Musical Fidelity A308cr Power & Pre Combo, "The Best MF Has Ever Offered" - SOLD
With a fighting weight of just over 50 lbs, this beast of an amplifier delivers 250 watts into 8 Ohms and 450 watts into 4 Ohms. With this design, Musical Fidelity broke the mold and created a class A input and driver stage running into a class A/B output stage. The input stage has its own power supply (in the internals photo, you can see its transformer atop a metal bridge), while the output stage has large dual mono transformers and bifilar chokes for smoothing any ripples on the power supply (filtration). Chokes were originally used in tube amps, but a handful of manufacturers have successfully incorporated them into transistor designs. The result of the class A input stage and choke-regulated power supply is a solid-state design that “is more valve-like than many valve amps”, with billowy air and bloom (with large speakers, there’s a palpable decay as the notes die out and the hall absorbs the sound), yet with the bass extension and drive of a high-current, high-power transistor amp. Musical Fidelity has been building both tube-hybrid and transistor designs for years, and know the landscape like few others.
This award-winning amplifier received accolades on both sides of the pond. It is rare for the audiophile press to reach a unanimous consensus on a set of electronics, but check out the reviews. The amp has two pair of inputs (for control by both a preamplifier and a surround-sound processor, for instance), and pair of line-level outputs for bi-amping (Oh, how I *wish*!) or driving a subwoofer, and a pair of speaker outputs for external bi-wiring (as opposed to the usual shotgun biwire). With such functionality, it is a rare luxury product at an almost real-world price.
What do you get with the A308 preamp over its lesser stablemates? The A3/A3.2 preamps are already extremely good, delineating a large soundstage, rich with the harmonic overtones of instruments that I hear live at the symphony with close seating, and showcasing the air and ambience of the recording venue. The A308 delivers more listening ease, an even larger and deeper soundstage with deeper bass and more slam. In direct comparison, it removes a sense of listening through electronics. This last point is subtle as you wouldn't hear it until its gone. Is plays effortlessly with that greater sense of ease. What you're really hearing, I'd suspect, is the benefit of the larger power supply. The A3/A3.2 could output about 3 watts Class A power; the A308 5 watts. Full preamp with an EXTRAORDINARY phono stage. Not mudh more one could ask for in a $6K originally priced pair. Full boxes and packaging with (2) remotes - like new; very special components!
Wish I could say come have a listen but these never hit the floor... sold to long time friend-in-audio Sandeep. He wins!!
Musical Fidelity, A308cr Power/Preamp Combo: $2799 + applicable sales tax