What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 8 Jul 2013, 2:59pm

Musical Fidelity M6CD

Tested at £2100
80100
4

The Musical Fidelity M6CD is a fine performer with a powerful yet refined sound that will appeal to many

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For

  • Insightful, transparent midrange
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Powerful bass
  • Digital inputs

Against

  • Not the last word in rhythmic drive or precision
  • USB input limited to 24Bit/48kHz
  • Poor display

If we were to describe the Musical Fidelity M6CD’s sound in three words they’d be big, bold and fluid. If that type of presentation appeals, dive right in. While it’s not flawless, we can see this chunky CD player slotting sweetly into quite a few systems.

For those who think playing CDs is passé, the M6CD is also equipped with digital inputs. There’s a choice of optical, coaxial and USB connections.

For those who use higher resolution music files it’ll be a disappointment to find that the M6CD’s USB input is limited to just 24-Bit/48kHz – we’d expect better from a machine of this type.

Optical takes this up to 24-Bit/96kHz, leaving only the coaxial connection to accept full-fat 24-Bit/192kHz source material.

Musical Fidelity M6CD

Musical Fidelity M6CD: sound quality

We start with CD, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Here, the Musical Fidelity shines. It has power and delicacy in equal measure, and sets up a huge, well-defined soundstage. We’re particularly taken with the impressively transparent midrange and the way the player delivers shifts in musical intensity in such an organic way.

There’s a pleasing degree of refinement too: violins can sound overly edgy even through good kit, but through the M6CD they are rendered with admirable refinement without too much rounding-off of the sound. There’s a wonderful sense of spaciousness too so, despite the mass of instrumentation, the presentation never sounds cluttered.

MORE: Musical Fidelity M6 DAC

Tonally, this Musical Fidelity has character. It has a deep, powerful bass that sounds just a little overstated. The engineers have judged things well though, as there’s enough agility to prevent the player sounding ponderous – that extra bass richness just adds a touch of warmth and weight to the sound.

Play the likes of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and the Musical Fidelity sounds powerful and refined. It’s not the most rhythmic of performers but the combination of expressive dynamics and a high level of detail keeps thing entertaining. There’s an easygoing drive to material such as this that’s not wholly accurate, but remains mighty appealing all the same.

Musical Fidelity M6CD

Moving onto the M6CD's digital inputs and the results are a little mixed. The scale and powerful dynamics we so enjoyed from the CD replay are diminished a little, but general levels of insight remain good.

We found the USB input the weakest performer, but the optical and coaxial produce good results across a full range of music from a 24-Bit/96kHz version of Kate Bush’s 50 Word for Snow to By the Way by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Away from sound quality this Musical Fidelity is mostly a fine player. Its casework feels solid and is nicely finished. The panel controls feel precise, though the transport buttons are below the drawer so operation is awkward when it’s open.

Musical Fidelity M6CD

We’re more disturbed by the display. It has a poor viewing angle and is terrible at handling moving text. Considering the M6CD’s price we think Musical Fidelity should fit better.

Connections are as you would expect: balanced and single-end analogue outputs, optical and coaxial outs alongside the trio of digital inputs we’ve mentioned.

Musical Fidelity M6CD: verdict

The Musical Fidelity M6CD is a fine player. It may not be a complete sonic all-rounder but there’s enough here to appeal to a wide range of people.

We’re a little disappointed that the digital inputs don’t quite maintain the standard of CD replay, but we’d rather have them than not. If you’ve got a big CD collection, this is well worth an audition.

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