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Help with Music Fidelity M(5)6si, Denon, Focal...


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Hi Everybody!

Im currently using a Denon AVR-x4500h as my only amplifier for both movies and musik.

I have a Clearaudio Concept MC connected to this via a Vincent PHO-701

I read somewhere that AVR receivers aren’t that good when playing music, and that you need a dedicated stereo amp, to get the most out of you music playing. I am a noob at all this kind of stuff, so I don’t know if that is true or not?

I have a couple of Focal Aria 936 on the way, and I have been looking at the Musical Fidelity M6si, the M5si and also on a Yamaha a-s1200.

I don’t know if any of these are good choices for playing vinyl, and combined with the Focals?

I would also like to know if anyone can tell me if the phonostage in the M6si is better than the Vincent I got.....If not, maybe the M5si will do just fine? Or do I need the extra power from the big brother....

I also noticed that the Yamaha only has 2 x 90w......is this enough?

Im planing to connect an integrated amp from the Pre-Out on my Denon....So I still can use my front speakers in my surround system when watching movies etc.

I would also like to know what happens if I keep my turntable connected to the Denon, with the Pre-Outs to the stereo amp. Is that a bad thing and why? I would really want to have the ability to play music with and without my subwoofers, and also be able to tweak the sound with some bass and treble, and If I connect it directly to the M6si for an example.....Im stuck with the sound that I get....and can’t add any more bass etc.

Is there a better solution for me?

I would really appreciate some feedback and help from you guys.

Thanks in advance!

/Niklas

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What ever amp you choose make sure that it has home theatre volume pass through that will mean your integrate the surround and stereo properly . Next step is to audition the stereo integrated you are thinking of , your ears and your wallet making a short list of your prerequisites.  A lot of integrateds have preouts for connecting subs , tone controls now some have them and a lot don't.  I think from what I've read the Music Fidelity 6 is better than the five sorry I can't help you with their respective phono sections . 

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I'll only comment on the amplifier side of things and some general advice, as I don't use turntables or vinyl.  

 

For amplifiers in general, the ideal for most amps is to reproduce music without changing its character.  The majority of amplifiers do this very well, with some variance in taste in amplifier and speaker combinations.  The Denon X4500H is a high quality solid-state amplifier and will handle the duties you need comfortably.  The real compromise on AVRs is that they need to split their available power across many channels, but if you set it up as a stereo amp it has more than enough power to produce high quality sound without distortion from your speakers.  In addition, if you have an average listening area with no specialised room treatments you will probably get an improvement in sound quality by using the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction (with the editor app).

 

I'd actually stick with the Denon alone for a while, and see if you need any more power with your preferred speakers.  Just make sure to set it as stereo for the phono input and  an appropriate surround mode for home theatre.  If you want more power, then use the pre-outs and a separate amplifier for the mains.

 

One thing to remember is that setting tone controls, bass management or room correction and using a specific amp for a specific tone (ie. a 'warm' sounding amp) as opposed to more power is working at cross purposes.  The tone/room correction changes will negate buying an amp with a specific sound to a significant degree (as a gross simplification). 

 

Don't spend more than you need  until you actually identify an issue with your system that you want to improve or correct.  You may be able to borrow some gear to try alternatives once you know what your baseline is to then see if you can hear an improvement.  

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Hej Hej Niklas 

 

I have a system with many similarities to yours. I would recommend using the AVR with pre-outs (for you front left and front right speaker) and then connect the pre-outs on your AVR to an integrated amplifier with home theatre bypass (or a pre-amplifier with home theatre bypass plus a power amplifier - as per diagram below).  I found that adding a quality integrated amplifier really lifted the performance of my main front speakers and allows for a TT and other inputs but retains ability for 5.1 (or more) surround sound with TV, DVD and 5.1 audio. 

 

As to an amp there are lots of great ones to choose from at various price points and some will match your speakers better than others.  I use a Musical Fidelity M6si with Paradigm Studio 100s and the results are excellent. 

 

85DFAF2F-3C72-4EFD-B8F1-D80B67EC96B3.png
 

Photo of our main system below.
FL and FR floorstanding speakers driven by the M6si integrated amp (slimmer silver box on right) then into Musical Fidelity 550K Superchargers then into to speakers. Centre speaker,  2 rear speakers and sub (and outside speaker) driven by the AVR (big silver box on left).

Oppo (DVD, CD and SACD) (black box above M6si) connected to AVR and M6si so can play movies and surround sound music in 5.1 as well as 2 channel. Roon Nucleus (Ripped CDs, hi-res downloads andstreaming) (smaller black box to lest of Oppo) connected to AVR and Schiit Brooklyn DAC+ (Silver box in middle) so can play surround sound (5.1) or 2 channel music from those sources. Clearaudio turntableconnected to M6si so can play records 2 channel. Smart TV and Nintendo Switch (for our youngest son) connected to AVR so surround sound. Oh, and Oppo, Nucleus and Brooklyn connect to the Oppo Headphone amp and headphones. 

 

I haven’t directly compared the M6si phonostage with the Vincent but I can say my M6si phonostage (which allows MM and MC cartridges) was miles ahead of the Denon AVR. 
 

In terms of extra power, if you have the right speakers I can only say that more (good) power only adds clarity, separation, detail and grip. I have added Musical Fidelity 550K Superchargers between my M6si and Paradigm Studio 100s and the sound stepped up to another level. 

 

Good luck and enjoy the search. I look forward to a post and pictures of what you end up with. 

 

94FCD2BA-7655-4595-9FDF-A92F5AE2E577.jpeg

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In my research, I have found that the Musical Fidelity M5si should fit my Focal Aria 936 very well.....more so than the M6si, because the M5si got more current than the M6si (Whatever that means...)

 

There is only one thing that bugs me, and that is that I really want to have the choice to use my subwoofers, even when playing music.

 

What will happen if i Bypass my front speakers to the M5si (If i were to buy that one) and then keep my turntable and my dac connected to my AVR. Shouldn’t that work? What would be the downsides of that? Do they really need to be connected directly to the M5si and why?

 

If I could keep them connected to my AVR, I could play only 2 channels if I want.....I could add one or two subwoofers.....I could even play music with surround, 3D and so on.....If I should like. And because I have my front speakers in bypass, they should be driven by the M5si, right?

 

If this is not possible.....then Im afraid that the bass from only my front speaker wont be enough for certain kind of music....

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The other thing Im a little bit worried about, is buying a M5si for about 2500 USD, and not hearing any difference from My Denon AVR-x4500h. That would really be a waste of A LOT of money. But there are a lot of people saying that it should make a huge improvement, and It better. I wish I could just try one out, and return it I f I don’t like it.

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I upgraded my amp from a Marantz AVR to a dedicated stereo integrated amp, the difference was night and day. The speakers opened up, I had no idea how much I was missing. 

 

I use the Musical Fidelity m3si with my KEF LS50 and they sound great together. 

 

If the price difference isn't too great I'd opt for the m6si. 

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If you like music, then do not use avr to play music, won’t work. I had Avr setup before and know the stereo sounds ****. The wattage spec on Avr doesn’t mean anything. 
 

MF should sing well pair with your Focal. Either a big integrated or MF pre and amp combo. 
 

of course the above recommendation is based on you love music. If movie is your priority then it’s a different story. 

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Well.....playing music with a AVR works......it has been working for me the last 15 years or so, and it do sound really good! But if it can sound even better.....especially now with my Focals, then I really want to make it so. And I have a 9.2 surround system for movies that sound amazing. And I really don’t hope that bypassing my front speakers to a MF M5si will make it worse in any way.....but instead even better, both for music and movies.

 

What I really want to know now is what I mentioned before;

 

"

12 hours ago, Neewbiee said:

What will happen if i Bypass my front speakers to the M5si (If i were to buy that one) and then keep my turntable and my dac connected to my AVR. Shouldn’t that work? What would be the downsides of that? Do they really need to be connected directly to the M5si and why?

 

If I could keep them connected to my AVR, I could play only 2 channels if I want.....I could add one or two subwoofers.....I could even play music with surround, 3D and so on.....If I should like. And because I have my front speakers in bypass, they should be driven by the M5si, right?

 

If this is not possible.....then Im afraid that the bass from only my front speaker wont be enough for certain kind of music....


To me it should work just as well having everything connected to my AVR, and just bypassing the front speakers to the M5si, and then also have the ability to add and remove subwoofers, some tone control and a lot more. Than if I connect directly into the m5si.....then Im stuck with only my front speakers while playing music......and I cant add or change anything.

 

But is this possible? Is there any downsides to it?

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OK, I've been doing just this for some time now. Firstly using a Musical Fidelity A300 with the vol knob set to 12 o'clock when running it for HT. Currently a MF A3.5 integrated with HT bypass. I've just purchased a MF M6s PRX to replace the A3.5 but that's another story.

The way I've worked things is to have two systems within the one. For instance my Oppo 205 is connected to my AVR with HDMI and to the MF Integrated with RCA stereo interconnects. If your speakers are full range, mine are B&W CDM9-NTs for most stereo uses you should not miss the subs.

I find the integrated gives the speakers better bass punch.

If you really need the extra bass ( or Multi-channel SACD etc) you can run the music through the AVR using the Integrated as a power amp. I rarely find I need to do this but I'm not much of a bass head. 

The advantages of doing this include being able to upgrade the AVR as technology changes but the integrated stays in the system, at one stage I was running a Yamaha Z series AVR and even that was nowhere near the MFs in stereo.

IMHO you will not regret going down this path.

 

Edit: Just had a look at the Focal 936s, they are basically equivalent to my B&Ws, same size, price point etc. Go the M6 over the M5 if you can the extra power will be worth it.

Edited by chaddy
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I was first looking at the M6si, but then I found a thread here in this forum were they talked about the Arias needed more current, and not more power. And for some reason the m5si got more current than the m6si.

 

"Don't be fooled by the "extra power" the M6Si is a lower current amplifier than the M5Si. This is what I was talking about when I said you need more current, not more power. The 5 may actually be a better match for your speakers."

 

731880056_Skarmavbild2020-12-26kl_10_40_15.thumb.png.cfc2b4e4c1f9c3eee869cef90911330e.png

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46 minutes ago, Neewbiee said:

I was first looking at the M6si, but then I found a thread here in this forum were they talked about the Arias needed more current, and not more power. And for some reason the m5si got more current than the m6si.

 

"Don't be fooled by the "extra power" the M6Si is a lower current amplifier than the M5Si. This is what I was talking about when I said you need more current, not more power. The 5 may actually be a better match for your speakers."

 

731880056_Skarmavbild2020-12-26kl_10_40_15.thumb.png.cfc2b4e4c1f9c3eee869cef90911330e.png

45A vs 62A but also look at the damping factor. The M5 is only 36 whereas the M6 is a much healthier 180. If you're worried about current the M6si 500 has plenty.

 

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22 minutes ago, chaddy said:

45A vs 62A but also look at the damping factor. The M5 is only 36 whereas the M6 is a much healthier 180. If you're worried about current the M6si 500 has plenty.

 

 

I have no idea about anything! I don’t know what current is, or damping factor. I have just tried to figure out a good amp for these speakers, and I have now ordered the M5si. I found it in Italy for 900 USD less than here in Sweden. A HUGE difference. Now all I want to know if there are any drawbacks with connecting my turntable and DAC to my denon instead of directly into the M5si. I can’t see why it shouldn’t be exactly the same? but with the benefits of be able to use my subwoofer if i should need. Be able to use tone control, surround sound etc...

The M6si 500 is 5000 USD, and I payed 1600 USD now for the M5si...

Edited by Neewbiee
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Correct me if Im wrong.

 

I found this searching the internet....

 

If I connect my turntable and dac through the Denon......it seems like the Denon will act like a preamp, and the M5si will only be a poweramp.....is this correct?

 

In that case maybe its best to connect directly to the M5si. I still have no clue what the difference will be......but I guess I can find out when I get it home. Its just a pain in the a* crawling behind the TV bench.....swapping out cables etc...

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7 hours ago, Neewbiee said:

 

 

If I connect my turntable and dac through the Denon......it seems like the Denon will act like a preamp, and the M5si will only be a poweramp.....is this correct?

 

In that case maybe its best to connect directly to the M5si. I still have no clue what the difference will be......but I guess I can find out when I get it home. Its just a pain in the a* crawling behind the TV bench.....swapping out cables etc...

That's correct. The turntable must be connected to a Phono pre-amp which is inbuilt to both the AVR and M5. You'd be safe in assuming the M5's will be of better quality.

Basically you should connect all your stereo music sources to the M5, turntable, CD player, DAC/streamers etc. Use the AVR for HT. KRSDarwin's diagram above sums it up neatly.

I have a similar problem with my gear being in a large, heavy cabinet. It's a job of hours and 2-3 people to do even a simple cable swap. Any changes to my gear have to justify that effort. My next project is to change my Streamer/DAC, Amp and TV (would have included a PS5 if I could get one).

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I can’t use the phono input because I have a moving coil cartridge. I have an external phono preamp. I can just connect it to a free analogue input on the M5si.....doesn’t matter which one, right?

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13 minutes ago, Neewbiee said:

I can’t use the phono input because I have a moving coil cartridge. I have an external phono preamp. I can just connect it to a free analogue input on the M5si.....doesn’t matter which one, right?

No they're all the same except for the HT Bypass obviously

 

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There were someone who wrote that he connected the pre-out on the M5si to the CD in on his AVR.....that way he could turn on his AVR and put it on cd and also have the subwoofer active while playing music.

 

Is this something that works? Is it safe?

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14 minutes ago, Neewbiee said:

There were someone who wrote that he connected the pre-out on the M5si to the CD in on his AVR.....that way he could turn on his AVR and put it on cd and also have the subwoofer active while playing music.

 

Is this something that works? Is it safe?

You could do it that way but I think it would be difficult to balance as you are dealing with two separate volume controls (three if you include the Subs level control). The M5s has both a fixed Line Out and a volume controlled Pre Out. If your sub has RCA inputs separate from a HT LFE input just connect the M5s variable out direct to the sub then the MF controls volume for both and it would be alot easier to balance both.

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Focal Aria 936 are overall great speakers, but to get the best bass performance out of them you need Naim or something similar (Exposure or Rega). Good quality class D will work as well. You don't need subwoofer with those speakers, at 11 everything is shaking and at 12 you need earplugs. 

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