Mr. MARK LEVINSON / Daniel Hertz: The interview

Questions by Matej Isak, Mono & Stereo

You and your name are the legend of it’s own in high-end audio. Where and how did  all started for Mark Levinson?

This is a long story, too long for now. Basically, I was a musician and enjoyed recording my teachers and friends. I wanted the sound to be better. I discovered there are two parts to this – the recording quality and the playback quality. I became involved in both, and started a company, MLAS, Ltd., (Mark Levinson Audio Systems, Ltd.) to manufacture both recording and playback equipment. This was in 1972 in Woodbridge, CT in the basement of my parents’ home.

Some say you are the founder of high-end industry?

I believe in good engineering and faithfully reproducing music. I don’t have much in common with the  high end audio of today. High end audio equipment, for the most part, cannot be used by recording and mastering engineers because of serious limitations. Most of high end audio is based on nostalgia, marketing, politics, dreams and illusions. My Daniel Hertz products can be used by the top audio engineers in studios for recording and mastering because it has performance that high end audio is missing. I don’t even know what high end audio really is. It seems to be expensive audio equipment made in small quantities, reviewed in certain magazines and sold in certain stores, but I don’t think there is any real definition for the term.

Who were your inspirations (and still are)?

Dick Burwen was my original audio mentor. We are still close friends almost 40 years later. For company philosophy and equipment models, Yasuo Nakanishi of Japan was a great sensei (teacher) and friend. He helped so many companies but very few ever appreciated him. Sadly, he died some years ago, broken by business difficulties and illness. He was a great music lover starting in the early 1950’s. I have been inspired by the great musicians I have studied and played with, like Ali Akbar Khan (classical music of North India) and his associates, Paul Bley, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, Herb Pomeroy, Elvin Jones, Jimmy Garrison, John Coltrane, and many more.


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