The M3i integrated amplifier takes the Musical Fidelity peerless premium-amp experience and applies it to a more affordable price point. It boasts trickle-down technology from the mighty Titan flagship, plus other high-end touches such as solid metal controls.
The M3i delivers 76 watts per channel into 8ohms and 137 watts into 4ohms. This means the M3i will can drive a wide range of speakers, even power-hungry models. Further flexibility is provided by the M3i's excellent connectivity, which includes six line-level inputs and switchable home-theatre throughput.
It features a Class A preamp stage with its own, independent power supply, coupled with a discrete pair of power amps. In effect, this means the M3i offers the performance benefits of a pre/power configuration with the compact convenience of a one-box design.
The final word goes to The Absolute Sound, whose review of the M3i stated: "Its performance is rock-solid, it's sonically well-rounded and it's comfortable with a wide array of speakers. And it's all served up in an elegant, no-nonsense package".
M3i - Design and Build
The M3i takes core design and technology cues from its sibling amplifiers higher up the Musical Fidelity range. It is similarly styled to the M6 range, using a slimmer chassis but keeping premium touches such as a solid metal volume control and front-fascia buttons. It's a perfect visual and technical match for the M3CD player; both components can even be controlled from a single remote handset.
Inside the M3i you will find a driver circuit that was first developed for the flagship Titan power amplifier. This configuration – both the circuit design and the printed circuit board layout – is the critical part of any amp; if the drive circuitry is sub-optimal, no spec of output stage or power supply can compensate.
Using the best-possible circuitry gives the M3i the perfect foundation, to which Musical Fidelity applied further performance-boosting engineering. The pre-amp and power-amp sections have their own independent power supplies, with separate transformer windings. In effect, they're acting like an advanced pre/power amp pairing within one box.
Musical Fidelity has designed the M3i to be as smooth and seamless to use as possible. For example, it has ultra-low-noise switching, perfect volume-control matching – even at low listening levels – and outstanding power-amp stability margins. Distortion rates are impressively low, as is the signal-to-noise ratio.
These are all qualities typically found in far pricier products, and help the M3i deliver a convincing, detailed sound with plenty of dynamic range. There is the power and flexibility on offer to drive even demanding speakers.
It all adds up to an integrated amplifier that Hi-Fi Choice described in its review as "a very strong performer at the price point".
M3i - Specifications
- Power output: 76 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms (19dBW)
- THD(+ noise): <0.014 % typical, 20Hz to 20 kHz
- Signal to Noise Ratio: >96dB ‘A’-weighted
- Frequency Response: +0, –0.1dB, 10Hz to 20 kHz
- 6x Line Level RCA / Phono
- Dimensions - WxHxD (mm): 440 x 100 x 400
- Weight (unpacked / packed): 9.2 kg/ 13 kg