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Musical Fidelity A5 or A308? ***(URGENT HELP NEEDED)***

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by SugarMedia, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. SugarMedia

    SugarMedia
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    Hey gang...

    Could use some serious advice from those experienced with Musical Fidelity products.

    I'm going to buy a Integrated Amp and CD player next week and have limited my search to MF products. The will be paired up with Martin Logan Aeon-i, which is a power hungry, 4-Ohm speaker.

    For the first time, I've recently started to hear some negative things about the new A5 integrated amp and CD Player series and wondered what others think about it in comparison to the A308 integrated and A308 Cd Player.

    Both are being offered at the same price.

    • The A5 seems as if it may be difficult to wire on the amp? It appears bi-wiring isn't available...Any thoughts?

    • Is my dealer really just trying to push the A308 on me since the A5 is replacing it? He seems to think the 308 is much better all around. Any thoughts?

    • Is the A5's CD player tray really loose? I've heard when tipped up side down it will fall open. Any thoughts?

    • I hear the A5 amp will distort some at 12 noon. Anyone else experience this?

    • Does the CD PLayer have a bug where it needs to be turned off at times just from inserting a CD in it?

    Thanks and please share your thoughts...good or bad.

    Regards.



    :lease:
     
  2. zeropoint

    zeropoint
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    If your dealer has both ranges, it seems your best bet is to ask for a home trial so you can find answers to these questions yourself, first hand. Other peoples opinions are just that. They're valuable, but no substitute for your own evaluation, whereby you decide your priorities, and judge which you prefer. This way you'll be able to try these combinations with you own speakers, in your home environment. Trust your own ears, since they'll be listening to the system for some time, and peoples preferences vary widely.

    I'd be surprised if the tray was loose, as MF source loaders from major companies such as Sony, and Philips, the latter being used in the A5 I think. Maybe someone had a bad experience with a rogue example, but this shouldn't be representative. Having said that, in my experience, MF don't have the best QC, and quality, though generally good, seems a bit inconsistent - they seem a bit rough round the edges, especially for the asking price. In my opinion, the 308 range, and to a lesser extent the A5, although very good, are somewhat overpriced. Especially in view of the companies comments regarding the actual cost of their component's innards. It seems a case of price-pointing, and perhaps the reduction in price of the A5 range confirms that it was set too high. The A3 range were good value, and any claimed performance improvements and packaging improvements over these, didn't justify the price hike, in my view. Bear in mind you could buy around 15 X10Ds for the original price of a A308CD: think of the number of components and cases in these, compared to a single 308.

    It may be worth noting that the A5 CD employs tubes in the o/p stage, so it would be worth finding out their likely longevity, and bearing in mind that they may have to be replaced at some point. I don't know whether this bothers you, or if it's a user switch or back to base.
     
  3. SugarMedia

    SugarMedia
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    Thanks Zeropoint...

    I unfontunetly do not have the option to listen at my house, as I've yet to purchase the speakers and live some distance from the dealer.

    I may be just concerned that the 308 is a better build with better componets inside. Seriously how could they command 3,000 per unit if it weren't so?

    The a5 on the other hand is starting out much less, but there's also the possibility that over time some of the technology advances from their top lines have trickled down to this series.

    And there are those who feel, perhaps out of sentiment for the 308 which was made in London, VS the A5 which was manufactured in Taiwan. This argument doesn't bother me....ie., I have an Apple computer manufactured in Taiwan and it's been the best thing I've come across.
     
  4. zeropoint

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    I've seen the 308 range, but not the A5. However, based on pictures, the 308 looks better built, at least in so far as the fascia. I doubt that the quality of internal components varies much between ranges and, as MF Michaelson himself has said, the cost of the internal components represents a small fraction of the overall cost. The bulk of the cost must therefore arise from the build, which although more substantial than say, the A3 range, wouldn't appear to justify the price increment by comparison. I would expect most of the cost of the 308 range is due to machining the fascia, and it's worth noting that this is replaced by what appears to be an extrusion in the A5 range, resulting in savings. The most expensive internal parts are the transformers/chokes and boards, followed probably by DACs, op-amps & capacitors, but this still only accounts for a relatively small fraction of the total cost. The case consists of several painted aluminium extrusions or cut steel sheets, and of course the machined (or not) fascia. Yet, the example I gave earlier of 15 X10Ds includes 15 extruded casings, 15 machined fascias, 15 transformers & sets of components, etc. but costs the same even with the extra sets of packaging, not to mention labour. Despite this, people seem to think the A5s or even 308s are good value. Comparison of the insides of an A3 vs A5 reveals two large toroidal transformers in the former and only one in the latter, which really only appears to have benefitted from a revised topology inherited from models higher in the line, yet the price is considerably steeper. Again, I think it's more a case of price-pointing - what the market will bear - rather than genuine improvements in quality. I noticed Sevenoaks reduced the price of A308 CD relatively quickly from £2000 to £1699, I think. I suspect because a lot of other people found the original price too high also.

    Don't get me wrong, I still think they're excellent performers, but mediocre value, with price increases not justified by the relatively small improvements or just plain differences. Other manufacturers seem to be able to offer increasing value for money, keep prices much the same, but offering incremental improvements due to advance technology, improved efficiency, refined manufacturing, etc.
     

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