Pre/Power Amplifiers

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Ed Selley  |  Nov 20, 2011
The largest AMS amplifier is a true giant in all senses of the word You can read all the specs, but nothing can quite prepare you for the arrival of Musical Fidelity’s AMS100. It stands over a foot tall, a foot-and-a-half wide, and by the time it’s plugged in and connected well over three-foot deep. The circuit is a hybrid between that of the company’s smaller AMS50 and range-topping Titan. This new unit has the same topology as the Titan, but is Class A.
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 11, 2019
hfncommendedThe iconic visuals belie Musical Fidelity's recent change in ownership – so will this familiar M2 series CD/amp combination still tempt the budget-conscious enthusiast?

In these evolving days of digital music, cloud storage and online streaming, it might seem counter-intuitive for Musical Fidelity to release a line-only amplifier and 'plain vanilla' CD player. The £799 M2si integrated has no inbuilt DAC, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi and not even a phono stage, or indeed the option of one. And, peer round the rear of the matching £799 M2scd compact disc player, and the only connections you will find are outputs. Once again, it has no digital inputs, no antennae sticking out and no wireless wizardry up its sleeve. What's going on?

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 21, 2023
hfnoutstandingThe Austrian brand's first multichannel power amp is designed not just for home theatre systems but also to service bi- or even tri-amped stereo set-ups. Is this a trend?

Musical Fidelity is no stranger to big power amplifiers. Its top-of-the-range monoblock, the £3599 M8s-700m, claims a 700W/8ohm output and weighs in at 35.5kg, and the company sells a stereo model in the M8 series too, the £3999 2x500W/8ohm-rated M8s-500s. But perhaps what few expected from the brand, considering its range also consists of DACs, streaming amps, phono stages and CD players – everything a two-channel audiophile could want, in other words – is a seven-channel amplifier. Which is what we have here, in the shape of the M6x 250.7.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Nov 13, 2014
Enter Musical Fidelity’s latest ultra-high-power creation, described as ‘a true heir to the [2008] Titan, delivering near-identical sound’. It’s a monoblock design that’s considerably more bank-balance friendly, rated at 700W/8ohm, although this transpired to be conservative. It is part of a new series of high-end components, also including the M8PRE preamplifier. The sturdy casework has a finely-textured black finish and thick aluminium fascias while the M8700m’s heatsinks are smoothly finished.
Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 10, 2023
Look familiar? This new four-box pre/power stack from Musical Fidelity shares the styling of 2014's Nu-Vista 800 integrated, but is it a high-end contender? You bet it is!

Ever get the feeling we've been here before? Well, the arrival of the latest amplifier system from Musical Fidelity brings a new twist to the whole déjà vu thing as the Nu-Vista naming and macho aesthetics are familiar from the historically hefty Nu-Vista 800 integrated amplifier [HFN Nov '14]. In practice that classic nuvistor tube-equipped integrated amplifier, also rated at 300W/8ohm, has provided the inspiration for both the industrial and technical design of the PRE and PAS we see here, the hybrid nuvistor/transistor concept now evolved into a pre/power set-up, complete with separate PSUs for each. So one box is now four...

Richard Holliss  |  Dec 22, 2014
In Tony Michaelson’s company started with one diminutive but memorable product, called simply ‘The Preamp’. He started by making them on his kitchen table… What made the product so eyecatching was the acrylic front, with the product name illuminated in red. In its original form, The Preamp had an appeal all of its own. It was so tiny, so simple, yet so businesslike.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 24, 2010
Leading from the top of this amplifier’s trump card specifi cation sheet is the £20,000 price tag, followed closely by the two-box design and claimed delivery of 1kW into an 8ohm load. Reading the spec-sheet alone does little to prepare you for the sheer size, weight and physical presence of the two-box Titan. It is massive, with a combined weight over 110kg, each unit boasting a footprint the size of a small chest of drawers. Sitting side-by-side you have two enormous works of art in milled aluminium – low, wide and deep.
Review: Ian Harris, Review and Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 22, 2022  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2003
hfnvintageIan Harris and Paul Miller hear the amps that crown MF's 20th anniversary

The kW and kWP are the final models in Musical Fidelity's 20th anniversary Tri-Vista series, and are intended to be the ultimate expression of the company's skills as amplifier builders. In contrast to the nominally 'real world' SACD player and integrated amp, the pre and power amps have been built on a totally cost-no-object basis – to borrow MF's own words, they're 'simply the very best we can do'.

Review: David Price, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018
hfnvintage.pngBack in the '80s, several British 'cottage industry' companies made integrated amps for purist customers, but this is surely the most 'mysterious'. How will it sound today?

In hi-fi as in life, the 1980s was a transformative time. From speaker stands and audiophile speaker cable, to mini monitors and expensive, minimalist integrated amps – the 'go for it' decade of Filofaxes, red braces and VW Golf GTis showed us what was to come.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 22, 2021
hfnoutstandingNAD's M33 BluOS streaming amplifier was the first to utilise Purifi's groundbreaking Eigentakt Class D modules. Now they are in a stripped-back 'purist' power amp...

We sometimes hear a hi-fi component described as 'a wolf in sheep's clothing', but the idiom seems particularly apt for NAD's C 298. From the outside, there's little to distinguish this £1700 power amp from market rivals – indeed, its general demeanour is so nondescript it would likely struggle to standout from flashier competition. But NAD, a company that's no stranger to high-tech design style elsewhere in its stable, has opted to keep the chassis simple and make the amp's story about what's going on inside.

Review: Lee Dunkley, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngThe svelte D 3020 contrasted with the iconic 3020 amp of '78, but this V2 trades-in USB for phono and Bluetooth in a bid to regain its crown as the ultimate 'starter amp'

The original NAD 3020 integrated amplifier of the late '70s was a genre-defining product – a compact integrated full of useful features that cost relatively little and became recognised for bringing high-quality home audio to a much wider audience. I wouldn't mind betting that many readers will have owned one at some point or at the very least be familiar with its reputation as an 'all go, no show' audiophile amp for its remarkably likeable sound but rather retiring 'grey slab' looks.

Review: Mark Craven, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 21, 2022
hfnoutstandingStrip out the digital inputs, BluOS streaming module and preamp stage from NAD's M33 and we get a 'purist' implementation of Purifi's groundbreaking Eigentakt Class D tech

Unlike the traffic on the motorway for which this stereo amplifier is definitely not named, Canadian manufacturer NAD is rolling along at pace. The M23 auditioned here, available in just a silver finish, is its latest amp to feature high-performance Purifi Eigentakt Class D technology, following in the footsteps of the £3999 M33 BluOS-capable integrated [HFN Aug '20], the seven-channel £4499 M28 power amp, and the more affordable £1749 C 298 stereo amp [HFN Oct '21]. That NAD should have chosen to adopt Eigentakt modules for a trio of models before upgrading its flagship two-channel Masters series power amp is perhaps something of a surprise. But it proves to have been worth waiting for.

Review: Andrew Everard, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngA reversal of digital direction marks out this hi-tech integrated amp from the Masters Series, so can NAD's innovative thinking make the M32 stand out from the crowd?

Just in case you can't work out what the £3499 NAD M32 actually is – straight from the box only a volume control sets it apart from the company's similarly styled M22 v2 power amp – the front panel tells you, at least when powered up, that this is a 'Direct Digital DAC/Amplifier'. Of course, even powering it up may be a challenge for those for whom 'RTFM' is a sign of weakness. After a bit of stabbing of the NAD logo, which glows amber in standby, suggesting it might do something, they'll probably eventually alight on the little touch pad top and centre above the display. Brush this and the amp gets ready to do its stuff, at which point the amber surround on the logo turns white and you're in business.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngInspired by its own VPA amplifier, but with the intent to drive the ultimate high-end systems in large rooms, Nagra set to work designing its 'Statement' monoblocks

Look at the photos: the Nagra HD AMP's slim, vertical layout will remind fans immediately of the company's first power monoblock amplifier, the VPA. This vertical stance is not all that common – remember Halcro? – while the small footprint it affords makes a vertical model instantly appealing for those who value floor space. Nagra's new, top-of-the-range unit, however, is purely a solid-state device which – profile aside – is the antithesis of the all-valve VPA, which was rated at 50W in 'Pure Class A'.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 01, 2018
hfnoutstanding.pngNagra’s monumental HD amplifier series reaches completion as its monoblock power amps are joined by this sensational, two-chassis, fully-balanced HD PREAMP

Nagra has, with the exception of the now-best-forgotten Pyramid amplifiers [HFN Feb ’05], a near-faultless track record. When you consider that the company leapt from professional tape decks to audiophile-grade valve electronics 20 years ago, the transition has been remarkable. With the second of its HD models, the HD PREAMP (joined by the HD DAC), one witnesses the completion of ‘Phase One’ of Nagra 2.0.

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