CES 2017: Mark Levinson № 515 Turntable


While Rafe and Brian are off wandering the aisles at CES, we got a note from Harman International. Mark Levinson, one of their premier audio brands, has decided to head back into the world of high-end vinyl.

Even more interesting is that VPI is right at the center of this launch. Seems Mat Weisfeld, President of VPI, has been a little busy of late. Ahem.

This turntable is going to be something of a departure for VPI, or rather, something of a return — if you look closely, the new № 515 looks strikingly familiar. Upscale and blinged-out, for sure, but I can certainly see some VPI design cues in the rendering, above, can’t you?

Details are in the brief, below. More details, and some direct hands-on from CES, will follow.

HARMAN’s Mark Levinson Introduces the № 515 Turntable for Uncompromising Analog Performance

The first ever turntable from Mark Levinson celebrates the 45th Anniversary of the brand

CES – LAS VEGAS – January 4, 2017 –   At CES 2017, Mark Levinson by HARMAN today introduced the № 515 Turntable, designed for the discriminating analog music lover. Designed and built in partnership with industry-leader VPI Industries, the № 515 Turntable is handcrafted in the USA, and is the first turntable worthy of the Mark Levinson name.

The № 515 is the perfect complement to the Pure Phono stage included in the recently released № 526 and № 523 pre-amplifiers. A premium-caliber turntable, the № 515 leverages superior technologies and craftsmanship from VPI Industries to deliver performance, features and appearance unique to Mark Levinson. 

The № 515 is based on a highly damped vinyl-wrapped MDF and aluminum sandwich main chassis. The chassis is supported by machined Delrin and Aluminum Mark Levinson feet with a vibration-damping polymer core.  The 20-pound Aluminum platter rotates on an inverted bearing, which employs a hardened stainless steel shaft spinning in a phosphor bronze bushing for maximum rotational accuracy. 

The powerful high torque AC synchronous motor is mounted to a separate vinyl-MDF-Aluminum sandwich chassis and housed in its own mechanically isolated enclosure. A precision-machined pulley and triple belt drive system provide smooth, quiet operation. A custom-designed, low-distortion analog oscillator and discrete, class AB power amplifier deliver pristine power to the synchronous motor for accurate 33 and 45 RPM operation.

The № 515 features a gimbal-mounted, 3D-printed tonearm with integral headshell, stainless steel counterweight, and discrete internal cartridge lead routing.  The tonearm is mounted to a rigid, machined Aluminum arm base featuring on-the-fly adjustable vertical tracking angle.  A custom designed stainless steel record weight and platter mat ensure maximum stability of playback. 

“The № 515 is being released during a time of rapid growth and resurgence in turntable and vinyl record sales,” said Jim Garrett, Director of Marketing and Product Management, HARMAN. “It celebrates our 45th anniversary and provides a first-class analog source for our new 500 Series.”

“This turntable was engineered to be a perfect complement our Pure Phono stage. The warmth, fidelity and overall listening experience delivered by the № 515 absolutely must be heard to be appreciated,” said Todd Eichenbaum, Director of Engineering, HARMAN. 

The № 515 turntable will be available either with or without a factory installed moving coil phono cartridge.

Pricing starts at $10,000 for the version without phono cartridge, and both versions will be available in Summer 2017. 

About Scot Hull 1046 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.