"The virtual mono power amp configuration with increased capacitance
means the M3si's bottom end is delivered with punch..."
Integrated Stereo Amplifier With DAC - Musical Fidelity M3Si
OUR VERDICT - Everybody's opinion on 'Great Sound' varies, one amplifier might fulfil the pursuit of Hi-Fi perfection for one person and not for another. Personally I prefer a warm sound, whereas you may prefer a forward presentation. As you are more than likely aware, system matching is key when building the ultimate Hifi separates system, if you pair a bright amp with lean speakers you are going to end up with a lifeless system.
That's where the Musical Fidelity M3 SI makes system building easier. That's quite a bold statement but let me explain. The M3 plays your favourite track without adding or subtracting anything to the listening experience. In fact it is possibly one of the most neutral amplifiers I have heard at this price. Even though the M3SI is the entry level Integrated Amplifier from Musical Fidelity it gives a performance worthy of something more expensive. Bass notes are taught and well defined, the midrange and treble blend seamlessly to render vocals beautifully. The M3 even drove our relatively power hungry Elac Uni-Fi FS U5 Slim with musical dexterity (85DB sensitivity with a nominal 4 ohm load) The M3 partnered well with any speaker we threw at it from the Ribbon Tweeter toting Piega Classic 5.0 to the tower of power that is the Wharfedale Diamond 11.4.
The M3 is more than just an amplifier, it even has a built in Asynchronous DAC capable of decoding your Hi-Res Audio up to a sampling rate of 24 bit 96KHZ, Asynchronous means that the amplifier takes control of the digital timing rather than leaving it to the inferior clocks in PC's. This means that you can connect your music streamer such as the fantastic Innuos Zen directly into the M3 SI without the need for a separate DAC. There is even a built in MM phono stage which saves the need for another separate unit on your rack. The sleek looks and blue LED lights mean that the M3SI will look fantastic on any audiophiles Hifi stand. All in all we are thoroughly impressed by the M3SI and we are sure you will be too. ON DEMO IN-STORE
M3si - Overview:
The M3si integrated amplifier makes huge strides from the outgoing M3i model. More inputs, increased power and virtual monobloc power amps with their own separate power supply capacitance add up to a great new product.
The M3si offers a real taste high-end sound quality. Because its power has increased significantly and it now has more than double the capacitance, it gives wide, stable and deep stereo images with a substantial dynamic range. More than that, the M3si offers a sweet musical sound with an effortless, clear, ungrainy quality. Because of the virtual mono power amp configuration with increased capacitance, the bottom end is delivered with punch and excellent speed of attack.
The M3si offers high quality sound with an extensive range of useful inputs in a compact package with reliability and a fair price.
M3si - Design and Build:
The M3si uses Musical Fidelity’s exclusive SMD layout techniques. This reduced the circuit’s footprint on the large PCB and gave them greatly increased flexibility with the layout and the ability to add more inputs and, importantly, power amp power supply capacitance. Now there is a pair of big power supply capacitors for each channel.
The new M3si now delivers a healthy 85 wpc. Distortion at 1 kHz is very low at 0.007%. Even at 10 kHz it is hovering around 0.01%. Most hi-fi amplifiers have a huge increase of distortion with rising frequency, this shows that the whole circuit design/layout concept is not good enough. The M3si’s very low HF distortion proves that the layout circuit and circuit design are operating in perfect harmony so that distortion is low at HF. Musical Fidelity believe this validates the performance and integrity of the whole design.
Signal noise ratio has been improved by more than 3dB. This is a significant step which allows more music to be heard with a greater dynamic range.
The MM phono stage has very accurate RIAA equalisation, within ± 0.5dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The accuracy is maintained out to 50 kHz. Noise ratio is an outstanding 88dB down. Distortion is less than 0.3%. The M3si’s phono stage offers potential of great MM performance.
The 24 bit 96 kHz asynchronous USB input uses exactly the same circuitry and technology as the highly regarded V-Links and other top quality computer interfaces. Jitter is virtually eliminated. Noise is incredibly low and distortion virtually non-existent. The M3si’s USB input is capable of coaxing the finest details from the computer source.
M3si - Specification:
- Power output: 85 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms
- THD(+ noise): <0.014 % typical, 20Hz to 20 kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: >98dB ‘A’-weighted
- Frequency Response: +0, –0.1dB, 10Hz to 20 kHz
- 4x Line Level RCA / Phono
- USB - Type “B” socket up to and inc. 24 bit 96kHz USB audio stream
- 1x MM Phono input
- Sensitivity (nominal): 3mV (suitable for cartridges giving 1.5mV or more including high output MC types)
- Signal / noise ratio: >70dB ‘A’-weighted
- Input impedance: 50k Ohms
- Frequency response: RIAA/IEC ±1dB, 20Hz to 20 kHz
- Dimensions - WxHxD (mm): 440 x 100 x 400
- Weight (unpacked / packed): 9.2 kg/ 13 kg
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|Built in Phono Stage||Yes|