Who says vinyl sales have peaked? A recently released study from BuzzAngle Music finds that 2016 vinyl sales grew by approximately 26 percent over the previous year, and the format accounted for 8 percent of total physical music media sales.
That might have had something to do with why high-performance audio manufacturer Mark Levinson has announced its new No. 515 turntable, which it says is the first turntable worthy of wearing the Mark Levinson name.
“The No. 515 is being release during a time of rapid growth and resurgence in turntable and vinyl records,” remarks Jim Garrett, director of marketing and product management, Harman (Mark Levinson's parent company). “It celebrates our 45th anniversary and provides a first-class analog source for our new 500 series [of products].”
Designed and built in partnership with the N.J.-based audio company VPI Industries, Mark Levinson says the turntable complements its new the Pure Phono Stage that it incorproates into its new No. 526 and No. 523 preamplifiers.
The No. 515 turntable employs a highly damped vinyl-wrapped MDF and aluminum sandwich main chassis. Levinson supports the chassis with machined Delrin and aluminum feet that incorporate a vibration-damping polymer core. The 20-pound aluminum platter spins on an inverted bearing that employs a hardened stainless steel shaft that spins in a phosphor bronze bushing.
The table's high-torque AC synchronous motor is secured to a separate vinyl-MDF aluminum sandwich chassis that's housed in its own mechanically isolated enclosure.
A precision-machined pulley and triple-belt drive are said to ensure the table's quiet operation, and the 515 employs a custom-designed analog oscillator and discrete Class A/B power amplifier that delivers accurate power to the AC synchronous motor for the precise playback of 33- and 45-rpm records.
Levinson also points out the No. 515 turntable's gimbal-mounted, 3D-printed tonearm features an integral headshell, stainless steel counterweight and discrete internal cartridge lead routing. The tonearm is mounted to a machined aluminum arm base that utilizes an on-the-fly adjustable vertical tracking angle.
Other features include a stainless steel record weight and a platter mat that helps to ensure the highest levels of record stability during playback.
Mark Levinson says its No. 515 turntable will be available this summer at prices starting at $10,000 for the version that omits the phono cartridge. See it at CES 2017.