Musical Fidelity M8xi integrated amplifier Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Class-AB integrated amplifier with D/A converter. Analog inputs: 4 pairs RCA (line), 2 pairs XLR (line). Digital inputs: S/ PDIF RCA up to 24/192 (2), TosLink up to 24/96 (2), USB-B asynchronous up to 24/192. Analog outputs: RCA line fixed (2), RCA pre-out variable, XLR pre-out variable. Digital outputs: S/PDIF: RCA up to 24/192, TosLink up to 24/96. Output power: 550Wpc into 8 ohms (27.4dBW), 870Wpc into 4 ohms (26.4dBW). Maximum output voltage: 67V RMS, 10Hz–20kHz; onset of clipping, 190V peak-to-peak. Maximum peak output current: 105A. Maximum power consumption: 2kW. Damping factor: 150. Frequency response: 10Hz–100kHz, +0/–1dB. THD+N: <0.004% typical, 20Hz–20kHz. Signal/noise: >86dB, A-weighted (XLR). Input impedance: 25k ohm (RCA), 50k ohm (XLR). Accessories: Remote.
Dimensions: 19.1" (485mm) W × 7.25" (184mm) H × 20.1" (510mm) D. Weight: 101lb (46kg). Shipping weight: 106lb (48kg).
Finishes: Silver or black.
Serial number of unit reviewed: PXY05046 "Designed in England, Built in Taiwan."
Price: $6499. Approximate umber of US dealers: 120. Warranty: 7 years through Focal-Naim.
Manufacturer: Musical Fidelity, Wirtschaftspark A5, Analogweg 1, 2130 Mistelbach, Austria. Web: North American distribution: Focal-Naim America, 313 rue Marion, J5Z4W8 Repentigny QC Canada. Phone: 1-(800)-663-9352.

Musical Fidelity
North American distribution: Focal-Naim America
313 rue Marion
J5Z4W8 Repentigny QC Canada

Allen Fant's picture

Excellent review- JVS.
No doubt, 2020 is the year of the Integrated Amp!

Jason Victor Serinus's picture


Ortofan's picture

... $100K for a DAC, power amp(s) and speakers and for a similar total cost, would the better system choice be the combination of a dCS DAC, a pair of D'Agostino Progression Mono power amps and a pair of Wilson Alexia 2 speakers OR this Musical Fidelity M8xi integrated amp (with its built-in DAC) and a pair of Wilson Alexx speakers?

Should we wait to make this sort of determination until JVS has had the opportunity to evaluate a Hegel H590?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

A speaker cannot make front end components deliver more than they can produce; all that better speakers can do is reveal more of what the front end (including cables) produces. With that in mind, I think the answer is self-evident.

Ortofan's picture

... to view the system hierarchy. It sounds much like the viewpoint, espoused for many decades by Linn, that the source component makes the most significant contribution to overall sound quality, followed by the amplifier, and finally the speakers.

Conversely, some speaker manufacturers would suggest that the development of electronic components - as opposed to transducers - has now reached a level such that the point of diminishing returns is reached at a relatively low price point. Thus, a much greater proportion of the system budget ought to be allocated to the speakers.

In the future, if JVS has the opportunity to evaluate another high-power integrated amp (with a built-in DAC), such as the aforementioned Hegel H590, perhaps it can be arranged for Wilson to supply a sample of their Alexx speakers, so that this matter can be resolved in a somewhat more definitive manner.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

You wrote: "It sounds much like the viewpoint, espoused for many decades by Linn, that the source component makes the most significant contribution to overall sound quality, followed by the amplifier, and finally the speakers."

However, that is not what I said. In response to a specific question about a a specific budget and a specific set of components, all of which was named, I made a call. Truth be told, I am not one for either making blanket chicken or the egg pronouncements or subscribing to absolute laws, including the so-called "law of diminishing returns." As I've stated on other occasions, that law is relative to the taste and budget of the listener. What some would label or even dismiss as a "diminishing return," others will embrace as an engineering gift and a portal to audiophile nirvana.

JHL's picture

That law *is* relative to the taste and budget of the listener, making it less of a law and more of a method.

As examples, I've consistently found that once a speaker is good enough, the mind largely forgets it and finds nearly endless audible upstream elements to optimize. I've seen this play out for others. I've heard virtually identical assessments from users of similar equipment to confirm this, right down to the vernacular and descriptors.

This suggests that as an assortment of types, speakers toe that threshold non-linearly, and that some serve this phenomenon while others do not. They either do or they do not recede into the perceptual background for the other components to capture the ear. And since this plays out almost regardless of the size of the speaker, we conclude that the principle holds *across* the primary differentiator among loudspeakers, which is their size and therefore loudness.

And that in turn reinforces the view that it may be the front ends *of these better systems* that matters most, and from there we get into everything from cables to topologies to recordings.

A reverse is also true, at least from experience and observation but not from conventional wisdom: Electronics are not perfected - refuting the subjective assumption that they largely are and now budgets should be devoted more to speakers - at least in the sense that they can be predicted on paper. This also calls into question the wisdom of recommending more expensive speakers when we know that they differ more by their size than by their resolution. You can find the same tweeter in a 6" speaker and in a 7-driver 3-way, for example, and you can easily argue that the simpler 6" 2-way speaker can deliver a more believable recreation in ways other than power and scale. Increasing speaker budgets is less meaningful than refining the systems driving genuinely great ones.

Apparently there's a prevalent envious reductionism of a sort among theorists that prompts them to instinctively question expensive components, compare the basic data they generate, and draw conclusions not based in informed experience. To say that X + Y at $2500 must "blow away" the listener's value of A + B at $25,000 is bias. It's another reason rules are hard to nail down and the most objective analysis is the "subjective" reviewer.

The taste and budget of the listener is a variable but not as a function of excellent sound, which stands apart, is quite self-evident, and isn't terribly subjective. It's a variable in that some never understand great sound while others are immediately impressed by it when they hear it. None of the latter camp I've met subscribe to the rules or the purported valuations of those who make them.

Glotz's picture

Just so well written and conveyed.

Ortofan's picture

... embrace as an "engineering gift" a power amplifier, such as you use, whose $38K/pr. cost encroaches on the price spectrum of luxury motor vehicles.

How much of the cost of that amplifier is attributable to the ostentatious power meter (designed to emulate the appearance of a certain luxury timepiece)? Likewise, for the elaborate chassis - as opposed to the electronic components contained therein, especially when the performance of those components includes an output impedance sufficiently high as to result in audible variations in frequency response when connected to the load presented by a typical loudspeaker.

If you want to see a power amplifier that might somehow be worthy of being deemed an "engineering gift", then cast your vision toward the ($3K) Benchmark AHB2 or, possibly, the ($2K) NAD C 298 which incorporates the latest Purifi amplifier modules. Neither unit is much to look at, but should that be of any concern for sound reproduction equipment?

georgehifi's picture

"means that the volume control will never be used anywhere near its maximum.—John Atkinson"

You know him JA, is Antony Michaelson a gain junkie?
This seems to be common place with MF, their gear usually has massive gain structure's going on, and why probably to me they always seem to sound on the sterile side of things.

Cheers George

krishk's picture

Hi, thanks for posting a detailed review. Can anyone please clarify whether this amplifier has any issue with excess heating? The gain on the digital input, which was noted as too much, how does that affect? What exactly it means? Also, can you suggest a good MM phono preamp for this amplifier? Would appreciate your comments.

latinaudio's picture

I thought that Jason was going to compare the Musical Fidelity vs the Yamaha, after the heated discussions of the recent review of the latter (127 comments!), taking into account that both are at the same price level.
The readers deserve a proper explanation.
Can you enlighten us a bit, Jason?

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I would take the M8xi in a heartbeat over the A-S3200.

latinaudio's picture

Thanks Jason, straight to the point. Adding a good phono stage of around $ 1000 (Graham Slee and Leema Acoustics come to mind) we arrive at the price of the Yamaha.
That is a clear and concise help.
You are very nice, continue your good writing.

AbsolutesoundReader's picture


In the second paragraph you say, "the fabled parting of the Red Sea that allowed the people of Israel to escape from Egypt, the prospect of using the money saved to buy a few coveted yellow bricks proved so tempting that I gleefully mixed mythologies as I prepared myself to ignore the possible consequences of my metaphorical sins."

Fabled ? Mythologies ?

I am not accusing you, and perhaps I am not correctly understanding your intent or meaning / context, but the parting of the Red Sea is not a fable and Christianity is not mythology. Please fully clarify your thoughts on these two items as they come across as diminishing of the validity of the event and reducing a valid faith to mere myth.

Thank you.

ears2u's picture

Comparing M8xi with a $100K system, not really helpful. I decided to purchase this anyway, based on the other dozen positive reviews and I have noticed it sounds very good, and does NOT get hot in EXTREMELY LOUD usage. I can drive 96dB SPL (6m away) from my Focal 936 K2's into my 25 x 28' x 11' ceiling room, and it barely draws 400W at the wall. Not hot at the fins either. Cool and relaxed. Smokin' loud though. It idles at 118W. That's way under half my Pass X250.5 which this replaces. This one has more verve, clarity and dynamix than Pass, for a good bit less money too, and guess what--the DAC is great. Can't hear or MEASURE a diff with audible signal from my Auralic, or Topping DX7 Pro. Why you think you need a $28000 D'Agostino DAC is beyond me. It's effectively a DSP preamp giving you different sound, but not a purer signal. That's a simple fact. I like jewelry, but come on man, y'all seem just a bit snooty around the edges on this review. Haha. Who's putting sponge in the bells I once rung?

macster's picture

Great review factual and to the point and you stayed true to your writing style. I understood that this is a great Integrated amplifier even in comparison to a system costing vastly more. I don't expect you to cheap down your system or make changes to your life just for me, I do expect when you review to base your comments on how a particular item sounds in respect to your reference system. Good job. I got what I needed from your excellent review.


Audionirvana's picture

I have the M8xi, it's a sheer beast, my unit does not get very warm or hot, but I have it in an open rack. I find my A3.5 which is modest in comparison, still has a much warmer tone over all in comparison and sounds equally as good at similar volume levels. I am also finding out just sheer wattage isn't always needed as the Moonriver Reference Int. Amp (low wpc)I have sonically sounds better to my ears, but these are totally different kinds of Int. Amps, depends on what your looking for and what your needs are.