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Mark Levinson. Great audio is part engineering and part art

Back to business. Pavel announced his intention to expand internationally the existing business network and I will try to help him in this endeavour.


As a remarkable figure of international business success, I would like to introduce Mark Levinson - the man that reached remarkable heights in the audio industry! He founded a successful high-end audio equipment company that he lost to business sharks and, nevertheless, came back to the business game even stronger; wrote an intimate book on the art of the female orgasm, together with his former wife, actress Kim Cattrall, and is now producing first class musical equipment. I’m very glad that Mark accepted to share his success story and present his latest company, Daniel Hertz, to our public.

Any business is, at heart, not a product, but an idea. Therefore, let’s explore, in the first place, the medium that nourishes them.

Before proceeding to the formal part of the interview, I’d like to share my observations on Mark’s way of thinking, which is certainly characterized by magnitude.

A few years ago, when I was in my first year of university, I went to a short city trip to Venice with my family. Due to a personal amiable connection, we paid him a visit. It was the first time I’ve personally met someone who has achieved success on a prominent international level. Mark Levinson is a legend in the audio industry… and I can perfectly remember that I left Venice with some new observations. During dinner, Mark asked me what plans I have for my future, professionally. Well, at that time, I’ve not thought about it in any depth, so I answered: „Hm, maybe start a business…open a beauty salon or something”. His reaction was excellent: „Why the hell do all Russian women want to open beauty salons!? Don’t you have any imagination? Create something!”.  I could’ve sunk through the floor… However, by the end of the evening, he said: „you’re a smart girl, you can do anything in this life”. I was perplexed by the idea itself. What do you mean by anything? Are not we limited by so many factors genetically, socially, financially? How can one even think in such terms?! It was the first time I heard the expression of such an ambitious practical thinking and...understood that, maybe, a beauty salon might not be my most brilliant idea))


Mark, though you’ve managed to create a brand out of yourself before it became mainstream, I suppose that some of our readers from Eastern Europe do not know you. How would you like to be known and with what achievements you’d like to be associated?

I am a professional jazz musician at heart. My work is reproducing music so people feel the life energy in the music, and making products that are beautiful, well made and have long lasting value. I hope to be known as someone who enhances love of music and is a voice for honesty, good engineering, taking care of customers and making a contribution to music.

Could you tell us about the way you arrived at the idea of your first company Mark Levinson Audio Systems Ltd.?

I was a musician but disappointed with the lack of opportunity, lack of commitment from other musicians, and limited life with no financial stability. I visited Stellavox, a Swiss tape recorder company in 1972, and was inspired to start my own audio company. Everything happened – I met the right people, worked hard, and was fortunate. Sadly, I did not know how to protect myself from business sharks who stole my name and company. In 1984, I started Cello, Ltd. To make a new level of audio equipment and continued from there.

After Cello Ltd, Red Rose Music has followed and now you’re at your fourth company Daniel Hertz (DH) – a very prodigious business career path. What kind of intuition/ idea has guided you in opening each of these companies?

I would have continued with one company if it were possible. Unfortunately, the wrong investors and 9/11 did not allow it. While my previous companies used existing technology in the most advanced ways, Daniel Hertz (DH) has developed really new technology that makes possible a new level of sound with many advantages for lower cost. I am proud of all products I produced, but DH has huge potential and opens new doors.

You produce high-end audio amplifiers, speakers and digital audio processors with a black anodized chassis, which is, certainly, a beautiful characteristic design. But what really makes your products stand out from all the rest from the market?

My first products used black anodized chassis. After that, I designed silver aluminum finished chassis. The color is not important, it’s the combination of amazing sound and beautiful design that counts. Great audio is part engineering and part art.

Another remarkable merit of yours is the invention of the high-end car sound since 1979. How did you manage to provide exceptional car sound and is Daniel Hertz still doing cars?  

Actually, great car sound was not possible until now due to limitations in technology. Now, it is possible with the new audio technology from my Swiss company, Daniel Hertz  www.danielehertz.com.

Old technology was too large, heavy, heat producing, expensive and impractical for automotive applications. Car sound companies put brand names on low quality equipment and sold it for high prices. Basically, it’s a marketing mafia that makes money from false promises. DH delivers the real thing – the sound that top engineers hear in the recording studio, in a car for the first time. That is only possible because DH invested millions of euros over 15 years to develop this technology and put it into cars, meeting all automotive requirements.

Our focus is OEM car sound (from the factory) but we can do private cars for people who are willing to pay for it.

Tell me more about custom music systems options...

DH makes custom music systems for the home and the car, on request. We enjoy making people happy with custom solutions. For the home, we collaborate with architects and interior designers. For the car, we respect the original design of the car – we want harmony with the eye and the ear.

DH also provides the Master Class Software, maybe you can give more details...

DH Master Class audio software for Mac (MC) can be used by any music lover who wants to upgrade the sound of their music library, with any playback system. MC is for serious music lovers who want the most natural, lifelike sound from every recording in their music library, and are willing to take a little time to use the software. MC works as a player or can be used to generate new files with all the improvement embedded, so you only do it once. The new files can be put on any computer, hard drive, USB key or device that plays music files. MC is not a sound effect, it is a way to obtain amazing sonic improvements never before possible, and to get the sound and feeling of the best analog from normal digital formats including CD and MP3.

By the way, what does a professional jazz musician at heart, that developed the audio system of his dreams, enjoys listening to?

I like to practice my instruments, or listen to a small number of recordings of music I especially love. I am not interested in music as wallpaper. I love silence, tranquility and the sounds of nature. I love sounds like the laughter of my son, the ocean on the beach, and a woman I love having intense orgasms. Music is a joy to me when it has soul and is uplifting and healing, from many genres and eras. 

Just to close the circle and go back to the point I started with, is there an idea you’d like to share with our public?

There are two kinds of products – industrial and artisanal. Today’s world is made for industrial products because it leads to big business and profits. But artisanal products tend to have soul that you don’t get with industrial products. DH is an artisanal company, building  residential audio products by hand, but we have developed technology and ideas that give people artisan soul with industrial production – for example with DH car sound.

Music is an art. But audio equipment is a business that typically has little connection to love of music. DH is a company that represents the values of the musician and tries to give music, in reproduced form, the emotion of live music – what the musicians intend people to feel.

Music is emotion. Without the emotion, it’s just noise. The world has too much noise already, as far as I am concerned. DH is here to provide more emotion from music reproduction and enhance love of music.

Beautifully put! Thank you, Mark.

Mihaela Dima

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