an image to enlarge.
“Just when I thought I was
out, they pull me back in..!”
After one week of a ‘second time around’
experience with the Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800 and less than
one day with the wildcard Luxman M700-U amplifier, I left my home
slightly deflated on my way to Audio Venue in London to collect
two Musical Fidelity M8s 700m Monobloc power amplifiers.
This would surely be my final listen to a Musical
Fidelity amplifier. I had experi
enced the M6(s) PRX amplifier (in combination
with my existing M8 PRE preamplifier) and the Nu-Vista 800 integrated
amplifier and though I found the experiences pleasant, I very
quickly established the M6(s) PRX & Nu-Vista 800 were not
Brief history of the M8 700m
The M8 700m Monobloc power amplifier was
introduced to the hi-fi world back in March 2012...
‘…When we launched our limited-edition Titan power
amplifier in back in 2008, its massive power and unique design
required very large dimensions and an equally hefty price tag.
Subsequent technical advances – plus
immense customer interest – have inspired us to develop
a more affordable, more conventional-looking successor of the
Titan: the M8s-700m.
The M8 700m is a fully balanced monobloc
power amplifier, which – as its model number suggests –
packs 700 watts of power in its sleek black casing. That's 700
watts RMS into 8ohms; and about 1300 watts into 4ohms…’
May 2018, Musical Fidelity is under new ownership
of Pro-Ject and most products
including the M8 700m is rebadged as the M8s 700m.
I heard whispers from various distant sources
suggesting the M8s 700m power amplifier was ‘good’,
however, as with most descriptive words in respect of hi-fi performance,
the term ‘good’ is subjective! There was only one
way to confirm the capabilities (and compatibility) of this amplifier
with my system…
As with most new hi-fi components, cables
and interconnects, I had to wait impatiently for the units
to ‘run in’ before I could hear their true potential.
This process actually took nearly two weeks. During this time
my listening sessions were short (two –three hours)
and sporadic. The M8s 700m’s presentation changed from
harsh, cold, strained, before finally settling down. I confess,
at one point, I was convinced the ‘strained’ presentation
was their final song. Thankfully this was not the case...
I have always enjoyed the well recorded addictive swaying
dynamics of Pat Metheny Group’s “still life talking”
(Gefen Records) especially the rhythmic driving power of “Last
Train Home.” If you are an avid train spotter you may
be able to sense which type of locomotive Metheny Group are
attempting to emulate and even imagine the engine number etched
on the engine metalwork. Such is the superb grip, control
and energy delivered by the M8s 700m monoblocs!
The multi-layered, multi-instrumental
and deeply hypnotic “Invitation To Openness”
album by Less McCann (Atlantic) delivered with all the
space of a Boeing aircraft hanger and the depth of the
Grand Canyon. I was listening to this at 2:00AM in my
terraced house. To insure my mild feud with the neighbours
did not worsen, I set My Musical Fidelity M8PRE preamplifier
volume display to ‘52.0’ decibels, Now that
is very low. When using the M8 500s amplifier I could
always listen at low levels and still experience musicality,
clarity, dynamics and detail. NOW, using the M8s 700m
monoblocs, my experience is the same as with the M8 500s,
BUT with even more of the above qualities. Without doubt,
at this low level, the soundstage with the M8s 700m monoblocs
is also full and rock solid.
Jim Hall’s “Commitment” (Horizon A&M
SP-715) is a notably quiet recording with delicate musical
passages which could be missed with less capable amplification.
Again, I thoroughly enjoyed this album using the M8 500s,
BUT surprisingly, listening to this album using the M8s 700m
monoblocs, my appreciation of Jim Hall’s guitar mastery
rose to another level and my enjoyment to another dimension.
Again, I was forced to listen at low levels (3:30AM). Can
you imagine listening to a quiet recording at very low levels?
Thankfully, it did not matter whatsoever, I could hear and
feel every pluck and nuance of Halls guitar strings distinctly.
Now these Monoblocs can deliver a massive 700 watts rms into
8 ohms and 1300 watts into 4 ohms, I wondered if my listening
pleasure would change as I increased the volume? No fear…
Pumping up the volume to around ’77.0’
decibels revealed the revered spacious and cavernous lower octaves
at the beginning of “As Falls Wichita” from Pat
Metheny Lyle Mays’ “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita
Falls” (ECM) like never before. I could feel the power
which was delivered with remarkable control, shape and with
an enchanting air surrounding each note. Yet I got a sense that
these monoblocs were not being stretched at this level (or even
tickled) by any sense of the imagination.
to Keith Jarrett’s “Tribute” album (ECM) was
nothing short of magical, with Jarrett’s unique commanding
colours on the piano more evident than ever before. Shut my
eyes and I am in the audience with my camera in my lap reluctantly
awaiting for ‘the moment’ to capture Jarrett’s
head drop low while he vocalises specific passages. BUT, I open
my eyes quickly as I remember he could stop playing at any moment
if he spots me! Jarrett would most likely ask me to leave the
auditroum (as he did with my colleague and revered
photographer Dave Redfern many years ago). Yes,
I had let my imagination float away into the space where my
MartinLogan’s occupied. Such is the convincing musical
holography produced by the M8s 700m monoblocs!
So, were the distant whispers suggesting that
the Musical Fidelity M8s 700m power amplifier was ‘good’
I think not. The M8s 700m Monobloc power amplifier
The M8s 700m monobloc musical presentation is
similar to the M8 500s, but with greater dynamics a wider more
solid soundstage with additional muscular grip and control overall.
My MartinLogan Scenario electrostatic speakers seem to jump to
attention and spring into
life with every good, bad and ugly recording.
The M8s 700m amplifier delivered stunning effortless musicality
with both my vinyl and CD sources. Musical colours and textures
appeared from a wider, deeper and almost magical holographic soundstage.
Playing music on a good system will not only
encourage the listener to rediscover favourite recordings from
their own cherished collection, but may also prompt exploration
into various other types of music and genres. I spent many hours
listening to albums that had not seen the black of my turntable
platter for over thirty years.
the alleged incompatibly issue of the M8 500s power amplifier
with my MartinLogan Scenario electrostatic speakers, I have to
consider the fact the M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier is a similar
‘bridged design’ but with higher specification (and
dual) power supplies. I will be keeping a very close ear to my
speakers to ensure I do not hear any form of degradation in sound
Thank you to Simon Powel of Henley Audio
for putting up with my multiple emails and whining over the past
Good distributors are hard to come by!
A huge thank you to Soundcraft HI-FI
in Asford, Kent
Exceptional dealers are few and far between!
Complete system details & configuration
AMG Viella V12 turntable with AMG Teatro MC &
AMG reference tonearm cable
Phono stage & interconnect cables. Whest PS.40RDT Special
Edition phono stage
with Kimber Select KS-1116 XLR interconnect cable
Musical Fidelity A3 CD player (internally upgraded)
Van Den Hul The Second Analogue Interconnect cables
Musical Fidelity M8s 700m Monobloc power amplifiers x 2 with Musical
Fidelity M8PRE preamplifier
Luminist Revision Poseidon XLR balanced cables
MartinLogan Scenario hybrid electrostatic speakers with Kimber
12TC speaker cable
REL S3/SHO subwoofer (connected via standard RCA cables via low
Quadraspire Q4 EVO turntable wall bracket. Quadraspire Q4 EVO
4 tier shelf
Power & mains cables
Russ Andrews BMU 3000 for preamplifer, CD player & phonostage
Michael Valentine Studio Silver Gold Special Edition BMU for subwoofer
Powerkord 300 mains cables for BMU’s, amplifiers, preamplifier
© Michael Valentine Studio
Use the links below to read the Electrocompaniet
Nemo (AW600) Mono Block Power Amplifer
or the Muscial Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier Exerience
or the Henley Audio & Musical Fidelity M8 500s power amplifier
test conculsion, July 2020,
or theMusical Fidleity Nu-Vista 800, 2020 Experience Review,
or the Musical Fidelity M6 PRX power amplifer Experience Review,
or The System Upgrade 2015...