Skip to main content

Musical Fidelity 308K review

Impressive monoblocs that would shine with large-scale classical work Tested at £1300.00

Our Verdict

These monoblocs can sound impressive, but you’ll need to build a system around them

For

  • Authoritative sound
  • full-bodied and communicative midrange

Against

  • Isn’t particularly transparent
  • not the last word in timing or precision

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These monoblocs can sound impressive, but you’ll need to build a system around them

Pros

  • + Authoritative sound
  • + full-bodied and communicative midrange

Cons

  • - Isn’t particularly transparent
  • - not the last word in timing or precision

Musical Fidelity calls these monobloc power amplifiers, superchargers. The idea behind the 308K, and the rest of the supercharger range, is that they should be added to an existing system rather than used as an ordinary power amplifier.

The unit goes between your amplifier and speakers, delivering a power boost –in this case 330 watts – to get better large-scale dynamics and improved authority than most sub-£1000 stereo amplifiers can deliver.

In use, this is exactly what this product does. Used with the likes of Rotel's RA04 (40 Watts per channel) or even Roksan's M-series integrated (85Wpc) the increase in scale, authority and low-end power is impressive. You can play at loud volumes without any sign of distress or strain.

However, the 308K monobloc isn't a wholly transparent product. It has a strong sonic signature, so, along with all the gains, you get a sizable dose of the Musical Fidelity's character. Fine if you like it, not so good if you don't.

This character majors on weight, solidity and a full-bodied midrange. For so powerful an amplifier, the monobloc's midrange has pleasing subtlety and is impressively detailed, too.

So far so good, but if you value qualities such as timing, precision and articulation, and your system is built around components that do these things well, you'll lose out.

Stand-alone application
In our opinion the A308 makes more sonic sense when used as a normal stand-alone power amplifier. In such a context you can build a system around its strengths – and provided its balance suits your tastes – enjoy a sound of greater integrity and cohesion.

Such a system would shine with large-scale classical work such as Mahler's 10th and deliver a real sense of solidity with everything else.

In trying to come up with a clever marketing ploy MF may just have short-changed its own products by trying to make them work in less than ideal context

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


Read more about how we test