Musical Fidelity A3.5 CD Players

A3.5

  • Highly sophisticated power supply
  • Outstanding technical performance
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz +0 / -0.2dB
  • Digital outputs 1 optical

User Reviews (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6  
User2   AudioPhile [Sep 11, 2011]

Excellent CD player especially for its musicality. This is one of the best I have come across in CD players. Even the CDs that I could hardly listen on other players sounded very pleasing on this player. Very natural sound.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
dlan2311   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 28, 2007]
Strength:

lots of detail
very musical
good tonality
very good for the price

Weakness:

imaging
sound mechanical and cold

This cd player is very musical with lots of detail but the A3.5 can sound mechanical and the stereo imaging is not as good as I would have expected but it still is a very good value. The A5 is the way to go if you want a more natural sound with good imaging but it cost a lot more. I have listened also to the Moon Equinox and it is a more natural player where the sound is more palpable but this player is more expensive.

Similar Products Used: moon equinox
arcam cd 36
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
rinthiran   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 24, 2007]
Strength:

Neutral, good tonal accuracy, lots of detail, dynamic and more refined sounding equivalent to the SimAudio and Cary in the $2k - $3k range. Plays rock, blues, jazz, vocals very well. Very musical and easy to listen to. Absence of harshness or brightness which is sometimes miss-understood as laid-back or dark sounding means it’s a perfect pairing for other Musical Fidelity Amps or bright / detailed solid-state amps.

Easy to read blue-screen and elegant front panel. Very well-built, but the buttons might seem a bit small and not all buttons (e.g., repeat, random) are on the front panel. The remote is very detailed and can be also used for the other MF A3.5 integrated amp.

Compared to the highly-rated Rega Apollo, the Rega has better imaging, but has slightly excessive treble response, and individual notes, detail, fluidity are not up to the same quality as the A3.5 or the SimAudios.

A3.5 is 90% of the SimAudios, missing out in just a little bit of overall palpability, tonal detail and imaging. If I had the cash, I would have gotten the SimAudio MOON Equinox SE, but at $2,600 new, and the dealer demo of $1,350 for the A3.5, the A3.5 was a clear winner.

The A3.5 might not be a good pair with older warm tube equipment (e.g., stuff from the 60s and 70s) as its lack of harshness is exaggerated by overly warm equipment. OK with newer amps like the PrimaLuna Dialogue Two Tube Integrated Amp and matches extremely well with the Bryston B100 SST Integrated Amplifier.

Weakness:

Although there is a wide soundstage, exact instrument imaging is not as good as the Rega Apollo or the SimAudio. This is sometimes misunderstood as a lack of clarity, but I find that instrument clarity is very good, just imaging is a bit diluted.

Excellent match for bright solid-state amplification or speakers; and folks who listen to, blues, jazz, vocals. Neutral, good tonal accuracy, lots of detail, and dynamic. Absence of harshness or brightness.

Similar Products Used: Compared against at Store:
Rega Apollo - $995
Cary CDP1 - $2,000
SimAudio MOON Equinox SE - $2,600
SimAudio MOON CD 5.3 - $3,400

Using at Store:
PrimaLuna Dialogue Two Tube Integrated Amp
SimAudio MOON I-3 SE Integrated Amplifier
Bryston B100 SST Integrated Amplifier

DALI Helicon 400 Speaker

At Home:
Audio Research LS 15
Dynaco Dynakit Mark III
Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand
B&W 602, Rel Q150 sub
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Ravi   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 24, 2007]
Strength:

Neutral, good tonal accuracy, lots of detail, dynamic and more refined sounding equivalent to the SimAudio and Cary in the $2k - $3k range. Plays rock, blues, jazz, vocals very well. Very musical and easy to listen to. Absence of harshness or brightness which is sometimes miss-understood as laid-back or dark sounding means it’s a perfect pairing for other Musical Fidelity Amps or bright / detailed solid-state amps.

Easy to read blue-screen and elegant front panel. Very well-built, but the buttons might seem a bit small and not all buttons (e.g., repeat, random) are on the front panel. The remote is very detailed and can be also used for the other MF A3.5 integrated amp.

Compared to the highly-rated Rega Apollo, the Rega has better imaging, but has slightly excessive treble response, and individual notes, detail, fluidity are not up to the same quality as the A3.5 or the SimAudios.

A3.5 is 90% of the SimAudios, missing out in just a little bit of overall palpability, tonal detail and imaging. If I had the cash, I would have gotten the SimAudio MOON Equinox SE, but at $2,600 new, and the dealer demo of $1,350 for the A3.5, the A3.5 was a clear winner.

The A3.5 might not be a good pair with older warm tube equipment (e.g., stuff from the 60s and 70s) as its lack of harshness is exaggerated by overly warm equipment. OK with newer amps like the PrimaLuna Dialogue Two Tube Integrated Amp and matches extremely well with the Bryston B100 SST Integrated Amplifier.

Weakness:

Although there is a wide soundstage, exact instrument imaging is not as good as the Rega Apollo or the SimAudio. This is sometimes misunderstood as a lack of clarity, but I find that instrument clarity is very good, just imaging is a bit diluted.

Excellent match for bright solid-state amplification or speakers; and folks who listen to, blues, jazz, vocals. Neutral, good tonal accuracy, lots of detail, and dynamic. Absence of harshness or brightness.

Similar Products Used: Compared against at Store:
Rega Apollo - $995
Cary CDP1 - $2,000
SimAudio MOON Equinox SE - $2,600
SimAudio MOON CD 5.3 - $3,400

Using at Store:
PrimaLuna Dialogue Two Tube Integrated Amp
SimAudio MOON I-3 SE Integrated Amplifier
Bryston B100 SST Integrated Amplifier
DALI Helicon 400 Speaker

At Home:
Audio Research LS 15
Dynaco Dynakit Mark III
Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand
B&W 602, Rel Q150 sub


OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
ylim   AudioPhile [Jan 30, 2007]
Strength:

Same as the A3.2
Good looks

Weakness:

Soundstage on the shallow side

There are many good CD players out on the market these days but hard to find one that really wows. I've heard many players and own quite a few. Even fewer have impressed me more than the players from MF. What impresses me about the A3.5 is that it's able to extract and present lots of detail without sounding too analytical. A player that still impresses me is the original Rega Planet. My affection for the Planet lies in its ability to present music in a organic way. Even though there are many players technically better, the Planet betters a lot of players in presenting voices and instruments more tangibly. Textures just sound more realistic with the Planet... at least to me. Its a player that entrances. Much the same way, the MF A3.5 is a very musical player but the difference is that it does almost everything extremely well including extracting the low level details. Dynamic range is excellent, I would say on par with some of the best players I've had the privilege of auditioning. The A3.5 is hard to fault but it has its weaknesses particularly in the soundstaging arena. Although wide, the soundstage is not as deep as I would like. In fact I find it somewhat shallow even compared to the other MF players i.e. A308, A5. Overall the soundstage is a very upfront and in your face. I guess it's all relative; Some people may prefer that.

If you already own a A3.2 and considering trading it for the A3.5, I say don't bother. Sonically they are pretty similar if not exact. The optical drive is now supplied by Philips vs. Sony. Although... the A3.5 looks better (in my humble opinion).

Similar Products Used: MF A308, MF A5, Heart CD8000, Rega, Naim, etc
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ACF   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 30, 2006]
Strength:

Clear, clean, neutral, absence of harshness, brightness, when partnered properly. Also, a lot of fun for the money. Used with MF X10 tube buffer stage, and separate X power supply for the tube stage, there's that extra bit of magic that costs a good deal more for a similar effect from another player. Planning to add the Whest Dap.10 to the signal chain to hear the best from my Harbeth Super HL5 speakers. Looks great. Sounds great. MF is a good house.

Weakness:

We all obsess endlessly over this stuff, and a better quality remote would be nice. Still, the supplied remote works well enough, even though its not as state of the art as the rest of the kit.

Really a very good CD player. Never completely understood what Musical Fidelity meant when they described the sound as "limpid", but after listening I understand it to mean, neutral, clear and true. Terrific build quality, and partners beautifully with the MFA3.5 integrated amp. A real bargain for the price, and adding the extra bits and pieces is a lot of fun while improving the sound over simply purchasing a more expensive CD player.

Customer Service

None required.

Similar Products Used: Ah Joe Tjoeb, Cambridge, Marantz.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-6 of 6  

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