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M8 Series - Maximum Performance For Minimum Cost

The primary design brief for the M8 Series was to achieve maximum performance for minimum cost. To do this, we studied how costs are allocated between the groups of components that make up an amplifier, namely:

1 Electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, transistors, transformers, etc.

2 Heatsinks (for power amps)

3 Front panels

4 General metalwork

Electronic components

Electronic components are relatively low cost. Top quality commercial components are abundant and easily available at competitive prices. You can get a lot of them for a few tens of pounds. Because of this, the quality of a circuit is not determined by the quantity or quality of components, but by the skill with which they are used. In other words, it is circuit design and PCB layout that are crucial to performance. In an expensive amplifier the electronic components are an insignificant proportion of the total cost.


Though necessary, heatsinks do not contribute anything to sound quality. Although they are costly, their size and cost should be directly related to the power. If straightforward extrusions are used, the costs are directly proportionate to the power. As soon as you move into the realm of fancy, custom-machined heatsinks, the costs are disproportionately enormous – for no contribution to the sound quality.

Front Panels

Front panels are another matter entirely. They do not contribute anything to a sonic performance and can cost an absolute fortune. Machining and finishing are very expensive.

General metalwork

General metalwork costs are conceptually similar to heatsinks and front panels.

When you analyse where the money goes, all expensive, high-end amplifiers have at least 98% of their cost in front panels, metalwork and heatsinks.

We can see that they may look chic, some of them technical and most of them are exquisitely finished. We like fancy metalwork as much as anyone else, but it is unbelievably expensive. The question we ask ourselves is: Does any of this expensive metalwork contribute anything at all to the sound quality? The answer is: No, it does not.

With the vast majority of high-end amplification, what you are buying is fancy-looking metalwork (jewellery you might say). It may be beautifully designed and finished. It may impress your friends. But, in truth, it is only show with no effect on the true performance.

We at Musical Fidelity fervently believe that the reason the M8 Series exists is to offer top quality, state of the art performance at an intelligent price. To achieve this, the metalwork, front panels and heatsinks are purely functional.

1 The front panels are nicely finished custom made extrusions. There is nothing excessive. They are simply well made, functional, attractive front panels at minimum cost.

2 The heatsinks are custom made Musical Fidelity extrusions. They are nicely finished but with no excessive design nor any costly surface finishes. They are purely functional.

3 AS with the front panels and heatsinks, the metalwork is designed for functionality with no excess.

4 The M8s are almost Puritan in their dedication to delivering performance in a straightforward, nicely finished, honest package.

If you like fancy looking Hi-Fi, machined front panels, peak meters, heatsinks machined from exotic materials and all the other vocabulary of high-end excess, then the M8 Series is not for you. Sorry, that’s the way it is.

On the other hand, if you are interested in maximum musical and technical performance, and are not into Hi-Fi jewellery and display, then the M8 Series is made with you in mind.


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