One Man's Vision
Musical Fidelity exists because of one man's passion for music and hi-fi. That man is Antony Michaelson. He's a classically-trained clarinettist with a number of recordings to his credit and his love of music has driven his burning desire to make hi-fi which really sounds like music.
Since the age of 12 he has been an ardent hi-fi enthusiast. He bought a variety of brands to listen to at home, but found the performance of much so-called 'high-end' equipment disappointing, especially at the astronomical prices being charged. After a number of disappointments, it dawned upon Antony that he might never find the kind of hi-fi he was looking for, so he'd better build it himself. He was determined to produce musical hi-fi, which would reproduce the source material with musical fidelity, thus the name of the company he founded in 1982.
A hi-fi company with unusual values.
The themes underlying Musical Fidelity's progress have been value for money, sonic excellence and beauty of design and build. From the beginning, value-for-money figured prominently in Musical Fidelity's design concepts. The company has been a consistent innovator in the UK market, introducing adventurous aesthetics and incredible sonic performance, all at a fair price. This is especially true of Musical Fidelity's most expensive products.
Clearly, Antony abhors conspicuous waste and excessive cost in amplifier design. Many reviewers reckon that the £3,500 Nu-Vista 300 power amp performs as well as competitors' products which sell for about £20,000. When presented with this huge discrepancy in prices, Antony would look at you quizzically and ask, "Don't I always say bullshit is bullshit, but real performance is the real thing."
Inovators from the very first product.
But making waves in the market is nothing new for Musical Fidelity. When the company's first product, The Preamp, was introduced in 1982, it redefined market expectations about what level of performance could be achieved from a modestly priced preamp. Not bad at all from a product that Antony built at his kitchen table (until demand grew so large that Antony had to lease his first factory premises, slightly larger than the kitchen in his flat). Musical Fidelity's The Preamp was soon followed by an award-winning integrated amplifier, Synthesis.
Legendary A1 created a new class of 'budget high-end audio'.
In 1985, the now-legendary A1 integrated amplifier was introduced. This amplifier offered 20W per channel of Class A performance. It was packaged in beautiful, futuristic casework and it received ecstatic reviews from around the world. Musical Fidelity's competitors were aghast and wrong-footed, and the public and reviewers were thrilled. At last a true taste of high-end performance was available for what was, even then, an incredibly low price: £250. To get the best performance from this incredible piece of kit, all the customer had to do was to use efficient loudspeakers. The A1 and its siblings sold nearly 200,000 units. To put it another way, if you put all of these amplifiers end-to-end, the line would stretch for fifty miles.
F-Series visuals startle the world.
In the late 1990s, Musical Fidelity turned its attention to the high-end, and produced its amazing F-Series of high-end components. The visuals were dramatic and groundbreaking, especially the sinuous heat-sinks and sculptural front panel, and created something of a sensation. Elements of F-Series designs can still be seen in competitors' products today. It seems that where Musical Fidelity leads, others follow.
X-Series offers incredible value.
In 1995, Musical Fidelity again moved in a new direction, with the X-Series. Yet again, Musical Fidelity shook the world of hi-fi. The tubular designs were utterly unique and aroused strong emotions. As with all Musical Fidelity products, the X-Series offered unmatched performance, fabulous visuals, astonishing build quality and prices that were so reasonable that most people couldn't believe they were true.
In fact, while customers rejoiced, many competitors complained about the low X-Series prices; they looked at Musical Fidelity's retail prices and thought that it would probably cost them that much just to build a unit similar to the X-Series. They were probably right, because most of them were unprepared to invest substantial amounts in production tooling and other systems to ensure that their unit price would be low. As with the A-Series, hundreds of thousands of units of X-Series were sold.
Limited-edition Nu-Vista units with nuvistors.
In 1998, Musical Fidelity shook the hi-fi world again, with the release of the Nu-Vista preamp. This was the first production high-end amplifier ever to use nuvistor tubes. These amazing micro-tubes offer unprecedented performance. Another innovation was that the Nu-Vista preamp was a limited edition of 500 pieces. The reviewers went mad for it, and customers bought the entire 500 in about six weeks. Today, Nu-Vista preamps can be obtained only rarely, and always for more than their original retail price.
A year later, Musical Fidelity launched the companion power amp for the Nu-Vista preamp, the Nu-Vista 300. As with the preamp, this got ecstatic reviews around the world and sold out, in about 12 weeks. Its retail price was £3,500, about three times more than the Nu-Vista preamp.
New A-Series gathers kudos worldwide.
During the Nu-Vista period, Musical Fidelity also launched a ground-breaking range of integrated amplifiers, CD players and pre-power amplifiers, the new A-Series. This new series has received enormous acclaim, bordering on adulation, and has already won many hi-fi awards around the world. The new A-Series products are selling in substantial numbers. Naturally, the prices are fair and give the consumer amazing value for money. Of particular note are the A3CR preamp and A3CR power amp, where every single review has been rapturous or better. In fact, most of the reviewers purchased the products themselves
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