Review: Musical Fidelity a308cr cd player CD Player

Category: Digital

listening mainly to jazz, using ed manns "have no fear" as a reference disc,i compared it to the rotel 991ae(discontinued),i immediately,(break-in time approx.10-15hrs)noticed a spaciousness ive never heard with the rotel, and very similar to the ar cd3. not only did the stage become bigger and deeper, it also became much more articulate. the mf was slightly more forward sounding, but by no means in your face,and had an almost ethereal sound. i must add that in mf's literature they say build quality and sound are fair at this price, and i say bah humbug, this could be the last player you ever need. foregoing sacd and hdcd in favor of pure top of the line components internally, with 24/96 upsampling and choke regulation, you get an industrial build quality(40lbs),excellent sound,and,according to mf, you get the sound of their nu-vista player without the nu-vistasand i agree.downsides are, unbalanced inputs only and a remote that must be pointed directly at the unit to advice is if your replacing your cd player and arent sold on all the hyperbole about sacd and hdcd give this player your undivided attention and you wonnt be sorry!

Associated gear
bel canto evo200.2 power amp
audio research ls16mkii pre-amp
nordost and alpha-core cabling
b&w 804 speakers(bi-wired)
misc footers(final labs,aurios)

Similar products
rotel 991ae
audio research cd3
wadia 830
I just want to address one point. Having good redbook CD playback is crucial. But don't give others the impression that it does nearly as well as SACD. Sure, there are some SACDs that may actually sound worse. However, when it comes to genuine DSD recordings there's no "hyperbole" about SACD, it is THAT good. And don't toss HDCD into this either, HDCD is not important.

I fight every single one "my expensive CD redbook player sounds better than SACD" post on audio forums. It is disinformation.

That said, I am glad to hear MF is a good redbook performer. Red book performance is obviously very important and will continue to be for another decade or two.
I recently purchased the a308 after much listening. I home compared it to the Meridian 588 and thought the MF had a bit wider range. The sound stage is large, and the detail can be breathtaking.
An excellent review by Sterlingheise. I have recently had a chance to compare the A308 cd player against the Nu-Vista and it is actually a better overall performer.....go figure. The review by David Allcock in the July 2003 Hi Fi news (UKmag) confirms this. Truly, reference quality cd playback for under $5000. I'm not sure if it will get much better......even if MF came out with a 192kHz version.

Addressing some of RAFSZ's points about SACD and HDCD.....

CD is hardly "red book" any more. With upsampling, HDCD and other advancements,cd has shown that there is no need for SACD and DVD-A. The proof is in the listening. Cue up Rachmannioff's Symphonic Dances on Reference Recordings HDCD label or Mozart's 21 piano con on the same label and tell me that you have heard "genuine" DSD SACD sound better.......I don't think so. Or try some of the new JVC XRCD's such as Beethoven's 3rd or 7th symphonies. You will NOT hear SACD sound better than these cd's.....not even "genuine" DSD.

HDCD has proven to be important, it just never had the chance to mature because SACD and DVD-A have been thrust into the limelight. Multichannel SACD and DVD-A aren't an issue either........they are a joke and are going the way of the dodo just like quadraphonic did and just like SACD and DVD-A will do.

SACD is great and it is better than "red Book' cd by far.....but it gives us nothing more than what we have today with excellent "current" cd.

It bothers me when people get on their SACD high and mighty bandwagon without knowing all the facts or REALLY listening to what is out there. Sometimes, they need to be snapped back into reality.
I'm new to top notch hi fi and I just bought this cd player.
I hooked it up to my Consonace 300B Tube amp which I picked up on Agon and new Omega speakers. IC's and speaker cables are from Hudson Audio.
Being a newbie, things like soundstage and such are not something I feel confident talking about, however I did some "comparison" listens with different music, using the MF and my previous low end Sony cd player of years ago.
To my ears there is no difference. Am I missing something?
Is this Tube amp somehow incapable of passing through what the MF is puttin' out?
The speakers are probably not fully broken in but the sound from either cd player sure sounds beautiful.
I'm just wondering if I made a "sound" choice or not.
Also, I really do not like the front of the drawer hanging out 1/8" in front of the face of the unit. The metal of the drawer faceplate does not fully
"go into" the opening on the front of the player.
Does everyone else have this slightly open look?
Many thanks,