Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Musical Fidelity kW 750 power amp

Source: Revue de Son June 2005 (kW750), Hi-Fi News July 2005 (with kW750 pre-amp)

As always, Musical Fidelity's marketing message is not shy in describing these products like the following extracts from their Web site illustrate: "The kW preamp is technically far in advance of anything available from any other manufacturer at any price." As for power amp, "The kW750 is not like any amplifier from any other manufacturer. It is so powerful that it virtually never clips or limits." And surprisingly, these new MF amps are not a limited edition products.

So how do these amps "not available from any other manufacturer" rated in reviews?

Jean Hiraga and Romain Buthigieg reviewed power amp with its standard outboard power supply. They both noted that often hold notion of big equals bad - i.e. that massively powerful amps sacrifice delicacy for power - doesn't apply with kW750.

JM: "... competes with McIntosh MC 1201 monoblocks ... both combine very high power with dynamic acceleration, finesse and subtlety." They equally wowed kW750's capability to maintain its character with low and high listening volumes - once again, not always the forte of high-power amps. Reading their listening notes, kW750 was bogglingly transparent, had state-of-the-art resolving capabilities, and imaged extremely convincing. Huge power available presented very authoritative and physical presence. Sum-up: Revue de Son Recommended.

As kW750 power amp, the matching kW750 hybrid pre-amp is designed not to be overdriven by load. According to Hi-Fi News' measurements, it can sustain a continuous output in excess of 15w into 8ohm load! The pre-amp employs mu-vista miniature 6112 valve in its drive stage. "While £2999 is a lot of money, for once it represents almost unbeliable value", noted Kessler in Hi-Fi News' review.

Kessler observed that the combination had a distinctive sound. The pairing produced "rich, fat, luscious, romantic bass." He add, however, that the bass is not undamped or overpowering, more like a tilt toward the lower register. Personally I suspect quite many people find that as a likeable quality, providing music with foundation and subjective impression of weight. Kessler highlighted dynamics, speed, huge available power, and detailed and neutral (above that mentioned low bass) sound. Furthermore, he described combination's imaging capabilities as "”...MF calls up a vast amphitheatre in which ... music will play ... resolves all three dimensions with aplomb, working miracles with recordings where scale matters."” Summing up: "... there are few designs to rival this combo for sheer value."

Viewpoint: Quite many people imply in Internet forums that the sheer number of MF product reviews in hifi magazines, and constantly noted super quality/performance/price ratio in these reviews only proof that MF'’s marketing campaigns are superior to competitors'’ efforts. Well, I don't think so. MF is evidently one of the few high-end manufacturers who constantly revise their offerings in order to make them appalling for reviews, and new products seem to provide solid value for money. I know, you are as troubled as am I that there are no balanced connections, but...

BTW, Michael Fremer in January 2004 Stereophile reviewed Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista kWP preamplifier & Tri-Vista kW Monobloc power amplifier.
Consequently, Mr. Analog Guru adopted Musical Fidelity amps as his personal reference review tools with Wilson Audio Puppy 7 speakers.

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