Mark Levinson No.36 D/A converter Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Digital processor with HDCD$r decoding. Inputs: two AES/EBU on XLRs, two S/PDIF coaxial (one RCA, one BNC), one ST optical, one TosLink optical. Outputs: L/R balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) analog out. Digital out. Also one RJ-45 communications port (see text) and IR repeater port. Frequency response: 10Hz–20kHz, +0, –0.2dB. Dynamic range: 98dB (or better). S/N ratio: 105dB. Channel separation: >110dB. FIFO jitter: <20 picoseconds, uncorrelated. Output impedance: <6 ohms.
Dimensions: 15.75" W × 14.3" D × 3.75" H. Weight: 35lb.
Serial number of unit reviewed: 1080.
Price: $3995 (1995); no longer available (2020). Approximate number of dealers: 75.
Manufacturer: Madrigal Audio Laboratories Inc., Middletown, CT 06457 (1995); Harman Luxury Audio Group, 8500 Balboa Boulevard, Northridge, CA 91329 (2020). Tel: (888) 691-4171. Web:

Harman Luxury Audio Group
8500 Balboa Boulevard
Northridge, CA 91329
(888) 691-4171

jimtavegia's picture

It is treated like a criminal being interrogated for 24 hours straight until finally breaks; "he talks" and then has to admit that no matter what I do or how good I get I will ever be the equal of my perfect brother, "the vinyl LP" who never gets put on the test bench and had the bright light shined in his face. Mom always liked him best. lol I heard that somewhere.

Glotz's picture

"Yer no good, Digital!"

Axiom05's picture

I had one of these together with a No. 37 transport. This was before jitter became the focus of measurements. Eventually replaced this combo with a Levinison No. 390 CD Processor.

Robin Landseadel's picture

One has to wonder how this DAC compares to Topping's D90.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

What the world needs is a good $5 double cheese burger :-) ......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

.....and/or, a good $5 Margarita :-) ......

rschryer's picture make yourself for much cheaper.

Save your money for audio. :-)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I don't have a pool table at home ..... Also, I have too many bar buddies to fit into my house :-) .......

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Okto dac8 Stereo, which costs under $2k may be a good value for the money now ..... Stereophile review is forth coming :-) ......

Ortofan's picture

... the RME ADI-2 DAC FS for only $1,149.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Okto dac8 Stereo under $2k price includes Wi-Fi connection capabilities ...... Also, it is not clear whether RME provides all the 7 selectable digital filters Okto provides ..... ASR doesn't say :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

RME however, offers several built-in DSP capabilities including, 5-band parametric EQ, bass and treble controls, loudness compensation adjustments and, for headphones cross-feed, M/S capabilities etc ..... Details available in RME user manual :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Seems like RME uses some type of minimum phase filter ..... Doesn't look like it uses the standard linear phase filter :-) ......

ASR doesn't provide impulse response measurements for DACs ..... at least not so far :-) ......

Ortofan's picture

... waste $4,000 on this external DAC, but instead bought the $3,000 Sony CDP-XA7ES CD player. It had the sort of sound quality with which TJN "could live happily for a very long time."

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Sony CDP-XA7ES did not have HDCD decoding capabilities :-) ......

jimtavegia's picture

I am glad that I don't have to worry about having to have the best of everything or worry about the few discs that ARE HDCD encoded or MQA or the rest of it. There are so many excellent dacs out their and now the Weiss 502 would seem to be a target for everyone to hit and there are many that cost much more than the 502. I will bet those owner are not in deep despair and are truly enjoying what they own.

I am keeping in mind that ever mastering engineer is probably using a different ADDA in their chain and they are deciding what you are going to hear. They are basing all of that on what they hear on THEIR speakers that I don't own which will correlate to little for me.

Then we praise turntables that can't even spin at the right speed, have to deal with lps that aren't flat or with a center hole not quite in the center, and phono stages that cost more than the Weiss 502 and are still not the best, and we haven't even spent over $10K on a cartridge or know if it is mounted right or not. So we start with a master tape on a mechanical machine that is close to proper speed, but not perfect, the cut on a lathe that spins not at a perfect speed...close but no cigar, and a cutting engineer doing his absolute best to deal with the right groove spacing based on the musical dynamic range, then off to the platers and the pressing plant with all our fingers crossed and the best engineering minds in full play. I respect everyone of them as they are pure music lovers and fully care about what they do.

And even in the pressing of CDs there can be issues as we read about the Steely Dan issue with 2 VS. Nature that was caught in time by the late, great Roger Nichols.

I know of very few industries, other than medical, that goes trough the pains of the record and cd industry and still the hair splitting continues over the gear. I love the reviews and I like reading about the companies and engineers who are working so hard to make superb products to help us enjoy the MUSIC we love, as that is the point.

I will remain content with my newly purchased Project S2 dac AT $299 that has upped my listening in a most affordable way and know that there are million who would think that $299 is crazy money to spend on just a DAC. At nearly 73 I doubt that I could hear all that the Weiss 502 does, but I know to trust JA1, his measurements and his ears.

If I could have afforded it back in the day, I would have bought the Sony as well. It would still be one heck of a transport anyway today.