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Musical Fidelity X-PRE
21 Reviews
rating  4.48 of 5
MSRP  249.00
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Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:2
Submitted by ESLFAN a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Initially, I got over feeling that Musical Fidelity was a marketting company. How could they release a "rare-ish" valve pre-amp for a reasonable price only then to ask for more money for the power supply X-PSU, which is essential, sonically. I trust that the latest version3 has the power supply built-in. Anyway I got over that. At the same time I bought their A3CD and am still veeeerrry impressed with it.
Back to the pre-amp..very soon a dry joint.fixed. A year later another dry joint. fixed. I guess this is a problem of heat from the valves and wires bent into a tight housing ??. Nevertheless I read some reviews about tweaks and it has become clear from reading about other MF products as well, that they use cheap components (valves and capacitors especially). I have come to the conclusion that Musical Fidelity are indeed a marketting company like BOSE, who have gimmicky products (looks, ideas) then they create a good simple design, by all accounts, and compromise it with cheap components. Admittedly my stuff is 1999/2000 and the reviews are of that time, so maybe they have lifted their game, but I can't understand why they would want to risk everything for a few bucks here and there.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Len Wallis,Sydney



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Vincent Chin a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 16, 2001

Bottom Line:   
After some extensive usesage and hard listening and experimenting with various components which I owned, these are my comments about the X-Pre. 1. This is a pre-amp that needs careful partnering of components in order to bring out its full potential. ( For those 100% tubes fanatics look elsewhere. 2. The X-Pre needs fast dynamic speakers with clarity. 3. CD players with good open sound and refinements. 4. Fast dynamic power amps preferably with more power and transparency. 5. Good interconnects that can help boosting bass and dynamics, that are punchy and smooth. Lacking any of the above the X-Pre will sound slow with muddiness and even bright and harsh in the tweeters. Lack of details in the mid to lows with hollow bass. On conclusion, I am very please with my set-ups which is tonally rich with a touch of warm, good tight solid bass, high frequencies decay of instruments sounds tube-like. overall midrange is sweet with refinement and smooth good open sound. Vocals are natural and transparency is superb. It suits me in all kind of musics especially pops, as for classiclal it is average ( crank up the volume ). A superb Pre-Amp that can excels with high end performents! My configurations are as follows: Pre: Musical Fidelity X-Pre. ( With X-psu and X-10D ). Power Amps: MF XA-50 x2, NAD 216THX ( Bi-Amping) CD: Marantz CD6000 OSE. Speaker: Monitor Audio Silver 4i. Interconnects: Goertz micro purl copper ( tweeters). Goertz micro purl silver ( Mid-Bass). Cables: QED Qudos. Enjoy!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Alpha Audio S'pore.



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by drew a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 16, 2001

Bottom Line:   
my dream since teenhood has been an all tube system. i purchased a x-10d to insert into my all solid state yamaha system. i was so impressed with the improvement ie. 'warmth' that i saved up for the x-pre. i'm glad i did. coupled with the audiosource amp 2 it makes a simply sweet sounding system for 500 bucks or so. i'm still saving for that final tube power amp, but the results with the audiosource are so good that that has been relegated to the back burner. the creek integrated may give this combo a run for the money but it gives up 30-40 watts, depending on model. and it's not tubes, baby, tubes. gotta have them tubes. unfortunately this model may or may not still be commercially available. i've heard conflicting answers.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $159.00

Purchased At:   audio advisor



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Neil Emery a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I've had the Musical Fidelity stuff for a while now, building up the collection I now have over time. Initially I bought the XLP, XPSU, XPre and XA50s, which for a first 'real' hi-fi set-up, sounded far and away better than anything I had been able to afford from higher-end manufacturers (my first 'hifi' consisted of a MF tempset amp and E60 CD player with Paradigm Titans, which sounded functional if flat).

The XPre is a very cute little pre-amp, with no delusions of granduer - it does exactly what it says on the tin. It produces a very well-rounded sound, highs, lows etc and lets the music shine through.

I bought the XRay a year or so ago and it sounded great, but always seemed to fall somewhat short of my aging Linn LP12 turntable with Dynavector cartridge. Adding a REL50 sub extended the bass but only after some careful tuning.

Six weeks ago I found a secondhand pair of XA200s for sale for $800 (well, it would have been rude not to buy them at that price!) and so I bi-amped my Linn Keilidhs. I can't say I thought it was a sonic leap forward - more an improvement in separation . . . oh, and power! I then found a secondhand X10D, which further improved the separation when used with the CD player, but it still lacked a little something. Which led me to read the AudioReview pages and comments made about the valves.

I'd always been a wee bit skeptical that the XPre was a bona-fide vacuum tube amp - well, having cracked it open, I am pleased to say that it indeed contains 2 ECC88's (or 6922's, depending on who you ask). I phoned a valve supplier locally and got some opinions on the valves in the amp and for that matter the X10D. From what I gather, both sets are JAN Phillips (JAN meaning Joint Army & Navy) originally intended for military use but NOT for audio circuitry. So, I bought a couple of matched pairs of Harma valves - no, they're not as good as Siemens or Telefunken, but they're not far off and they're easily available, unlike the other two.

HERE'S THE TWEAKING - I broke into the amp and X10D and replaced both sets of valves. I have to point out here that I was amazed at how simple it is to replace these things; as long as you don't touch the valves with your hands (use gloves or a cloth), you really can't go wrong - unscrew the tube ends, remove the circuit boards, pull out the old tubes, slot the new ones in, screw up the ends. Oh yeah - don't be too disappointed when you look inside the MF tubes - apart from a circuit board, they're just full of air!!

The change was nothing short of amazing. The seperation and clarity is now in a different league - no, honestly - the valve change made more of an impact than bi-amping in terms of sheer quality. Guitars in particular (and any instrument/vocal recorded using valve equipment) sound so real you could almost reach out and grab them. Although they sounded good before, I now realise that they didn't actually sound that lifelike. Elliot Smith's 'Angeles' put's the guy in the room with you - frightening. And Supertamp's 'School' sounds fabulously pacy and dynamic. Both of these were CD tracks and for those who don't think the X10D makes any difference, just change the valves. If it can improve the XRay sound, it's got to be a bargain.

So get hold of one of these preamps and switch those valves. I assure you - you will be amazed. OK, so I'm a bit MF biased . . . but as for 5* giant killer - too bloody right!!

Current System:

MF X-Pre (preamp)
MF X-PSU (power supply)
MF X-LP (phono stage)
MF X-10D (missing link)
MF X-A50 (x2) (amp)
MF X-A200 (x2) (amp)
MF X-Links (interconnects)
Linn LP12, Rega RB300, Dynavector Karat 23R5
Linn Keilidhs (speakers)
REL50 (subwoofer)
Sony MDS-JB940 (minidisc)


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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   Musical Images, Covent Garden



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Vincent Chin a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I've this pre-amp with me for over a year and found it to be totally satisfactory. This is also my first tubed pre-amp, whether it is truly tubed, I don't really bother about it. What I do know is that, it provides me with very good harmonics and details, sounds crispy and warm. I matched it with the NAD 216THX power amp and the results is amazing. With Richard's Clayderman - Golden instrument-CD, songs like Fernando and Don't Cry for me Argentina sounds with great details and clarity and it really brings out the harmonics of the musical instruments with warm and crispy feelings. Bass was deep and tight, drum beats sound real, with good control. I think this have something to do with my partnering equipments - Infinity 3 way floorstander/ PSB Alpha subsonic 5 sub. While writing all these, I am contemplating of upgrading to the MF X-P100 because the X-PRE has been phased out recently. I will still keep it if repairs and spare parts is available at Alpha Audio. 5 Stars!

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Alpha Audio Singapore




Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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