I had owned my Marantz CD17 KI from new and have always loved its rich and clear sound. About a year ago I had been shopping around for a new preamplifier and discovered the astounding Townsend Allegri. This preamp is so transparent that it was able to show up a problem with one of the channels on the CD player. I took it to my local HiFi shop and they recommended John Sampson to repair it for me. How glad I was to receive the recommendation.

During our first telephone call I discovered John’s background with MF. I mentioned that I owned an MF A308 power amp which again, I had owned from new. He said that it would be worth bringing that in too as over a period of time the capacitors can leak and cause problems.

John was able to identify the problem with the CD player; some of the resistors had passed their sell by date. He also did extensive work on the player to allow it to work better with a passive preamp such as the Townsend. I believe he raised the output resistance as one of the changes and replaced some existing caps with high quality Sonys.

When John opened the MF he showed me that I had brought the amp in to him just in time – the caps were starting to leak onto the pcb.

John carried out a full upgrade on the amp which included replacing the existing caps with higher capacity, audio-grade Sanwa components. He also replaced the wiring with oxygen free copper and changed the speaker output binding posts.

I can’t tell you how each of the units, the MF A308 and the Marantz CD17KI have improved individually as I use them both together. I can tell you that the changes John made have taken my system to a completely new level. The sound quality just keeps getting better and better with use.

What do I mean by better? Well, the sound now has texture. As well as hearing the difference I can almost ‘feel’ the difference. There is no glossing over the music. There is a 3-dimensionality. Perhaps I can best describe it as similar to the difference between looking at an oil painting framed with glass in front and then taking away the glass – you can see the texture of the oil paint. With John’s upgrades I can see the texture of the music.

I really don’t see how I can improve on this sound. It’s very involving, almost engrossing. Certainly I’ve stopped buying the hi-fi magazines. There doesn’t seem any need. I just listen to more music. Thank you so much John!

Lee Humby