PRO-JECT AUDIO SYSTEMS BUYS OUT MUSICAL FIDELITY
The purchase effectively immediately was confirmed by Len Wallis, CEO of Audio Marketing, Musical Fidelity’s Australian distributor.
Len Wallis told StereoNET:
Operations are already being transferred to Pro-Ject’s head office in Austria and MF’s London office has already been closed.
Heinz Lichtenegger, Pro-Ject’s CEO, has already announced some changes including the release of some new models, including a lower-priced M2i amplifier and matching CD player. Both are due for release in November.
Pricing isn’t finalised, but either will sell in Australia below $1600 creating new value points for this company.
Wallis also confirmed the re-introduction of some recently discontinued models such as the M8 pre-amp and matching M8-500 stereo power amp and M8-700 monoblocks.
An updated M6-500 500watt per channel integrated amplifier has also been announced.
Pro-Ject will manufacture some of MF’s models in Europe including the new M2 models.
Wallis is not expecting any price rises but said he anticipates that some models will be cheaper than they are now.
The acquisition of MF ensures Pro-Ject’s upward growth trajectory continues without a pause.
Heinz Lichtenegger, CEO Pro-Ject Audio Systems
The purchase of Musical Fidelity makes up for Pro-Ject CEO, Heinz Lichtenegger’s disappointment at not buying cartridge brand, Ortofon when he had the chance a few years ago.
Pro-Ject’s purchase of Musical Fidelity makes for a compatible pairing of the two brands.
Both sell gear into the stereo, analogue market and their models reflect this notwithstanding Musical Fidelity’s venture into digital.
The buyout will take Pro-Ject into new directions. The betting is the brand names will remain the same but with Project benefiting from MF’s design work particularly in phono amps.
But don’t discount Pro-Ject’s desire to get into the network/streaming market with a bunch of new MF products up the track.
Musical Fidelity is a UK boutique Audio brand started by Antony Michaelson, a musician and music lover more than 30 years ago. StereoNET understands that following Musical Fidelity's acquisition by Pro-Ject that Michaelson has retired.
Antony Michaelson, Musical Fidelity
Michaelson remembers the early years as particularly tough. He has often said he was told the audio industry didn’t need another amplifier brand. Advice that he says he was glad he ignored.
MF’s first product was a sweet sounding preamplifier launched in 1982. It was called simply, The Preamp.
This paperback novel sized model was highly popular, and we recall owning The Preamp and enjoying it’s fresh approach to music making immensely.
Other notable MF models include the Digilog in 1987 and this was the world’s first high-end DAC.
It was a slew of tubular models that really helped put MF on the map. First was the X-10D Class-A triode line stage launched in 1995. This was followed by the Nu-Vista preamp in 1997.
We bought the Nu-Vista pre about that time. This model is still sought after as a second-hand collectible today.
In 2002, MF released the Tri-Vista 21 Super DAC. This was the first time trivistor tubes were used in an audio application.
In 2012 MF expanded its range to include the AMS CD/DAC, the brand’s best digital product to that time.
Pro-Ject went into business in 1990 after it bought a turntable factory in the small Czech town of Litovel, about the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The brand’s formula of building affordable, audiophile turntables paid off. Pro-Ject is now the world’s biggest turntable brands and ironically, Ortofon’s largest single customer buying a reputed 10,000 cartridges per year.
These days Pro-Ject also makes records and vinyl accessories. After acquiring Musical Fidelity, it will soon begin making amplifiers as well as much else.
Currently, Pro-Ject is distributed in Australia by Interdyn.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.