My Mark Levinson amp went bad on me started the constant ‘Chirping/Clicking’ noise! (see vid below for sound) It will not stop unless you remove the big pink fuse located on the passage side foot-well or remove the amp. I sent it the amp off for repair after hitting a dead end with Lexus customer service, but they did offer me a service credit I could use for future service or put toward a refurbished ML amp $1,200 or so can’t remember the exact quote. Based on current ML current threads (located in the LS FAQ / DIY Sticky under Audio) and ML website their authorized service center United Radio located in Syracuse, NY is where I sent it in for repair. The cost is a flat rate of $700 including ground shipping. UR fixed the amp in less than 24 hrs, they call me for payment I requested to speak to the tech who repaired my amp, I was transferred and here is our conversation.
Tee: Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about my amp?
Tech: I don’t mind at all.
Tee: What was wrong with the amp that caused the chirping/clicking noise?
Tech: Well it was a number of things, the Logic 7 processor, a few inputs and I replaced the board. The chirping sound is the amps protection circuitry kicking in, also the amp is trying to communicate with the head unit repeatedly and letting the system know something is wrong.
Tee: Did heat play a part in failure of the amp?
Tech: No, the amp has dual fans and digital amps run cooler than traditional amps.
Tee: Some think the why not replace the ML amp with an aftermarket one?
Tech: Aftermarket amps will not work due to the ML has an interface module that goes with the head unit that controls steering wheel audio function, Nav audio, Bluetooth audio and self parking feature prompts. (Parking sensor audio does not run through the amp)
Tee: Some have complained that 2007-2009 ML system sounds better than the 2010 Plus, I agree with this observation based on my listening experience. I know the model numbers are different for each refresh. Did ML change the amp design?
Tech: Well I can’t say they sound different to me. The amp design is the same for 2007-2014, the reason for the different model numbers is because the head units and interface modules are different , the only thing ML did was flashed/update the amps software for each refresh. I don’t know why ML did that, I’m sure they had their reasons, I just deal with the warranty end of things.
Tee: Ok, that would explain why they sound different due to different software and maybe the bass cutoff as you increase volume was written in the software because Lexus thought it was causing the amp failures.
Tech: Maybe, but again I don’t hear a difference between them.
Tee: Well you guys saved me some money vs what I would have paid for a new of refurbished amp.
Tech: Lexus receives all of their refurbished ML amps from us, they place an order and we send them out to wherever Lexus wants them to go.
Tee: I won’t hold you any longer, I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions, this has been very informative so thank you!
Tech: No problem have nice day!
I have my ML amp back in the car sounding just as good before it crapped out on me.
Note: This is what the ‘Chirping/Clicking’ noise sounds like when your ML amp dies.
Makes sense. The audio quality difference perceived by some may be programmed into the head unit vs the amp itself (to protect the amp). United Radio are very good though - been a customer of theirs for over 25 years!
2010 Toyota Prius
2008 Lexus IS250
2007 Lexus LS460
2005 Toyota Prius
1999 Lexus RX300 AWD
I linked under Audio in the FAQ sticky. Thx everyone!
I just thought of something tech said he did not think the ML failed no more than any other car electronics he works on for other car makers. Thought it was strange, it would be nice know the percentage of the failure of these amps, maybe it's not as widespread......keyword maybe.