You know you're an enthusiast when an AV receiver isn't good enough for you and you go the separates route. But leave it to Mark Levinson
to give cash-saturated folks another level again. The No. 502 is kicking off a new product series for the company, and indeed the world -- at least that's what Mark Levinson would have you believe -- it's not a mere "A/V processor," but a "Media Console." We're sure the performance is top-notch with the Faraday cage chassis, six HDMI (cough, 1.1, cough) inputs, phase-matched bass management and Gennum
VXP broadcast-quality video processing; and certainly the design is a far cry from what we envision when we hear "media console
." But at the asking price of about $30,000, we'd like to see gear that does more than bundle an AV processor with Harmony
-like activity functionality. Still, it is a gorgeous bit of machinery that screams "high end" without screaming -- check out the pics after the break.