Review: Musical Fidelity X-RAY CD Player

Category: Digital

I ordered my XRay CD Player from Audio Advisor, but I've seen better deals on Audiogon! I went for the modern oval X-can look and was not at all disappointed with the build quality. All buttons have a good feel and will undoubtedly last a long time, the door opens and closes quietly but with authority and the remote is reasonable although I don't use it a lot. Not everybody likes the bold look, but in my living room, the design is very appealing.

Originally listened with my Quad ESL57's and was astounded by the things I was hearing that hadn't been apparent with my 20-bit Denon CD player or with my Jolida tube CD player which sounded nice and smooth, but lacked jump and had a very disappointing build quality. I could clearly hear breaths being taken in jazz vocals and music like Jesse Cook's flamenco guitar jumped right out into the room. On the negative side, I found that some older 80's rock CDs that had been produced with a simple and raw sound were too bare and raw and had actually benefitted from a lesser CD player that added colouration (which was probably what their engineers assumed people would be listening with).

I got even more benefit out of the CD player when I used it mith my Accusig speakers. By bi-amping with QuadII's to soften the mid and high ranges and solid state amps pushing the sub units I found that the XRay has a dynamic drive and really pops out the bass. In fact I had to use the tilt on the Quad44 pre-amp to drop off a little of the bass, something I normally don't like to do, but I attribute this more to the amplification rather than the CD player. The rich sound of the tube amps also helped reduce the over-revealing nature of the CD player on some lesser quality recordings.

Over-all the XRay CD Player is an excellent unit, from design to build quality to sound, with the only complaint being that at times it seems to be too good, and reveals flaws that you may not have been aware of in your music collection! I'd gladly buy other Musical Fidelity products and would like to try a pair of XA50 monoblocks for my subs.

Associated gear
Quad 44 Preamp
Quad II Monoblocks (Full Range)
SAE Professional Power Amp (Subs)
Optek Marble Speakers by Accusig with Sub Units