It still rocked. Historically, Sibelius' Sixth Symphony is one of his least played. Not his only one of his least played in the concert hall, but in my home. Lately, I've been trying to remedy the situation. Perhaps it is its more accessible sound that turns me off, as works such as his Fourth Symphony have such a foreboding, bleak sound that is more to my liking, especially when I was younger and first started enjoying Sibelius' symphonies and overtures.
So this piece has always struck me as being one of his more conservative works. But I've been told it was one of his masterpieces by quite a few friends and critics, so I spun it both on CD and record many times throughout the last couple of years. Although it is "lighter" than my favorites, it still has his sonic signature all over it. And even though there are some folk music elements, there is still a pulsing undercurrent that I appreciate, and the M1 HPAP's excellent reproduction of the all-important woodwinds that introduce its thematic elements that set the stage for not only for the rest of the first movement, but the rest of the short symphony it clocks in at only 30 minutes.
This symphony and much of the other classical works I've played through the M1 HPAP show that this headphone amp has certain "rightness" to it. And again, although its sound leans toward the yin rather than the yang , I'm still not ready to declare that its treble is objectively rolled-off. On Paavo Berglund's version of the Sixth with the Chamber Orchestra Of Europe, with their reduce forces one might assume would yield a less compelling rendition of this piece.
But as I have written before about Berglund's readings of Sibelius with this orchestra -- the smaller forces allows one to more closely hear the inner workings of Sibelius' orchestration without losing any of its emotional power. Even more than hearing the Sixth as played by this smaller ensemble was the joy of hearing it through the M1 HPAP through a decent pair of headphones.
But as expected, things turn quite Sibelius-like less than halfway through the short movement. The M1 HPAP was able to reproduce not only the string tone with more transparency than not only a headphone amplifier at this price has any right to, but more than headphone amps costing much more. Sibelius doesn't challenge the highest frequencies with any metallic percussion, the only percussion instrument he uses are tympani. But still, even though the treble is slightly softened in the very top of its register, was just about as lifelike as I've ever heard it through a pair of cans.
The horns enter about three quarters through the movement, and by that time we are treated to a sunny day spring day in Finland, the melting snow gives way to brooks of spring water and thaw. I know, I know, it sounds as if I'm getting a little soft in my old age, but there is an undercurrent of melancholy throughout the symphony that I find quite appealing, and even though this headphone amp isn't the most detailed sounding I've ever heard, the M1 HPAP reproduces enough detail that I was able to hear every note from every instrument and group of instruments as well as the rebarbative character of the hall it which the symphony was recorded.
It certainly is surprising that for a headphone amp that is so affordable is able to retrieve this amount of detail. But music is much more than detail. Some call this the gestalt of the musical signal that passes through an audio component. The M1 HPAP made each and every instrument and group of instruments not only sound quite lifelike, but quite musical, involving, and that these instruments were being played and conducted by human beings in a real space.
The above musical examples were culled from my time with various sources connected to the headphone amp's RCA line inputs. But I have read some reviews of that unit, and although most reviewers were very pleased with its performance a few noted that the sound quality of its USB input was not nearly as good as its line input. When I compared the inputs of the M1 HAPAP during the same listening session, I discovered that those reviews were at least partially correct in that this trait could be applied to this new model -- the USB input's sound does not scale the same heights as the line input.
However, the USB input doesn't sound bad , just lacking some of the presence of the line input -- the mid-bass does not sound as full; in fact the overall sound is a bit thinner.
I am not saying the USB input is "good enough" I promise to you I will never use that phrase , but I will say that using the USB input will result in a sound that is on par with similarly priced headphone amps.
Yet when my source components were connected to the M1 HPAP's line input, it resulted in a sound that was better than similarly priced headphone amps. I'm aware that quite a few audiophiles are going to use the USB as their sole input.
For those audiophiles it is important that they make sure all things are working in favor of getting the best sound from one's computer, which means whenever possible using the highest bit and sample rate possible, plus, making sure the signal is passing through the computer without compromise, such implementing ASIO service, etc. There are many threads and other discussions on the internet that will assist one in setting their computer for optimal audio performance, and I highly recommend one doesn't ignore these suggestions in the name of convenience.
I should also mention that I compared the USB input and the line input by switching back and forth between the two. Generally speaking, even a mid s CD player from the likes of Denon or Technics have far better power transformers. What I resent to MF is the fact that now even if one wants to purchase their M1 DAC, has no way of knowing whether it is the improved version or not.
They didn't even care to make the changes public on their website. Joined Feb 7, Posts Likes Because of the async USB, is there now no point of getting an external v link as a sound quality improvement? This excluding the fact that you can upgrade the sampling to khz. Hein Mueck New Head-Fier. Joined Jan 30, Posts 5 Likes 0. Below the internals of the old and new version.
It looks like the power supply got a complete redesign. I am no expert but to my untrained eye it looks like MF switched from a conventional to a switching-mode power supply.
Any ideas why Musical Fidelity did it? Thanks for the nudie. How you like the sound? I enjoy mine a lot. Joined Nov 12, Posts 31 Likes 0. OS is Windows 7 Pro. Joined Dec 11, Posts 1, Likes Quote: davebsc said:. Any body knows? I am searching for driver but am not successful. Quote: cuonghuutran said:. You must log in or register to reply here.
Sign up below to get the latest from What Hi-Fi? Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. Home Reviews. For Expressive, detailed and dynamic presentation Ample socketry Robust build. Against A touch of top-end aggression: needs careful system matching Lacks the rhythmic ability of the best Beaten for detail and insight too.
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