Musical Fidelity M8xTT Turntable Page 2

In general terms, the M8xTT puts you at the heart of the action. Some turntables effectively seem to seat you in the 'upper circle' of a performance and spread the music out wide and into the distance behind the loudspeakers. The M8xTT instead places you front and centre in the stalls, and it draws performers out into your listening room right in front of you in a manner that is quite uncanny on occasion.

But let's return to that solid guiding hand for a moment. One of my tried and trusted tests for low-end impact has long been the introduction to the title track of The Eagles' Long Road Out Of Eden LP [Universal 0602517546950], where a bell tolls in the distance. Reproducing the bell is easy and so is placing it in the back of the soundstage. Adding a proper sense of weight to what is actually a fairly quiet background effect is trickier, but the M8xTT made the task seem effortless.

When called upon to recreate the same effect in a main performance, the M8xTT also rose to the challenge. The drum strikes on Nanci Griffiths' 'Late Night Grande Hotel' [MCA MCST 1566] were reproduced with a snappy precision, but also a fine sense of atmosphere as the hint of echo after each beat remained. The weighty piano during the song's intro was just as well defined, and Miss Griffiths' vocals came across as heartfelt and emotive.

Light Touch
Fortunately, this was in no way due to any sense of overblown 'bloom' at the low end. In bass terms generally, the M8xTT is detailed and taut, with a fluidity to its upper bass that is particularly pleasing. The offbeat bassline to Bob Marley's 'Waiting In Vain' [Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers; Island Records BMW1] skipped along with a lightness of touch and separation of each note that seemed at odds with the large, heavyweight turntable sitting on my rack.


A DIN-terminated audio cable plugs into the base of the tonearm, serving a terminal box that offers both RCA and balanced XLR outputs (the latter for MCs only). An outboard ‘wall wart’ DC PSU feeds directly into the AC motor housing

This sense of musical control extends up through the midband, where the M8xTT displays impressive skills in terms of performer and instrumental placement. No, it doesn't quite have the image width of a Michell Orbe or the front-to-back stage depth of an SME Model 12 Mk2 [HFN Jan '23], but few turntables do. What it does have is a knack of ensuring individual elements of a track are kept clear in their own space. You might find yourself occasionally picking up on something within a piece and wondering if you'd noticed it before.

Silky Smooth
In the top end, Musical Fidelity's turntable is clean, silky and open. The tonearm worked superbly with my Clearaudio MC Essence cartridge, playing to its strengths of insight and clarity but without undue hardness or 'spit'. This meant crisp yet smooth cymbals and percussion, and stringed instruments imbued with a sense of realism, but no screech or discomfort. The potential to use the M8xTT with other tonearms is appealing, and I can think of a few that I would be interested to try. That said, I have a suspicion that any swap would also serve to illustrate that MF's in-house 10in tonearm really is something of a star, and well matched to the rest of the design.

While the M8xTT generally beguiles in terms of rhythm, impact and its ability to unravel complex melodies, some of the most memorable sessions I had with this deck involved material that was a lot simpler. The track 'Anyway' from Dutch singer Elles Springs' Reveal album [Vertere Records VLR-001-ELLES] features nothing more than vocals, acoustic/slide guitars and acoustic bass, but the rendition offered by Musical Fidelity's new turntable was both uplifting and insightful. Springs' soft, airy vocals sounded lifelike as they projected from my loudspeakers, while the acoustic guitar, gently played in the background by Caroline Kamp, showed plenty of subtle detail.

And the acoustic bass? Well, that was truly vibrant. Each string pluck was vivid, with the rich and fulsome tone that makes the instrument such a joy to behold. However, while appreciating this, I was also aware that those chunky bass notes were reaching me as much through my ribcage as my ears. There really is nothing quite like both hearing and feeling a performance like this, which is where the M8xTT acquits itself with architectural style.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
The Musical Fidelity M8xTT is a masterclass in taking a classic design and bringing it right up to date. While physically and sonically reminiscent of its forebear, the M8xTT has been raised up by Pro-Ject's turntable designers – and there's the promise of more to come with the upgraded PSU. Superbly built and very fine sounding, the M8xTT is a welcome touch of 'modern retro'.

Musical Fidelity (Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH)
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166