Sometimes Silly Ideas Breed Even Sillier Ideas

The vehicle I occasionally drive to New York City to pick up supplies is remarkably quiet. This is due to the thick layers of padding and gallon or two of goo that they place between the door panels and the sheet metal outside.

Because this particular truck has a "Mark Levinson" audio system, the padding and goo have been applied in even more copious amounts, so that should I want to play a CD of a pin dropping while driving 85 miles per hour, I can hear it with crystal clarity. (Disclaimer: I consider myself an audiophile and yet couldn't tell you who the hell Mark Levinson is, except that his name is the same as a guy I went to Junior High School with in New York, a nice Jewish kid who was a real mensch.)

Then I read up about Mark Levinson Audio at www.marklevinson.com. Apparently, their original theory regarding power amplifiers went against the conventional wisdom that tubes are better. In fact, the little company started in the 1970s was near bankruptcy when Levinson was pushed out of the company by his partner. Mark Levinson Audio was rescued by a company called Madrigal Audio by way of "exercising fiscal restraint" and expanding engineering staff. Their claim to fame, according to their website, appears to be the invention of a superior analog to digital converter.

UPDATE 10/23/07: Timeshredder told me that their preamps and power amps are really good, albeit Levinson having left the company. Stereophile magazine's bio reveals that beside engineering electronics (he built the mixing board for the Woodstock concert), he's also an accomplished jazz bassist.

Now, I know that these days, car audio is a booming business (figuratively and literally). I also know that there are some really high-end names in audio that one would never associate with car stereos. I mean, do you have a Harman/Kardon stereo in your Ford? Do you know someone with Mackie studio reference speakers in their Mazda? Bang & Olufsen in their Beemer? Perhaps Yamaha has entered the car stereo market but I've yet to see one.

Well, it seems that for Mark Levinson audio, the goose that laid the golden egg was an association with Toyota; more particularly their Lexus division.
 

What's in a Name?

To be honest with you, even my well-trained ear can't tell the difference between the Mark Levinson sound system in the SUV and the (far less expensive) JBL sound system in my wife's mini-van. They both reproduce sound very well, handle a wider-than-normal dynamic range and have fine specifications for signal-to-noise ratio, frequency response, etc. But both systems, even with the EQ set completely flat, are a bit heavy on the bass and lacking in the brilliance department.

So whilst wasting non-renewable natural resources on my way back from the City today, a wickedly inappropriate thought crossed my mind...

I fell prey to stereotyping, and all I could think of is the disappointed (stereotypical) Jewish mother of Mark Levinson (not my schoolmate but the audio guy) incessantly bemoaning the fact that he didn't become a doctor or a lawyer but instead decided to tinker with esoteric electronics.

Fancy this conversation:

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

Rachel Steinberg's son got into Columbia, and now he's a gynecologist and makes half a million dollars a year. Oy gevalt, where did I go wrong?

Mark Levinson®

Mrs. Steinberg's son is a fagele who hasn't come out of the closet and I find it ironic that he's gonna spend the rest of his career looking at women's genitalia.

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

Feh, how could he be a fairy if he's married to that nice girl and has two lovely children?

Mark Levinson®

That "nice girl" is a Shikseh who likes sex with women. Mom, can you spell l-e-s-b-i-a-n? Theirs is a marriage of convenience. Has Mrs. Steinberg ever shown you photographs of her grandchildren?

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

Why no, come to think of it.

Mark Levinson®

Of course not, because they're both adopted, which frankly I think is very cool.
(Levinson goes for the jugular.)
Did you know Rachel's grandchildren are not only adopted, but they're a couple of
schwartzers. As dark as every maid you've ever had in your house.

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

Alright, stoppit! That's just one example.

Millie Roth's son is a full partner in his law firm. He has an apartment on Fifth Avenue and houses in Aspen and Palm Beach!

Mark Levinson®

I'm sure some yenta told you that Millie Roth's son's been to Betty Ford three times 'cause he can't stop drinking and doing drugs.

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

Mmm. I could think of worse places to go to get sober...

Mark Levinson®

Mom, I make plenty of money. Can't you just accept the fact that I'd rather do something I love than be miserable until I retire?

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

You were bankrupt until you sold out to the Japs. Feh, why couldn't you have gone into business with a nice American company like Cadillac?

Mark Levinson®

You don't hear people calling Lexuses "Jew canoes," do you?

Mark Levinson®'s Mother

You don't hear people calling the dreck you peddle "stereos," do you?!

A nodeshell rescue.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.