Special Design Features
Congratulations on your purchase of the Nº39 CD Processor. The Madrigal design
team is confident you will enjoy the outstanding performance of the Nº39 for
many years. In case you are interested in technical details, what follows is a brief
outline of some of the key technologies in your new CD player.
The task of a CD player is easy to define: it must recover the correct data from
A New Generation
the disc and convert that data to a series of analog voltages with neither ampli-
tude nor timing errors (sometimes called "jitter"). As simple as this sounds,
achieving it in reality has been extremely difficult—as evidenced by the signifi-
cant sonic differences between various CD players.
Conventional CD player design depends heavily on the quality of the oscillator
used to control the rate at which the disc spins. This oscillator exists in an ex-
tremely "noisy" electrical environment close to the motor that spins the disc. The
electrical noise introduces timing errors in the delivery of the digital signal that
have come to be known as "jitter." Subsequent handling of the digital audio sig-
nal in traditional CD player designs cannot improve upon this "jittery" signal,
lacking a better reference. To the contrary, the various stages of signal processing
between the laser pickup and the actual conversion to analog can only contribute
additional jitter of their own.
The Mark Levinson Nº39 leaps beyond conventional digital audio technology by
employing a proprietary, closed-loop jitter-reduction system in conjunction with a
drive. Using a custom-made crystal oscillator with better
than five part-per-million accuracy, the digital signal is reclocked immediately be-
fore its conversion to analog, eliminating transport-related jitter from the digital
audio signal. This same crystal oscillator controls the all-digital servo used to con-
trol the rate at which the disc spins, and the digital to analog conversion process.
In effect, the design of the Nº39 turns the accepted status quo on its head. By
placing the all-important reference clock immediately prior to digital to analog
conversion, and slaving all the mechanical subassemblies to it rather than the
other way around, the signal presented to the outputs of the Nº39 is uncontami-
nated by electrically- or mechanically-induced jitter. The sonic advantages of this
design are immediately apparent in the clarity, warmth and stunning dynamic
contrasts exhibited by the Nº39.
The laser mechanism used in the Nº39 uses all digital servo controls of its opera-
Digital Servo Control
tions. Critical functions such as focus and tracking are handled completely in the
digital domain with mathematical precision. A digital servo remains stable over
time, never needing readjustment under normal conditions.
Digital Input/Output Versatility
The Nº39 CD player incorporates two digital inputs, allowing two external digital
sources such as a laserdisc player and digital cable radio to benefit from the ex-
cellent digital processor incorporated within. The two most common digital inter-
faces are supported for the widest compatibility:
coaxial, via an RCA connector.