First Minute impression....I found my missing link to my Concept. Review soon....
HiFi: ClearAudio Concept TT, Musical Fidelity M6i and M6 DAC, M1s (CDT, CLiC, ViNL), Onkyo TA2600, SONY MDSJA20ES MDP, ProAc D18 with full Siltech cabling.
HT: Samsung UA55B7000 LED, OPPO BDP 95-EU,Marantz DV4003, Yamaha RX-V2067, Philips DVDR7300H, Infinity Primus Center, Wharfedale WH2, SW15 Sub, Mission M34i with full QED cabling
Bedroom: Apple AE, Bose WAVE Music Sytem III, Musical Fidelity M1 HPA headphone amp, Bose Over the Ear
HeadFi: Alessandro Grado MS Pro, Beyerdynamic T1, Bryston BHA-1 headphone Amp.
Office: iTunes, UD110 USB DAC, Bose Companion II, Bose AE2w
Now folks, been running the Concept TT through the ViNL for about 8 hours now over 2 days. And my first minute impression of the unit just got better and better.
People might feel that I went over the top with the remark of the missing link in my TT venture but this piece of kit really did gave the BIGGEST improvement compared to when I upgraded my CDP, Amp and speakers. Value for money it is indeed. Especially for someone whom have been facing lows and highs of using TT for the past few months.
As the thread title suggest, it came in the increasingly popular shoebox black ash casing, similar to the other M1 series of CLiC, CDT, DAC and HPA. Relatively lightweight at 3.5 KG unboxed. Nicely finished with the normal 3 pin power cord, another feature that is always good in my book. I dont really like equipments that comes with those 9 Volts plug.
The display window is the similar light blue screen similar to CDT. It is easily legible from about 6 ft away.
The soft buttons for Power/Standby and the list of options between MC and MM and the response curve are very responsive and well laid across the front fascia.
1. 1 pair of RCA MM input
2. 1 pair of RCA MC input
3. 1 pair of RCA output
4. 1 pair of balanced XLR output
5. 1 trigger input
6. 1 trigger output
7. Earth connection
I particularly like the feature of having the XLR output but unfortunately I will not be able to use it as the only XLR input on my M6i amp is used by my M1 DAC. Bummer.
This is the best. Well, at least for me as these features really gave me the biggest improvement. More importantly, I found that music signature that I long for from the TT. I do believe some of this impression I get is due to the fact that my ears are accustomed to MF signature.
1. MC Loading resistor selection
There are 10 options available to choose - 10,18, 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 or 470000 R (ohms).
With minimal knowledge, what I notice is that the higher the resistor value, the 'louder' the TT sounds. At a 10 o' clock volume on the amp, the TT sounds louder at 47k R and softer at 10R. After few hours of listening, it does not only do that but what it does (to my ears), smoothens some harshness on the high notes at 47K. Tried some 'noisy' LPs, and the harshness on some of them are reduced.
I find myself to like 47K R best for older LPs and 1600 R on new LPs.
For MC, capacitor is fixed at 470 pF.
2. MM loading resistor selection
Two options available at 47K and 68K R
3. MM loading capacitor
Eight options available - 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 350 and 400 picoFarad (pF)
For items 2 and 3, I have no chance to test it.
4. RIAA and IEC
The choice to roll off the output at very low frequencies from the normal RIAA frequency response can be activated by choosing IEC.
On one of my old LPs that is very noisy, choosing IEC sounds much better as it reduces surface noise.
First went in was Diana Krall - Quiet Nights. First track was Walk on By. It sounded really different from my NAD phonostage. One thing for sure, the warm MF signature has been injected into the Concept TT. Very nice indeed. It gave me this chill to the spine. Diana's vocal extremely blends into the entire song.
Then went in my famous Black Dog Bone LP. It sounded less mechanical using ViNL. It took away some part of the 70's sound and gave it more life. Not sure whether thats what you want from your 70's LPs but it did took away a lot of background noise which then gives me a good clean sound with a touch of warmth.
OK, now those LPs have always been good to me eversince I got into TT. Now the greatest challenge is those so called 45 RPM audiophiles LPs, namely Metallica.
So went on Ride the Lightning LP. First track on was From Whom the Bell Tolls.
Applying 47K R and IEC, thats when Metallica sounded better than the usual sound I hear using NAD. More liveliness to the overall dull and flat sound previously heard via NAD. At 10 R and RIAA, its not worth listening to.
Next track was Fade to Black. The guitar intro was superb on 47K R and IEC. The drums still sounded a bit flat but there was an improvement.
I am still not convinced with this audiphile grade claim on 45 RPM. But I am glad this ViNL injected some life into my 45 RPM LPs.
Is it that good?
To me, YES. Why? Maybe because I am a novice in LP. Maybe because my forehead has an MF stamp on it. But my ears surely like what they are hearing.
I'm not surprised you heard such a big difference between the Nad the MF. The Nad is after all a budget phonostage and the MF is in another league, both in price and sound quality. Glad that everything has finally come together for you in your quest for audio nirvana.
Project 2-Xperience Superpack/Dynavector 10X4 - Electrocompanient ECP1 - Arcam CD17 - Plinius 9200 - Magneplanar MG12
You are right. Its not a fair comparison but I can say it is a huge step up from NAD.
Finally Musical Fidelity gave acess to user manual in their web site!
I wonder to see internal pictures of this product before order one.
Even if it was brought aboard it has lots of customs taxes, so it is very expensive to us in Brazil. So I would like to know deep details to become confident to buy one. Internal pictures show up parts and assembly quality as well.
Tks to all
excellent write up as always, El Hefe
MF also sounds like to my ears.
Here's to hoping that there will soon be some M1 ViNLs on the 2nd hand market with price drops similar to those with the M6i.
I've said here a couple of times that the difference between a budget phono stage and something more esoteric is huge. You won't here anything like the full range of frequencies or dynamics your vinyl replay can give without spending some more cash. Budget phono stages both onboard and offboard can be a major system bottleneck, your review seems to bear this out, hope you continue enjoying the significant gains.
In the same way as the better the phono stage the better the sound. The same applies to the cartridge, which when you think about it, is logical, it is connected to the phono stage . . . Skimping on the cartridge is the same as using a cheap phono IMHO.
I know this is not a widely agreed with view, but its a fact for me. Set a half decent TT/arm up right, give a bit of attention to detail . . . it will perform better than most would give it credit for. Having just been this route, I know I overstepped the theoretical mark. However, the whole system seemed to step up to the plate and deliver the benefits of a quality cartridge, connected to a decent MC transformer and a valve phono stage . . . ???
I've really appreciated your contributions to this forum - your communication and descriptions put many professional reviewers to shame! Maybe WHF should recruit you....
I haven't heard the Vinl or any of your MF units yet, but have a similar experience using the new Creek phono stage (the Wyndsor). This is a two-box unit and, once warmed up, provides a staggering amount of detail and drive. I previously used a Naim stageline, which was nice, but it's nowhere close to telling you what's on the record. Many Naim owners use one with very expensive t/ts and don't know what they're missing, regardless of improved power supplies etc.
Like the MF, the Creek has fully adjustable settings. I may try and listen to the MF but dealers in the UK who actually stock new products are getting hard to find in the UK now.
Rega RP6 Groovetracer sub and counterweight/DV20X2L/Rega Aria/Naim CD5XS/Flatcap XS/NAT05XS/ND5XS/Supernait 2/Dynaudio 1.8-II & sometimes Rega RS5
Thanks all for your positive comments. That would be a dream come true if I ever land on a job with WHF team, but with my level of English proficiency, I might need to attend extra English grammar classes.
If I ever upgrade my Concept to a higher end TT, I might be inclined to upgrade the phono stage as well. Funny though, I am not a keen believer of the so call 'believe' of higher price = better sound quality as my past experience listening to various CDP, DAC etc, it was really hard to justify spending an extra GBP 500 to 1000 between 2 CDP models as the different in sound quality is rather minimal. But for the phono stage, I do tend to agree that a pricier phono stage may be able to provide better sound for your TT.
I also agree on other tweaks on the cartridges, tone arm etc. The impact of even the smallest adjustment or changes made on any part of the TT 'signal' can easily be heard.
Turntables seem more tweaky than digital sources, you really do get what you pay for and your not just throwing money away.
I noticed you're using the Lehmann phono with a Creek Destiny 2 - you really should try the Creek Wyndsor phono! Settings are a bit OTT if you have 1 cartridge but the sound is superb, and units very compact.
El Hefe - take a look on ebay at the rare Musical Fidelity owners' club watch!
I found 2 watches on ebay. Cheap....unfortunately....only for UK bidders only...What a shame...
This is my first post on this forum...
I decided to share some MF vinl nude pictures ... there are NE5532, LM318N and Panasonic FK capacitors on board...and some Jamicon's caps in PS..
I wonder what opininions you might have on built quality and used components...?
I wonder what opininions you might have on built quality and used components...?
The naked pictures......look very green.... SOrry TomTom....internal parts are way beyond my expertise nor interest.....i rather enjoy the music produced by the component rather than pondering on the internals....too much work...definitely not something I would want to venture into after long hours at work...
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