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Musical Fidelity

Musical Fidelity is a producer of high-end audio equipment focusing on streaming music players, and its core product range of amplifiers of various types (power, phono, headphone, integrated and pre-amplifiers). Other products have included headphones, Digital-Analog Converters (DACs), CD players, Bluetooth Receivers, ‘all-in-one systems’ (including Phono turntable). Founded in the United Kingdom in 1982, they are known for their unusual industrial design, Nuvistor tube use, Class-AB amplification and exquisite sound

Musical Fidelity
High-end audio manufacturer
Industry Electronics
Founded 1982
Headquarters Middlesex, United Kingdom
Key people
Antony Michaelson, CEO
Products Hi-fi equipment
Website http://www.musicalfidelity.com/

Contents

HistoryEdit

Musical Fidelity was founded in 1982 by Antony Michaelson, a clarinettist and Hi-Fi enthusiast, following his exit from Michaelson & Austin, a predecessor company of which he was a partner.

Musical Fidelity’s first product was "The Preamp", which incorporated moving coil and moving magnet pre-amplification and a single line-level ‘Tuner’ input. This was originally designed to overcome his dissatisfaction with the Michaelson & Austin TVP-1 pre- amplifier. The first batch of “The Preamp” were made on Michaelson’s home kitchen table and sold out almost at once through a local dealer.[1] The dealer asked for more product, which resulted in Michaelson making the decision to go into full-time production.[2]

This was followed by the ‘Dr Thomas’ power amplifier, designed by Dr Martin Vaughan Thomas, capable of outputting 100-plus watts. Later products included the Preamp II, and the Typhoon Power amplifier.[3]

From there, Michaelson commissioned a seemingly endless variety and range of new products using a wide variety of circuit concepts and technologies. Many of these became significant Hi-Fi milestones.

Significant ProductsEdit

Musical Fidelity is probably best known for its A1 integrated amplifier, a Class-AB amplifier, rated at a rather low 20W per channel but was reputed by many to produce a very sweet, authentic sound, reminiscent of tube amplifiers.[4][5] This was launched in 1985 and sold over 100,000 units over its lifetime.

In 1986, the A370 power amplifier was launched – revolutionary for its time in being a rack-mountable unit, producing 185Watts per channel and was biased, like all Musical Fidelity power amplifiers, into Class AB. These were the first of their type to be made by a UK Hi-Fi company. Then followed a range of well received loudspeakers, the MC series (designed by Martin Colloms) and the Reference series, featuring 'TPX' polypropelene drivers.

A year later, the Digilog[6] was launched, one of the first stand-alone production DACs.[7]

In the late 1980s Musical Fidelity introduced further amplifiers, including the P170 and high-powered rack mount style amplifiers, including the P270, A370, SA470, SA570, and the P180, with CRPS (Choke Regulated Power Supply) add on power supply. This was possibly the first time bifilar wound coils[8] had been combined with transistor electronics. This design innovation helped suppress electro-magnetic radiation frequencies (EMF), reducing the amount of potential noise interference into the audio circuits .

In 1992, the A1000[9] was launched – one of the first 'super integrated' amplifiers, with a full range of line level inputs coupled to a Class AB power amplifier section producing 50W / channel into 8 ohms. Initially it was only made for Japan but later was well received around the world.

The X series[10] was launched in 1997 consisting of a range of cute extruded cylindrical add-on components, which later spawned the XA series. The units consisted of various amplifiers, Digital-to-analogue converters, Phono stages, tuners and CD players and ancillary power supplies. Many Musical Fidelity amplification products from the 1980s and 1990s are often incorrectly described as incorporating 'Class A' power amplifier topologies. Musical Fidelity has never produced a class A power amplifier or integrated amplifier. All Musical Fidelity power amplifiers (and power output stages in their integrated amplifiers) have featured 'Class AB' topologies.

The NuVista preamp was introduced in 1997, the first modern, mass produced audio product using Nuvistor tubes,[11][better source needed] which were miniature metal-ceramic enclosed vacuum tubes manufactured by RCA . These were followed by power and integrated amplifiers, with ancillary power supplies. Numerous products have descended from it, such as the Tri-Vista 21 ‘Super DAC’, introduced in 2002, culminating in the latest being the NuVista 800.

The kW Pre- and Power Amp was introduced in 2003. The power amplifier was then the highest power audiophile-grade power amp ever made commercially by a UK audiophile company, producing 1 kW of power per channel into 8 ohms. Notably, two mono-blocs and their power supply weighed in at 129 kG.[12] It was followed by the Titan, an upgrade from the kW.

In 2015, the Merlin was released, a multi-format music system that came with a turntable, wireless streaming and a pair of unique speakers, allowing users to play vinyl records and stream digital music over high quality apt-X Bluetooth, in a very compact form factor.

As of 2018 [1], the products consist of the Nu-Vista, M8, M6, M5si, M3, MX, LX2, and V90 Series as well as the Encore Streaming Music servers. Most of the series provide a mix of Phono stages, integrated amplifiers, DACs, CD players and Headphone amplifiers. The Nu-Vista series continues in the tradition of using a mix of Nuvistor tubes, transistors and Digital technology.

Musical Fidelity CDsEdit

Michaelson was a professional clarinettist and on the Musical Fidelity label recorded a number of CDs[13] of major works for the clarinet .

2004 Musical Fidelity CD - Mozart Clarinet Concerto K622 In A Major. Antony Michaelson, Michelangelo Chamber Orchestra, Leader Adrian Levine, Conducted by Robert Bailey

2002 Musical Fidelity CD - Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets. Antony Michaelson, Adrian Levine, Kathy Andrew, Stephen Tees, Judith Serkin

2001 Musical Fidelity CD - Mozart And Brahms Clarinet Trios. Antony Michaelson, Stephen Tees, Andrea Hess, Ingrid Jacoby

2001 Musical Fidelity CD – Brahms Clarinet Sonatas. Antony Michaelson, Ingrid Jacoby

1999 Musical Fidelity CD - Weber Clarinet Quintet / Bärmann 3rd Clarinet Quintet . Antony Michaelson, Beverley Davison, Elizabeth Layton, Roger Chase, Jonathan Williams

1994 Musical Fidelity CD- Mozart Clarinet Quintet , Antony Michaelson, Adrian Levine, Colin Callow, Jeremy Williams, Robert Bailey

Sonic Characteristics of Musical Fidelity ProductsEdit

Michaelson stressed that his most important design aim was accuracy and truthfulness to the music. Despite this, Musical Fidelity products generally displayed a sweet, easy going sound quality. Although most reviews identified this quality with MF’s products, some did not approve of it.

Michaelson thought that for best results, Hi-Fi should not need much set-up and tweaking. He strongly disapproved of what he called 'cable madness'. His refusal to accept the prevailing zeitgeist of cable worship frequently landed him in disputes with a variety of Hi-Fi luminaries. He relished the disagreements. Over time, his view has been borne out by the waning of the market for high-end interconnect and speaker cables sold at very high prices.

Change of OwnershipEdit

In 2017, Michaelson decided to retire. A search was conducted for a suitable partner to take over the brand name and continue with the heritage. Eventually he came to an agreement with Heinz Lichtenegger of Audio Tuning (also the owner of Pro-ject) and on 14 May 2018 they took over the brand and its intellectual property.

Product Range Timeline[14]Edit

1980'sEdit

The Preamp

Dr.Thomas power amplifier

Synthesis Integrated

MVT

MVX

Studio T

A1 series

A100 series

B200 series

A370 series

Digilog

B1 series

MC loudspeaker series

Reference loudspeaker series

1990'sEdit

A1000

F series

Elektra series

X series

XA series

NuVista series

Michaelson Audio series

2000'sEdit

A3 series

A5 series

A308 series

kW series

TriVista series

Kelly Transducers

M1 turntable

V series

Titan

2010'sEdit

M1 series

M3 series

M5 series

M6 series

Quarkie headphones

Musical Fidelity EB and MF headphone series

Merlin

Round Table turntable

V90 series

MX series

LX series

NuVista series

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Twardowski, Michael; Zaneveld, Ron (2007-09-30). "High Fidelity VSF Measurements and Inversion for RaDyO (Hi Fi RaDyO)". Fort Belvoir, VA.
  2. ^ Interview with Mr. Michaelson, 3/6/2018
  3. ^ Discus (1922-10-01). "Gramophone Notes". The Musical Times. 63 (956): 709. doi:10.2307/913884. ISSN 0027-4666.
  4. ^ Realspin (2013-03-17). "Musical Fidelity A1". ZSTEREO.
  5. ^ "Musical Fidelity A1 Amplifier review, test, price". www.hifi-review.com. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  6. ^ "Musical Fidelity Digilog D/A processor". Stereophile.com. 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  7. ^ "Musical Fidelity Digilog D/A processor". Stereophile.com. 2011-07-05. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  8. ^ "Bifilar coil", Wikipedia, 2017-08-07, retrieved 2018-06-22
  9. ^ "Musical Fidelity A1000". zStereo. 2014-02-12. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  10. ^ "Musical Fidelity X-pre/X-A50 Amplifier review and test". www.hifi-review.com. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  11. ^ "Nuvistor". 2004-09-23. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  12. ^ Tri-Vista Monobloc Power Amplifier Instructions for use, Issue 1. Musical Fidelity Website, Product Manuals: Musical Fidelity. 2003. p. 9.
  13. ^ "Musical Fidelity". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  14. ^ Fidelity, Musical. "Musical Fidelity | Discontinued Products". Musical Fidelity. Retrieved 2018-06-22.