You are here

Log in or register to post comments
ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
"I want this stuff!" Do you really?

I guess I'd have been disappointed if Sam hadn't proved to us once again that he just can't resist a piece of gear with Musical Fidelity on the faceplate. Don't get me wrong, I'm one of the many who use and recommend MF amplification. Either despite that or because of that, I feel obliged to add some comments to Sam's review of the new MF X-Series components.

The core components of the preceding iteration of the X-Series (v3) were a dual-mono integrated amp and a 24 bit CD player. Each had its own integral power supply and they were initially priced at about $1350 each. The amp was rated at 100 watts into 8 ohms and 140 into 4 ohms with the usual MF high current characteristics. Sam thought they were both as good as could be had for the money, although he did recommend the associated tube buffer and to a lesser extent the outboard DAC as the means to get the best out of the CD player. Each of those additional components added $400 to the package. In order to get the best performance out of the tube buffer, however, one needed to add the outboard power supply - another $400 - which would simultaneously improve the DAC as well as the X-Series phono preamp and the headphone amp if you happened to have those.

Within weeks of the introduction of the CD/Amp package, the prices of those two components were reduced to $1000. After that price reduction, Sam's recommended package came in at about $2800 for the Amp, CD player, Tube buffer and outboard power supply for the buffer.

This time around, the MF folks still offer little boxes and a package price of about $3000, but they've moved things around a bit. The tube buffer (or its equivalent) has been integrated with the amp, and both the amp and the CD player are driven by an outboard power supply. They've also offered substantially less output from the amp (50 Wpc). Sam's comments about the basic package are the same as they were for its predecessor, "Excellent sound. Exceptional value." He thinks, however, that the forthcoming outboard DAC (likely to cost another $1500) will provide needed "oomph" to the CD sound and the beefed up power supply for the amp (probably another several hundred dollars - price not determined yet) will provide needed improvement in dynamics. Note relative to the CD player, that Sam makes no mention whether the V8 had an improved transport mechanism over that of the V3. That V3 transport was a notable reliability problem.

It makes one wonder whether this offering, presumably aimed at to music lovers with limited budgets is really the exceptional value Sam' describes it as. Unless the dramatic price reduction of the X-Series V3 components is repeated with the V8's the investment in a CD player and amp to drive speakers less efficient than Klipsch La Scala II's - and that means almost any speakers - amounts to $3000 + $1500+ "several hundred dollars". Let's say $5,000. With a $5,000 budget can I find a better solution to great sound from CD's through, for example, a pair of Triangle Comete Anniversaries? I suspect so, don't you?

Despite my affection for Sam and for MF gear in general , I'd be reluctant to recommend the basic package to my friends even if they said, "I want this stuff!"

RGibran
RGibran's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: "I want this stuff!" Do you really?

Yep, sounds like a bunch of overpriced underperforming components to me.

How about an Exposure integrated and a Rega Apollo CDP? For about $2,250 those Triangles are singing!

RG

Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Re: "I want this stuff!" Do you really?

Take 40 watts/channel of 12ax7, 12at7, EL34 based Jolida JD202 and a 12ax7 JD 100 CD Player for about a street price of $1500 and get over it. The tubes will take the Triangle Cometes to near 40hz strong and a great sense of 3D. Not quite Clifton's Magellans, but still very nice and that JD 202 lit up at night, by the fire, is pure magic.

Yiangos
Yiangos's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: Sep 7 2005 - 8:41am
Re: "I want this stuff!" Do you really?

I've allways said it "The man knows" !

samtellig
samtellig's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jan 20 2007 - 8:05am
Re: "I want this stuff!" Do you really?

Thanks for reading "Cheapskate." Hey, you took my old name. That's okay. I guess you are a man after my own heart.

Clay, from what I read, it appears that you have not listened to the Musical Fidelity gear in question. I always marvel how audiophiles can voice strong opinions about a product or products without having listened.

If you have auditioned -- and please correct me if you have -- you would have heard the superiority of this current MF gear over the stuff it replaced. As I wrote in my review, the tubed line stage section of the integrated amp is so good that it's worth the price alone. Further listening with my McIntosh MC 275 power amp (using the MF's preamp outputs) confirms this. It's an oustanding piece of gear. The previous models were merely very good.

Ditto the CD player -- substantially better than the old X-Ray on its own.

Of course there are alternatives to the MF gear. In the next issue, I discuss some very fine and affordable Rega pieces. There's affordable gear from Creek. Cary's Concept series -- review coming up in the April issue -- is outstanding and affordable. Lots of choices. But there is something very special about the MF gear -- the way it sounds, the way it looks, the way it might appeal to music-loving non-audiophiles (size, simplicity, styling).

Clay, go have a listen, and then get back to us.

There have been a lot of comments on the Triangle Comete Anniversaire speakers. As they continue t o break in -- Triangle speakers DO take forever -- they get better and better. The standard Comete model, with the same drivers, continues to be available. Good listening!

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: "I want this stuff!" Do you really?

Yes, Sam, I took your former nickname. Having spent many years trying to put together systems that produced the best sound for the money, I figured that the label you no longer used might fit me pretty well. That is, however beside the point of this response. My point is to respond to your condemnation of my raising questions about MF's latest bargain products without having auditioned them.

You're right, Sam, I haven't auditioned the new X-Series gear, and I probably won't, despite the fact that Music Direct would offer their usual 30 day return privilege.

Where you're not right, Sam, is in suggesting that I voiced strong opinions about the quality of the products. I didn't voice any personal opinions at all, only the opinions expressed by you in your review. I've read your reviews for years, and have not only enjoyed them, but have generally come to trust your opinions.

Was my arithmetic wrong? Unless it was, it is reasonable to take your review to say that if this system were to provide performance meeting the expectations of the typical Stereophile reader, the price would be about $5K, and additional gear would be required beyond the basic system. I opined, relative to that, that given such a budget there are lots of answers to getting fine sound from typical audiophile speakers, at least some of which would be better if only because they were simpler. Do you disagree?

I'm of that opinion still, but I'm not happy about it. We have a vested interest in the success of firms like MF - they make some great products. It doesn't bode well, however, when they invest in products for which there is no market. They've already swallowed the results of hitting the market at too high a price point on the previous X-Series. Now, for $3K, they have a product which non-audiophiles will like (if as you point out they ever become aware of it), but which doesn't measure up to the standards of the only buyers who might be happy to spend that kind of money or more for two channel sound. I wish them luck.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading