I thought that the idea of a preamp/cd player was a clever idea from a convenience point of view, similar in a way to an Adcom GTP 500 II preamp/tuner combination that I had used for 13 years. I own the MF CD PRE24 and use it in conjunction with a MF A300 CR power amp. I went this route for two reasons: 1. price and 2. what MF was looking to achieve with the CD PRE24.
Price was easy. Because both pieces had been discontinued, I paid about 45% of list for new in the box equipment.
For the second point, I will quote from MF's product literature and Mike Fremer's review in Stereophile
The design goal of the MF CD-PRE24 was to provide ...
"Performance that surpasses the Krell KPS-25S, priced for ordinary mortals. The blurb goes on to suggest that "we reckoned that the CD-Pre24 would outperform the Krells in every significant technical and sonic parameter," and later cites the CD-Pre24's 0.05% distortion at -70dB compared to the Krell's 0.71%, and a signal/noise ratio claimed to be 23dB lower than the Krell's.
The single-box CD-Pre24 contains a full-function remote-controlled analog preamp, a digital switcher, a CD transport, a 24-bit/96kHz upsampling DAC, and a 16-bit/44.1kHz A/D converter—all for $3000. With it, one can have both analog and digital components connected, and record and play back from both domains without constant plugging and unplugging.
If that doesn't give you a convenient handle to grasp, think of the CD-Pre24 as a CD player with a bonus analog preamplifier, bonus digital switching facility, and analog and digital tape loops. Or as an outboard DAC with a built-in CD transport and a bonus analog preamp section plus A/D converter.
Despite the CD-Pre24's incredible versatility and reasonable price, Musical Fidelity has managed to retain the high parts quality of its more expensive products. The 24/96 upsampling DAC, 8x-oversampling filter, control electronics, CD transport, and choke-regulated power supply are identical to those in the more expensive Nu-Vista 3D CD player.
The CD-Pre24's preamp facilities are said to be very closely related to those in MF's highly regarded A3CR, though improved using techniques learned during the design of the Nu-Vista amps and CD players."
So, my thinking at the end of the day was how often would I get to own $6300 worth of NEW Krell-level equipment for less than $2900. I already owned a MF A3 integrated amp and loved it ... a real sweet and musical sounding amp. I had originally thought that I could use the MF A3 as a power amp for the MF CDPRE 24 (no luck, as the A3 integrated does not have main inputs, only preamp outs). So, I sold the MF A3 integrated and purchased the MF A300CR power amp.
I found the CD MF PRE24/A300CR combination a true step up from the MF A3, in terms of sound and performance. To be fair, it is also the first true high end set-up that I have owned, so I don't a history of similar systems to compare it to.
If I had not received the price breaks that I did, I would have purchased a MF CD player to go with my MF A3 integrated.