Anyone solved MF Tri Vista SACD problems?

I am starting this thread for my friend who bought this Musical Fidelity Tri Vista SACD player as used two years ago. Now the transport mechanism and also the servo board (we think) are broken. Does anyone know if there still is some company who can repair these players or modify them with new parts (transport+servo board). It seems to us that Musical Fidelity has moved forward and abandoned its old Tri-Vista customers. No help from their side at all. All info/help is appreciated.
They didn't help me on my $7,000 kW SACD player (but my dealer did). I won't support that company again--ever.
It's not known as Musical Fatality for nothing.
I have the same problem with the kw sacd not reading sacd's. Everything that I have searched says that nothing can be done. I'm told that the primary problem is the faulty chips in the transport system.
So what I want to know is - supposedly the kw cd/sacd player has a great (claimed by some as world class) dac section - it has both SS and valve outputs - therefore why can't the unit be modified to use an external transport ???
The player has digital outputs but no digital inputs, but surely a competent technician could rewire those outputs ( I can see no earthly reason for using the sockets as outputs?) to become inputs and tap into/sever the feed from the internal transport.
You would completely disconnect the internal drive.
Now it would not have to be an expensive player to use as the transport. I have a Sony sacd player that has digital outputs and that would be good enough for me.

Can anyone tell me if I am on the right track ?
I am not super technically up on digital systems but I think I am correct ??
"I want to use my kw properly !!!!!"
I guess it could work, in theory, with the right tech-and I guess, in theory, may open up some new problems. Other thoughts I have had for the kW SACD player is a door stop. It works very well if you rest it on its side. It is quite heavy. I was using it as a paper weight, but it took up too much room on my desk. Probably the best use I have had of it is to just leave it on the floor in my listening room, reminding me how pathetic Musical Fidelity is. Yep, that's the best use.
What is the troubles that you have with this unit ? I read on the web a lot of things but I can't believe that MF in UK did not offer a solution for all the defectuous unit . Can you explain me in details what happen with this player and is it intermit trouble ?
Davidsarl. Problem is that the transport does not read any discs, it does not even spin them anymore. Nothing happens. Our local dealer asked and MF told that they cannot help anymore. Their only explanation is that those parts (Philips sacd-transport+servo board) are not available for them anymore.
Find out the transport part number and go to ebay in Europe and look for someone who might have the old parts (NOS). I did that for a Shanling SACD player by going to Taiwan for the Sony part. Bought two (They were cheap) and now the player works and I have a back-up. The lack of old transports makes many a CD player "boat anchors"!
Those parts are long time gone. MF is not the only one left with this problem. I read on the british forums, that in the UK they are offering a huge (up to 50%) discounts on their current products for customers beeing stuck with their SACD players.

I would press US distributor to do the same if I were you.
My Tri Vista ran into serious disc reading problem a few months after purchase. The dealer in my area who repaired my unit related that the motor requires different speeding in reading CD versus SACD and the unit apparantely has some problem in accomodating the variance.

The unit did work very well after the repair but still I eventually sold my unit for sonic reasons. Since then I have heard of a few incidence of Tri Vista failure even outside Audiogon.

I don't think anyone should bother with this unit anymore. IMHO even if it is working faultless its sonics is not up there with some newer and cheaper models.

I no longer have the unit for direct comparison, but I feel that the redbook performance of my RAM full mod Oppo 980H, at a fraction of the price tag, has left the Tri Vista in the dust. Other than some warmth and screen which some may prefer I cannot attest any significant sonic advantage to the Tri Vista.
I am stunned that Musical Fidelity are not helping here -- does a hi-end company imagine people will pay their exotic prices only to be left hanging later due to 'parts obsolesence'? And this from a company that sold their Nuvista tube idea on the idea it had a matching spare for every customer? Someone ask all those MF lovers at Stereophile what they would suggest......perhaps Sam Tellig can ring his friend at the company for some help........If MF had gone out of business that would be one sad end, but given the fact they are alive and well, apparently working with their UK customers to resolve this, and still receiving more coverage in certain US media than would seem explicable on normal review submissions alone, suggests they might be responsive....
Even Mickey Fremer said in a review (a component other than the kW SACD--maybe an amp or speakers-can't remember) - said: I used my kW SACD, which still plays---for now.

MF (Musical Fidelity) just SUCKS. Simple. I don't care how good their gear sounds. After the CD experience, I will never buy a MF product again.

This is one of the reasons I'm using a computer base music server. The transport eventually failed in all my cd players ranging from a Pioneer Elite to very expensive Krells.

Recently I bought a MW Oppo BDP83 w/XLR mod for Blu-Ray and surprisely all the other formats are also excellent. For the 1st time I'm shopping for SACDs. This is relatively inexpensive so no worry if transport fails and Dan can't fix it.
If I were an owner, the initials "MF" wouldn't stand for "Musical Fidelity".
Can I bring some sanity to this thread?

The following facts apply to the UK and Australian markets. I don't live in the US so don't know what happened there or why.

Fact - Musical Fidelity gave full new price value for exchange on other MF products to first owners whose TriVista SACDs failed during their warranty period.

Fact - Musical Fidelity gave large discounts on other MF CD players to first owners whose players failed after expiration of the warranty period.

Fact - the problem with the transports in both the TriVista and kW SACD players is nothing to do with "parts obsolescence". Philips left MF and a number of other manufacturers badly in the lurch by supplying insufficiently robust SACD transports (these have a failure rate approaching 100%). Philips then refused to support these transports with parts or replacements once the failures began. This has been well documented on Audiogon and elsewhere. MF are not the only manufacturer affected - Krell and dCS have been placed in the same position.

Fact - if you have either a TriVista or kW SACD player there is no point in asking for or expecting it to be repaired by the manufacturer. It can't be done. The transport replacements are gone.

How many of the people slating MF on this thread are initial purchasers? If you are, you may be able to get something out of the dealer or distributor. If, however, the US distributor has changed since you bought the player and the current distributor won't play ball, you are probably screwed. That is hardly MF's fault however.

If you bought it used, your only recourse is the dealer.

If you bought it used privately, you're probably screwed.

The problems with these Philips transports came close to sending several companies to the wall.

Given that plus the fact that with the best will in the world nothing can be done to fix these players, the apparently widespread belief on this thread that a manufacturer is somehow responsible to secondhand purchasers of a player - no matter how high-priced - after expiration of the warranty is simply unrealistic.

If you want someone to blame, blame Philips.
No, MF is to blame for not thoruoghly testing and stock piling transports like any responsible company would.( ie Bryston has stock piled over 4000 drives for their cd players).
MF products can become obsolete in every way even before the warranty runs out. This is unacceptable and I personally will never own another MF product( I bought new)!!
However, they do make a great door-stop and conversation piece.
So Budt, enlighten me. I've heard the standard anti-MF rant from US owners before. Tell me something new, such as:

What was the product?

When did you buy it?

When did it fail?

What happened next?

Were you offered anything by the dealer/distributor/manufacturer?

If so, did you refuse it (and why)?

Why does MF attract all the hostility and not Krell? What did Krell do differently?

Your post is light on detail, but it implies that you bought a new MF product, which failed?/became obsolete? (it's not clear from your post) under warranty and MF left you completely holding the baby. It's hard to believe that US consumer law would allow that in any form.

Here's my story:

I bought a new TriVista SACD in 2003, the drive failed under warranty and after quite a few months of uncertainty, I accepted the MF exchange offer and replaced it with a brand new kW 500 amplifier at no charge.

It did cost me money because at that point I had no source and two amplifiers. Sorting that out meant spending, but it also became an upgrade. Six years on I still have and love the kW 500, so overall I'm not at all unhappy.
First off, I bought mine new ($7,000) from an authorized dealer. 2nd, it went back for repair and came back unrepaired. Third---shame on them for using an "unrobust" transport--they new they were using a crap transport when the built/designed it. Fourth, why would I trade mine back to them for another one of their "unrobust" players--as that is all they had when mine broke down. Fifth, my dealer came through with flying colors - not MF.
Gtfour, please make sure you post when your kW stops working. It's only a matter of time. Good luck.
No one really knew that the Philips transport is faulty. This includes Marantz, MF, Krell, EMM Labs and maybe others. The known "modders" like us (APL Hi-Fi), Modwright, Stan Warren and others were left helpless too.

This Philips transport is very nice and it was the pioneer when it comes to Multichannel SACD. It sounded amazingly good and it is built with extremely reliable laser pick-up/spindle assembly. It was simply one of the best CD/SACD transports at that time.

How can a designer be sure that only certain part of the Digital Signal Processor (the SACD decoder, a.k.a. FURORE) will fail after 2-3 years of use? Impossible!

Philips realized the failure, and even one of their engineering team came up with proposal for fixing the issue, but the cost was so high that they simply decided to move on. Still, they remain the only company to blame when it comes to this failure because they have announced the faulty part NLA (no longer available). Since this a proprietary application specific device designed by Philips, no other company is capable of fixing this issue.

In conclusion, this particular CD/SACD transport/DSP from Philips was one of the best to consider when designing CD/SACD player. None of the companies who used it in their players could have known about this failure, and none of them can fix it without the support from Philips, which is non-existent when it comes to this particular problem.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Alex Peychev

1. Again I ask, why does this hostility only go at Musical Fidelity?

Krell used the same Philips transport in the SACD Standard. Did they stockpile transports in case of failure? Did they know it was a crap transport when they built/designed it? Did they test it properly? Why no shame on Krell?

2. My TriVista also went in for repair and came back unrepaired (and with a different fault). As is always the case with repairs outside the country of the product's origin, it went to a local repairer chosen by the distributor. I was unhappy with what happened but I have enough objectivity to judge that it was not directly Musical Fidelity's fault.

3. So you concede that in fact MF did offer to trade your kW SACD for another player but you declined their offer. That is, you made a choice. Be a man and take responsiblity for your choices.

4. My kW 500 has not missed a beat in six years of operation. I suspect it would survive a nuclear attack. Is it possible that you are so embittered by what happened with your kW SACD that you have lost perspective where Musical Fidelity is concerned?
Hi Alex,

Thank you for your post.

It is great have some input on this subject from someone who knows the facts and is able to assess what happened calmly and rationally.

The Philips SACD transport debacle cost a lot of people a lot of money. It also damaged many reputations.

It is important that at that same time as we recognize that customers were hurt and that companies didn't always react as promptly and effectively as they could have done, we don't rush to the kind of overblown, overwrought judgements that "all Brand X is crap, all of the time" as are being posted here.

The Philips SACD transport problem shouldn't be allowed to taint reputations beyond the scope of that singular issue.


I had a similiar experience with a Krell player. In a ~18 months period, Krell shipped me 5 new replacement units ... 3 was the same and 2 was a replacement/newer model.

It was a hassle and shipping got expensive but Krell stood behind their products and I have no complaints.

I ask Krell why use the Phlip transport and their reason is simply for performance.
Gtfour-Ahhh...hostility? No. Just decided to never support Musical Filelity ever again. (That is my decision-and, last I checked, 60% of thhe kW's are door stops-pretty high failure rate for a great company who's only "fault" is that they got hoodwinked by Phillips (?). I didn't buy a Krell-I bought the MF kW--again, $7,000. I don't care about Krell. I never had a Krell. I believe the MF was limited to 500 units-it would have beean easy enough to stock pile parts for just 500 units (?). I sent my MF back for repair and after almost a month, it came back just as bad (I remember maybe worse) than before--no note-"sorry, we can't fix it" - just sent it back as repaired. (they didn;t test it before return shippment?). And, no - they never made any offer of trade in. My dealer took care of that. Hhe took a nice hit on a trade in for a different brand. Sold to me way below cost "for my trouble". Great dealer (lousy company). All I wanted was for MF to send it back with a little note, "sorry we couldn't fix it-what would you, our $7,000 customer, like for us to do"? That was all I wanted. Before you ask people to step up "and be a man", know the facts. I cited no hostility towards you.
What I love best is how Stereophiles own MF supporter bloats and braggs on about MF gear and they only have a 1 year warranty and now alot of people have door stops.Maybe the mag should rethink before promoting a product with a 1 year warranty and leaving people helpless.
I have a Krell SACD(used) and it still working but for $1500 they will upgrade(if it does fail) it with a new transort & transformer.At least it is something for used purchasers!

I took the line in your post - 'Fourth, why would I trade mine back to them for another one of their "unrobust" players--as that is all they had when mine broke down.' - to mean that you had been offered and rejected a trade to a different CD player. Apparently it doesn't, so for that and that alone, I apologize.

For the rest, you have enough information in Alex Peychev's post to determine whether all of your remarks about Musical Fidelity are justified.
From the onset I have said that I would not support MF "no matter how good their gear sounds". My choice to not support a company who failed me. The fact that they failed many, many others isn't my issue, though does support it-and cannot be disputed. I am not the only one here who has been bruned by MF and "elects" not to support them as a company". I have never said their gear doesn't sound good-my cd player sounded awesome-when it played. I have heard their dacs, and amps and sound very good. It is MY choice as a consumer to choose not to support them. It is also my privilidge as a poster in this forum to describe my experience with MF. I get to choose what I buy, suppot, like, discuss. My remarks are justified to me, and all those others who have MF bricks.
Krell used the same Philips transport in the SACD Standard. Did they stockpile transports in case of failure? Did they know it was a crap transport when they built/designed it? Did they test it properly? Why no shame on Krell?

No shame on Krell, since they did not abendoned their customers, like MF did. They have chosen to design a replacement drive instead. The new drive can be retrofited to ANY Philips equipped Krell SACD player. The upgrade is not cheap at $1500, but at least your player can be brought back to life. The upgrade includes a new DVD-ROM drive (sourced from their upmarked, EVO series), new software, new PS and a new display.

See the difference ?
"Fact - the problem with the transports in both the TriVista and kW SACD players is nothing to do with "parts obsolescence". Philips left MF and a number of other manufacturers badly in the lurch by supplying insufficiently robust SACD transports (these have a failure rate approaching 100%). Philips then refused to support these transports with parts or replacements once the failures began. "

So this part is not obsolete then......glad we cleared that up. Thanks for all the facts ;)
The fact MF sold faulty goods is the most important thing here and what has happenened to customers new and secondhand is that you can't get it fixed. MF should be brought before the courts its a crime.
I just stumbled across this old thread, and I just purchased a used kw SACD player and all works great considering how old it is now. Yes I payed a very good price for this unit on the used market. But I'm curious why this unit seems to be a solid performer considering its age and some people that payed thousands more then I had issues?

I would be very upset as well had I payed $7000 and had no one helping me with these problems..
i am a nobody when it comes to the hi-fi world , " but if i bought a £6000 grand car and it would not work after a short while, i would not let it sit in the garage to rot , so why do stereofiles shell out for a replacement if their tri-vista etc goes down , more money than sense springs to mind , hound philips to oblivion , thats what i would do , but thats me.
Hound Philips to oblivion? Are you serious?

The abandonment of the large transport manufacturers like Philips and Sony with respect to CD/SACD drives is due to market supply and demand factors. No mass market, no volume demand, and companies like Krell and MF are not even on the map.

Bryston saw the writing on the wall which is why they abandoned the sales of their redbook player, even while stockpiling spare drives for original customers.

With the performance of digital memory type products (that use inexpensive CDROM drives) rivaling or exceeding CD transports, most manufacturers are not going back.

So hound Philips all you want. It won't bring back what they consider an obsolete technology. You might as well be asking them to bring back those brick size cell phones for your 80's BMW.
I concur w/ Rofnow.
Hi out there.
I posted on this thread way back in 02-15-10 to ask if anyone knew if there was a way to "fix" the MF SACD by splicing into the internals so as to be able to use an external transport???
All of the posts after that seemed to concentrate on bagging MF and Phillips. OK, they stuffed up big time.
But SURELY someone can work out a way to make use of the DAC excellence of this player?? I could buy an SACD player from Sony or any other for probably $100 - surely someone can work out how to use one of those as an external transport. I don't mind using two remotes and two players to get the great sound.
In all this time, someone must know how to do it?
I concur w. you- Peterferg-

I am certain a trained tech could probably pull this off.
It seems that the "modders" of the past are no longer interested nor engaged in that art?

We need modders for all of our electrical gear needs'. It makes sense that someday a part will malfunction and/or quit working correctly. Most of these so-called high-end companies to not offer the appropriate service/repair options- it is easier to throw-away ( and purchase a newer model).

Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Is there not two digital input at the back so you can use it as a dac? I just got one used and it sounds really good. Will try the digital in if you want.  You just need to hit ext input on the remote.

MF has had QC issues in the past. It is a shame that this company could not build a better SACD spinner.

Happy Listening!

MF has had QC issues in the past. It is a shame that this company could not build a better SACD spinner.
It had nothing to do with MF, the problem was as Alex ( aplhifi ) explained above in the Philips FURORE chipset, and it wasn’t just with MF, but with Krell and Philips and a few others that use this chipset.
The chip had a self decay that started from the first time it was switched on and was doomed to fail, and Philips wiped their hands of any come backs. (good on ya Philips)
So do not go near any SACD players from that era, as they may have this chip.

Cheers George
Hello, I am a tech at Plurison/AudioPlusServices. We are the official service center (and we do have some authorized dealers and service centers elsewhere in America) for Musical Fidelity. I found this post googling the product I was about to fix. I just solved a problem with a KW SACD that wouln’t read any disc. We can’t promess to solve every single case but we do have a very high success rate. Feel free to contact the service department.
alextechWelcome! and Thank You for the update.  Happy Listening!
I'm waiting for three defective units from the local dealer for repair. Will update this thread in a few weeks. I've got a trained tech that repaired my Plinius integrated which was sitting for 5 years, a Krell amp that no one cared to repair.  Looking forward on this channel.