CD Player Recommendation - Music Hall MMF25
Having just sold mine, and with ABSOLUTELY no affiliation to the company, I would like to throw out a formal recommendation of the Music Hall MMF25 CD player.
In my opinion, this player is THE BEST BARGAIN IN HIGH END AUDIO TODAY.
Over the course of two plus years, I lived happily with this player. The cosmetics, while not spectacular, were nice enough. It won't win any beauty contests in my mind, but neither will it probably be off putting as its big brother the Shanling might be over the long run. Build quality and solidity were commendable for any real world CD player, but at its price, exceptional. I never once encountered anything that approached less than 100% reliability.
However, this is a hobby where sonis rule overall. In this area, the Music Hall really shines. At the $600 retail price, there is nothing that comes remotely close. I have listened to the Cambridge old and new players, low to midlevel Carys, the Rega Planet and Jupiter, Jolidas old and new(JD100), Linn Genki, Musical Fidelity A3 variants, Rotel players, and a whole raft of other players in the affordable category. None has ever surpassed it.
My friend, Michael(Sufentanil) and I A/B'd it against the very, very nice CAL Alpha/Delta, and the MMF25 came oh so close to a player that cost six times as much. The CAL was subtly, yet definitively better.
And, my buddy, the doctor(mechans) here owns two players, a Music Hall MMF25 and a Jolida JD100 which costs 50% more. Guess which one is in his personal system? Yes, the Music Hall. The Jolida resides in his wife's system.
I have come into a much more expensive player, the Granite 657, offering both tube(variable) and solid state(fixed) outputs. It costs $3000, and believe me is a bargain at that price. The solid state output offers a very relaxed, analog sound, with great bass. The tube section adds a lot more zing and shimmer, giving it a beautiful, yet exciting sound. Which is preferable comes down to personal tastes, but it is TRULY like having two very different machines, each of them outstanding in their own right.
It took me a while to decide which player I would keep, that is how good the Music Hall actually is. In the end, it took a new pair of very special tube monoblocks to finally push me in the direction I went. It was not an easy decision as to which player to keep, but I ended up keeping the outstanding Granite 657.
Every product has its shorcomings, and the biggest of the Music Hall was the awful remote I used. Other flaws were lack of very powerful deep bass, which I complain about with 99% players, and a step back from the refinement of the best players. Almost all digital does not have the flow of analog to my ears, and this player is no exception. That is a mightily short list from this mightily critical audiophile.
I would like to say that anyone looking for a great CD player who is not working with a large amount of money should definitely consider a Music Hall MMF25, unmodified!