production. The reorganization strengthened financial discipline and expanded engineering staff.
The Hi-Fi industry was moving towards digital playback and the CD as the main music medium. Although Mark Levinson’s reference No. 30 processor was no longer the first digital-to-analog converter at the time, it was hailed as a new benchmark in audio reproduction. It was an achievement that showed that digital technology had come of age. Mark Levinson realized the rapidity and at the same time the necessity of everything that was happening in the world of sound research and its reproduction. Now was the right time for new discoveries and achievements. The following year, Mark Levinson No. 31 was developed, a CD transport demonstrating the latest complete digital playback system. No. 31 became another crowning achievement of design, manufacturing and received a well-deserved assessment of sound quality. Mark Levinson, firmly regarded by audiophiles and movie buffs as the premier supplier of A/V components, has expanded its production boundaries with a collaboration with Lexus, the luxury automaker, a division of Toyota. Working closely with Lexus engineers, Mark Levinson drew on the expertise of Lexus and Harman International’s other automotive divisions to provide vehicle interiors with sound that was increasingly rich in depth and authenticity.
During its existence, the company managed to change its name and owners (as Madrigal Audio Labs is part of the Harman International group), but these changes did not change the main thing – the highest quality of its products. The company is still considered a trendsetter in the world of High End Audio, and Mark Levinson brand equipment is recognized as a standard, occupying the top positions in various tests and ratings. More than three decades after its first product, Mark Levinson continues to unlock the potential of audio in high-end components and systems. They are able to satisfy both music lovers and fans of cinema battles. The Mark Levinson product line includes several dozen models of amplifiers, processors and players, designed for the most demanding connoisseurs of sound and image. Today Mark Levinson represents the same aspirations: to reveal the breadth of horizons of perception; the same sustainable standards; the same extraordinary approach; unchanging credo: accuracy and reliability.