No doubt like many HiFi enthusiasts, I have been on a journey over the years, upgrading and experimenting with different products and of course, enjoying the music. I am a tough person to please too with a passion for music at opposite ends of the spectrum ‚Äì Classical Music and (Classic) Heavy Metal plus a lot in between. Earlier this year saw a significant change in direction for me where I discovered the Quad 909 power amplifier and soon after purchased a Quad Elite CDP (combined CD player, DAC and Pre-amp). Connected to my Focale Chorus 816V speakers using Chord interconnects and Atlas Ascent speaker cable, I felt I had a very fine and flexible system. But there was a sense that something was missing or had been lost in exchange for some aesthetic and functional benefits(isn’t that always the case!).
Packed away in a dusty cupboard I had a Musical Fidedlity X-P100 Preamplifier. I’d owned one of these previously so already knew how good the X-P100 is in standard form, but sadly this one was purchased second-hand on eBay and had developed a fault after just 2 weeks of ownership. It needed repair so it now seemed like the right time to approach Mr John Sampson for an upgrade as well….could the introduction of an upgraded X-P100 into my Quad based system bring benefits? I thought so.
Well, an emphatic , yes’is the answer to that question, a stunning transformation, proving once again how important a good Pre-amp can be to a system, and highlighting the weaknesses of the Quad Elite CDP as a Pre-amp (but still a very fine CD player and DAC). I now have a lovely rich, musical sound that is full of life. A marvellous , airy’ and open sound with greater detail – yet which is not in any way clinical and is without any of the fatiguing harshness or hardening of the sound that can sometimes be experienced in the higher end of the frequency spectrum.
TheX-P100 – upgraded magnificently by John – has helped to bring the best out of my system (I’m sure it would actually achieve the same with a more expensive higher-end system). In particular, the Quad 909. This is a truly great power amplifier within its price range, but to be , picky’, can at times sound a little too , laid-back’. Driven by the X-P100 it seems to have more control and grip, and the lower frequencies have more , slam’ to go with the rumbling , woof’. The already fluid and musical mid-range has been enhanced, but with a greater soundstage and real sense that the music is , in the room with you’ as opposed to coming out of 2 boxes (the speakers). The only additional thing I needed to do was substitute the Chord Chameleon (silver/copper mix) with an old Henley Designs pure copper interconnect to achieve what for me is currently HiFi nirvana.
John – I am truly delighted with the work you have done to upgrade my Musical Fidelity X-P100 Preamplifier. The impact was discernible immediately, but the true magnitude of the improvement has (as advised) been realised over the last few months as the MF beds-in. This is now the jewel in my system. Job done, a great result and I cannot recommend highly enough your work to other potential customers. Many thanks!

Richard Sharp