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Musical Fidelity A1 CD
Conclusion
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CONCLUSION

No syrupy sounding valve outputs stages for the Musical Fidelity A1 CD Pro; instead it sets out to be – and succeeds at being – a high resolution digital player, playing it straight and telling it as it is. For this reason, it will appeal strongly to a certain constituency of buyers who want a gripping, direct and upfront sound with forensic amounts of detail – as if there’s a hotline to the music. What you don’t get is a warm, euphonic or stylized presentation; this means it doesn’t artificially blunt sharp or substandard recordings, or editorialise about what you should be hearing.

 

Normally, this sort of design resides at a higher price point – many manufacturers regarding such a device as too extreme for the sub-£1,500 sector. As such, you’ll need to partner this machine carefully; meaning clean and highly capable amplification and neutral (non-peaky) loudspeakers with suitably ‘dark’ and smooth sounding interconnects. This done, such is the A1 CD Pro’s clarity that you’ll struggle to find anything comprehensively better until you spend considerably more.

 


REFERENCE SYSTEM:

Astin Trew AT3500 CD player

Sugden IA4 integrated amplifier

MF Audio Silver Passive Preamp

NuForce Ref 9SE monoblocks

Monitor Audio PL100 loudspeakers


verdict five globes

Incisive and detailed beyond its price with authority and assuredness, this is an excellent new midprice CD player.


 

MUSICAL FIDELITY A1 CD PRO £1,499

Musical Fidelity

+44(0)20 8900 2866.

www.musicalfidelity.com


FOR

- pin-sharp soundstage

- instrumental timbre

- superb CD mechanism

- styling, build


AGAINST

• fiddly buttons

 

 

MEASURED PERFORMANCE

Frequency response was flat from 2Hz up to 21.75kHz, our analysis showing a very slight roll down toward 20kHz. This is too slight to affect subjective balance which may well be a little brighter than many rivals.


Distortion levels were low throughout the entire dynamic range, measuring 0.0013% at -1dB through to 0.21% at -60dB, not class leading figures but very good all the same. Similarly, EIAJ Dynamic Range came in at 110dB, again good but not quite a match for the 112dB or so possible. Output level was a normal 2.1V and noise was a low -123dB.


There was a little more jitter than is common nowadays, non signal related measuring 20ps and a -60dB 1kHz tone inducing 500ps, where 300ps or less is common.


The A1 CD Pro measured well in all areas, if not quite up with the best in any of them. NK


Frequency response (-1dB)

CD 2Hz - 21.75kHz


Distortion

0dB 0.0013%

-6dB 0.0015%

-60dB 0.21%

-80dB 2.6%

Separation (1kHz) 125dB

Noise (IEC A) 123dB

Dynamic range 110dB

Output 2.1V

 

FREQUENCY RESPONSE

mf-a1-cd-pro-fr1-final



DISTORTION

mf-a1-cd-pro-thd1-final



 

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