MFA Magus A2 Preamplifiers

MFA Magus A2 Preamplifiers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-7 of 7  
[Apr 28, 2010]
birdman
AudioPhile

have used & loved my mfa magus a-2 since first hearing one & after reading the glowing reviews of the preamp in TAS & Stereophile. i had 11 preamps previously but this has been & stayed in my system all these years. it gives me the 3d silky sound of tubes. much quieter than the old c-j it replaced plus a better phono section. i run 2 tables one w/mm cartridge, the other a michell reference table w/win strain guage cartridge thru the linestage. my amps are kenwood L09 300 watt monoblocks. spkrs upgraded maggie IIIa's to 3.6 w/o newer x-over. did i say this preamp images!!!! there are many preamps out there tubed & ss but few will present the music w/the illusion of live that this will w/o spending a lot more money. bruce moore (hifi legend) & scott frankland designed the MFA's. 'nuff said.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 17, 2002]
Kurt101
AudioPhile

Strength:

Musicality, reliability, great phono section, simplicity, price.

Weakness:

Smidgen of ground hum in phono section, slightly elevated noise floor (not dead quiet).

I have owned a Magus A2 for the past 12 years and have always found it to be highly musical when mated to my solid state Belles power amp. It does have a few minor issues such as a detectable noise floor and a little bit of ground hum in the phono section. It’s also not quite the last word in transparency, dynamics, or extension at the frequency extremes. That said, however, this preamp has so much to offer in terms of sheer musicality that it’s an absolute steal at current used market prices ($400 - $550). The phono section sounds excellent and will handle MM and high output MC cartridges. When I bought the Magus, it replaced a solid state NAD preamp and the improvement in sound was very dramatic. I also compared it to a Conrad Johnson PV-10, a Carver preamp, and a Melos preamp. Compared to the CJ PV-10, the Magus had more detail and transparency but a slightly smaller soundstage. The Melos preamp had more detail but CD’s were very harsh and unlistenable. Music through the Carver preamp had absolutely no “life”. The Magus made CD’s sound decent and offered the best combination of detail and transparency. It also infused the music with a certain degree of liveliness that I found to be very appealing. During the past 12 years, I have had the opportunity to try a couple of pricey solid state preamps in my system and was very disappointed in their sound. I was always happy to put the Magus back in the system. If you’ve wanted to see what tubes might have to offer in your system without spending a bundle of cash, I can’t think of a better tube preamp to try than a Magus.

Similar Products Used:

EAD, NAD, Conrad Johnson, Melos, Carver

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 04, 2000]
Sam
Audiophile

Strength:

sweet, soundstage, bloom, muscicality

Weakness:

tube popcorn noise with some 6DJ8

I have the A1 version. I have heard the C version.
But the A1 is better! Problem with the Magus is tube
popcorn noise. The problem can be almost solved with
the Sovtek built-like-a-tank military 6922.

The Magus measure 0.1% distortion at 2V output with
only 2nd harmonic distortion and no visible 3rd harmonic
distortion.

A classic tube preamp. Just buy it and you won't
regret. A perfect match with the BEL 1001 solid
state amplifier.

Hint: I found that Radio Shack used to sell the
exact volume pots replacement for a couple bucks.
I replaced them and they sound great! Probably
the old ones worn out. They are the cheap ALPS
brand. Please don't E-Mail me about this. Visit
Radio Shack stores yourself to find out more.

Similar Products Used:

none

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 01, 1999]
Matt Carnicelli
an Audiophile

I've owned a Magus for about 5 years now, and have been reasonably happy with the unit. The preamp has always sounded sweet and musical (with a truly magical midrange) even if, in comparision to the Sonic Frontiers Line 1 I recently had a chance to audition extensively, it lacks extension on both frequency extremes through the line stage and is, in truth, much less transparent. Also, the preamp supports only two inputs (one line, one phono) and a tape loop -- so if you're looking a preamp with a lot of inputs, you might want to considered another unit. Unfortunately, I can't comment on the virtues of the phono stage since I long since gave up my turntable. Tonally, the units splits the difference between classic tube sounding gear and more "accurate" designs such as Audio Research and Sonic Frontiers -- and provides, in my opinion, a very good balance. The unit has tons of gain: 28 dB through the linestage (and somewhere around 50+ through the phono). The Magus retailed for $995 in the late 80's, and can probably be had for about $350-$450 today -- which for a preamp with a phono stage and a magical midrange makes it an excellent value.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Sep 13, 1998]
Duane Barker
an Audiophile

This preamp is one of the best ever offered for under $1000! It gives clean,detailed,lush,dynamic but completely unfatiguing sound.Forget stereotypes about tube preamps.This one has tremendous frequency extension and dynamics.It also gives you features you don't expect in a preamp at this price:outboard power supply,separate gain controls for each channel as well as a volume control,and a phono stage that can handle most low-output moving coils as well as moving magnets.Tube complements are a single 6DJ8 in the line stage and 2 12AX7s and a single 12AT7 in the phono stage.This product will truly "knock the socks off" any other preamp for under $1000.Highly recommended!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Feb 09, 1999]
Marc Bratton
an Audio Enthusiast

Agree with Duane. It's still competitive with any $1000 tube preamp out there.I've had mine for 9 years, and it's been ultrareliable. Would give it a 4 to 4.5 on the basis that its noisefloor isn't quite enough for ultimate transparency,
Contrasted with the BrystonBP-20, it's not as transparent because of this, but a bit more lush sounding. Particularly good paired with solid amp that could use that kind of help.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
[Dec 01, 1999]
bima stagg
Audiophile

Strength:

I fully agree with Duane. I love the Magus. I've bought and sold many highly regarded preamps (e.g. Krell, Audio Research, Threshold, Klyne) and never felt any withdrawal pains when I returned to the Magus. Matt is inaccurate, in that it has two line inputs, not just one. Also, it has an extra pair of RCAs for MC loading: I converted these to a third line in (the loading is now internal, and added two main outs as well, so I can bi- and even tri-amp. Indeed, the Magus is a tweakers delight: I replaced all point-to-point wiring with solid silver. All caps and resistors in the signal path are pretty high grade, but I suppose one could experiment here as well. The separate L and R gain + main volume control let you optimize the unit for any input and adjust balance without sending the music through an extra balance pot. The circuit is simple but very stable, and the unit cost me so little I could really splurge on rare NOS tubes (there are only four) with dramatic audible benefits. These units are hard to come by (I've never seen one on E-Bay in the six months I've been looking) so if you see one, grab it.

Weakness:

None —— although in this multimedia age, more inputs would be useful. If desired, however, more inputs could be installed (and the rotary selector modified accordingly) at negligible cost.

Unbeatable value for a full-function all-tube preamp.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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