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Musical Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc
Musical Fidelity M8s 700m
monobloc power amplifier
Experience Review 1

Musical Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc

Click 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 for me.

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.

Listening

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…

Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800

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!

“Invitation To Openness” album by Less McCann (Atlantic)

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)

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…

 

“As Falls Wichita” from Pat Metheny Lyle Mays’ “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls” (ECM)

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.

 

 

 

“As Falls Wichita” from Pat Metheny Lyle Mays’ “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls” (ECM)

Listening 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!

 

Conclusion

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 is exceptional!


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.

*Considering 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 quality.

Thank you to Simon Powel of Henley Audio
for putting 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

Turntable
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

CD player
Musical Fidelity A3 CD player (internally upgraded)
Van Den Hul The Second Analogue Interconnect cables

Amplification
Musical Fidelity M8s 700m Monobloc power amplifiers x 2 with Musical Fidelity M8PRE preamplifier
Luminist Revision Poseidon XLR balanced cables

Speakers
MartinLogan Scenario hybrid electrostatic speakers with Kimber 12TC speaker cable
REL S3/SHO subwoofer (connected via standard RCA cables via low level input)

Table
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 only
Powerkord 300 mains cables for BMU’s, amplifiers, preamplifier & subwoofer

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio
September 2020

Further
Recommended
Viewing

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 2,
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...

Electrocompaniet Nemo (AW600) Mono Block Power Amplifer Exerience review (click to go to this page) Musical Fidelity M8s 700m monobloc power amplifier Experience Review 2 (click to go to this page) Henley Audio & Musical Fidelity M8 500s power amplifier test conculsion (click to go to this page)
Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista 800 2020 Experience Review (click to go to this page) Musical Fidelity M6 PRX power amplifer Experience Review (click to go to this page) The System Upgrade 2015 (click to go to this page)

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