Musical Fidelity’s M2sCD player is a natural partner for the M2si stereo amplifier – the two-part M2 series marking the brand’s first release since being acquired by Pro-Ject Audio Systems.
The M2sCD is the firm’s most affordable CD player, sitting below the M3 and M6 models. The latter, which is positioned as a digital hub rather than just a CD player, will set you back well over three times the asking price of the M2sCD. Although initially launched at £799, most retailers are now offering the player for a hundred pounds less.
Musical Fidelity has opted for a sleek, fuss-free design, with a small silver M2sCD insignia plate the only real flourish in terms of bodywork.
Combined with the player’s dimensions, it reminds us of the opening mechanism of a quality black briefcase, albeit in brushed aluminium rather than leather.
Output impedance 50 ohms
Frequency response 10Hz to 20kHz
Maximum power 20W
Dimensions (hwd) 10 x 44 x 37.5cm
There are six small, silver, circular control buttons located in a line below the digital screen. This row is split by a centrally positioned IR receiver.
It's right in the middle of the action and does get in the way somewhat, but the buttons feel precise and are pleasing to push. Otherwise, there’s little to dislike here in terms of the aesthetic.
The display is a bright blue colour but, viewing angles could be better. Unless you’re almost directly in front of it, the magnolia digital track information text fades away into the abyss. It can be turned off entirely, and Musical Fidelity claims this will also help minimise noise.
The M2sCD boasts a mains choke filter alongside its more hi-tech digital stream noise filter. While the former is perhaps a less fashionable approach, Musical Fidelity has used it for some time to help clean up the power supply and give you a better sound.
There’s a 24-bit Delta-Sigma dual differential DAC onboard, and in terms of connections, there are coaxial and optical digital outs as well as anlogue RCA. There are no digital inputs: this is a sleek-looking CD player with an integrated DAC, nothing more, nothing less.
We slip Prince and the New Power Generation’s 1991 classic Diamonds And Pearls into the M2sCD. It’s the same CD we’ve heard many times before, but this is something of a levelled up performance compared to players at around the £350 mark, such as the Marantz CD6006 UK.
The separation and transparency of the vocal chorus at the start of Thunder is startling, accompanied by an agile, smooth bassline as the rhythm and guitar reverb kick in. This is Prince’s music as it should be heard: rhythmic, clear throughout the frequencies and musical, with each melodic strand and vocal lick competently held in check, yet given ample space to riff. The overall effect is impressive.
The album continues to Daddy Pop and dynamically, it’s clear that we’re being treated to a fine rendition. The pensive, ambient sounds at the start of the title track are rounded and sparkling, perceptible right up until they give way to the bass, cymbal and keys. Prince’s vocal is central within a cohesive mix.
We dig out more challenging material to see what the Musical Fidelity is capable of and settle upon the digitally remastered version of Weather Report’s 1977 jazz/rock fusion masterpiece, Heavy Weather.
The M2sCD doesn’t disappoint here; it seems to find an extra ounce of detail and flick of musical flair at every turn, even as the instrumental layers build to a cacophony at the end of Birdland. If you can listen to this player and not tap your toes, you’ve more reserve than us.
The soaring saxophone solo in A Remark You Made is both three-dimensional and emotive. It’s as sombre as the musician doubtless intended but never gets muddied by its electric bass counterpart, even when both instruments play the same melody.
We listen to Radiohead’s OK Computer and the M2sCD continues to provide a refined, musical listen. But here, the jagged bassline at the start of Airbag feels marginally smoother and less disconcerting than it should do. Indeed, the track could also have a slightly harder edge through the guitar.
We load the CD into the Cyrus CDi and we hear that extra bite – although the comparison player involves a steep hike in price, it’s a small mark against the Musical Fidelity.
The M2sCD presents a refined, enjoyable listen. For those who like a smooth, musical, elegant and highly listenable sound, it’s a fine proposition – easily beating less expensive models for both breadth and clarity.
This player is cleverly positioned between fine budget performers such as Marantz’s CD6006 UK and more premium offerings, including the Cyrus CDi and Quad Artera Play+. There’s little competition at the price, and that makes it an excellent buy if it matches your budget.
- Sound 5
- Features 3
- Build 4
Read our Marantz CD6006 UK review
Read our Cyrus CDi review