Mark Levinson IS350 THE AUDITION... - Page 2 - ClubLexus - Lexus Forum Discussion

Notices
IS - 2nd Gen (2006-2013) Discussion about the 2006+ model IS models

Mark Levinson IS350 THE AUDITION...

Old 12-18-05, 10:28 AM
  #16  
cooney
Rookie
 
cooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 95
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Rockville
While shopping for Christmas gifts I picked up Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in SACD which I will unwrap when the first IS ML system comes in.
Rock - SACD is a different and incompatible multichannel format from DVD-Audio, which is the one the ML system supports.

Sorry.
cooney is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 10:52 AM
  #17  
ES3
Lexus Champion
 
ES3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: SC
Posts: 1,708
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Percy thanks a ton for the thorough write-up. You're obviously an expert in your field. I'm sure MANY of us would LOVE a comparo between an IS250/350's ML and the car's stock stystem. Since that's what many of us are considering. If you ever get back to a dealership and can do a brief write up on the stock system, that'd be GREAT!
ES3 is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 11:50 AM
  #18  
Percy
Moderator - Electronics Forum
Thread Starter
 
Percy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,961
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Rockville
as I am a dealer and still haven't gotten my hands on an IS with Mark Levinson. Percy, you should seriously consider designing sound systems for manufacturers. It is sorely needed as you know. When the LS430 ML system was designed it was Mark Levinson himself that took on the challenge. The SC430 was next. This was the first Digital Sound Processing experience for Lexus owners after Nakamichi was dropped for not allowing its circuits to be merged with the Denso Nav system. The result was a 90% drop in Total Harmonic Distortion!

***I have lots of respect for Mark. He offers very good advise when it comes to listening...if it doesn't sound right, change the tone until it does as recording differ. His work on the LS430 shows...it's an outstanding system, very comparable to a solid home system. In many cases, even better.***

The RX series Mark Levinson does not have a dramatic difference in fidelity as compared to the stock Pioneer. It adds a center channel driver and that helps somewhat....

The GS ML system that assails your sensitive ear drums was the first of the 2nd generation ML systems and the first to offer 5.1 DTS surround sound with a 7.1 speaker layout. It increased the amplification power to over 300 Watts. My eardrums are worn from the 60's abuse yet I agree that the Titanium tweeters are scratchy bright and require some antenuation. I found your comments about the staging the most interesting because the whole purpose of the 7.1 architecture ( 7 speaker locations and one subwoofer) is to increase the sweet spot from a narrow intersection to include at least one ear of any of the driver/passengers. When listening to a conventional CD I prefer the Surround Sound turned off. When I play a DVD-A like the previously mentioned Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery in its full 5.1 glory I am transported back in time to the concerts of the 60's. While shopping for Christmas gifts I picked up Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in SACD which I will unwrap when the first IS ML system comes in. Pink Floyd was one of the first groups to perform in 4 channels live and liked to play tricks with discrete channel rotation.

***Quadrophonic dude!!!! That'll get a person messed up really quick...and if they're on the right "stuff"... ***

With all of the sound effects in the movies the Mark Levinson system is probably best displayed with a movie DVD. In Hero with Jet Li the scene when all of the arrows are launched will start behind you and then the flight passes overhead and then they all land in front of you. Lord of the Rings and even Harry Potter are full of effects. The beginning of Gladiator gets me all charged up in Dolby 5.1 too.

I like the fact that the Mark Levinson is held to the standard of your home system. If I understand you correctly there is a peak in response in the center channel at 400 Hz. Is this a crossover overlap or the natural harmonic resonance of the driver?

***More than likely the driver/speaker. They're using a metal dome with a whizzer cone. Whizzer cone is a cheap way out of using a dedicated tweeter. The metal domes have a nasty habit of sibilance and resonance, especially at fs (their natural resonanat frequency). Seas, a very reputable aftermarket speaker manufacturer, has a magnesium woofer, but to control the ringing and resonance is a nightmare. You have to build trap circuits and do all of the patchwork in the crossover. Note...a PASSIVE trap crossover. If ML went a little bit further, they would have been wiser to use a poly midrange, or even a soft dome. Less headaches. Metal domes are easier to make and less expensive to produce. So, it was probably a cost consideration. If they went a little further, they would have an impedance correction network, but that would pretty much blow the budget for 1k.***

Thanks to you I will now try to listen for the nasal quality in the vocal reproduction of the female artists. The tonal warmth of the human voice is an excellent test of any sound system. Kathleen Battle would be a good choice. Joni Mitchell from my era also.

***Toughest to reproduce would be piano notes as well as female voices, the higher ones. If you have it tuned out for a wide ranging voice, then you're 90 percent there. If the midrange isn't right, you'll notice it right away. For those that have been directly involved in music, they catch on more quickly as they're constantly exposed to a "reference point" or how a voice or instrument should sound.***

Lastly since the interior space is smaller in the IS there shoud be more of a headphone effect. The Pioneer DVD head unit hands off to the Mark Levinson discrete amps and drivers and this marriage should be harmonious if Percy gives it his blessing....

***The auto interior is definitely a near-field enviorment. Pretty much like a recording studio, but the sound has to fight reflections of all kinds, even the passengers. If you have the right amount of DSP, it should take care of the nasties, otherwise, with standard electronics and low to mid cost DSP, it's still a nightmare. The DSP in the ML seems like it's just doing the part of 5.1 or 7.1 or even an imitation of Pro-Logic (2 channel stereo kinda forced into the center channel). The tuning itself could use more work. A Bruel and Kjaer meter, with the right software, would tell most of the story of what's going on. Whatever they did with the ML/LS430, they should be able to replicate the sequence of what they did to "get it right". When Mark (L) was in the cabin, he took no prisoners in the LS430. Just wish he was there to advise the folks for the rest of the lineup. The 1000 man hours...yes, that sounds like Mark, and he's a stickler for detail. But I have a feeling that he was just there for the LS430/SC430, but still, that's a considerable amount of time to be in the cabin.***

Thanks for the critical ear and explanations, Percy. You are the best.

***You're welcome!***

Rock
Percy
still working on audio mods...
Percy is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 11:55 AM
  #19  
Percy
Moderator - Electronics Forum
Thread Starter
 
Percy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,961
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by ES3
Percy thanks a ton for the thorough write-up. You're obviously an expert in your field. I'm sure MANY of us would LOVE a comparo between an IS250/350's ML and the car's stock stystem. Since that's what many of us are considering. If you ever get back to a dealership and can do a brief write up on the stock system, that'd be GREAT!
It might be a while as they're planning a recall on the IS250. It may NOT be an official one, but it's one that more preventative than anything else. Right by the accelerator is the tranny hump. They used a clip that was a bit too thick and there have been circumstances where the gas pedal wouldn't return fully as it was catching on the tranny hump carpeting. So, Lexus isn't going to get an allocation of IS250 AWD for a little bit.

Percy
Percy is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 11:57 AM
  #20  
ES3
Lexus Champion
 
ES3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: SC
Posts: 1,708
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Yeah, I saw that with the 250s, perhaps there's a 350 without ML out there somewhere you could sit in for a few minutes!
ES3 is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 02:05 PM
  #21  
clubfoot
Lead Lap
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 646
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Percy,

Did you make any adjustments to the balance or fade for your listening tests? And, did you test any DVD- Audio or DTS discs as well? Your opinion? The one annoyance I have with the ML audio side is that it does not remember the audio/DSP settings for the discs
clubfoot is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 02:56 PM
  #22  
BobsGX
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 1,264
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

[QUOTE=Rockville]as I am a dealer and still haven't gotten my hands on an IS with Mark Levinson. Percy, you should seriously consider designing sound systems for manufacturers. It is sorely needed as you know. When the LS430 ML system was designed it was Mark Levinson himself that took on the challenge. The SC430 was next. This was the first Digital Sound Processing experience for Lexus owners after Nakamichi was dropped for not allowing its circuits to be merged with the Denso Nav system. The result was a 90% drop in Total Harmonic Distortion!

The RX series Mark Levinson does not have a dramatic difference in fidelity as compared to the stock Pioneer. It adds a center channel driver and that helps somewhat....

I think the Mark Levinson system in my 06 GX sounds great. Anyone else here familiar with the Mark Levinson system in the GX? What do you think of it?
BobsGX is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 03:19 PM
  #23  
Percy
Moderator - Electronics Forum
Thread Starter
 
Percy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,961
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by clubfoot
Percy,

Did you make any adjustments to the balance or fade for your listening tests? And, did you test any DVD- Audio or DTS discs as well? Your opinion? The one annoyance I have with the ML audio side is that it does not remember the audio/DSP settings for the discs
I made adjustments, but only for regular CD media. Unfortunately I didn't have any DVD material on hand.

It wouldn't take much for them to incorporate a "memory" for each disc. Just a few lines of code and some outboard memory.

Percy
Percy is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 03:20 PM
  #24  
Percy
Moderator - Electronics Forum
Thread Starter
 
Percy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,961
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

[QUOTE=BobsGX]
Originally Posted by Rockville
as I am a dealer and still haven't gotten my hands on an IS with Mark Levinson. Percy, you should seriously consider designing sound systems for manufacturers. It is sorely needed as you know. When the LS430 ML system was designed it was Mark Levinson himself that took on the challenge. The SC430 was next. This was the first Digital Sound Processing experience for Lexus owners after Nakamichi was dropped for not allowing its circuits to be merged with the Denso Nav system. The result was a 90% drop in Total Harmonic Distortion!

The RX series Mark Levinson does not have a dramatic difference in fidelity as compared to the stock Pioneer. It adds a center channel driver and that helps somewhat....

I think the Mark Levinson system in my 06 GX sounds great. Anyone else here familiar with the Mark Levinson system in the GX? What do you think of it?
How would you rate the GX as compared to the other vehicles with ML? From what I'm listening to, they're ranging all across the board!

Percy
Percy is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 03:59 PM
  #25  
clubfoot
Lead Lap
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 646
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Backround: Hearing tested every year as part of job requirement,...so I know my hearing is good
Home system: 7.1 Veritas speakers, Parasound power amp, Integra processor, Pioneer DVD, not high end by any means but in a dedicated sound proofed HT room and properly calibrated.

So, I just spent some much needed time in my IS350 listening to the ML system after Percy's review and I have to say I agree with allot of his observations. Before his quite detailed review I thought it sounded pretty good,...actually it sounds very, very good. What Percy didn't explain was why he really stayed in the car listening to the system,...rythm and timing. It just sounds right.

And no, I'm sorry guys it does not sound like a well calibrated home theatre system, at least not in my garage. It does not convey the acoustic space like a well setup home system, and I did not expect it to. What I did get was a very good sounding system that plays as loud as I want without noticeable distortion and keeps its composure,...everything sounds RIGHT. However, the sound quality does change once the ASL kicks in and I'm curious to see tomorrow on my way to work how so. By memory it does sound much better on the move especially in the bass region.

Discs:The Eagles Hell Freezes Over, Diana Krall Live in Paris and Peter Gabriel Secret World Live,...all in DVD DTS 5.1 with no video.
ML Settings: treble two clicks + max, after that too metalic sounding.
mid one click +, vocals sound fine but lack a certain cloth quality.
bass two clicks +, hmmmm, it's there, but on the Eagles it lacked a bit of tunefullyness low down.
fade adjusted to where the head rests are in the car pic,...my seat back is just behind the centre pillar.
volume 40, sweet spot 45/46, everything comes together at > 44, but it is loud
don't forget to set the audio settings on DVDs. The ML does not remember them once you switch discs.

Sound quality is a very personal thing, so I'll keep it brief.
I was most disappointed in the Eagles rendition, I could not get the bass right and it missed the finger drag over the stand up bongos in Hotel California
Diana was much better, her vocals were good, deep and throaty and the bass was much stronger on this DVD,...if you want to test for car rattles use this disc
Again Peter Gabriel sounded much better than the Eagles, the complicated rythms were very clear and his typical driving beat set the foundation of his songs.

That's it, short and sweet. Compared to most OEM car audio systems on the market it is probably right up there in terms of clarity, timing and just sounding really good, you can't go wrong. I'm sure once the drivers have broken in a bit it will sound even sweeter.
clubfoot is offline  
Old 12-18-05, 08:59 PM
  #26  
BobsGX
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 1,264
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

[QUOTE=Percy]
Originally Posted by BobsGX

How would you rate the GX as compared to the other vehicles with ML? From what I'm listening to, they're ranging all across the board!

Percy
I haven't heard any other ML systems. But I would say it is better than the Nakamichi systems I had in my 93 SC400 and the 96 LS400, but that was a long time ago.
BobsGX is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 10:35 AM
  #27  
clubfoot
Lead Lap
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 646
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Update: The ASL setting does enhance the listening experience while on the road, voices are still very clear and it adds some missing punch to the lower registers. Also ML remembers the audio settings for the disc that is in play, but not if switched.
clubfoot is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 03:34 PM
  #28  
Rockville
Lexus Test Driver
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: MD
Posts: 1,218
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Default DVD,DVD-A and SACD supported by

Originally Posted by cooney
Rock - SACD is a different and incompatible multichannel format from DVD-Audio, which is the one the ML system supports.

Sorry.
Mark Levinson. I too heard that but new information from Lexus College that clearly says it works. I'll test the Pink Floyd tomorrow for you guys.
Rockville is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 03:40 PM
  #29  
Cypren
Driver
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: CA
Posts: 146
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Rockville
I too heard that but new information from Lexus College that clearly says it works. I'll test the Pink Floyd tomorrow for you guys.
If the "it" you're referring to here is SACD, it does not work -- I've tested this personally. My guess is that if someone's saying it works, what they really did was pop in a SACD that has a standard CD-Audio soundtrack on it (some SACDs have one for backwards compatibility) and mistakenly thought that they were playing the SACD audio.
Cypren is offline  
Old 12-19-05, 05:30 PM
  #30  
Percy
Moderator - Electronics Forum
Thread Starter
 
Percy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,961
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

I would be VERY surprised if it supports SACD. DVDA is more likely. Sony seems to have a love/hate relationship on the SACD thing. Just like betamax vs vhs waaaay back when...

Percy
Percy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Mark Levinson IS350 THE AUDITION...


Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

© 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: