Musical Fidelity have been around for many years now, making some beautiful sounding amplifiers, the Musical Fidelity Encore 225 however is way more than just a simple amplifier. Like the Sony HAP-S1 it is a complete music system in one box, just add speakers. But where the Sony is a more low powered affair, the Music Fidelity is a true powerhouse of an amplifier that can mate with just about any speaker.
So lets look at those amplifiers, with 225 watts per channel into an 8 ohm load, there is simply no shortage of power on tap here so feel free to add just about any speaker you like to this system, it can handle it. The sound of those amplifiers is typically Musical Fidelity, great mid range, authoritative bass and just ‘sweet’.
The pre-amplifier stage has a plethora of inputs including 3 x line level inputs, 2 x optical, 2 x coaxial, and multiple USB ports. Given the intent for this to be ‘all you need’ for music playback, having so many inputs is somewhat overkill I would think, but it is nice to have just the same. The DAC in the Musical Fidelity Encore 225 is a 32bit/384kHz capable affair.
You may notice the CD slot on the front panel, and yes you can play your CDs on this machine, but more importantly is the fact that you can RIP them straight into the internal hard drive. For anyone who does not want to have to use a computer for ripping this is a great feature,and reminiscent of the original Imerge servers.
Like the Sony HAP-S1 you can use the front panel or an app on your phone or tablet to control playback, create playlists etc. It is not a bad app, but it could use a little more refinement and I prefer the Sony to be honest. Neither are as good as Roon but lets not go there. Sound wise, this system is a real treat, as well it should be for the price. It is detailed, it is smooth, it is bold and powerful, it is in fact high-end in every sense of the word.
The Musical Fidelity Encore 225 is not however a closed system, it can send audio out to Sonos speakers for example (and others), and it can stream from services such as Spotify, QoBuz and Tidal. Plus with all those inputs, feed in your TV, Cassette Deck (remember those) a Turntable (requires a phono preamp) or even your Playstaion.
Musical Fidelity Encore 225 Specifications:
- Power output into 8 ohms: 225 watts per channel
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 100kHz
- THD: 0.007
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 107db
- Weight: 23kg
- Dimensions: 440 x 125 x 400 mm
Why you want the Musical Fidelity Encore 225:
So can this really be all one needs for a high resolution music system? Yes indeed! Of course it would want to be at the price, because once you add in a decent pair of speakers yo are looking at a five figure price tag and that is certainly above the means of many for a sound system, but it truly does reward the investment for music lovers. I do however question if ‘audiophiles’ would buy an all in one system however, and those whom it appeals to are not likely to spend this much, preferring something like the Sony for example. But, that is a question for each individual to answer, and if you have the means to afford the Music Fidelity Encore 225, enjoy!