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.