I have to say that I am really quite excited by the new Musical Fidelity Encore range, the first product from this new line up will be the Encore 225 which is due in a couple of weeks but when my rep offered to come in and run me through it I jumped at the chance as in the HiFi arena this really is something a little different.
So what is the encore 225? Well first and for most it is a proper piece of HiFi equipment based on Musical fidelity’s M6si amplification, in theory it is the only box you need if you want a one box solution as it is also a CD Player, CD Ripper, Storage Device and DAC, so you basically pop in your CD it is then ripped to lossless and then stored in the device ready for playback, so just hook up a pair of speakers and you are good to go.
The Encore range has really been designed for HiFi enthusiasts and music lovers that want to get into streaming but really don’t want the hassle of getting computers involved so it is very intuitive and can be solely controlled with the large screen on the front with the units buttons or with the remote, alternatively you can log in to it to amend metadata if required.
You can spec your size of Hard Disk, 1TB is standard but for around £60 you can spec it with a 2TB drive to come installed from Musical Fidelity, I can see this becoming the most popular option to be honest, but if you want to swap the drives yourself then it is just a matter of un-screwing to thumb screws on the back and you can hot swap it for a bigger drive.
So it really does look like the perfect product and quite unique in the HiFi Market, but like anything like this for me it is all about the control as based on the M6si amplification we know it is going to sound good, so how good is the control app? Well I am very relieved that it seems excellent, I think it is based on the Squeezebox app and has been MF’d so it is a well proven app that is slick, very quick and easy to use, you can’t ask for more than that really.
2 things I thought was quite good were that if you import a music collection you have already ripped, like mine which is stored on a NAS drive, then the Encore will check every file to make sure it is tagged correctly with the right data so that it is stored as it should be on the Encore as if it had ripped it itself and also when you power down the 225 everything shuts down except the hard disk section so that you can use it as a Server to feed other products on your network like Sonos for example, very clever.
So all in all this really should be a huge success for Musical Fidelity, for me MF make excellent amps but combining their amplification with so many versatile features such as CD ripping and storage all in one solid piece of kit can only be a good idea. The 225 is the first in a new range of Encore products, following shortly after is the Connect which is basically all the above but without the amplification, this interests me more to be honest as it can be used with any system and it also has a pre-amp built in so you could bolt it onto say a MF M8-500s to make a very powerful 2 box system.
As I said the Encore 225 should be with us by the end of the month with the Connect following in July so if you are interested in more information or booking a demo please feel free to give me a call.
Below is a link to a video that MF have just done regarding the Encore 225 + a link to the 225 and Connect on our website.
The Encore 225 With the new PMC Twenty5.23′s makes a great combination :-)