Madrigal Audio N31.5 Owner`s manual

Owner’s Manual
Nº383
Integrated
Amplifier
R
MADRIGAL AUDIO LABORATORIES
WARNING: TO REDUCE THE RISK OF FIRE OR ELECTRIC SHOCK, DO
NOT EXPOSE THIS APPLIANCE TO RAIN OR MOISTURE.
CAUTION
RISK OF ELECTRIC SHOCK
DO NOT OPEN
CAUTION: TO REDUCE THE RISK OF ELECTRICAL SHOCK, DO
NOT REMOVE COVER. NO USER-SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE.
REFER SERVICING TO QUALIFIED PERSONNEL.
The lightning flash with arrowhead symbol, within an equilateral triangle, is intended to alert
the user to the presence of uninsulated “dangerous voltage” within the product’s enclosure that
may be of sufficient magnitude to constitute a risk of electric shock to persons.
The exclamation point within an equilateral triangle is intended to alert the user to the presence
of important operating and maintenance (servicing) instructions in the literature accompanying
the appliance.
Marking by the “CE” symbol (shown left) indicates compliance of this device with the EMC
(Electromagnetic Compatibility) and LVD (Low Voltage Directive) standards of the European
Community.
NOTICE
This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to
Part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful
interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency
energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to
radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular
installation. If this equipment does cause interference to radio or television reception, which can be
determined by turning the equipment on and off, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by
one or more of the following measures:
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•
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Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna;
Increase the separation between the equipment and the receiver;
Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected;
Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
CAUTION: Changes or modifications to this equipment not expressly approved by the manufacturer could
void the user’s authority to operate the equipment.
The information contained in the manual is subject to change without notice. The most current version of this
manual will be posted on our web site at http://www.madrigal.com/MLOM.htm
Important Safety Instructions
Please read all instructions and precautions carefully and completely before operating your Mark
Levinson® integrated amplifier.
1. ALWAYS disconnect your entire system from the AC mains before connecting or disconnecting any cables, or when cleaning any component.
2. This product must be terminated with a three-conductor AC mains power cord which
includes an earth ground connection. To prevent shock hazard, all three connections
must ALWAYS be used.
3. AC extension cords are not recommended for use with this product.
4. NEVER use flammable or combustible chemicals for cleaning audio components.
5. NEVER operate this product with any covers removed.
6. NEVER wet the inside of this product with any liquid.
7. NEVER pour or spill liquids directly onto this unit.
8. NEVER block air flow through ventilation slots or heatsinks.
9. NEVER bypass any fuse.
10. NEVER replace any fuse with a value or type other than those specified.
11. NEVER attempt to repair this product. If a problem occurs, contact your Mark
Levinson® retailer.
12. NEVER expose this product to extremely high or low temperatures.
13. NEVER operate this product in an explosive atmosphere.
14. ALWAYS keep electrical equipment out of the reach of children.
15. ALWAYS unplug sensitive electronic equipment during lightning storms.
From all of us at Madrigal Audio Laboratories, thank you for choosing the Mark
Levinson Nº383 Integrated Amplifier.
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A great deal of effort went into the design and construction of this precision
device. Used properly, it will give you many years of enjoyment.
Table of Contents
Special Design Features of the Nº383 Integrated Amplifier ........ 7
why an integrated? ............................................................................ 7
the power supplies ............................................................................. 7
the preamplifier .................................................................................. 8
the volume control ............................................................................. 8
the power amplifier ............................................................................ 8
protection .......................................................................................... 8
the remote control & user experience ................................................. 9
communication .................................................................................. 9
construction ..................................................................................... 10
Unpacking and Placement ....................................................... 11
unpacking ........................................................................................ 11
installing the batteries in the remote control ..................................... 11
placement ........................................................................................ 11
continuous operation ....................................................................... 11
ventilation ........................................................................................ 12
Operating Voltage ................................................................... 13
Warm up & break-in period ............................................................... 13
A Quick Start… ........................................................................ 14
Front Panel ............................................................................. 15
sleep timer ..................................................................................... 18
Rear Panel ............................................................................... 19
a note about the inputs and outputs .............................................. 19
tip polarity for external IR input ....................................................... 21
building a link cable ....................................................................... 22
Remote Control ....................................................................... 25
Customizing Your Nº383 ......................................................... 28
setup overview ................................................................................. 28
the menu system .............................................................................. 28
configuring line level inputs .............................................................. 29
available input names .................................................................... 29
changing input names ................................................................... 30
input programming tip .................................................................. 30
factory default input names .............................................................. 30
using custom input names ............................................................. 31
naming an input “SSP” ................................................................... 31
setting input gain........................................................................... 31
setting input offsets ........................................................................ 32
setting record out .......................................................................... 33
teach ir ............................................................................................. 33
setting a mute level .......................................................................... 33
setting a maximum level ................................................................... 34
configuring the DC trigger ............................................................... 34
checking the software version .......................................................... 34
continued next page…
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Using the Nº383 with Learning Remote Controls ..................... 35
using the teach ir menu ................................................................... 35
available ir commands ...................................................................... 36
Modes of Operation ................................................................ 37
normal operation ............................................................................. 37
the balance mode ............................................................................ 37
balance control tip ......................................................................... 38
polarity ............................................................................................. 38
reset defaults .................................................................................... 38
Using Surround Sound Processors ............................................ 40
the SSP must not come after the preamp .......................................... 40
the SSP must not come before the preamp ........................................ 40
the SSP must not be in a tape loop ................................................... 41
the SSP & the Nº383 ......................................................................... 41
noise in a/v systems .......................................................................... 41
Linked Functions ..................................................................... 43
display intensity ................................................................................ 43
standby link ...................................................................................... 43
volume link ...................................................................................... 43
select link ......................................................................................... 43
play link ........................................................................................... 44
record link ........................................................................................ 44
HDCD™ link ..................................................................................... 44
Care and Maintenance ............................................................. 45
U.S. and Canadian Warranty .................................................... 46
90-day limited warranty .................................................................... 46
five year extended warranty ............................................................. 46
Obtaining Service .................................................................... 47
Specifications .......................................................................... 48
Dimensions, Nº383 Integrated Amplifier .................................. 49
Special Design Features of the
Nº383 Integrated Amplifier
why an integrated?
For over 25 years, the Mark Levinson brand has been associated with
the world finest separate components. So why, after all this time, do we
introduce an integrated amplifier?
Actually, we have been thinking of creating an integrated amplifier that
we would want to put the Mark Levinson name on for years. But creating such a product, one that does not compromise or tarnish the reputation of the Mark Levinson brand, required a great deal of thought
and work. Sonic performance, construction details and sophisticated
operation all help define what is a Mark Levinson – and what is not.
We had no desire to simply put our name on a product that many
would not consider a “real” Levinson.
Thus the challenge was clear: we needed to create an integrated amplifier that would do justice to Mark Levinson’s reputation. Some of the
strategies necessary to achieve this goal include:
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the power supplies
Three power supplies divide the task of providing clean and stable DC
power to the various circuit elements. Common mode and differential
filtering capacitors are used on the AC mains input to pre-filter high
frequency noise. Both AC mains fuses and an AC mains relay are used
in the overall protection scheme.
All communications and control circuitry are powered from a separate,
low-voltage DC supply. This approach also prevents noise generated by
control and communications circuitry from finding its way into the audio circuits.
As one would expect in a Mark Levinson amplifier, left and right channel audio circuits are powered by two independent power supplies.
Large custom-designed toroidal transformers are used to reduce the AC
mains voltage to the ±60Vrms required for the audio supplies. Independent rectification and filtering is followed by active regulation for
voltage gain and volume control circuits.
Separate power supplies for left and right channels ensure that demand
from one channel cannot modulate the power supply of the adjacent
channel. This dual-mono approach results in the most effortless reproduction of dynamic contrast as well as stable and detailed stereo imaging.
the preamplifier
Five analog input pairs are provided for use with balanced (2 pr. XLR)
and single-ended (3 pr. RCA) sources. The inputs are independently
buffered. As with other Mark Levinson preamplifiers, un-selected inputs have both their signal and ground connections lifted, eliminating
a possible path where noise may enter the chassis.
The overall gain for the preamplifier section may be adjusted to optimize performance with each input, easily accommodating unusually
high- and low- line level source components within the same system.
This degree of optimization was first offered in the Nº32 Reference
Preamplifier.
All single-ended source signals are converted to balanced at the input
and remain balanced up to the final current gain stage of the amplifier.
In this respect as in so many others, the Nº383 emulates the topology
of Mark Levinson separate components. The result is low noise, highly
dynamic and detailed resolution of the music signal.
the volume control
Precision electronic control of analog volume has been a standard feature of Mark Levinson preamplifiers for nearly a decade. Dual solidstate stepped attenuators offer precision attenuation of balanced analog
signals. Local supply regulation and passive bypass components are
used to assure optimum results. As with so many of the individual
component parts used in Mark Levinson products, selections were
based on extensive listening tests. As it has always been, carefully controlled listening tests are crucial to the design process at Madrigal.
the power amplifier
The Nº383 output stage uses the same devices (12 per channel) as the
Mark Levinson 300-series and Nº33H amplifiers. All output devices are
sorted by Madrigal technicians, allowing us to construct each channel
using transistors of closely matched gain. In this way, we ensure that no
one device works harder or runs hotter than any of its neighbors. The
result is a better sounding, longer lasting amplifier.
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The large output capability of this amplifier required that proper cooling be a consideration in the design. Output transistors are widely
spaced along the current gain circuit board in order to facilitate heat
dissipation. Ventilation is provided by custom heatsink extrusions
mounted on the sides of the chassis.
protection
Protection from internal or external component failure is an integral
feature of the Mark Levinson design philosophy. The Nº383 employs
several forms of protection, both for its own self-preservation as well as
the protection of loudspeakers and other components to which it is
connected. Pre-filtering the AC line using capacitors and thermistors
helps prevent damage from an occasional or prolonged influx of surges
and spikes. An AC mains relay can be switched off when called upon by
one of the Nº383’s other protection systems.
Thermal protection is controlled by four sensors mounted on each
rail of the left and right channel output stages. If a sensor detects excessive heat, it instructs the amplifier to switch itself off. Thermal switches
located inside each transformer housing will disconnect power if the
transformer overheats.
Soft-clip circuits are used to prevent high-energy, high-frequency ring-
ing artifacts from reaching and damaging loudspeakers if the amplifier
is over-driven.
When the amplifier is over-driven for prolonged periods, or if a loudspeaker cable or output device has shorted, over-current protection
switches the amplifier off.
DC servos are used to correct for potentially damaging DC-offset from
a source component. As with other Mark Levinson components, the
correction range is ±1V. If the problem exceeds the servo’s range, the
amplifier will be switched off.
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the remote control
& user experience
A newly designed remote offers complete control in a small and elegant
package. External control by IR is also offered via an eighth-inch minijack on the rear panel, should the Nº383 be inside a cabinet where the
IR commands cannot reach.
The user interface of the Nº383 is rooted in the advanced design of the
Nº32 Reference Preamplifier. Large knobs for volume and input select
help the unit retain the tactile benefits and functionality of traditional
preamplifier designs. Of particular interest, inputs may be named appropriately, and the selector knob cycles only between those inputs that
are actually used. In other words, the Nº383 can operate as if it were
custom-designed for each source component.
communication
The Nº383 features a software-controlled operating system that can be
updated via its RS-232 port, located on the rear panel. Full compatibility with older Mark Levinson Linking communications buses makes
the Nº383 ideal for customers who use Mark Levinson source components.
Two eighth-inch mini-jacks are provided to facilitate DC-trigger control. Triggers are set for level input and output.
construction
Regardless of the technology used, numerous details must be executed
to fully realize the potential of a Mark Levinson design. The quality of
individual components, the care and craftsmanship with which they
are assembled and the exhaustive inspection and testing we employ
help raise the value of Mark Levinson products. The Nº383 is built to
the same high construction standards as all other Mark Levinson products.
In addition to yielding the best performance, careful attention to details is the secret of achieving both reliability and longevity.
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Unpacking and Placement
unpacking
Unpack your Nº383 Integrated Amplifier and keep all packing materials for future transport. Locate and remove all accessory items from the
Accessory Box within the Controller shipping carton. Accessories include:
1 detachable AC power cord
1 Nº383 remote control
2 AAA alkaline batteries
Also included with your new Mark Levinson component is a pair of
knit, white gloves to assist you in the initial unpacking and placement
of your new purchase. Please accept them as a token of our appreciation for having purchased one of our products.
installing the batteries
in the remote control
Using a #3 (small) Philips head screwdriver, remove the three screws in
the bottom plate of the remote control. Insert the two alkaline batteries
found in the Accessories box, being careful to follow the polarity indications given on the inside of the battery compartment. Replace the
end cap and the screws.
If at some point you notice that your remote control seems not to be
performing as well as it once did, its batteries are probably running low.
Check the batteries periodically, and replace batteries before they are
“dead.” (Fully discharged batteries are prone to leaking corrosive
chemicals—the greenish “gunk” you may have seen around battery terminals of other remote controls.)
placement
The Nº383 should generally be placed close to your source equipment,
thus keeping interconnect cabling short. We strongly recommend
mounting the Nº383 on its own shelf to allow for proper ventilation.
continuous operation
The Nº383 is designed for continuous operation—it is designed to be
connected to the AC mains at all times for the best performance. While
we also include a front-panel power switch that actually disconnects
the Nº383 from the AC mains, we recommend you use the standby
button instead, which leaves the voltage gain stages of the Nº383
warmed up and sounding their best at all times.
(The exception to this suggestion is if you are going to be away for a
prolonged period of time, perhaps on vacation.)
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ventilation
Caution!
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Be sure to allow 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) of clearance above the Nº383
to allow heat dissipation through air circulation. Drawings are included
in this manual to facilitate special installations and custom cabinetry
(see “Dimensions”).
It is extremely important that all components in your
system be properly grounded. Do not defeat a threeprong AC cords with “ground-lifter” or “cheater”
adaptors, as doing so may allow dangerous voltages to
build up between components. The presence of these
voltages would pose a threat to both your person and
your equipment.
Operating Voltage
The Nº383 Integrated Amplifier is set at the factory (internally) for
100V, 120V, 230V, 220V, or 240V AC mains operation @ 50 or 60Hz.
(230V/50Hz only in European Union countries, in compliance with CE
regulations.) This voltage setting cannot be changed by the user.
Make sure that the label near the AC receptacle of the Nº383 indicates
the correct AC operating voltage for your location.
If the voltage indicated on your Nº383 is incorrect, or if you wish to
change the AC operating voltage of your Nº383 as the result of moving
to a different country than the one in which you purchased your
preamplifier, see your Mark Levinson dealer.
The Nº383 is powered by a normal 15-ampere AC mains line. If other
devices are also powered from the same AC line, their additional power
consumption should be taken into account.
Warm up &
break-in period
Although your Mark Levinson Nº383 Integrated Amplifier delivers
outstanding performance straight out of the box, you should expect to
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hear it continue to improve as it reaches its normal operating temperatures and its various components “break-in.” It has been our experience
that the greatest changes occur within the first 25-50 hours, but that
the Nº383 will continue to improve in sound quality for about 300
hours, after which time it remains quite constant.
The only exception to this rule is if power is removed from the unit, allowing it to cool down. In this case you should expect a brief warm-up
period before its sound quality is at its best. (Fortunately, you do not
have to repeat the full 300-hour break-in period.)
A Quick Start…
We recognize that many people are understandably eager to begin listening to their new components, and that reading the manual is often
done (if at all) at a later time—perhaps while listening to music
through the new product itself. We strongly recommend that you read
this manual thoroughly, as the Nº383 Integrated Amplifier incorporates many unusual features which enhance its operation.
Fortunately, we can help you get some music up and running on your
system quickly, so that you may begin enjoying your new system while
reading more about it. The goal here is simply to make some music
quickly.
1
Turn off your associated components.
This minimizes the opportunity for a momentary electrical surge
to disturb your system while making connections.
2
Connect a source to any input, noting which you use.
For example, connect the balanced outputs of your CD player to
the Left and Right Input 1 XLR jacks on the rear panel of your
Nº383. High quality interconnecting cables such as Madrigal CZ
Gel will yield superior results, and are strongly recommended.
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3
Connect your speaker cables to the appropriate speaker terminals on the rear of the Nº383.
We recommend high quality spade lugs for your speaker cables, as
they combine the largest surface area with the possibility of a
good, tight mechanical connection. In fact, the Madrigal-designed
speaker terminals were specifically designed to allow tight connections without having to resort to finger-busting effort, or special
tools (that are never around when you need them).
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Turn on your source component; turn on your Nº383; select
the appropriate input using the Select knob; slowly raise
the volume on the Nº383 to a comfortable level
Congratulations! You should now be able to enjoy your favorite
music while reading the rest of this manual. (You are going to read
the rest of this manual, aren’t you?)
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2
3
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5
polarity
select
power
CD
47.3
volume
MADRIGAL AUDIO LABORATORIES
display intensity
setup
enter
balance
mute
standby
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Front Panel
1
Power Button
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This button connects and disconnects the Nº383 from the AC
mains power. It is normally intended to be left engaged at all
times, unless you plan to be away from your home for an extended
period. By using the standby button rather than power to turn
the system on and off, the Nº383 can remain warmed up and
sounding its best at all times. It can also respond to commands
from its remote control when in standby, something it obviously
cannot do when disconnected from AC mains power.
Should you disconnect the Nº383 from power for an extended period, either via this power button or by pulling its plug, it may
require a few hours to return to thermal equilibrium and optimal
sonic performance.
2
Select Knob
This knob is normally used to select among the various inputs of
the Nº383, with the resulting selections being shown in the display
window, immediately to the right of the select knob.
The select knob is also used during setup to select among various menu items available (the volume knob is used to actually
adjust those items).
For example, if you are using only two or three inputs on your
Nº383, you may disable the unused ones so that the select knob
selects only among connectors you are actually using. For more
information on customizing your integrated amplifier in this and
other ways, please see “Customizing Your Nº383.”
3
Alphanumeric Display
This twelve-character display provides a wide range of information concerning the operation of the Nº383. The information displayed depends on what the Nº383 is doing. The information displayed is summarized below:
normal operation
balance
setup
the selected input name and volume setting
direction and magnitude of balance offset
setup menus and settings
In addition, this display will indicate any known fault conditions.
For example, it will also inform you if the amplifier section has
shut down due to the presence of DC offset at the input or the
output. For more detailed information on the preamplifier’s use
of this display, please refer to the following section on the use of
the balance button, as well as the section on “Customizing Your
Nº383.”
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4
Polarity Indicator
The polarity (sometimes inaccurately called “absolute phase”) of
the output of the Nº383 may be inverted via the Nº383 remote
control, in which case the red LED under the word polarity
(within the display window) will light as confirmation. A second
press of the polarity button on the remote control will restore the
polarity of the output to its original, non-inverted state.
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Volume Knob
This control is normally used to adjust the listening volume, and
does not effect the level of the signal being sent to the record output. When in balance mode, this knob is used to vary the relative
output of the Left and Right channels. It is also used during setup
for various adjustments; see “Customization of your Nº383.”
6
Display Intensity Button
Cycles among four levels of brightness (including “off ”) for the
display, allowing adjustment for various ambient lighting conditions. When “off,” the display will turn on for a few seconds whenever a setting is changed. When used in conjunction with certain
compatible Mark Levinson components, this button will control
the display intensity of all linked components. (For more information, see “Linked Functions.”)
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Setup Button
Pressing the setup button places the Nº383 into setup mode, and
lights the LED indicator immediately above the setup button.
While in setup mode, the display is used to show a series of menu
choices that allow you to customize the Nº383 rather extensively,
to better suit your system’s needs and personal preferences. The
selector knob and the volume knob are used to select menu
items and make adjustments, respectively. For more information
on this customization, please see “Customizing Your Nº383.”
8
Enter Button
Used in conjunction with the setup button, the enter button
allows you to save changes made to the Nº383 while in setup
mode. For more information on this customization, please see
“Customizing Your Nº383.”
9
Balance Button
Pressing the balance button allows you to adjust the relative volumes of the left and right channels using the volume knob. While
in balance mode, the display changes to show you the current relative
balance of the left and right channels, displaying the magnitude of the
offset in decibels. If you leave the balance mode with the balance “offcenter,” the LED remains lit to remind you that the balance is not
“even.”
10 Mute Button
Pressing the mute button will reduce the main output level of the
preamplifier by a user-modifiable amount, ranging from -10 to
-73.2 decibels. Pressing the mute button a second time without
adjusting the volume will return it to its previous setting.
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If you adjust the volume while mute is engaged, the preamplifier
will adjust its volume from the muted level, and disengage the mute
function. This approach prevents an unpleasant surprise when,
having increased the volume while muted, someone un-mutes the
system.
The factory default setting of the mute circuit is -20 dB. (See “Customizing Your Nº383” for information on changing the factory default setting.)
11 Standby Button
The standby button toggles the Nº383 between normal opera-
tion and standby, wherein the display is turned off, the outputs are
disconnected, and all controls are inoperable. All critical circuitry
remains powered-up during standby to ensure immediate, optimal performance when you are ready to listen to music.
The LED above the standby button will blink slowly when the
Nº383 is in standby, indicating that power is still being provided
to the unit.
sleep timer
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The standby button includes a special function that allows you
to use the Nº383 as the heart of one of the world’s most exotic
sleep timers. By pressing and holding the standby button for
several seconds, you will see the display change to SLEEP -OFF-;
subsequent clicks of standby will cycle through a list of sleep
timer settings ranging from OFF through four hours, in 30
minute increments. Having selected the setting you want to use,
simply allow the Nº383 to “time out” for the display to return to
normal.
Setting the sleep timer to 1hr 0min for example, will cause the
Nº383 to enter standby after an hour, at which point it will also
return the sleep timer’s status to OFF (so as to avoid unintentional interruptions of your music at a later time). You may use
the sleep timer function as often as you like, but you will have to
set it as you want it to behave each time. The default setting is
OFF.
1
2 3
m
ir input
1
2
right inputs
3
trigger
input
4
4
6
1
MARK LEVINSON Nº383
INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER
S/N
Made in the U.S.A.
RS-232
trigger
output
5
5
right
record out
control ports
comm
left
record out
PHASTLink™ compatible
5
4
left inputs
3
2
1
~ ac mains
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8
9 10 9
8
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Rear Panel
a note about the
inputs and outputs
All left-channel inputs and outputs are on the left of the rear panel as
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seen from the front, and all right-channel inputs and outputs are on
the right of the rear panel as seen from the front. This design minimizes any possible confusion when changing connections once the unit
is installed, while also maximizing channel separation in this dual
monaural design.
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Speaker Binding Posts
The Mark Levinson Nº383 is equipped with custom made, goldplated, high-current binding posts for output termination to a
loudspeaker system. To take full advantage of the amplifier’s sonic
quality, we recommend using high-quality speaker cable; please
see your Mark Levinson dealer.
Caution!
NEVER connect a power amplifier’s output terminals to
any device other than a loudspeaker.
NEVER short-circuit the amplifier’s output terminals.
NEVER connect the output terminals of one amplifier
to the output terminals of another amplifier.
There are two recommended methods for connecting speaker
cables to your amplifier. A high-quality spade lug or hook lug, soldered to the cable (or crimped with extremely high pressure), is
best.
Spade lug
Hook lug
Connect a + (positive or red) output post of the amplifier to the +
(positive or red) input terminal of the appropriate loudspeaker. [If
biwiring, repeat using the other + (positive or red) output post of
the amplifier and the + (positive or red) input terminal of the
loudspeaker.]
Connect a – (negative or black) output post of the amplifier to the
– (negative or black) input terminal of the appropriate loudspeaker.
Caution!
DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN the binding posts on your
amplifier! The unique design of these posts gives far
more leverage than traditional posts. You will achieve
tight, high contact pressure connections with only
modest finger-tightening, and without having to resort
to special tools.
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DO NOT FORCE the “wings” up and over a bent or
oversized connector, as this may damage the binding
post. If your connectors obstruct the turning of the
“wings,” slide them into place when the binding post
opening is a snug fit; then apply a final quarter-turn as
needed to tighten the connection.
2
External IR Input
The Nº383 incorporates an infrared repeater input to facilitate a
wide range of installation options. If desired, the Nº383 may be
placed inside a cabinet or outside the normal line-of-sight in the
listening area, with the controlling IR signal being relayed to the
Nº383 by any of a number of commercially-available IR repeaters.
The specifications for this ir input call for a triggering voltage of
5 volts at no more than 100 milliamps of current, with the tip of
the 1⁄8" mini-plug having positive polarity, as below:
–
tip polarity for
external IR input
+
5 volts @ less
than 100 mA
If you would like more information on the possibility of using an
infrared repeater with your Nº383, please contact your Mark
Levinson dealer.
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DC trigger in and out
On a simpler level than PHAST, AMX, or Crestron, some systems
control whether a given component is on or off (or more accurately, “operating” or “in standby”) by means of a simple control
voltage.
If the appropriate 3-12V level “trigger” signal arrives at the trigger input of the Nº383, it turns on. When the Nº383 turns on, it
passes along a trigger signal to another component. In this way, it
is possible (if you like) to set up a “daisy chain” of components
that can be controlled by one another (at least to some degree.)
The Nº383 can produce and send from its trigger output either a
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5V pulse (such as a momentary contact switch might make) or a
12V level signal (where the presence of 12V forces the unit out of
standby, and its absence forces it into standby). This choice is made
in the Nº383’s menu system. (See Customizing Your Nº383 for
more details.)
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RS-232 port
This port is used both for downloading new operating software
into your Nº383 Reference Preamplifier (should new features ever
be added, for example), and also for external control of the Nº383
by systems such as AMX™ and Crestron™. For more information,
please contact your dealer and ask about either AMX or Crestron
home automation systems.
5
Comm Port
This communications port allows the Nº383 to “link” to certain
compatible Mark Levinson components. (See “Linked Functions.”)
After making or changing Link connections, cycle power on all your
Linked components to ensure that they “see” the change.
The Mark Levinson Linking system uses a Digital Audio Processor
as the Master of (and central clearinghouse for) inter-component
communications. Other components such as digital transports are
connected to the Master as “Slaves,” and can be “daisy-chained”
using their slave in and slave out jacks. As the ultimate destination of all source signals, the Nº383 must be the final comm port
in the chain. (In technical terms, it terminates the communications bus.)
Thus, if the only other Mark Levinson Link-compatible component you have is a digital audio processor, connect its master port
to the Nº383’s comm port using a “straight-through” RJ-45 cable.
If there are additional Mark Levinson Link-compatible components in the system, place the Nº383 at the end of the chain by
connecting the last slave out port to the Nº383’s comm port.
In short:
master (processor) → slave in (transport)
slave out (transport) → slave in (next transport, as needed)
slave out (last transport) → comm (Nº383)
The RJ-45 cable needed for the Link connection between source
components and the preamplifier may be purchased from your
Mark Levinson dealer. It may also be made to length using two
RJ-45 connectors and the appropriate length (up to 100 feet/30
meters) of RJ-45 (flat, eight conductor) cable.
22
RJ-45 cables and connectors are used throughout the world for
both telecommunications and computers, and are widely available
at low cost. The connectors are crimped on to the ends of the
cable such that pin 1 at one end is connected to pin 1 at the other
end. Such a “straight-through” connection requires that one connector be “tab side up” and the other “tab side down” when the
cable itself is lying flat. (Flipping the connector over compensates
for the fact that it is pointed in the other direction.)
building a link cable
Warning!
To Mark Levinson®
Linked component
To Nº383
Locking tab
(on top)
Locking tab
(on bottom)
Connecting the communication ports other than as
described in this manual can damage the Nº383 and
the associated Mark Levinson components, and will
void those products’ warranties.
6
Control Ports (PHAST™ compatible)
These ports are reserved for future use as PHASTLink™ communications ports. This future functionality is not available at this
time. For more information, please contact your dealer and ask
about PHAST™ home automation systems.
7
Balanced Inputs 1 & 2
Accepts right-channel and left-channel balanced signals from
source equipment with balanced outputs.
The pin assignments of these XLR-type female input connectors
are in conformance with AES standards, specifically:
PUSH
2 1
3
Pin 1: Signal ground
Pin 2: Signal + (non-inverting)
Pin 3: Signal – (inverting)
Connector ground lug: chassis ground
Refer to the operating manuals of your balanced-output line-level
sources to verify that the pin assignments of their output connectors correspond to the Nº383. If not, wire the cables so that the
appropriate output pin connects to the equivalent input pin.
To achieve the best possible results, we suggest using high quality
interconnecting cables such as Madrigal’s own CZ Gel-1 balanced
cables.
8
Single-ended Inputs 3–5
Accepts right-channel and left-channel (single-ended) inputs
from line-level source equipment such as tuners, CD players, and
tape decks.
To achieve the best possible results, we suggest using high quality
interconnecting cables such as Madrigal’s own CZ Gel-2 singleended cables.
9
Single-ended (RCA) Record Output
Connect these outputs to the right-channel and left-channel tape
inputs of your recorder. These outputs are unaffected by the
volume control on the front panel of the Nº383. They track the
selected input, reflecting to the recorder the same signal to which
you are listening.
23
The record output may be turned off (see Customizing Your Nº383
for more information.) The record outputs will also be shut off
when the preamplifier is placed into standby.
10 AC mains receptacle
This IEC-standard AC mains receptacle is used with the removable AC power cord to supply the Nº383 with power.
Warning!
Prior to connection to the AC mains, please check the
voltage label on the rear panel of the Nº383 to ensure
that your unit conforms to the power supply in your
area.
Following the guidelines in the Quick Start section of this manual,
connect the power cord to this receptacle and the AC mains outlet
in the wall.
When power is first applied to the Nº383, it will run through an
automatic initialization sequence which displays a software identification code, and then enter standby.
24
For optimal sonic performance and longevity, the Nº383 is designed to remain powered at all times (the standby button merely
mutes the preamplifier’s outputs and turns off the display). There
is an initial break-in period of at least 25-50 hours before the
Nº383 achieves optimum performance.
Note:
If AC mains power to the Nº383 is interrupted, the
main output will be muted. When power is restored,
the initialization sequence described above will restore
the preamplifier to standby.
We recommend you allow the circuitry within your various system components to stabilize by leaving it in standby for 1 to 2
minutes before use after a power outage.
Remote Control
1
standby
setup
enter
select
volume
2
3
4
5
+
6
–
polarity balance display
mute
R
MADRIGAL AUDIO LABORATORIES
7
8
9
10
11
(on bottom)
INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER
Nº383
25
1
IR transmission window
Infrared (IR) control signals are sent through this window. Aim
the remote control toward the Nº383 when using the remote. For
the best results, the remote should be within ±45° of a line that is
perpendicular to the faceplate of the Nº383.
At more severe angles (nearly parallel with the faceplate), try
bouncing the remote’s signal off a wall or other surface instead so
as to have it enter the display window of the Nº383 at a reasonable
angle.
Alternatively, use an external infrared receiver, placed in a more
convenient location, to route the signal to the rear panel ir input
jack.
2
Standby Button
As you might expect, pressing this button toggles the Nº383 between standby mode and normal operation. The Nº383 disables
its outputs and controls when in standby, but its circuitry remains
active so as to be warmed up and sounding its best at a moment’s
notice.
3
Setup Button
Duplicates the function of the setup button on the front panel,
allowing you to access menu functions of the Nº383 from your listening position.
4
Enter Button
Duplicates the function of the enter button on the front panel,
allowing you to save changes to menu items in the Nº383 from
your listening position.
5
Select Up and Down Buttons
These buttons provide remote selection of the various inputs of
the Nº383.
The select buttons are also used when accessing the setup menu
system in the Nº383. For more information on what you can do
with these menus, please see “Customizing Your Nº383” later in the
manual.
26
6
Volume Up and Down Buttons
Raises the volume at either low speed for fine adjustments or
higher speeds for larger changes. The Nº383 will slowly raise its
output for the first 1.5 seconds this button is depressed, then
move to higher rates of change.
Note that all volume and balance functions are disabled if a surround sound processor “SSP” input is selected. For more information on this special feature of the Nº383’s design, see “Using Surround Sound Processors.”
7
Display Button
Duplicates the function of the display intensity button on the
front panel, cycling among four levels of brightness (including
“off ”) for the display, allowing adjustment for various ambient
lighting conditions.
8
Mute Button
Toggles between normal output level and the user-programmable
mute function, reducing the level by -10 to -73.2 decibels (depending on the user’s programming). The factory default setting
gives a 20 decibel reduction in output.
If the volume is adjusted while mute is engaged, the volume will
begin changing from the muted level, and mute will be automatically disengaged. This approach avoids the problem of turning the
volume up, only to then “unmute” the system without thinking
and suddenly find it dangerously loud.
9
Balance Button
Duplicates the function of the balance button on the front panel
of the Nº383 Controller, allowing you to then fine-tune the relative balance of the Left and Right channels from your listening position using the volume buttons, in 0.1 dB increments.
10 Polarity Button
Inverts the polarity (sometimes inaccurately called “absolute
phase”) of the outputs of the Nº383, indicated by the LED on the
front panel. A second press of this button will restore the outputs
to their original, non-inverting polarity.
11 Battery Compartment (on bottom of remote control)
Using a #3 (small) Philips screwdriver, remove the bottom plate to
access the battery compartment when it becomes necessary to replace batteries. The Nº383 remote control uses two alkaline AAA
batteries.
27
Customizing Your Nº383
setup overview
The Nº383 Integrated Amplifier has many provisions for customtailoring the system’s operation to match your preferences. The method
for modifying any of these settings is to:
• press the setup button on either the front panel or the remote control to enter the setup mode, accessing the
Nº383’s menu system;
• navigate among different menu items using the select
knob or the remote control’s select buttons;
• change the value of the selected menu item using either
the volume knob or volume +/– buttons on the remote.
• move down a level within a menu, or save the change by
pressing enter on either the front panel or the remote
control. (You can avoid saving an unwanted change by leaving the menu without pressing enter, by pressing setup instead. Within the menu system, setup acts like a “cancel”
button.)
28
This four-step process gives you extensive control over a wide variety of
setup options, and provides positive feedback that your changes have
been accepted and saved for future use.
the menu system
The complete Nº383 Setup menu is shown below for your reference:
No383 Setup
Set Inputs
Set Input 1
Name=INPUT 1
Gain= +6 dB
Offset= 0.0
Rec.Out=NONE
Set Input 2
(repeats previous menu)
Set Input 3
(repeats previous menu, with +12 dB gain)
Set Input 4
(repeats previous menu)
Set Input 5
(repeats previous menu)
Teach IR
Mute = -20.0
MaxVol= 80.0
Trig.= 12v,L
Sw 1.05 1.02 (the software version numbers)
The Nº383’s menu system allows you to customize the way the integrated amplifier operates, to better suit the needs of your system and
your personal preferences. We will review the following information in
more detail in the coming pages, on an item-by-item basis. (Don’t
worry, it isn’t really as complicated as it seems when you take it one step at
a time.)
configuring line
level inputs
Each line-level input may be customized in four ways:
• Name— the name of the input shown in the front panel’s
display when the input is selected; this may be one of a list
of predetermined names, or a custom name created by
you.
• Gain— the amount of gain available for that particular
input, 0 dB (attenuation only), +6 dB, +12 dB, or +18 dB;
used to optimize the match between the output level of
any given source and the preamplifier’s gain structure.
• Offset— automatic volume adjustments implemented
whenever switching to this particular input, used to ensure
that all sources play back at the same volume, even when
their outputs may be quite different; the range is ± 20.0 dB
in 0.1 dB increments.
• Record Output— used to assign a record output to this
particular input; options are On and Off.
To facilitate operation in complex multisource systems, the Nº383 is
capable of displaying a wide variety of names for each of its five inputs.
The available names are listed below.
available input names
INPUT
UNUSED
SSP
DAT
VCR
CASS
RtoR
MD
CD-R
SAT
LD
CD
TUNER
AUX
DAC
TAPE
DVD
(custom name, may be edited letter by letter)
(any unused input, removes from the rotation)
Surround Sound Processor mode of operation
Digital Audio Tape
Video Cassette Recorder
Cassette
Reel-To-Reel
Mini-Disc
Compact Disc-Recordable
Satellite
LaserDisc
Compact Disc
Tuner
Auxiliary
Digital to Analog Converter
Tape Player/Recorder
DVD player
29
No30
No30.5
No30.6
No35
No36
No36S
No360
No360S
No39
changing input names
Mark Levinson Reference Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Reference Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Reference Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Nº35 Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Nº36 Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Nº36S Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Nº360 Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Nº360S Digital Audio Processor
Mark Levinson Nº39 CD Processor
To change an input name, use the setup menu:
press setup to enter the setup menu
press enter or turn the select knob to move to Inputs
press enter to move to Input 1
turn the select knob (or use the select buttons on the
remote) to move to whatever input you want to edit
• press enter (Note that enter will either take you down to
the next “lower” level in the menu, or if you are at the bottom level of the “branch” of the menu you are on, it will
allow you to edit that item. Having changed the item, you
can then save the change by pressing enter again.)
• choose the name you want from the list, using the volume
knob (or use the volume buttons on the remote)
•
•
•
•
30
If this seems a little complicated when you read about it, just try it on
the Nº383 itself, referring to the menu system on page 29. It really becomes intuitive quite quickly.
input programming tip
You can take advantage of a shortcut to the settings of the specific input to which you are currently listening. By pressing and holding the
setup button on either the remote control or the front panel for a few
seconds, you will be taken directly to the first menu item for that particular input (its name). You may change anything pertaining to that
input, and when you leave that level of the menu (by pressing setup
again), you will leave the menu system entirely.
factory default
input names
The factory default names for the inputs are the somewhat generic INPUT 1 through INPUT 5. This makes it easy to tell what connectors
correspond to what input, but you may find the system easier to use
once you have customized the names to reflect the actual components
you have connected.
using custom input names
If none of the default names seems quite right for a given source, you
may create a name of your own choosing, up to seven characters long.
To do so,
• navigate to the NAME= level of the menu system, and
• if necessary, use the volume knob (or use the volume
buttons on the remote) to choose the name INPUT (or
whatever other custom name might have been entered);
• press enter to enter the single-character editing mode;
• use the volume knob to select each character in turn,
pressing enter each time to move to the next character;
• when you enter the seventh character, you are done.
(Blank spaces count as characters.)
naming an input “SSP”
Introduced in 1993, the Mark Levinson SSP mode provides a clean solution to the problem of integrating a state of the art two-channel system with a multichannel system. By routing the front Left and Right
outputs of the surround sound processor through the Nº383, and naming that input “SSP,” you can enjoy both systems without compromise.
If this scenario is important to you, please see the section entitled “Using Surround Sound Processors” later in this manual for more detail. In
brief, when the Nº383 accesses an input named SSP, it defeats the normal function of the volume control, going to a fixed gain for that input. 31
In so doing, it allows the multichannel volume control to control the
relative volumes of all the speakers in the system, without having to be
concerned about a now-redundant volume control in the Nº383. When
you wish to listen to your two-channel system, simply choose any other
input on the Nº383 and place your surround sound processor in
standby.
Important note:
Make sure that the volume on your surround processor
is turned down before changing the input name on
your Nº383 to SSP. When the preamp effects this
change, it abdicates its control over the volume of your
front left and right speakers, allowing the surround
processor to handle it instead.
setting input gain
Each input in the Nº383 can be set for one of four preamplifier gain
settings: 0 dB, 6 dB, 12 dB, or 18 dB. The concept is to use as much gain
as an individual source may require in order to drive the power amplifier section to adequate levels, without introducing unnecessary gain
that might result in a distorted signal.
In the past, the Mark Levinson Nº26 and Nº26S preamplifiers offered a
single gain adjustment to effect this change globally; now this setting
can be optimized for each individual input. This helps to make the
Nº383 behave as though each input had the preamplifier section of the
integrated amplifier “all to itself.”
With some non-standard sources having outputs as high as 9 volts, the
last thing you need is gain in the line stages of the preamplifier. On the
other hand, an unusually low output source might need as much as
eighteen decibels of gain in order to drive the power amplifier section
to full power. Being able to customize this setting by input gives you the
flexibility you need to fully optimize your system.
The factory settings for gain are usually fine, at +6 dB for balanced and
+12 dB for single-ended inputs. However, should you hear distortion
(indicating an overly high input signal), you may want to reduce the
gain on that input by 6 dB or more.
To do so, navigate to the Gain= item under the input in question. (See
the menu system on page 29.) Then press enter to edit the item, and
adjust it using the volume knob (or use the volume buttons on the
remote). You will hear the changes of 6 decibels per step. Save the
change by pressing enter. (For more detailed information on how to
navigate to this item, see the point-by-point description under changing input names.)
32
Similarly, if you have an unusually quiet source, try adding additional
gain before trimming the volume with the input offset adjustment.
Otherwise, you may find that you cannot turn up the quiet source as
far as it needs to go.
setting input offsets
Once you are satisfied that the gain settings are appropriate to your
source components (and remember, the factory defaults are usually
fine), you may also adjust for any small differences between the volumes of various sources by programming in a volume offset. For example, if you notice that your tuner seems several decibels louder than
all your other source components, you can have the Nº383 automatically turn the volume down by a certain amount when you switch to
the tuner. (It will also turn the volume back up by the same amount
when leaving that input.)
To set the input offset, navigate to the Offset= item in the menu (see
page 29), press enter to edit the item, and make the change with the
volume knob (or use the volume buttons on the remote). You can
listen to the changes as they are being made, making it easier to get the
setting you want. For more detailed information on how to navigate to
this item, see the point-by-point description under changing input
names.
setting record out
The Nº383 gives you the ability to associate any one of the five inputs
with the record output. This allows you to organize your sources in
whatever order you deem most convenient, while using the record output with whatever might need them.
Thus, if you want to set up a source component as recording device,
navigate to the source in question within the setup menu, press enter,
and then turn the select knob until the display reads Rec.Out=Off.
Then turn the volume knob to change the setting from Off to On.
Press enter to save the change. Now the currently-selected source will
be fed to your chosen recordable device for possible recording, except
of course when you are listening to the recordable device itself. (We do
not want to set up feedback loops.)
(For more detailed information on how to navigate to this item, see the
point-by-point description under “changing input names.”)
Note that the record outputs are muted when the Nº383 is in standby.
teach ir
setting a mute level
Next in the top level of the menu system is the rather extensive “teach
33
IR” section, which has its own major section in this manual immediately following this one. Please see that section for additional details.
For now, it is enough to know that the Nº383 can teach any of its infrared commands to a learning remote control by broadcasting the appropriate code from its display window. Even if you were to lose the Nº383
remote, you could teach everything you need to another remote control
(or order a replacement remote from us, of course).
The Nº383 Integrated Amplifier also allows you to customize the magnitude of the change in volume caused by pressing the mute button.
The factory default setting is -20.0 dB, but you may select a value of
anything from -10.0 to -70.0 dB, in 0.1 dB increments. For example,
you may prefer to reduce the volume by 35 dB when mute is pressed,
so as to take a symphony orchestra playing at a realistic level down to a
level that allows comfortable conversation when someone enters the
room.
To change the mute level, press setup to enter the setup menu, turn the
select knob until Mute = -20.0 shows in the display, and then use the
volume knob to alter the mute level setting as you see fit. When finished, press enter to save your change. Pressing setup one last time
will return you to normal operation (leaving the setup menu).
setting a maximum level
You may also set a maximum volume level for the Nº383, a particularly
useful feature if the system is sometimes used by people who may not
be as careful as you yourself would be. (Teenaged children come to
mind.)
To change the maximum level, press setup to enter the setup menu,
turn the select knob until MaxVol = 73.2 shows in the display, and
then use the volume knob to alter the maximum volume setting as
you see fit. When finished, press enter to save your change. Pressing
setup one last time will return you to normal operation (leaving the
setup menu).
configuring
the DC trigger
You may wish to use the DC trigger output on the rear panel of the
Nº383 to turn on some other component automatically when the
Nº383 itself is on. If so, you have two trigger options: either a 12V
level (constant) voltage that is present whenever the Nº383 is operational, and absent when the Nº383 is in standby; or a 5V pulse whenever the Nº383’s state is changed from one to the other (similar to the
output of a momentary contact switch). This menu item allows you to
choose which of these two options you want, given the needs of your
particular system.
34
If you are not sure what the receiving component needs for a trigger
signal, please ask your Mark Levinson dealer for assistance.
checking the
software version
The last item in the setup menu is a software version number that identifies what version of the Nº383 control software is running in the
preamplifier. Your dealer can inform you of the most current version of
this software, and you can compare that number to the one shown in
your display.
Although we do not anticipate frequent software updates for the Nº383
(after all, it does not have to contend with the ever-changing standards
for digital audio decoding), it has been designed to readily accept new
software should it become available. For example, if we were to add
some new convenience feature to the Nº383 at a future date, your
dealer could easily download the new software from our web site to his
computer, and from there to your unit, all without having to open the
product up. In fact, if the rear panel RS-232 port is accessible, you do
not even have to disconnect the preamplifier from the rest of the system for such an update.
Using the Nº383 with
Learning Remote Controls
using the teach ir menu
The teach ir menu within the setup menu lists all of the custom infrared commands available for the various functions of the Nº383 Integrated Amplifier.
In every case where a “toggle” command exists, both the normal toggle
function and positive control commands for the multiple states are
provided. Thus, the mute key functions as a toggle between mute and
unmute; but we also provide go mute and go unmute, since these
positive controls increase the reliability of macros in learning remote
controls, such as Madrigal’s own IRIQ.
To access these commands,
1
press setup once to enter the setup menu
2
turn the select knob until “Teach IR” is displayed
3
press enter once to toggle into the edit mode (where you
can choose which “teach ir” command you want
4
move the volume knob to select the command you want to
learn
5
press enter to transmit that command from the left side of
the display window
The display window will change to <– –SENDING to indicate
where the infrared codes are being emitted.
technical note:
The frequency of the infrared carrier upon which the
command are transmitted is 40kHz. This is the most
common carrier frequency of any used in remote
controls today, and should present no problem for any
learning remote control.
If your remote has difficulty learning the command
from the front panel of the Nº383 Integrated Amplifier,
try varying the distance, and shielding the remote
control from any fluorescent lights in the area (which
can interfere with the learning process).
35
A complete list of the available IR codes may be found below.
available ir commands
36
The complete list of available IR commands is:
Teach IR
VOLUME UP
VOLUME DOWN
SELECT NEXT
SELECT PREV
INTENSITY
MUTE KEY
POLARITY KEY
STANDBY KEY
ENTER KEY
SETUP KEY
BALANCE KEY
RECORD KEY
EXIT STANDBY
GO STANDBY
GO INPUT 1
GO INPUT 2
GO INPUT 3
GO INPUT 4
GO INPUT 5
GO MUTE
GO UNMUTE
GO BALANCE
EXIT BALANCE
DISPLAY OFF
DISPLAY DIM
DISPLAY HALF
DISPLAY FULL
Using these commands in conjunction with a macro-capable learning
remote control, you should be able to automate almost anything that
the Nº383 is capable of doing.
Modes of Operation
normal operation
The majority of time you spend with your Nº383 will be spent in normal operation. During normal operation, the display indicates the
name of the input you have selected and the listening volume (in decibels). The volume knob increases or decreases the volume in 0.1 dB
increments above 38.5. The select knob selects the source to be listened to at any point in time. In short, in normal operation, the Nº383
acts precisely as you would expect an integrated amplifier to act.
There are several refinements which may not be immediately apparent
to the casual user, however. When turned quickly by hand, the effect of
the volume knob will accelerate (i.e., yield a greater change per revolution of the knob) so as to reach your preferred volume more quickly.
Conversely, when the knob is turned slowly, the volume changes at
maximum resolution to facilitate fine adjustments and precise level
control (0.1 dB through most of the range).
However, if the volume knob is spun too quickly (as though it were a
flywheel), the rate of change will decrease again. This design helps
avoid accidental bumps of the preamplifier’s volume knob sending
potentially dangerous signal levels to your loudspeakers.
Lastly, the corresponding buttons on the remote control behave in a
similar fashion when in normal operation. If the volume +/- buttons
are held for more than approximately 1.5 seconds, the Nº383 infers that
you would like to make a larger change in volume, and accelerates the
volume change accordingly.
the balance mode
The balance mode gives you extremely fine control over the relative
volumes of the Left and Right channels, by changing the volume of one
relative to the other in increments of 0.1 dB, up to 20.0 dB. (Beyond
this point, the balance control will mute the output of the reduced
channel entirely.) Once set, this inter-channel difference in volume remains the same regardless of output level and selected input, until it is
changed again in the balance mode.
To enter the balance mode from normal operation, press the balance
button. The balance indicator LED will light and the display will
change. When the balance is set to a neutral position, favoring neither
channel over the other, the display will show a double-headed arrow
and “0.0” decibels—that is, that the channels are balanced with respect
to one another.
37
Turning the volume knob (which serves as a balance control in balance mode) in either direction will change the balance in that direction. The display will reflect this by changing to the appropriate singleheaded arrow to indicate the direction of change and by showing the
number of decibels by which that channel has been increased (in tenths
of a decibel) relative to the other. (In point of fact, it is the opposite
channel’s volume that is reduced, a much safer and more sensible thing to
do that increasing the volume of the channel toward which you wish to
shift the image.)
If balance is left in a non-centered position, the display will revert to
its normal operation after a few seconds, but the balance indicator
LED will remain lit as a reminder that the balance is not centered. Restoring the balance to its centered, 0.0 setting and leaving the balance
mode of operation will extinguish the balance LED indicator.
balance control tip
Precise balance control is essential for obtaining accurate soundstaging. Output imbalances due to differences in speaker sensitivity and
asymmetrical placement of the loudspeakers in the room are common,
and degrade imaging accuracy.
To correct this problem, play a mono recording (or use a “Y-adapter” to
send the same signal to both the left and right connectors of the active
input). Center the resulting image (which should be quite small) directly between the loudspeakers, using the balance control. Differences as small as 0.1 or 0.2 decibels have been found to be significant.
Try it.
38
Note that this “mono trick” can correct only for differences that occur
after the preamplifier in the signal chain, things like asymmetrical
placement of loudspeakers or slight mismatches in sensitivity between
speakers. If a particular recording is out of balance, you will have to adjust the balance more subjectively, in stereo, as you normally have done.
polarity
The Nº383 allows you to invert the polarity of the music to which you
are listening with the press of a button. People vary in their sensitivity
to this aspect of the sound, and the difference frequently ranges from
subtle to inaudible, depending on microphone technique and other
factors in the recording itself. However, some recordings simply sound
correct in one position, and irretrievably wrong in the other.
We encourage you to experiment with the polariy feature to see what
you think works best for any given recording, understanding that the
recordings themselves are anything but consistent.
reset defaults
If necessary, it is possible to reset all of the factory default settings for
the Nº383 Integrated Amplifier so as to start again with a “clean slate.”
Important Note:
Resetting factory default settings causes any
customization of the unit to be lost, including custom
names, gain settings, offsets, etc.
To reset all settings of the Nº383 to the original factory settings,
1.
Turn off power
You may either unplug it from the ac mains or use the front panel
power button; standby will not do. Wait for a few seconds for the
power supply to drain.,
2.
Restore power while holding the setup button.
This process takes a few seconds, as a guard against accidental restoration of factory defaults.
3.
Continue holding the setup button for about ten seconds
after the display reads “CLEAR SETUP?”
If you take your fingers off the buttons within these first ten seconds or so, the operation will be cancelled, leaving your current
settings unchanged. If you persist in holding the setup button, the
display will show “FACTORY” “SETUP” “RESTORED” in sequence.
39
Using Surround Sound
Processors
The Nº383 Reference Preamplifier incorporates a special surround
sound processor mode which makes it uniquely capable of integrating
the highest performance audio with surround sound—that is, a dualpurpose music and movie system. In order to better understand the
value of this design, it is essential to understand a bit about the nature
of a surround sound processor.
One obvious and fundamental difference between stereo listening and
multichannel listening is the number of channels that must be controlled. When listening to two-channel stereo, one must have a two
channel volume control so both speakers increase or decrease in volume in concert with one another. Similarly, when listening to six- or
eight-channel surround sound recordings (whether movies or music),
one must have a corresponding six- or eight-channel volume control.
Over the years, this simple fact has made combining a high quality
two-channel preamp with an outboard surround sound processor extremely difficult. In fact, until the Mark Levinson Nº38 was introduced
in 1993, it was virtually impossible to combine the two and have the
system work reliably well.
40
the SSP must not
come after the preamp
Dolby Pro Logic decoders incorporate a form of Dolby noise reduction
similar to the Dolby B one finds in cassette decks. This form of noise
reduction is level-sensitive. That is, Dolby noise reduction intentionally
treats strong signals differently than weak signals. In order to operate
correctly, the signal strength of the source must be “calibrated” to the
expectations of the Dolby noise reduction circuitry. (It is for this reason that one finds “Record Calibration” features on better-quality cassette decks.) It is therefore inappropriate to feed a surround sound decoder with the variable output of a preamplifier. Were you to do so, every change of the volume control on the preamplifier would cause the
Dolby circuitry to mistrack. In extreme cases, severe distortion can result as the Dolby circuitry overloads.
the SSP must not
come before the preamp
The next logical alternative might be to use the surround sound processor ahead of the preamplifier, sending its Left and Right outputs
through the preamplifier as a selectable Source. Sending the Right and
Left Outputs from a surround sound decoder to a pair of inputs on a
conventional preamplifier is also inappropriate, since any change of the
preamp’s volume control would then throw the carefully calibrated
output levels of the decoder out of adjustment, changing the volume of
the Left and Right speakers while leaving the Center, Subwoofer and
Surround speakers unaffected.
One could attempt to restore the proper balance by marking a “calibrated” point on the preamplifier’s volume control and then using only
the surround decoder to adjust the volume of the system, but this
method is both crude and imprecise, yielding inconsistent performance
at best.
the SSP must not
be in a tape loop
The last remaining alternative would seem to be to insert the decoder
“within” a preamplifier by hooking it up in a tape loop. Unfortunately,
this setup returns the Left and Right outputs of the decoder to the
preamplifier, where they can be inappropriately changed without
changing the Center and Surround outputs. It is therefore inappropriate to place surround sound decoders in a tape loop.
It would seem that there is no way to properly integrate a surround
sound processor with a preamplifier for a high quality, dual-purpose
system.
the SSP & the Nº383
The Nº383 solves this dilemma by virtue of a specially-designed surround sound processor interface. When you select the SSP name for a
particular input on the Nº383, the output level and balance controls
41
are defeated and the preamplifier operates in a “unity gain” mode, passing whatever signal enters that input through the preamplifier section
of the Nº383 without changing its volume in any way. In fact, the display indicates that a line-level signal is being “passed through” unchanged by showing “LINE” in the display where the volume would
normally be displayed. The power amplifier section then behaves as always, providing the power required to drive the loudspeakers.
Thanks to this design innovation, it is possible for the first time to correctly integrate a surround sound processor with an integrated amplifier, sending the processor’s Left and Right outputs through the Nº383.
Since the output level of these channels cannot be changed by the
Nº383 while in SSP mode, the preamplifier section cannot corrupt the
careful calibration of the processor’s output levels. And since multichannel sources are fed directly to the processor’s audio input(s) at a
line level, input calibration cannot be disturbed by the preamplifier.
noise in a/v systems
In some cases, connecting your audio and video systems together can
result in noise, typically a 50/60 Hz or 100/120 Hz hum. The most
common cause for this noise is a “ground loop” caused by the presence
of two ground references in the system: one from the power company
and another from the cable-television company, or the satellite dish.
The simplest way of solving this problem is to break the video ground
by using an isolation transformer on the incoming cable line, before it
reaches your television or VCR.
If you cannot find a 75Ω-75Ω baluns (isolation) transformer, you can
easily construct one from the adaptors which probably came with your
VCR and television, as shown below.
Ground Isolation Adaptor
75Ω
300Ω
300Ω 75Ω
place in-line with your cable feed, prior to the system connection
42
The assembly shown above may cause some loss of video signal
strength and/or bandwidth, and should be used only as a temporary
fix. It is useful in determining the cause of some video-related noise
problems, however, and costs only a few dollars. If it seems to correct a
problem, consult with your dealer regarding a long-term solution
which does not degrade video performance.
Linked Functions
The Nº383 has the ability to “link” several of its functions to certain
compatible Mark Levinson components (such as the Nº39 CD Processor, the Nº30.6 or Nº360/360S digital processors, and the Nº31.5 and
Nº37 CD transports).
Note:
To take advantage of linked functions, you must
connect the Nº383 to the other, compatible Mark
Levinson components via their communication ports.
(See “Rear Panel” and “Setup and Installation.”) You
must also cycle power on all Linked components after
making or changing any of the connections, to ensure
reliable Linked operation.
There are several linked functions in the Nº383:
display intensity
standby link
Adjusting the display intensity on any Linked component will adjust
the displays in the other Linked components as well, keeping them all
at a consistent brightness level.
Placing the Nº383 into standby will also place the compatible Mark
Levinson digital processor, and transport(s) into standby, except during a digital recording session (see record link section, below). Placing
either digital component into standby will have no effect on the
Nº383, since you might well wish to continue listening to a different
source component, such as a tuner.
Taking a Linked Mark Levinson source component out of standby will
also cause the Nº383 to come out of standby.
volume link
A remote control for a linked Mark Levinson transport can (when that
transport is properly Linked) control the volume and mute status of
the Nº383 via the Linking system, allowing the use of a single remote
for both transport and (basic) preamp functions.
select link
Similarly, a remote control for a linked Mark Levinson transport can
(when that transport is properly Linked) select inputs on the Nº383 via
the Linking system, allowing the use of a single remote for both transport and (basic) preamp functions. Pressing and holding the select
43
button will toggle between switching digital inputs vs. switching analog
inputs; simply clicking the button moves you to the next input in the
bank of inputs currently being controlled.
Note that for Select Linking to work, you must have named the associated digital processor properly to match the appropriate name from the
Name List. Thus a Nº30.6 should be named No30.6; a Nº360S should
be named No360S, and so forth.
play link
Placing your Mark Levinson transport in play will activate both the
corresponding Mark Levinson digital processor and the Nº383 if either
or both is in standby. In addition, the appropriate inputs will be selected on the digital processor and on the Nº383 (specifically, the input
which has an name of a Mark Levinson digital processor, such as
Nº30.6, No360S or No39).
Similarly, activating a Linked Mark Levinson digital processor will select the appropriate input on the Nº383 (should you be using the processor with an unlinked DAT machine, for example).
record link
44
Placing the Nº383 into standby while your Mark Levinson digital audio processor is in record mode and a Mark Levinson transport is in
Record Link mode will cause a warning to be displayed on the digital
component. Both digital components will be prevented from going
into standby without explicit confirmation at those components that
this is what you desire. In this way, inadvertent interruption of a digital
recording in process can be avoided.
After changing any of the Linked functions, cycle power on the Nº383
and the other components to ensure that they take effect.
HDCD™ link
Linked Mark Levinson digital processors will implement the required
six decibel change in volume for HDCD recordings in the Nº383 automatically if they are both properly Linked and if their name has been
set to match the appropriate name from the Name List. Thus a Nº30.6
should be named No30.6; a Nº360S should be named No360S, and
so forth.
In fact, as long as the first four characters are correct, even custom
names will be recognized and operate properly. For example, you could
refer to a No30xyz and it would still be recognized as a member of the
Nº30 family. (Though why you would want to do so remains a mystery.)
Care and Maintenance
To remove dust from the cabinet of the Nº383, use a feather duster. To
remove dirt and fingerprints, we recommend isopropyl alcohol and a
soft cloth. Apply the alcohol to the cloth first and then lightly clean the
surface of the Nº383, going with the grain of the brushed aluminum.
Warning!
At no time should liquid cleaners be applied directly to
the Nº383, as direct application of liquids may result in
damage to electronic components within the unit.
45
U.S. and Canadian Warranty
46
90-day limited warranty
This Mark Levinson® product is warranted to be free from defects in
material and workmanship under normal use for a period of ninety
(90) days from the date of purchase. To extend the warranty of this
Mark Levinson product, return the warranty registration card along
with a copy of the original receipt of purchase to Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc., P. O. Box 781, Middletown, CT 06457.
five year
extended warranty
The extended warranty for this Mark Levinson product is five (5) years
from the date of purchase. During the warranty period, any Mark
Levinson component exhibiting defects in materials and/or workmanship will be repaired or replaced, at our option, without charge for either parts or labor, at our factory. The warranty will not apply to any
Mark Levinson component that has been misused, abused or altered.
Any Mark Levinson component not performing satisfactorily may be
returned to the factory for evaluation. Return authorization must first
be obtained by either calling or writing the factory prior to shipping
the component. The factory will pay for return shipping charges only
in the event that the component is found to be defective as above mentioned. There are other stipulations that may apply to shipping charges.
There is no other express warranty on this component. Neither this
warranty nor any other warranty, express or implied, including any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness, shall extend beyond the
warranty period. No responsibility is assumed for any incidental or
consequential damages. Some states do not allow limitations on how
long an implied warranty lasts and other states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so that the
above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you.
This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have
other rights which vary from state to state.
This warranty is applicable in the United States and Canada
only. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, please contact your local, autho-
rized Mark Levinson distributor for warranty and service information.
Obtaining Service
We take great pride in our dealers. Experience, dedication, and integrity
make these professionals ideally suited to assist with our customers’
service needs.
If your Mark Levinson component must be serviced, please contact
your dealer. Your dealer will then decide whether the problem can be
remedied locally, or whether to contact Madrigal for further service information or parts, or to obtain a Return Authorization. The Madrigal
Technical Services Department works closely with your dealer to solve
your service needs expediently.
Important!
Return authorization must be obtained from Madrigal’s
Technical Services Department BEFORE a unit is
shipped for service.
It is extremely important that information about a problem be explicit
and complete. A specific, comprehensive description of the problem
helps your dealer and the Madrigal Technical Services Department locate and repair the difficulty as quickly as possible.
A copy of the original bill of sale will serve to verify warranty status. Please
include it with the unit when it is brought in for warranty service.
Warning!
All returned units must be properly packaged
(preferably in their original packing material), and the
proper return authorization numbers must be marked
on the outer carton for identification. If the packaging
to protect the unit is, in our opinion or that of our
dealer, inadequate to protect the unit, we reserve the
right to repackage it for return shipment at the owner’s
expense. Neither Madrigal nor your dealer can be
responsible for shipping damage due to improper (that
is, non-original) packaging.
Your dealer can order a new set of shipping materials for you if you
need to ship your component and no longer have the original materials. There will be a charge for this service. We strongly recommend saving all packing materials in case you need to ship your unit.
47
Specifications
The correlation between published specifications and sonic quality is unreliable. A list of
numbers reveals virtually nothing. All technical measurements must be subject to qualitative as well as quantitative interpretation. Measurements of the Nº383 yield excellent
results by any standards. However, only those specifications that apply to its actual operation are included here.
■
■
■
■
■
48
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
Power output:
100 watts per channel at 8Ω
200 watts per channel at 4Ω
the above power ratings measured from
20 Hz–20 kHz with no more than 0.3% THD
Frequency response:
within 0.1 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Audio Inputs:
two pairs balanced on XLR
three pairs single-ended on Madrigal RCA
Audio Outputs:
one pair Madrigal-designed speaker binding posts
one pair record outputs on Madrigal RCA
Other Connectors:
one IEC AC mains receptacle
one earth ground terminal
one 3.5mm “mini” jack for IR input
one 3.5mm “mini” jack for DC trigger in
one 3.5mm “mini” jack for DC trigger out
one Mark Levinson Link communications connector
one 6-pin RJ-11 RS-232 port
two 8-pin RJ-45 control ports (PHASTLink™ compatible)
Gain:
0, 6, 12, or 18 dB in the line stage
26.9 dB in the amplifier section
Volume control range:
72.2 dB
Gain resolution:
0.1 dB steps above 38.5 in display (-34.7 dB)
(with slowly increasing step size at progressively lower levels)
Input overload:
when gain is set to +18 dB:
2V on XLR, 1V on RCA
when gain is set to +12 dB:
4V on XLR, 2V on RCA
when gain is set to +6 dB:
8V on XLR, 4V on RCA
when gain is set to 0 dB:
16V on XLR, 8V on RCA
Input impedance:
100kΩ
Output impedance:
less than 0.05Ω, 20–20,000 Hz
THD + N:
less than 0.3%
Power consumption:
100 W in standby
200 W at idle
1200 W maximum at 4Ω, rated output
Mains voltage:
100V, 120V, 220V, 230V or 240VAC
at either 50 or 60Hz (set at the factory)
Overall dimensions:
See “Dimensions”
Shipping weight:
80 lbs. (36.6 kg)
For more information, see your Mark Levinson dealer, or contact:
Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc.
P. O. Box 781, 2081 South Main Street
Middletown, Connecticut 06457 USA
phone (860) 346-0896
fax
(860) 346-1540
internet www.madrigal.com
Dimensions, Nº383 Integrated Amplifier
polarity
CD
CD
select
power
display intensity
47.3
47.3
setup
enter
MADRIGAL AUDIO LABORATORIES
volume
balance
standby
mute
6.55"
16.6 cm
49
11.75"
29.85cm
17.975"
45.66 cm
19.53"
49.6 cm
17.5"
44.5 cm
MARK LEVINSON Nº383
INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER
ir input
1
2
right inputs
3
trigger
input
4
RS-232
trigger
output
5
right
record out
left
record out
~ ac mains
2.225"
5.65 cm
9.85"
25 cm
control ports
comm
PHASTLink™ compatible
5
4
left inputs
3
2
1
Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc.
2081 South Main Street, P.O. Box 781
Middletown, Connecticut 06457 USA
Telephone: (860) 346-0896
Fax: (860) 346-1540
www.madrigal.com
R
MADRIGAL AUDIO LABORATORIES
is a registered trademark of Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc.
a Harman International company
630379-5
© 6/2001 Madrigal Audio Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved.
Printed in U.S.A.