Thursday, 13 January 2011

Musical Fidelity M3i Integrated Amplifier

Hi all,

I have started my venture on upgrading my amplification from my 11 years old MF X-A1 and X-A50s monoblocks.

The dealer was kind enough to loan me the M3i (70 wpc) and M6i (200 wpc)amps for me to try out with my set up. So picked it up on Monday and decided to set up the M3i first.

First impression on packaging - Lavish and classy. It was wrapped in a black velvet bag and a pair of white gloves and static cleaning cloth was included.

I had to install the links to my ProAc D18s as the dealer did not have a mathcing power amp for me to biamp my speakers. Set up took about 30 mins.

The remote feels a bit 'unbalanced' once you put in the batteries. But hey, I am still happy as I have been living with the remote-less X-A1 for 11 years. The amp responds to the remote quite well as the volume change is not abrupt, allowing small incremental. Volume know was set at 10 o'clock.

First CD went in - Andrea Bocelli with Time to Say Goodbye track. Played it through the M1 DAC.
Vocals were bright but still have that boldness in it. The high freq was extremely evident but the tautness of the low freq can still be heard and experienced from the instruments used in the song.

Second CD - Metallica Black album with Enter Sandman track. The double bass from Lars' drumming is somehow sounded 'dispersed'. Tautness was still there but it sounded like it was a live recording. Hhhhhhmmmm not so good to me. Again, high freq was dominating but that brings up a few distortion effects from the guitars which before this, I could not hear it.

Third CD - Janet Seidl played via MF X-DAC HDCD. This was more balanced in terms of clarity, high and low freqs and liveliness.

I repeated all songs by playing it through the MF X-10V3. Now that really brought down the high freq to a lower atmosphere setting. The X-10V3 somehow smoothens the overall sound.

And that was the first 1 hour of listening to M3i straight from the box. I then let the system run for 24 hrs with Mariah Carey on repeat.

Then on Tuesday after 24 hrs run in - things changed dramatically. I used the same CDs and tracks but this time everything seems to be sweeters. Not too harsh on the ears. The high freq somehow was more controlled and still maintains the clarity of some of the guitar distortion. Low freq on Enter Sandman was more controled and sound less dispersed.

But that was nothing compared to Wednesday listening session. After 48 hours, I went through a very emotional session. The sound quality is just fantastic. It was a very pleasureable 2 hours of audio listening. It felt like the artist was singin live in front of me.

Nevertheless, I Bluetoothed my iPhone4 into my QED uPlay and start playing random music. Aaaaaahhh and all these was done withou having to stand up from the sofa. I love remote.

Similar to X-A1, I had to crank up the volume knob to 12 o'clock to get a decent sound level using QED uPlay. I was playing both Apple Lossles and MP3 at 320 kbps and 48kHz sampling rate. My my my, all the music sounded bold and 'large' really really satisfying.

Overall after 48 hours, I must say M3i has a lot of characters to offer. Will keep on running in till the weekend.

Now I wonder how the 200 WPC M6i will sound????
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