It’s all about the music, silly!
Thank you for the return of my upgraded X-ACT which I have used with my Roksan K3 CD player as transport. I have listened to a dozen or so discs so far and can say without contradiction that, considering the extent of the improvement, this was the best £130 I have ever spent on my audio set up. Like all genuinely good hi-fi upgrades, it wasn’t the treble extension, the stereo placement or the bass definition that I found myself assessing. No, I was simply listened to the music, tapping my feet and singing along like never before! Like any well setup system, it’s all about the music, not the ‘hi-fi’.
Thank you once again for a such an excellent and cost effective upgrade.
MF Nu-Vista 600 sounding big
I have loved my NV-600 from the off for its combination of unfatiguing smoothness, detail and power, but was curious to take it as far as I could, seeing as it will be a destination amp for me. Interestingly I actually preferred the sound overall to the NV 800, which to me, sounds a little more forward and bright, albeit still stunning.
John is a remarkably interesting chap to discuss hifi with and his knowledge inspires great confidence. He knows what to leave alone, what goes wrong with each item and what to replace. He could even explain the difference in sound I perceived between the 600 and 800.
I had the stage 2 upgrade on my amp, so went the whole way. John explained it would seem drier and a bit inconsistent for a short while, before settling and could take a year to stop improving!
After popping it back into the system, it did seem a little inconsistent for a while; maybe 2 weeks. By that I mean it would sound slightly different on different listening sessions. More full, more lean, more impressive, less impressive day to day. I left it on for some extended periods while it was burning-in to speed things up. I could sense changes in performance straight away, but it probably took about a month of on and off-listening for it to fully settle and stabilise. Now I feel I can give a valid review.
The standout improvements are:
The amp now seems to have limitless power and drives my PMC speakers with effortless authority. Bass sometimes seems drier and firmer, as it is more accurately reproducing the recording (much as a better turntable will show a tightening of control)....but, when a monster transient or genuine, full bass hits, the shock is thrilling and hard to believe. The latest Dire Straits MoFi pressings are a thrill ride.
However loud I play it, it just does not seem to get fatiguing....again this is probably the unrestricted power now taking control rather than being stifled and losing grip slightly due to the original weaker components. I find I have to be careful not to push volume too high in the interests of my hearing, as my brain doesn't register that it is loud!
At lower playback volumes the amp sounds much more balanced than before, with a firmer, richer bass.
I think there has been an improvement in spaciousness and air around components of the music, but this is less clear than the other changes.
I have had the amp back for about 4 months now and can highly recommend the upgrade. Not only does it sound better, but hopefully the high spec components John uses will mean it is under less stress and is potentially more reliable long-term. I love it even more than before, as it has just the same character as always, but has extended its capabilities in all directions.
MF NuVista800 improved
The unmodified NV800 is a very capable amp and one of MF's best big integrated amps in stock form. It has clarity and detail but with a tendency to sound a touch soft and held back.
Having had previous experience of JSAudio MF upgrades I knew the amp had more to offer.
John's upgrade takes the NV800's strengths much further and sorts out
Good recordings sound effortless, bad ones are shown up but that's as it should be.
After owning my KW500 for a couple of years I decided to go for the Stage 2 upgrade. This was after reading all the glowing reviews here and I have not been disappointed! After running it in for a while the sound has improved no end. Dropping off and collecting the unit was easy and John only had it for three days. Great service thanks!
Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 300
The left channel of my Tri-Vista 300 integrated amplifier stopped working. Despite the lock-down, John was able to source the components to repair the unit (new valves were needed) as well as perform an upgrade.
The repaired amp really does sound very special indeed.Once it has warmed up the depth, richness and musicality is remarkable. It's like having a piano playing in the room.