Musical Fidelity X10-D DACs

Musical Fidelity X10-D DACs 

DESCRIPTION

(See reviews)

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 98  
[Nov 22, 2016]
Lawrence
AudioPhile

.Hello all. I have had this X10-D I'm sure from when it first hit the Hi-Fi headlines circa 2000?

Anyhow I haven't used it for well over ten years and just stored it away when I started playing music from a PC. Over the years my system has evolved from the AR60, Pioner 50 , Linn Sondek, HB3's with various Trichord CD player DAC frontends moving through the Lowther Horn trail with valve amps and now ending up with PC front end, out via a ASUS sound card as Iike their 10 band equalizer that doesn't tend to suck the air from the sound..

Coax out to a W4S remedy clock, W4S DSD DAC (never got the DSD to work) , From the DAC balanced to a Les Wolstenholme line level transformer and from there to a Lavardin IS Ref amp to double hedlund horns. Anyone who knows the Hedlund rear horn design I've widened the design to 18 inches and put in 2 x lowther DX4's in each speaker. I extrapolated from the super acoustas which use 2 x lowther units in each speaker. Both DX4's are 15ohm in parallel bring the impedance hopefully to around 7ohm. So in all a super clean efficient system with the Lavardin offering a very transparent gain. So I went to see my mate in Hastings last week and he runs Oris horns with Lowthers , big quarter wave bass units , a beautiful Andy Evans valve design (Andy is well known for his amateur valves designs amongst hi-fi enthusiasts.

Anyhow my mates system fully kimber Kabled and is very fast dynamic and revealing, a friend of his gave him a Chinese made valve phono/line preamp stage and he inserted it in after several hours listening. Initially as it warmed up double bass on Myles Davis 'So What' was a little lumpy but as it warmed up I though valves were working their magic yet again. It got me thinking to my old stored away MS X10-D and the statement by Lavardin that valves sound so good as the signal doesn't pass through wire or metal and this they felt produced 'memory distortion' . Well you have to say with Lavardin that you hardly ever see their gear sold second hand and they have had some fantastic worldwide reviews.

So now I'm thinking that old X10-D is a buffer stage so using that in line before the Lavardin would give the amp that prides itself on low memory distortion, even less to forget.
Finally found the X10-D and got it all working and blimey it sounded good. It seems to remove further hardness and congestion with dynamics improved and the identity of instruments and voices far better presented. Now playing of off a PC from which I watch movies and scour the internet is a digital electrical dirty environment and must add noise in the signal and digital orchestra can sound strident I have over the years reduced this but not as much as the X10-D did. It seemed to sprinkle magic dust on everything I have so far played. I'm going to give it a few days as hi-fi changes can be fickle, but if it's still doing the business next week I'll go for the Rock Grotto X10-D upgrade.

Sorry this has been longwinded but I think it's fair to say I'm using a very revealing system and when considering the cost of the X10-D it really is a vast but absurd improvement, the Lavardin seems to love it. So X10-D take a bow.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 19, 2011]
Kauhik Mitra
Audio Enthusiast

I have Quad 66 preamp and 606 power amp, Philips CD 624 CD Player, Quad 22L floor Speaker, Audio Note Dac 1. If I add with this system Musical Fedelity X10-D Buffer then it will smother my lisiting. Right now I am highly statisfy with my systems. Pls mail me at kaushik_mitra17@yahoo.com as soon as possible. Thank you.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 28, 2006]
rotosoundz
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

You really need the mod kit to fully realize the potential this buffer can achieve......It works acceptably by itself....as I said earlier....the mod kit is a difference of night and day.

Weakness:

There really aren't any to my knowledge......the unit was very well designed and put together solidly. You need to let the buffer warm up for at least 5 minutes each time you turn your system on. So the tubes can heat up. That is very minor and barely worth the mention.

First off...alittle about myself.....so you can get an idea of my tastes and experienc in HiFi...

I am 53 and started my interest in HiFi at age 8 with an old motorola tube phono...that had a central woofer and detachable mid/tweeter speakers...I worked at a stereo store for 3 years and have owned numerous systems incorporating Marantz, Pioneer, Sony, Kenwood, Harman/Kardon, Denon and finally Yamaha...Speakers were normally Altec lansing, EPI, Ultralinear, Infinity.....Cd players have been Harman/kardon HD7725....Denon DCD1529...Denon DCD838 and the NAD C 541i...wont even go into the cassette and turntables...as there ere several of each.


I purchased my Musical FidelityX10-D tube buffer about a month or so ago...also installed the upgrade kit....the difference was night and day.

A previous reviewer said a downside to the buffer was no power switch...simple solution is to put the power cord into your SWITCHED OUTLET on the back of your reciever/integrated amp.Now that we cleared that up.....I'll get on with my review.

I am currently using a NAD C541i single play CD....Yamaha AX-700 integrated amp...and a pair of Infinity Crescendo CS-3006 speakers....I have everything wired using Monster Cables. I hooked the buffer inline between the CD player and amp.

The maker of the mod kit suggested waiting at least 100 hours of playing time before giving this buffer a fair listen. That enables the new circuits and caps to "burn in" to the buffer. I have done that. Normally, the NAD is pristine, and the bass is tight but lacks mass. The highs tended to be very piercing and brittle....with the modified buffer....the sound is so much warmer and the bass has a very nice natural sounding depth to it...the highs are smooth and warm....very in balance with the rest of the music....the mids have a sweet definition....the imaging is very defined and detailed...without going to the extreme of being crisp.....Now I removed the buffer...just out of curiosity....and the difference was amazing....I noticed the listener fatigue I was previously used to and accepted as the nature of the beast. With the buffer, listener fatigue is gone....I can listen to my system for hours on end and never grow weary. Naturally, your better recordings will sound fuller....as they would even without the buffer....Is th mod kit worth the $90???? Most definitely....the kit is to the buffer...what the buffer is to your system WITHOUT the buffer...it makes that big a difference....

My system is far from the super systems I have seen and read about in various reviews.....but it more than meets my needs and sounds excellent to my ears..My listening area isn't huge...so large speakers and a massive amp aren't a requirement.

In summary....I would say...if you have a CD player and you invested maybe $500.00 in it new....you could run out and spend $2000.00 for a new state of the art player....complete with tube output stages to warm up that digital output....but you can achieve the similar effect by snagging a tube buffer along with the mod kit for a fraction of the cost. Get your soldering gun and electrical skills warmed up and do the mod yourself....You'll be very pleased with the results.

Customer Service

I haven't dealt with MF for support...so i cant comment.

Similar Products Used:

BBE Sonic Maximizer .....nice...but not even close to what the tube buffer does....you cant substitute the sound of real vacuum tubes.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 14, 2006]
DavidKennaway
AudioPhile

Strength:

Changes the musical experience from digital to beautiful. The most simple but most musical upgrade you could ever buy.

Weakness:

No way of turning it off.

I have been into Hi-Fi for years moving from great analogue systems to poor CD sounding systems with all ther clarity but metalic sound. My current system is a Musical Fidelity CD1 palyer, Musical Fidelity A100 class A amplifier, Musical Fidelity MC2 speakers (Bi wired) and a Sony 100 active sub. The overall sound was detailed but glassy and I was looking for that elusive analogue sound without the narrow range and detailed and without noise. So far an expensive 10 year experience. Looking in Hi-Fi mags I was interested in a valve option to change the sound. I brought a X10-D on Ebay with the hope it would turn my Hi-Fi into my dreams. When I connected it between the CD and amplifier I expected to hear a subtle difference. I was blown away, the change in sound was astonishing. The detail remained but the vocals were beautiful and the sound stage improved beyond dreams. Listening to Katie Melua, like I am at this moment the vocal is so sexy and the air around the stringed bass is fantastic. This is like being in a smoky night club and she is on stage in front of you. This is the sound I have been looking for, it is beautiful. It works the same for classical and rock. At this moment I am listening to 'Ten Million Bicycles' and it is so real she is in the room with me. I will never part with this device. Buy one and you will never know how you listened without it. Half way up the Hindu Kush is now on and it is the best HiFi I have listened to!

Similar Products Used:

einstein sound processor

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Feb 08, 2006]
Discriminator
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

It looks nice Can improve a cheap CD player

Weakness:

Primarily adds distortion Very little upside potential Cheap power supply

I bought this tweak in hopes of improving the sound of my system (obviously). I tried it in three applications: my primary CD player, and hHB CDR-800; between the passive preamp and amplifier sections of my Acurus DIA-100 Mark II, and on the output of a cheap 5-disk changer primarily used as a digital out to feed the hHB Pro recorder, a Sony SCD-CE595. I listened to several CDs in each application and repeated the test on three different days. When using the X10 v3 with my hHb, I noticed a significant degradation in sound quality. There was a certain artificial smoothness to the sound but the detail was obscured or missing. Music was not as compelling and it no longer sounded as if the artist might be in the room. It was not easy to tolerate for long. When inserted after my passive preamp section, the X10 v3 imparted a somewhat tube-like sound which some people might find pleasing. When listening to recordings of live acoustic performers whom I have seen and heard dozens of times, however, it was clear to me that the sound was distorted. It simply was not as accurate and true-to-life. It lacked in high end clarity and the bass was muddied. Attacks and decays were not natural. At best the X10 could be viewed as artificial sweetener. All in all the sound fidelity was not as good as it was without the X10. With the cheap Sony CD player, however, I did notice a significant improvement. The X10 is transformative in this application, but the sound is not in the same league as the hHB. To summarize, the X10 significantly degraded the sound of my high quality CD player, somewhat degraded the sound of my preamp/amp, and removed some of the harshness of a very cheap CD player. My recommendation would be to save your money towards a good CD player. Even a mid-level Denon would probably sound much better than a cheap CD player combined with the X10. It's also annoying to me that they didn't provide a decent power supply for it and they expect you to go out and buy that, too. I am not impressed with Musical Fidelity as a company based on this experience. Your mileage may vary!

Similar Products Used:

N/A

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
1
[Mar 29, 2005]
afan
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

I have no interested in strong bass. I want a nature sound and relax in the musical world. I have no interest in Whitney Houston screaming, but she was actually expressing a story.

Weakness:

It is an entrance point for HI_FI. Don't take it comparing to real high end yet.

I had a Denon 2910 and was tryig tell myself the Video part is good enough to keep the DVD player. My friend broght me this little tweak. To my amaze, It make the music live. The fidelity comes out. I then hook up a cheap JVC DVD player. It does the same magic. For those who wonders a expense DVD player can do, this is a very inexpensive way to improve most system around 2-3K. Even wonder why tube amplifier is still a main steam of audio world, this little guy is the prove. My wife ran into the family room. She heard the rain drops and thought it was raining.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Aug 05, 2003]
Torsten
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Clarity and deepness of sound stage!

Weakness:

None, detected so far!

Had severe problems running the X10-D in the beginning since I got a used one in mint condition device from the UK. Power supply and sockets are different in continental Europe so I had to organize an adapter to implement the X10-D into my system. It took quite a few days, but finally, I succeeded! I was overwhelmed by the performance of this little "can". The Muscial Fidelity X10-D is connected between my harman/kardon HD740 CD-Player and an integrated amp T40 from british Highend manufacturer Myryad. Interconnects to/from X10-D are silver-coated Oehlbach NF214. Speakers are Acoustic Research B15 on Apollo AZ6 stands with biwiring terminals connected to 2 pair of Kimber 4TC cables . Sounds impression is massive and I got seriously stunned when I first listened to Sara K. & Chris Jones LIVE Concert (stockfisch-records.de). The clarity and deepness of the sound stage is absolutely amazing. It seems as if the sound sources vanish into the room as if you're experiencing the concert real live. As reported here earlier, the highs don't sound this analytical and due to this "you begin to feel intensified!" I cannot understand why Musical Fidelity discontinueed production of these "really" improving sound devices. My recommendation is: "Grab one of those X10-D!" - it's a excellent upgrade of your sound system.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 13, 2003]
jumbojcc
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Adds some "tube qualities" to your system relatively cheaply. Can't comment about the improvements being dependent on the type of CD player as mine is between the pre and power amps I would give it 4.5 stars with the ECC85 tubes

Weakness:

Still overpriced for used units on ebay (presumably because they are still so popular). Silly little wallwart power supply. JAN Philips ECC88's I believe the unit was shipped with are probably not the best choice - ECC85's seem a better choice

This piece of equipment has now been out of production for some time, but still has a huge following judging by the prices fetched on ebay for used units. I have long since wanted one and eventually decided to make a replica, perhaps with some modifications to the power supply as this has been consistency felt to be suboptimal in the past. My unit has individual power supplies to each channel, with a plate voltage of only 12.6 volts!! (this is similar to the X-10D). I initially used the ECC88 (JAN Philips) tubes as in the MF unit and I agree with other reviewers that these tubes are not the best for this unit. The sound has far improved with replacing the tubes with ECC85’s (National in my case, although Siemens makes excellent but pricey equivalents). I placed my unit between my preamp and my two power amps (MF A100, and Perreaux 2150B), and its outputs drive the two amps directly. I tried it between my DAC and my preamp, but was less satisfied with this configuration. The sound? I was happy before, but now I am extremely happy. I think there is a noticeable improvement after “burn in” of the tubes for a week or two, and I leave mine on. As others have said, the sound simply becomes more natural, vocals feel like the singers are in the room, and the subtle nuances (eg. shimmering cymbals) are all still there but perhaps the edge has been taken off a little. Bass is great, but probably the least of all improvements in my system. Soundstaging is probably the same as before the addition, but I can make improvements with the stereo imaging adjustment on the Holman preamp which I really like. My system otherwise is a mixture of modified fairly old pieces some of which were high end in their time. Nothing is stock…. MF A2 CD player with transport mods including improved damping, green LED’s…. MSB Link DAC II with Channel Islands mods Monolithic Sound HC-2B DAC power supply (this combo is fantastic) Home-made Twisted pair coax interconnects and speaker cables (adapted from Jon Risch’s website) Apt Holman preamp with modified power supply, upgraded caps MF A100 integrated amp, with preamp section bypassed (used for powering the mids and highs) Perreaux PMF2150B power amp (basically stock but filter caps replaced) powering the bass drivers. Snell Type C's (these are stock...)

Similar Products Used:

None

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jun 18, 2003]
Ste D
Casual Listener

Strength:

Tones down harsh treble Makes system a little more musical

Weakness:

Can't keep up with fast dance music Has to be used with the right system

I purchased the X10-d because I wasn't satisfied with the sound of my system (Marantz CD6000ose, 2xNAD C370 Biamped+ Biwired to Kef Q55.2's). The treble was far to harsh probably the marantz. The bass was ok but didnt sound quite right. Overall I didnt like the sound. The X10-d has helped my system the treble is toned down and doesnt grate on my hearing. The bass rolls more. Overall I like the sound more now even though it probably isnt as detailed. However some of the fast paced dance music I listen to doesnt sound to good. I am not sure the X10-d can keep up with a fast bassline. But I will keep listening.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[May 26, 2003]
jitkiat
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Good for unforgiving cdp like Marantz and poorly recorded cds. Add valve-like quality to overall sound.

Weakness:

None if partnered with the right cdp and fast amplifier.

Excellent with Marantz cd-63se, does not work with NAD C521. The more revealing the amplifier and speaker you have, the bigger the improvement. Need fast amplifier with good bass control (e.g. Naim Nait 3) to overcome occasional muddiness/slowness in bass.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
Showing 1-10 of 98  

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