Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500
Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500
Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500

Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500: A modern premium all-in-one system

Musical Fidelity has introduced the high-end network music system M8 Encore 500. The flagship of the Encore line turned out to be as functional as possible, combining a network player, music server, CD player, headphone amplifier, pre-amplifier and power amplifier. It can become the only component of a High End system; you just need to connect the speakers.

musical-fidelity-m8-encore-500-musikserver-49872.jpg

The CD drive in the Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 allows you to not only listen to CDs, but also store their contents on the built-in 2TB hard drive, which can hold up to 5,000 records. Audio files can be listened to both from the built-in hard drive and from external drives connected to the USB port. If there is an Internet connection, the system is capable of receiving audio streams from popular streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz. The model supports work with network multi-room acoustics from third-party manufacturers, for example, Sonos. Digital and analog inputs can be used to connect external signal sources. Control of the Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 is implemented as simply and intuitively as possible, including thanks to the large and clear high-resolution display. High performance is provided by a powerful dual-core 64-bit Intel processor with two gigabytes of RAM.

88encorerear.jpg

The system is equipped with a built-in stereo amplifier with a power of 500 watts per channel, for the ability to work with large High End acoustics. The device has a wide range of connectors for connecting external audio devices, LAN cables, and USB gadgets, with the ability to charge them from one of the ports with increased power supply current.

The Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 is a modern premium all-in-one system that includes all the necessary components except the speakers. There was a time when such units were compromise options for those who preferred convenience to sound quality. In addition, they were usually cheaper than a kit of separate components. But once you look at the price of the Encore system, it immediately becomes clear that something more interesting awaits us with it.

The hefty, standard-width Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 houses a removable one-terabyte hard drive, a CD player with ripping capability, Internet radio with Tidal support, and a 500-watt per channel amplifier. It is equipped with both analogue and digital inputs. Musical Fidelity did not skimp on filling out the system to match the price. The built-in hard drive surprised us. This approach has fallen out of fashion in recent years, with most companies opting to use external NAS. However, the built-in drive has its advantages, namely responsiveness and stability.

musical-fidelity-m8-encore-500-musikserver-49869.jpg

Using a NAS inevitably involves delays due to the need to send the signal from it over the network. Any network instability results in delays or freezing of playback. Musical Fidelity’s approach avoids these problems. Meanwhile, combining a drive in one housing with sensitive audio circuits gives rise to new ones.

If a capacity of 2 TB (about 5,000 CDs) is not enough for you, it can be doubled for an additional 3,000 rubles. All processing is performed by a dual-core 64-bit Intel processor with 2GB of RAM. It was chosen because it is easy to update so that the system can receive new features in the future. Most notably, Tidal integration has recently been added.

Any music stored on a NAS server or home network computer will first be copied to disk. Copying is carried out using an application on a smartphone or computer with Google Chrome; to do this they must be on the same network as Encore. This procedure is a simple drag-and-drop process, but can take a long time for a library with a large number of files. The Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 can store content from nearly 2,500 CDs. The built-in hard drive gives the Musical Fidelity system a level of responsiveness unmatched by component NAS alternatives. Encore responds quickly to commands and instantly switches songs and sources.

musical-fidelity-m8-encore-500-musikserver-49865.jpg

The application is less impressive: it is too overloaded and not as convenient as we would like, and sometimes it crashes. You can use the remote control instead, but it’s not very practical when selecting songs from a large library. Control using the controls on the front panel is also not the most thoughtful; Even turning off the device requires several operations.

If you insert a disc into the tray, the Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 will first copy the music to the disc and only then start playing it. This is done to ensure playback speed. Files are read faster and more accurately from the built-in hard drive than from a CD.

When playing a CD directly, reading errors have to be corrected on the fly, which affects the quality. When copying, multiple reads are performed to ensure that maximum information is extracted. If desired, you can play a CD without copying, but the sound is less accurate and organized. The same operation takes place when playing files from any of the four USB Type A ports.
Fans of analog recordings are not forgotten either. There are three unbalanced line inputs, two optical and two coaxial. Digital inputs are capable of receiving streams with parameters up to 24 bit/192 kHz. The USB Type B port is for manufacturer or retailer use only.

Surprisingly, the system does not support Bluetooth. This protocol has already become a universal way to connect portable devices to various types of amplifiers, and its absence looks very annoying for such an equipped design.

We also liked the headphone output. The sound from it is the same as from the speaker outputs, combining scale, openness and persuasiveness. The performance is characterized by high detail and rare expressiveness of dynamics. Most manufacturers don’t pay too much attention to headphone outputs; Fortunately, the developers of Musical Fidelity take a different approach. We imagine that the Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500 will find an appreciative audience. Everyone will like the high level of equipment, and the presence of a hard drive ensures stability and responsiveness.

Specifications Musical Fidelity M8 Encore 500

Power: 500 watts (8 ohms)
Voltage: 63 V RMS (20 Hz-20 kHz), 178 V peak
Maximum current: 90 A
Dumping factor: 180
Input voltage: 0-7 V RMS
Coefficient nonlinear distortion: <0.007% (20 Hz-20 kHz)
Signal-to-noise ratio: 107 dB
Input impedance: 40 kOhm
Frequency response flatness: +0/-0.1 dB (10 Hz-20 kHz)
Inputs: 3 analog RCA, 2 optical S /PDIF (up to 24 bit/192 kHz), 2 coaxial S/PDIF (up to 24 bit/192 kHz)
USB ports: 1 front USB 2.0 type A connector (1.5 A USB-BC 1.2 compatible), 2 rear USB 2.0 type connectors A (500 mA),
1 rear USB 3.0 type A (USB-BC 1.2), 1 rear type B (for service use only)
Outputs: line RCA, adjustable RCA, optical S/PDIF (up to 24 bit/192 kHz ),
coaxial S/PDIF (up to 24 bit/192 kHz), 6.3 mm headphone output
Additional interfaces: LAN 10/100/1000 Base-T
Power consumption: less than 0.5 W in standby mode, 58 W in idle mode, up to 1.6 kW at maximum load
Dimensions: 483x185x510 mm
Weight: 38.5 kg

Resurface CMP