I’ve reviewed a number of Musical Fidelity products over the course of the last few years. I have dabbled mostly in the entry-level series of products, with reviews of the V-DAC II, the V-Link 192, and the V90 DAC. I also evaluated the M1 CLiC streamer, the M1 Pwr amp , and the M1 CDT transport . All were top performers sonically and offered unusual value. I purchased and still use the V-DAC II and M1 CDT in my systems.
The Musical Fidelity line is pretty broad, and I admit to being very curious about their reference-level products, seeing how good their V series components already sound. Musical Fidelity has loyal customers worldwide are known as digital pioneers, while garnering quite a reputation for their integrated amplifiers, among other things. I know folks with fifteen-year-old Musical Fidelity amps still going strong with daily use.
It just so happened that Musical Fidelity’s North American Sales Manager, Randy Bingham, contacted me about reviewing the new M6si integrated amplifier. I replied enthusiastically in the affirmative, and one was dispatched directly from United Kingdom to my doorstep. While Musical Fidelity’s products are designed in the U.K and built in their factory in Taiwan, QC and distribution takes place back in England. This system has worked well for Musical Fidelity for decades. The M6si is rated at 220 watts per channel into 8 Ohms, and sells for a suggested retail prices of $2995.
The M6si is beast of an amp, weighing in at 36.5 Lbs and approximately 17 inches wide, 5 inches high, and 15 inches deep. Aside from the McIntosh MA6600, with its monstrous auto-formers, it is the largest integrated amplifier I have had in-house. The amp is beautiful, with a matte black finish, large centered silver volume knob, and a row of small silver buttons to select inputs. The feel of the amp is very luxurious, and the quality of the casework is magnificent.
There are a bunch of single-ended inputs and a pair of XLR inputs. There is also a home theater bypass. No turntable resides in my system, so I can’t offer thoughts on the onboard phonostage, but according to Musical Fidelity, "the phonostage has very accurate RIAA, within ± 0.5dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Also it maintains its accuracy right out to 50 kHz. The MM noise ratio is an outstanding 93dB down whilst the MC stage is, perhaps even more amazingly, about 87dB down. The phono stage distortion is a very low 0.01%."
Under the hood, Musical Fidelity uses what they call Surface Mount Design layout techniques. This allows for a reduction in circuit board size, which provides more flexibility in planning internal layout. The preamp section has its own power supply -- the M6si is basically two monoblock amps under one chassis. Since internal component layout has been refined, Musical Fidelity says there is more isolation, reduced noise and crosstalk, and virtually non existent distortion.