Musical Fidelity Nu-vista M3 Linn Keilidh Majik-i

Hello there, while eBay is certainly great for picking up equipment at not-exactly bargain prices, but at least fair prices, it’s not so great – obviously - at helping decide the route to go down by providing audition facilities.

Hence I’ve got myself in a spot. I’d disposed of my Exposure 2010s, having been convinced by a friend at work that a Linn integrated amp, even an old one such as the Majik-I, would suit my Keilidhs a lot better, the Majik-ibeing pretty-much designed to get the best out of the Keilidhs.

This was indeed a massive improvement – not least of which I got it for half of what I sold the 2010s for. Madame was pretty impressed with this so off went the Arcam CD player to be replaced by a Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista M3 CD player, which is – obviously – tremendous.

The combination of the valves/DAC in the Nu-vista CD player and the Majik-I’s ability to get the Keilidh bass under control AND have tremendous separation and just the right amount of attack for my ears. I was a drummer for some years. So successful, I had to pack it in and get a proper job.

Ahem. Moving swiftly on, I can’t stand it if I can’t hear
the bass drum as if it was there in the middle of the living room, hate it if the snare sound is muffled, gated and unrealistic. I always try to get on the front row of gigs (sit-down ones, for Morrissey I’ll stay in the circle thanks very much) and made it right on to the front row for Jeff Beck a few years ago (in Glasgow), with Vinnie Colaiuta not too many feet away – thus my expectations are pretty high re: delivery of the information on a CD.

I was delighted with the Majik-I / Nu-vista M3 combination – it was emotional – it had the attack I wanted and I could hear instrument timbre and parts of arrangements I’d missed, there were ghost notes hadn’t heard before and everything was lively and exciting.

Then I went mad. Victim of the course of eBay – what looked like an almost (but not really) once in a lifetime bargain – the steam punk behemoth that’s the Nu-vista M3 integrated amplifier, with its serious power supply, monstrous cables and 24 Carat gold finish.

What I thought this was going to improve for my ears I don’t know. However, I’m just under a week in now and I’ve tried a few different speaker cables (nothing tremendous, a home-made Cat-5 binding and the Linn cables) my three different sources: the Nu-vista CD player, Apple TV/iTunes Match, MM turntable through the Nu-vista’s phono stage.

All the same problem – gone is the attack, the snare drums/ride cymbals sound like someone has thrown a (thin) sheet of felt over them, the bass drum has disappeared into what’s more of a homogenous whole, the separation has gone.

Here’s how YOU can help!

Obviously the Nu-vista M3 is tremendous. Obviously the Majik-I suites the Keilidhs better.

What do I do?

Go back to the Majik-I, getting the LK140 power amps for it (not even sure if I need one or two of them) and put up with its lack of functionality/ugly black box and get the monstrous Nu-vista M3 on to eBay.

Or do I change my speakers? If so, to what? Do NOT suggest B&W 802s! I would need to hear them first this time too. Can you recommend any dealers in the Herts/Beds/Bucks/London areas that have legacy stock / second hand stuff and will go to the trouble of plugging it in and letting you listen to it before you hand over your £1000+?

Should I put more effort into the speaker cable? Again, can you recommend dealers?

Should I change the power cable to the nu-vista power supply?

Any sensible suggestions gratefully received.

I can’t believe I prefer the £200 Majik-I (apart from its appearance, lack of a knob and lack of powr) to the N-vista that cost five times the price. I am erring no the side of me not having it properly set up.

However, do note the difference I hear is consistent across all those three sources .