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 experienced 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
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
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 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’ actually correct?
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.
Scenario electrostatic speakers seem to jump to attention and
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
up with my multiple emails and whining over the past few months.
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
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 Exerience review,
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...