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!"