I owned the MD-208 and feel that class A rating is overly generous. It's a great piece, especially for a receiver, but I have heard class B integrateds whose sonics I prefer (e.g. LFD Mistral). All the class A separates I've heard are FAR better than the MD-208. If you limit yourself to the world of receivers than I'm sure it's tops. I would not hesitate to build a system around one if FM was a serious music consideration.
My recollection is that stereophile compares integrateds to integrateds, and separates to separates. Meaning a Class A integrated is not sonically equivalent to a class A amp or pre-amp.
Sorry, I can't help. I too find Stereophiles position of apples to oranges strange. Stereophile claims to be a source of help to audiophiles and yet they don't seem to appreciate the fact that an audiophiles budget regarding these components comes from the same money tree towards the same recipe.
I would agree...avoid receivers...get a quality intergrated...then add a Magnum tuner...better sound...for less money.....
I took home and auditioned the Magnum receiver over the summer and was disappointed with it's performance. I've owned the Magnum Etude tuner for a few years and I think it outperformed the receiver. In addition, I ended up purchasing the I-5 and am not disappointed at all with it's performance. I was a little surprised at the ratings in Stereophile as well.
If you've been into tubes, here's a wonderful (SS) upgrade that will give you a lot of the best tubes have to offer and the advantages of ss: YBA Passion Integre. 100 watts per channel of killer sound. I've had mine 6 weeks, now, and am still finding new wonders to this baby. It's reasonably priced and I compared it to most of the ss out there, and this baby came up the winner. good hunting
couldn't you just add a nice, inexpensive tuner like a creek, or a rega radio, or a naim?
just a thought - or sell it all and buy a linn classic w/ tuner? excellent sound!
My used MD 208 sounded fairly thin out of the box. The Stereophile review points out that this unit requires a long break in period. Perhaps this should be interpreted as it having taken a long time for the reviewer to get used to the sound. (There's a thread here by Marakanetz that challenges the validity of break in for electronics, versus the listener just adapting to the sound over time.) Personally, I thought the change in sound was real over a relatively long break in period for my unit. Nevertheless, the MD 208 still sounds slightly thin driving Thiel 3.6s. Notably, my old Etude in another room seems quite warm, with a socko midbass. On the other hand, I haven't heard the I-5, but I would think it's possible that the same circuit design could sound different in a different chassis. I agree that ultimately separates are better, and I chose a receiver because of installation constraints for this system.
I'd be caerful with any integrated purchase. Based on a Stereophile recommendation I bought the Creek 5250 several years ago, but as another here has already pointed out, integrated Class B is not in the same quality category as Class B separates. Most integrateds, such as the Creek, have diminished bass and soundstaging capability compared to separates in t he same Stereophile category or class ranking. Much "smaller" sound results. "Postage stamp sound" as one of my local dealers put it. I feel Stereophile is committing a grave injustice by not pointing out the differences between integrated amps and their separates in the Recommended Components categories.
My problem with Stereophile is not what they recommend. I have found them to be, generally, very reliable. It's what they don't recommend or review. That's the deal. There is a shit load of great things out there, that they will never review. Why? Maybe not taking advertising space or....forgeddabout it. I'm not going there. It's a crying shame, what's out there, that will never see the print or market they deserve.
If you do not have the associated equipment the reviewer is using the recommendation is probably useless. I am skeptical of the reviewer not taking enough time to review the equipment also. The ratings are good when you are selling the equipment that you shouldn't have bought in the first place
In respoonse to Snook, he is wrong about having asociated equipment.Especially with integrateds, they should generally have a sonic signature that one can generalize from, as Stereophile wishes us to believe. Hence the description of sonic characterisitics indigenous to each review. In addition, his point of view renders all reviews and sound descriptions from components useless if one doesn't have exactly the same associated equipment as the reviewer.
Your correct Triumph. I believe all the reviews are totally useless. You can read reviews from several reviewers on the same component and almost all have different points of view. The safest way is to listen to the component in your own room with your own components and let your ears decide.