Musical Fidelity MX-HPA Headphone Amplifier

Anyone who listens critically on headset in the home must finally find the limits of a pc headphone output signal, or, when they're using one, an old style hifi incorporated with headphone amp constructed in. And so the boom has brought a huge wave of committed headphone amplifiers. Musical Fidelity has come up in this field with several option, but its version that is most challenging is the still-affordable £599 MX-HPA reviewed here.

Actually the MX HPA is the primary version in a show that is new. MF's motto for the MX range is 'High end in little footprint audio', and the MX-HPA is definitely a lot smaller and more slender than its recent successor, the M1 HPAP or the well known M1 HPA.

In once, this 'ultra operation headphone amp' aims a lot greater in relation to the budget V90-HPA. Based on Musical Fidelity, the MX HPA is significantly more powerful than its budget sib despite the fact that its '1.8W/8ohm' specification isn't directly comparable with the 32ohm evaluation frequently quoted by opponents.

Power is a tiny portion of the narrative, obviously, but experience indicates that more electricity capacity does make for better audio, in spite of the fact that the little V90-HPA's output signal is going to be more than enough in practice. But now we come to the primary special feature, which will be completely of the MX-HPA -balanced operation.

Audio equipment that is most national uses unbalanced 'single-stopped' connections usually using RCA phonos that among the two conductors carrying the audio signal is linked to the chassis or 'earth'. Using a three-pin connector for every channel allows to get another display across both conductors and this can be linked to earth.

Balanced operation was long-created in the professional world since it allows the utilization of very long cables without loss or noise before it had been taken up in high end sound. Balanced pre- and power amplifiers have now been trivial now, but lately there have already been moves to embrace a balanced connection for cans that were domestic.

It appears as KH described in his report on the Auralic Taurus MkII that from a technical perspective, the advantages might not be clear cut. But the tendency has been spotted by Musical Fidelity and acted upon it. Sadly, possibly, the twin-XLR alternative given by the MX-HPA is not the only means of doing it.

Nevertheless, Musical Fidelity manager Antony Michaelson has said that there may be an additional merchandise shortly featuring the alternate 4-pin connection that was balanced. (While Musical Fidelity will shortly release its own cans that are balanced, the brand new MF200s aren't equipped.)

That eyecatching crystalline-textured silver-satin finish seems smart and clean and doesn't unsusceptible.

However, the fascia is dominated just as much from both headphone output sockets, larger compared to normal %in (6.35mm) headphone jack. Both of these outlets have a double functionality because they each can accept a normal or a 3-pin XLR.

More generally, however, when using the average (unbalanced) these same two outlets supply stereo output signals for 2 pairs of headphones.

Next to those outlets that are large are three small toggle switches that are tidy. Among these is a gain establishing switch, supplying a gain increase if needed when using higher-impedance cans. This works on both output outlets although 2 listeners will be catered for by the MX-HPA at the same time, it can not provide separate control.

As balanced input signals are catered for by the MX-HPA also, the rear panel takes some of three-pin XLR outlets for L/R stations, in addition to the typical RCA phono sockets for sources that are unbalanced. Balanced or unbalanced input signal style is selected by another of the little toggle switches.

With this review Musical Fidelity loaned some of its own MF100 cans, and I did most of my listening using the really outstanding Sennheiser HD 650s, while one believe these are amazing value for the money. These have been around the marketplace unchanged for a long time now, but they're a reference within their cost class.

The sound via the MX-HPA enveloped and additionally filled with textured element. On a well-made record, you'll hear voices and instruments growing from the ambience. For one, it was this aspect that actually set the MX-HPA such a huge cut over the couple of lower-price headphone amplifiers it was compared by me with. Additionally, I believed that with the MX-HPA the Sennheisers gave a feeling of effortless bass guitar power when the recording was called for by it, and offered absolute bass expansion than I could have anticipated.

In the event you wanted to relax with romantic vocals and rich orchestration, the MX-HPA could actually give. The vocalist was intimate and close up, whole with her fine Stacey Kent-like vibrato and nuances that are nasal.

'You are The Top', although PatriciaBarber variation could scarcely be more distinct. On Barber's own tune 'Snow', which begins simply with piano and voice, her voice is presented free and nude of any artifice, and that I really could simply marvel in the subtlety and command of dynamics and harmony in her simple piano accompaniment. Listening to the entire record with the MX-HPA brought the rapport Barber has with her tight knit group as well as a new understanding of her identity.

Having a superbly-made record like Eric Bibb's Get Onboard [Telarc CD-83675], the MX-HPA could give a natural, pleasing sound, having a deep and amply-populated soundstage across the head. As usual, Bibb creates instrumental that is distinct colours for every single tune, beginning with all the mixture of grungy guitar and spooky gospel choir on'.

Moving to orchestral music, large, sweeping sounds could be presented by the MX-HPA without losing texture and internal element.

Was a truly commendable clarity in the instrumental timbres of woodwinds and strings also.

The registers that are low were solid and weighty, while the ambience was felt as heard following a loud passage until a pause would enable you to definitely hear the echoes.

One do not believe you could accuse the MX-HPA of being over- soft or warm around the borders, but with the well balanced Sennheiser HD-650s it'd regularly bring the warmth and tenderness out.

With this particular straightforward lineup, the voice of Acclaim is wholly exposed, particularly on cans, as well as on the MX-HPA you could understand every breath sound every detail, and most importantly, realise just what a controlling, musical performer he's.

Many 1950s jazz classics are recorded using an extremely left-appropriate type of stereo image, not to mention this really satisfies headphone listening rather nicely.

The well-known beat team are grouped on the right while Pepper is put to the left. But drummer, bassist and pianist certainly inhabited their particular spaces, with Garland's piano further out to the left than Chambers's full bodied bass guitar, and Jones's constantly snappy drums set securely in the back three quarter spot. His cymbal sound so was the whole thing, and was simply amazing.

Musical Fidelity MX-HPA Headphone Amplifier photo