Musical Fidelity A5 CD Players

A5

  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz +0 / -0.2dB
  • Signal / noise ratio: > 113dB
  • Channel separation: > 105dB 20Hz to 20kHz
  • Digital outputs: 1 optical

User Reviews (17)

Showing 1-10 of 17  
Rick Kidd   AudioPhile [Dec 03, 2011]

The pursuit for a real high quality, high power and musically involving Intergrated Amplifier has ended for me,and the winner is the Musical Fidelity A5. Mind you this is not just another star struck OMG this is my first piece of Hi-fi product reviews. Over the last 10+ years or so I have owned the following Intergrated amps to drive my 2 Channel listening system. NAD 372, Cambridge 840A, Plinius 9100 and Anthem 225, all these being well respected and regarded products at the < 2k price point. But then I happend to stuble upon the deal of a lifetime..a very gently used, might as well call it Mint Condition Musical Fidelity A5 intergrated List price $2500 and lets just say I paid more than 50% offAt 250 watts x2 @ 8 ohms this things is a beast and drives my Magnepan 1.7 and never breaks a sweat or a Pair of B&W 683 i also still own. More important than the shear wieght and power it delivers, is the completely detailed and vivid sound stage presentation it provides. Open, Airy, Midrange is nothing but RIGHT! deep bass response and quick control. It makes me wish I would have just spent 1k more over my budget 5 years ago. The MF A5 what a champion !

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
The Rambler   AudioPhile [May 30, 2011]

If shortly described this CD Player does more expected from a cd player!!! First thing you hear a huge three dimensional sound-stage..Bass reponse is extremely low and no more boomy..All of a sudden you find yourself in this huge sound stage being a part of all keys, lost in joy! Get ready to listen you existing CDs as if new CDs, with new details new great joy!

I had Audio Aero Capitole (8500 USD) before that , and I didnt get half performnce of MF CD A5. Do suggest to al music lovers without thinking a second. get one, open the gates of Nirvana..

Only one thing may be criticized is the tray ! Could have been more silent mechanisim.. But as said; who cares!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
the hand of boredom   AudioPhile [Oct 19, 2008]

Class product. Not without it's limitations. The case is vibrational, but it's easily countered with mass-loading.

The review should be considered with my review of the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor.

Music is incredibly smooth with perfect timing. Presents a wide soundstage and slightly forward with the Auditors.

One knock against MF is that they keep updating their gear, so resale value isn't very high. On the other hand, the product is quite good and there's no reason to want to sell.

I'll use only two words to describe the performance of the A5, natural and accurate.

My A5 is used in a system of a Raysonic SP120 integrated, and the Cremona Auditors.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
audion1978   Audio Enthusiast [May 13, 2008]
Strength:

Neutral
great bass
Can create a very real 3d soundstage
musical involving

Weakness:

Perhaps the competition has better rythm and pace, or texture, or detail... But none combine it in such a package alltogether as the a5.

I bought the a5 cd player to check out if my DIY cd player would hold up sonicly. I had heard the a5 a year or 2 ago, in a set consisting of nirvana cables, a DK design amp, and Totem speakers.
The soundstage (or rather the 3 dimensionality of it!) was quite shocking,it felt as if you could actually walk around every artist. The depth was really amazing. I also remembered that the whole experience came to me as all being very transparent. It all was a different kind of musical then I was used to...

So after buying the unit to see if my own DIY cd player ( cd-pro2 mech. full coper housing, 7 separate psu`s, and a low jitter clock. Oh and a Non os dac.) would hold up against the a5, I was kinda grinning abit after innitial listening; my own cd player displayed WAY more details, and had some better textures display, especially on brass instruments.

The a5 had a soundstage. A pretty good one, although not as deep as my DIY player. The a5 also had nice timing, and very good micro dynamics. You could actually hear when a singer pulled his head back abit while singing, or when a violin was played abit more furious. The a5 had more drama. Little changes in volume where very easy to hear, and made listening very involving, and most of all it supplied another musical texture I wasn`t aware of before listening to the a5.

So all good but not that much of a difference. I was not really suprised as my DIY cd player was built with the best components and was well designed... That was until I just thought; let the a5 play abit more, it problably needs to run in.

And Holy Mac! After the a5 was run in (its still getting better and better) it completely changed the player. It became a much more involving player, and a much more musical one! The difference is not subtle, in fact, my DIY player has found its rival. Or actually, my DIY player is no longer in use now!

The a5 puts down a soundstage that is really wide, and very convincing. Both in hight and depth -in my setup- it is very good. what strikes the most is that not really anything stands out depth/stage wise. Its all very natural.
The bass is pretty amazing and I have only heard this kind of bass in much much much more expensive players, it is very defined, deep, and articulate.
Its hard to write about things the a5 does well, as it does all in such a nice natural manner nothing stands out. One thing I like to mention is that due to the upsampling -I think- all my otherwise bad sounding cd`s sound absolutely great now!
I know its hard to believe, but this player subtracts so much musical info from my otherwise bad sounding cd`s, that im tapping my foot, dancing around the room, and totaly enjoying my sound. It all feels like the artists are performing in my room.

Is the a5 without fault? No. That would be impossible I guess. But for the money, it is insanly good. The player can be upgraded in quite a few ways which will improve your sound allot.
The case rings like a bell, and putting it on a good slab/ isolation platform will really upgrade the sound comming from the a5. I can`t hear my speakers anymore, I just hear music. But, I have put the a5 on a large isolation platform.

Then there is the issue that some people think the a5 sounds to hard. Yeah it sounds hard. If you ever heard a real drum kit you know that a snare shoulndt sound cuddly or soft, or even distant. It must have a leading edge and snap! That the a5 does deliver, and although what seems "weird" its very natural once you get used to it. On other players a piano sounds like well a piano and thats it. But on the a5 a piano can also sound like a percussion instrument, with all of the leading edge of the notes present if striked hard. It is a very addicting sound that adds greatly to the rythym pace and will have you tap your foot a hole in the ground.

Thinking about what this player all does great it will be a very very long story, but if you are in the market for a player around the price of the a5, you value soundstage ( especially with good cables/speakers you can truely have a 3d stage that is pretty insane) you value good bass, and neutrality, the a5 is very hard to beat.

This player is just begging to be heard, its very hard not to listen while it is playing. You are drawn into the music in a special MF way ;-)
My musical preference goes from metallica to chopin and the a5 delivers it all.

Similar Products Used: Diy
Musical fidelity
Naim
Meridian
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
R.J. Brand   AudioPhile [Jan 03, 2008]
Strength:

Delicate, natural and life-like sound. No trace of edginess. Sounds good on all types of music.

Player has fantastic build quality (weighs more than 10 Kg.)

Weakness:

Clunky CD-tray

Remote not very good - you have to aim it very precicely at the Player. It is also sometimes not responsive enough.

Cannot see the remaining time per track (only for the entire CD). I don't know why they changed that (this feature was available with the X-Ray player)

The sound and build quality of this player. however makes me forgive any of the above 'weaknessess'

Absolutely the best CD player I have owned (or heard!). I upgraded my Musical Fidelity X-Ray CD player (which was already very good). The A5 brought added delicacy and smoothness, but not at the expense of detail. Although it is a valve player, it does not sound 'warm' or 'tubby'. It just sounds neutral and natural. Vocals and strings sound almost eerily life-like. Base sounds tout, deep and fast (unlike most other valve players).

Customer Service

Very good. I phoned the supplier to hear his recommendation whether I should leave the player always on or switch off between listening sessions. The person that I spoke to was very very friendly and recommended 'always on', as the tubes used in the MF-A5 have an extremely long life. I still don't feel comfortable to do this, despite the advice.

Similar Products Used: Musical Fidelity XRay CD Player
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
krypton   AudioPhile [Jun 21, 2007]
Strength:

Jazz, Rock and Classical's music price-point heaven. Does so many things so well almost unbelievable. A steal. So good.

Weakness:

Not at all. If years go by you may buy the KwDAC and use A5 as a transport. Make your friend's more expencive CD-Players thinking that 2-3 things missing from them.

I brought one after an audition. I bring it home and try it with 3 amplifiers. It ended up in my main rig with my Jadis Orchestra Ref. KT90 amplifier. The sound is anything someone could ask .
The first thing noticed before even break-in period of 150 hours is the truthness of timbre in all frequency spectrum. Second the boldness of images , inside a rich mid-of-the-hall presentation full of air and detail and a really big soundstage without any sacrifice in naturality and transperancy. Dynamics together with real-life speed and layer of textures made me buy this player from the beginning. Its a true jem. Combining with really good equipment elevates the sound to a level previously untouched regarding price. The combo of Jadis/A5 CD player produce such transparent,airy,correct sized picture together revealing stunning height of singers and bass definition. It produced such qualities together with stunning slam presence and dynamics realy rare to hear at hotel expo's of systems costing less than 30k.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
francislau2046   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 15, 2006]
Strength:

Nautral.

Weakness:

None.

Good!! I could only use this word to describe this CD player. In the past, I really don't know what is the different between a good Hi-Fi and a poor one. I bought the MF 3.2 Integrated Amp and CD Player together 2 years before. After I have listerned to A5 Amp and CD Player, I immediately traded in my old partners and bought the new pair. My speaker is ProAc Response 1SC. I believe they are perfectly matched: nautral and detailed. I could feel the wide sound stage for symphony and they are excellent in playing piano and vocal...

MF A5 series and ProAc Response 1SC are the best choice for all of you!! After 3 months, they are becoming more and more nautral and i cant find any pair better than mine.

Similar Products Used: MF A3.2 Amp & CD Player.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ragtime   AudioPhile [May 24, 2006]
Strength:

Excellent, involving sound across the entire spectrum, detailed yet smooth and without a trace of digital glare.

Weakness:

As many have noted, the tray is a bit noisy. But who cares?

This CD player is exceptional in every way, but it requires considerable break-in. After 50 hours of play, I thought the bass constricted and the tone a little hard; but now, after over 100 hours of continual play, I can find nothing negative to say. I listen to a lot of 20th century symphonic music--Sibelius, Baxand the English school, Holmboe, etc.--and this player allows me to hear into the orchestra as I never dreamed possible. Instruments are clearly defined, with "air" around them and weight. What's more, I get all of the music, from the lowest bass to the highest top end. The sound is neutral, neither bright nor warm; and the unit seems a fine match for my components--Perreaux 2150B amp and SM-2 preamp, ATC SCM 35 speakers, all JPS interconnects and AC cords, Quadraspire Reference rack. I suppose I still prefer analogue for its special way of involving the listener, but the A5 closely approaches this and has no trace of that clinical, hard sound characteristic of digital playback.

Before deciding on this unit I brought home a Linn Ikemi and compared the two over a period of three days. Both have a sweet mid and upper register, but the A5 has more guts, with a vivid, palpable bass lacking in the Ikemi. In most recordings, the Ikemi sounded a little thin, while the A5 always presented a bold, full image.

I should add that chamber music, jazz and the human voice also sound particularly good on the A5. This is a very smooth player. It reveals great detail and atmosphere without glare or harshness; in some recordings, I was even able to "hear" the walls of the recording studio. All CDs sound good on this machine, even digital recordings of the 80's, and many sound fantastic. I give my unqualified recommendation.

Similar Products Used: Revox, Sony ES, Linn Ikemi
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Clive197   AudioPhile [May 23, 2006]
Strength:

Solid construction, Great sound, Tremendous value. Only 1500 to be manufactured, so will become a CLASSIC as do so many Musical Fidelity products.

Weakness:

Oh that loading drawer. It only puts the CD'S in and takes them out again but I think an F1 car is SLOWER. Surely Musical Fidelity could have made the action smoother. I have used players with Philips transports before but never one so violent.

Last month I purchased the Musical Fidelity A5 Pre/Power combination which I am over the moon with. Sound is smooth and very sweet with bags of detail that I had not heard before.
My dealer gave me the opportunity to take home and try the A5 CD player. I had my doubts that it would not better my Tag McLaren CD20R. At first I felt I was right, the Tag had more bass clout but the top end was not as clear as the A5. After a couple of days of extensive listening, my feelings began to change. By comparison while I had originally felt the Tag had more bass clout, it became clear this was not more bass but more congested bass with less bass information. The A5 had far more detail right across the frequency spectrum. I made the decision. It was Goodbye Tag, Hello Musical Fidelity. My dealer said "Itold You so" (Smug Ah).
The A5 CD player is not a budget piece of kit but non the less it is worth every penny. I suspect the valve (tube) output stage has a lot to do with the sound that comes from this player.

Customer Service

Reasonable web site.

Similar Products Used: Various Marantz players.
Tag McLaren CD20R
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Alan Brownstone   AudioPhile [May 08, 2006]
Strength:

All I've said above

Weakness:

See previous review.

Following up to my review last November. I was very happy with the A5 but intrigued by what the Trichord Clock 4 and Never Connected Power Supply might do to it. I also had the following upgraded: Key capacitors in analogue and digital stages, Bridge rectifier replaced with Shottkey diode bridge, Op-amps in analogue filter stage. It was great before but now it is unbelievable. i'd put it against anything out there. Massive (but not over the top) soundstage, natural rhythms that keep you toe tapping, inky black transparency. This is the best there is!!

Similar Products Used: Theta, Arcam, Meridian, Cryus, Acoustic Precision
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 17  

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