Product Review

Mark Levinson No 433 Three-Channel and No 436 Monoblock Power Amplifiers

Part I

September, 2006

John E. Johnson, Jr.




N0 433

Power: 200 Watts RMS x 3 into 8 Ohms; 400 Watts
    RMS into 4 Ohms
THD: 0.05%, 20 Hz - 20 kHz
MFR: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
0.2 dB
S/N: 80 dB

Gain: 26.8 dB

Input Impedance: 100 kOhms XLR; 50 kOhms RCA

Input Sensitivity: 1.82 Volts RMS for Full Output
Dimensions: 7.65" H x 17.75" W x 19.83" D
Weight: 115 Pounds
MSRP: $10,000 USA


N0 436

Power: 350 Watts RMS x 1 into 8 Ohms; 700 Watts
    RMS into 4 Ohms
THD: 0.5%, 20 Hz - 20 kHz
MFR: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
0.3 dB

S/N: 80 dB
Input Impedance: 100 kOhms XLR; 50 kOhms RCA

Input Sensitivity: 2.42 Volts RMS for Full Output
Dimensions: 7.65" H x 17.75" W x 20.21" D
Weight: 85 Pounds
MSRP: $6,000/Each USA


Mark Levinson


Following on our recent review of the Mark Levinson No 326S Preamplifier, we now review the No 433 three-channel (200 watts per channel) and No 436 (350 watts monoblock) power amplifiers.

The No 436 is several years old, while the No 433 is new, reflecting the current interest in home theater.

There is also a No 431 which is a dual-mono design, with 200 watts per channel output, and a No 432, with 400 watts per channel output.

The Design

The No 433 has three channels, each rated at 200 watts RMS into 8 ohms. Each channel has its own power supply, using a separate toroidal power transformer and two low ESR power supply capacitors. It is also called a triple-mono design.

Large copper bus bars handle power distribution, and each amplifier channel is fully balanced from input to output. The PC board layout of each leg of the amplifier signal is mirror imaged so as to cancel magnetic fields.

The No 433 and No 436 share some of the same design characteristics, such as Adaptive Bias (controls the amount of Class A bias) and being fully balanced.

The No 436 is, obviously, a much more powerful amplifier. It has a huge toroidal power transformer, rated at 2372 VA (more than 2,000 watts), for its specified 350 watts output into 8 ohms. It also has 80,000 F of power supply capacitance. So, even at full 700 watt output into 4 ohms, the No 436 power supply has several times that value in reserve. This is very unusual in an amplifier design, but routine for Mark Levinson.

Overall, the two amplifiers are about the same size, although the No 433 is much heavier due to it having three channels. The first photo below shows an inside view of the No 433, and the second photo shows the No 436.


Both amplifiers get pretty warm (hot actually) during use, indicating their Class A bias to varying degrees.

Power-on is from two buttons on the front panel, and you have four levels: Off, Sleep, Standby, and On. In the Sleep mode, AC is delivered to one small power supply, as well as the communication and control circuits. This lets a signal from other components turn the power amplifier on. In the Standby mode, power is delivered to the main power supply and voltage gain circuits. This keeps the amplifier warmed up for immediate use. In the Sleep mode, you will need to let the amplifier warm up for a half hour or so after turning the amplifier to On, to have it reach its full sound quality potential (Levinson states this, and it was also my experience).

The rear panels of the two amplifiers are shown below, the No 433 first and No 436 second.

Both panels are simple, with RCA unbalanced and XLR balanced inputs, heavy twist binding posts (they accept bare wire and spade lugs, but not banana plugs), communication jacks, trigger jacks, and a grounded AC socket.

A close-up of the No 436 communication panel is illustrated below. The Slave In jack connects to the Slave Out jack of, say, the No 326S preamplifier, so that when you turn on the No 326S, the No 436 then also turns on. The Slave Out jack on the No 436 connects to other equipment that you want turned on as well, such as additional No 436 amplifiers. You can use the Trigger In jack if you want to turn on the No 436 from a non-Levinson component that uses standard 12 volts or 5 volts trigger signals. The No 433 also has communication jacks.

Click Here to Go to Part II.

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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