Reviews

Review: Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream – Harmonizing High Fidelity

Review:Embark on a sonic voyage as we dissect the merits and caveats of Musical Fidelity's MX-Stream, an audiophile's dream companion.

Unveiling the Sonic Horizon: A Deep Dive into the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream Audiophile Streamer

Embarking on a journey into the harmonious intersection of technology and audio excellence, the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream emerges as a beacon in the realm of audiophile streamers. In a market saturated with choices, the MX-Stream’s unassuming appearance belies a powerhouse of technical innovation, offering a compelling bridge between traditional analog fidelity and the complexities of the digital domain. This review delves into the intricacies of the MX-Stream, exploring its nuanced design, technical prowess, and the user experience it brings to discerning enthusiasts.

Audiophile Craftsmanship: Decades of Expertise Culminate in MX-Stream : As we navigate the landscape of audio technology, the MX-Stream stands tall as a testament to Musical Fidelity’s decades-long commitment to delivering unparalleled sonic experiences. Crafted with precision and an unwavering dedication to quality, this audiophile streamer caters to a diverse audience, seamlessly blending into traditional and modern setups. Beyond its unpretentious facade lies a device meticulously engineered to satisfy the cravings of seasoned analog purists while embracing the demands of the contemporary digital era. Let’s unravel the layers of MX-Stream’s design, features, and the immersive sonic tapestry it weaves for its users.

MX-Stream – Specifications

Features

  • High-resolution network bridge
  • Network-enables and compatible with any modern DAC with USB input
  • Completely optimized for bit-perfect audio:
  • – Audiophile playback software
  • – Low Noise regulation and detox section
  • – USB & Wifi low phase noise clock section
  • – Clock synchronised, phase interleaved, capacitor multiplier pre-regulators
  • CD ripping (requires external USB CD drive)
  • Controllable via smart devices and PC/Laptop

Streaming Services

  • High-resolution network bridge
  • Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, HIGHRESAUDIO, TuneIn
  • Fully Roon Ready and Certified
  • Share port(Airplay), UPNP/DLNA, Bluetooth
  • USB 2.0 USB drives, NAS drives

Inputs

  • 2 x USB A
  • 1 x Micro USB B (PC-Detox)
  • Network (Ethernet, Wifi 802.11 b/g/n/d/e/h/i)
  • Bluetooth (Bluetooth Classic + EDR v2.1, v3.0, v4.0 and Low Energy)
  • Audio formats: PCM 32bit/352.8kHz, DSD256
  • Internal storage: 16GB

Outputs

  • Audio-optimized USB A
  • HDMI (video)

General Information

  • Supplied Accessories: Wifi antenna, power adapter, quickstart manual
  • Outboard power supply: 18V/1A DC (included)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 220 x 56 x 215 mm
  • Weight: 1.91 kg net

Hardware Ingenuity: Elevating Audiophile Experience with MX-Stream’s Technical Brilliance

At the core of the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream lies a symphony of hardware ingenuity, meticulously orchestrated to enhance the audiophile experience. This device transcends conventional expectations by seamlessly blending simplicity with advanced engineering, delivering a nuanced performance that captivates discerning listeners.

Precision Clock and Jitter Reduction: At the heart of MX-Stream’s hardware brilliance is its precision clock, a silent maestro that conducts an orchestra of digital signals with unparalleled accuracy. This clock is a bulwark against the jitter problem, meticulously marginalizing distortion to nearly zero. The result is a digital signal cleaned of unwanted artifacts, ensuring that the purity of the audio remains intact throughout the transmission process.

Future-Proof Design: MX-Stream doesn’t merely exist in the present; it’s designed with an eye on the future. Its forward-thinking architecture makes it adaptable to the evolving landscape of digital audio technologies. This future-proofing is a nod to longevity and a commitment to ensuring that MX-Stream remains a relevant and reliable companion on the audiophile’s journey for years to come.

Bit-Perfect Transmission: A distinguishing feature in MX-Stream’s hardware arsenal is its dedication to Bit-Perfect transmission. Integrated software harmoniously collaborates with the hardware, ensuring the signal sent to the DAC or integrated amplifier maintains 100% accuracy. What enters the file in the studio is precisely what emerges from MX-Stream, with no compromise on fidelity.

Versatile Connectivity with Stability: MX-Stream’s hardware brilliance extends to its connectivity options, providing a comprehensive audiophile solution. The device maintains transmission stability by supporting lossless and high-resolution music streaming services, network drives, or hard drives via USB. The wired connection, recommended for its simplicity and stability, reflects the thoughtful hardware choices prioritizing an uninterrupted audio journey.

In essence, the hardware ingenuity within MX-Stream is a testament to Musical Fidelity’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the audiophile realm. Each component is a carefully considered note in a symphony, producing an unparalleled sonic landscape that resonates with the essence of true musical fidelity.

Usability Unveiled: Navigating the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream Experience

Beyond its technical prowess, the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream excels in user-centric design, seamlessly intertwining cutting-edge features with intuitive functionality. This section delves into the user experience, exploring how MX-Stream caters to a spectrum of users, from seasoned audiophiles to those venturing into the digital audio domain for the first time.

User-Friendly Interface: The MX-Stream prides itself on a user interface that balances sophistication and simplicity. Navigating through its settings, connecting to networks, and configuring preferences become endeavors devoid of complexity. The interface, accessible through dedicated mobile applications for iPhone/iPad/Android and web browsers, replaces traditional remote controls with touchscreen ease.

Multi-Audience Appeal: MX-Stream’s usability extends to a diverse audience, aligning with the preferences of different user segments. Traditional audiophiles find solace in its seamless integration with analog systems, bridging their cherished setups and the digital world. Tech-savvy users appreciate the device’s compatibility with various Open Source software, allowing them to exercise their digital prowess.

Effortless Setup: Setting up MX-Stream is hassle-free, ensuring that users can swiftly embark on their audio journeys. Whether connecting via cable to the network or configuring through mobile applications, the device caters to both seasoned users and those less acquainted with intricate electronics. The straightforward setup minimizes potential barriers, fostering an inclusive user environment.

Versatile Playback Options: MX-Stream’s usability shines through its versatility in playback options. Users can seamlessly stream music via Bluetooth, connect to USB/PC for an immersive desktop experience, or explore the device’s compatibility with HDMI for external monitor output. This adaptability accommodates a range of preferences, ensuring that users can tailor their audio experience to suit their needs.

Stability and Wired Connections: Prioritizing stability, MX-Stream recommends a wired connection to the network for a seamless audio transmission experience. This is particularly advantageous in environments with congested Wi-Fi networks, ensuring that the device delivers on its promise of pristine sound quality without interruptions.

Intuitive Third-Party Integration: Recognizing that users often have their preferred applications, MX-Stream seamlessly integrates with third-party apps supporting UPNP network protocol, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Qobuz, and more. This flexibility allows users to maintain their accustomed interfaces, providing a sense of continuity in their music consumption habits.

MX-Stream’s usability is a testament to Musical Fidelity’s commitment to creating an accessible and enjoyable experience for all audiophiles. Its design choices and intuitive features collectively contribute to an audio journey that is both immersive and tailored to individual preferences.

User-Friendly Interface: Navigating Sonic Brilliance with Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream

Central to the allure of the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream is its user-friendly interface, an elegantly designed gateway that beckons both seasoned audiophiles and newcomers to explore the richness of their audio landscapes. Let’s delve into the intricacies of MX-Stream’s interface, unraveling the seamless marriage of sophistication and simplicity that defines its user experience.

Intuitive Navigation: MX-Stream’s interface welcomes users with an intuitive navigation system that guides them effortlessly through settings and configurations. The thoughtful placement of options and a logically structured menu ensure that even those unfamiliar with complex audio setups can easily navigate. The result is a device that empowers users to take control of their audio experience without the intimidation of a steep learning curve.

Touch Screen Harmony: Instead of conventional remote controls, MX-Stream embraces touch screens as the primary mode of interaction. This modernizes the user experience and provides a tactile, responsive interface that connects users more intimately with their music. The touchscreen design aligns with contemporary expectations, making MX-Stream a seamless addition to modern home entertainment setups.

Mobile Applications: MX-Stream extends its user-friendly ethos to dedicated mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. These applications act as command centers, allowing users to control the device with a familiar touch interface. The integration of mobile applications enhances convenience and aligns with the contemporary trend of controlling audio setups through portable devices.

Web Browser Accessibility: For those who prefer the familiarity of web browsers, MX-Stream offers accessibility through computer web browsers. Users can configure settings, change device names, and manage preferences by entering the designated web address. This versatility accommodates a range of user preferences, providing multiple avenues for customization.

Seamless Configuration: Setting up MX-Stream is a seamless process, emphasizing a user-friendly approach to configuration. Whether connecting to the network via cable or configuring preferences through the mobile application or web browser, the device ensures that users can initiate their audio journey without grappling with technical intricacies.

Touch Screens Over Remotes: MX-Stream eliminates the need for traditional remotes, encouraging users to embrace touch screens. This departure from conventional controls aligns with contemporary design trends. It ensures that users can interact with MX-Stream using interfaces they are already accustomed to on their smartphones and tablets.

MX-Stream’s user-friendly interface is a masterful blend of simplicity and sophistication. It transforms the complexities of audiophile setups into an accessible, enjoyable experience, reaffirming Musical Fidelity’s commitment to making high-end audio technology a companion for all enthusiasts, regardless of their technical expertise.

Navigating the Digital Realm: Unraveling Software Challenges and Clever Workarounds with Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream

As with any sophisticated technology, the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream encounters its share of software intricacies. This section delves into the challenges users may face and explores ingenious workarounds that ensure a seamless audio experience, reflecting the delicate balance between cutting-edge technology and the dynamic landscape of software integration.

Third-Party Applications: While the manufacturer’s application is a reliable initial configuration tool, some users may find that third-party applications offer a smoother and more intuitive experience for day-to-day usage. Leveraging apps supporting UPNP network protocol, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, and Qobuz, MX-Stream easily integrates into users’ preferred interfaces, mitigating potential hurdles associated with the manufacturer’s application.

Stability and Third-Party Reliability: Acknowledging that the stability of streaming services can vary, MX-Stream’s compatibility with third-party applications provides a robust alternative. Users can maintain stability and reliability by seamlessly redirecting playback to the device from familiar interfaces like TIDAL or Spotify, ensuring a consistent and glitch-free audio experience without relying solely on the manufacturer’s app.

Software Configuration Limitations: MX-Stream, like any software-dependent device, may exhibit limitations in specific configurations. Users might face challenges logging into their NAS (Synology) servers and occasional quirks in playback time indicators or freezing when changing services may arise. However, these notable challenges can often be mitigated through a strategic combination of third-party applications and patient exploration of the device’s settings.

Manufacturer’s App for Initial Configuration: Despite potential challenges, the manufacturer’s application remains a valuable tool for the initial configuration of MX-Stream. Users can capitalize on its capabilities for setting up preferences, adjusting initial settings, and ensuring the device is synchronized with the specifics of their audio setup. Once configured, users can seamlessly transition to third-party applications for their everyday use.

Embracing Versatility and Flexibility: MX-Stream’s software challenges underscore the importance of versatility and flexibility in the digital audio landscape. Rather than viewing challenges as roadblocks, users can embrace the device’s adaptability, exploring various configurations and applications that align with their preferences and usage patterns.

In essence, MX-Stream’s software challenges offer an opportunity for users to tailor their experience to their liking, exploring many options for an optimal audio journey. By leveraging third-party applications and working around occasional limitations, users can unlock the full potential of MX-Stream, transforming challenges into opportunities for customization and personalization.

Versatile Playback Mastery: Unleashing Audiophilic Delight with Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream

The hallmark of the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream lies in its technical prowess and the breadth of its playback options, offering users a comprehensive and adaptable audio experience. This section delves into the MX-Stream’s prowess in providing versatile playback options, catering to diverse preferences, and ensuring every audiophile finds their perfect symphony.

Bluetooth Brilliance: MX-Stream’s versatility begins with its Bluetooth functionality, enabling users to stream music from various devices seamlessly. This feature extends beyond mere convenience; it transforms MX-Stream into an all-encompassing audio hub, perfect for transitioning between music and other audio sources, such as finishing an audiobook started on a leisurely walk.

USB/PC Integration: MX-Stream leaps into desktop audio, offering a unique and precious function. By connecting a PC, laptop, smartphone, or portable player with a USB output to the MX-Stream’s USB-B input, users experience more than just a connection; they witness a sonic transformation. This functionality not only cleans the signal of electromagnetic pulses but bypasses the built-in digital-to-analog converter and system interferences, delivering a pristine audio signal.

Shairport-Sync for Apple Enthusiasts: For those firmly planted in the Apple ecosystem, MX-Stream introduces Shairport-Sync, allowing users to transmit audio signals via Airplay. This feature seamlessly integrates with the home network, providing Apple enthusiasts a familiar and convenient way to enjoy their music. It’s an ode to compatibility, ensuring that MX-Stream effortlessly aligns with diverse user preferences.

HDMI Output for Visual Harmony: Going beyond the auditory realm, MX-Stream caters to users who seek a visual dimension to their audio experience. The HDMI output allows users to connect the device to an external monitor or TV, creating a multisensory experience. This transforms the MX-Stream into a versatile entertainment center, combining high-fidelity audio with visual elements for a truly immersive encounter.

Playback Options for Every Audiophile: MX-Stream supports playback options for a spectrum of audiophiles, adapting to different interfaces seamlessly. Whether users prefer the familiar interfaces of Spotify, TIDAL, or Qobuz, MX-Stream’s compatibility with these platforms ensures that users can continue their preferred music exploration without disruption.

Roon Integration: For audiophiles seeking the pinnacle of music library management and playback, MX-Stream proudly carries the Roon-Ready certificate. This integration with Roon, known for its impeccable handling of vast music libraries, solidifies MX-Stream’s place in the high-end audio landscape.

USB Connectivity for Wired Prowess: MX-Stream accommodates a direct connection of a mouse and keyboard via USB. This functionality is not just a convenience; it’s a practical solution for users who may lose Wi-Fi access and need an alternative control method. This reinforces MX-Stream’s commitment to adaptability and user-friendly design.

MX-Stream’s versatile playback options transform it from a mere audiophile streamer to a dynamic centerpiece of audio exploration. By catering to different interfaces, connectivity options, and user preferences, MX-Stream ensures that audiophiles of varying tastes can orchestrate their personalized symphony of sounds tailored to their unique preferences and lifestyles.

Stability and Wired Connections: Fortifying Sonic Integrity with Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream

In pursuing audiophilic excellence, the importance of stability in audio transmission cannot be overstated. The Musical Fidelity MX-Stream acknowledges this crucial aspect and elevates it to an art form, prioritizing wired connections to ensure an unyielding foundation for sonic brilliance. This section explores how MX-Stream’s commitment to stability through wired connections reinforces its reputation as a steadfast performer in high-fidelity audio.

Wired Connection Wisdom: MX-Stream advocates for the simplicity and stability of a wired connection, emphasizing that sometimes the most straightforward solutions yield the most robust results. By recommending users to connect the device to the network via an Ethernet cable, MX-Stream circumvents the potential pitfalls of congested Wi-Fi networks, offering a direct and reliable pipeline for audio data.

Ethernet Elegance: The choice of an Ethernet cable is deliberate, as it provides a stable and consistent pathway for data transmission. Unlike Wi-Fi, which can be susceptible to interference and bandwidth contention in crowded network environments, an Ethernet connection ensures that audio data packets reach their destination without loss or delay. MX-Stream’s insistence on this method reflects a commitment to the uncompromised integrity of the audio signal.

Stability in the Face of Network Congestion: In environments with many Wi-Fi networks vying for bandwidth, MX-Stream’s recommendation of a wired connection becomes a strategic move to maintain stability. With 25 neighbors’ Wi-Fi networks potentially creating a digital traffic jam, a cable-connected MX-Stream stands resilient, avoiding packet loss or slowdowns that could compromise the listening experience.

Internet Protocol Precision: MX-Stream’s reliance on Ethernet connections aligns with the precision required for high-fidelity audio. While effective for their respective applications, the protocols used by popular streaming services like Facebook, YouTube, or Netflix differ significantly from those employed to transmit lossless audiophile files. The stability of MX-Stream’s wired connections ensures that the device operates in an environment tailored to the exacting requirements of audiophile-grade transmissions.

Ease of Setup and Local Control: The practical advantages of a wired connection extend beyond stability. For initial setup and local control without internet access, connecting MX-Stream to the home router via an Ethernet cable is straightforward and password-free. This ease of setup ensures that users can swiftly engage with the device, appreciating its audio capabilities without unnecessary complications.

MX-Stream’s dedication to stability through wired connections is a testament to its uncompromising commitment to delivering an audiophile experience of the highest order. By eschewing the potential pitfalls of wireless environments, MX-Stream fortifies its position as a reliable conduit for sonic purity, allowing users to bask in the richness of their music with unwavering confidence.

Functionality and Unique Features: Unveiling the Sonic Tapestry of Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream

The Musical Fidelity MX-Stream isn’t just an audiophile streamer; it’s a masterpiece of functionality, seamlessly blending cutting-edge features with unique capabilities that redefine the audio experience. This section delves into the multifaceted functionality of MX-Stream, exploring the special functions that set it apart in high-fidelity audio.

1. Precision Clock and Jitter Elimination: At the core of MX-Stream’s functionality is its precision clock, a silent guardian that virtually eradicates the jitter problem. This meticulous clockwork ensures the digital signal remains free from unwanted artifacts, delivering a pristine audio experience. MX-Stream’s dedication to minimizing jitter sets it apart, providing audiophiles with a precision that enhances every note’s integrity.

2. Bit-Perfect Transmission: MX-Stream takes the concept of audio fidelity to new heights with its commitment to Bit-Perfect transmission. The integrated software ensures that the signal sent to the DAC or integrated amplifier is a replica of the original, maintaining 100% accuracy. What was meticulously crafted in the studio is faithfully reproduced, offering an authentic listening experience without compromise.

3. Future-Proof Design: MX-Stream stands as a testament to future-proof design in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Its adaptability to Open Source software and compatibility with emerging technologies ensure that users can seamlessly integrate the device into their evolving audio setups. MX-Stream is not just a device for today; it’s a forward-looking companion designed to withstand the test of time.

4. Versatile Connectivity Options: MX-Stream’s functionality extends beyond traditional boundaries with its versatile connectivity options. From Bluetooth for convenient wireless streaming to USB/PC integration for a desktop audio revolution, MX-Stream adapts to diverse user needs. Including Shairport-Sync for Apple enthusiasts and HDMI output for visual harmony adds versatility, transforming MX-Stream into an all-encompassing audio-visual hub.

5. Roon-Ready Certification: For audiophiles seeking the pinnacle of music library management and playback, MX-Stream proudly carries the Roon-Ready certificate. This integration with Roon, known for its exceptional handling of extensive music libraries, elevates MX-Stream to the highest echelons of audio excellence. Users can enjoy a seamlessly curated music experience with Roon’s advanced features.

6. Seamless Third-Party Integration: MX-Stream embraces flexibility with its seamless integration with third-party applications. While the manufacturer’s app serves for initial configuration, users can effortlessly transition to their preferred interfaces like Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, and more. This flexibility ensures that MX-Stream aligns with diverse user preferences, providing a tailored and familiar interface for daily use.

7. USB Connectivity for Diverse Usage: MX-Stream goes beyond conventional audio streaming by offering USB connectivity for peripherals. Users can connect a mouse and keyboard directly to MX-Stream, expanding its functionality beyond audio control. This feature becomes especially handy when Wi-Fi access is lost, showcasing MX-Stream’s adaptability in various usage scenarios.

In essence, MX-Stream’s functionality transcends the ordinary, weaving a rich tapestry of features that cater to the nuanced needs of audiophiles. Its unique functions elevate the listening experience and position MX-Stream as a dynamic and future-ready companion in the ever-evolving landscape of high-fidelity audio.

Conclusion: A Sonic Odyssey with Musical Fidelity’s MX-Stream

In the symphony of high-fidelity audio, the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream emerges as a virtuoso, harmonizing technical brilliance with user-centric design. Its functionality, adorned with a precision clock and Bit-Perfect transmission, sets a new standard for sonic purity. The MX-Stream’s future-proof design ensures it remains a stalwart companion in the ever-evolving digital audio landscape, seamlessly adapting to Open Source software and emerging technologies. From Bluetooth convenience to Roon-Ready certification, MX-Stream navigates the realms of versatility, offering audiophiles an unparalleled audio journey.

This audio masterpiece excels in delivering pristine sound and stands as a beacon of adaptability. Wired connections fortify stability, ensuring a steadfast audio transmission even in congested network environments. MX-Stream’s unique functions, from USB connectivity to seamless third-party integration, create a tailored experience for every audiophile. As the crescendo of technology advances, MX-Stream stands unwavering, an emblem of innovation and sonic excellence. In high-fidelity audio, the MX-Stream isn’t just a device; it’s an invitation to embark on a transcendent sonic odyssey.

Reasons to Consider the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream:

  1. Unparalleled Sonic Fidelity: The MX-Stream’s commitment to a precision clock, Bit-Perfect transmission, and jitter elimination ensures an audio experience of exceptional clarity and authenticity. Audiophiles seeking uncompromised sound quality will find the MX-Stream a true sonic maestro.
  2. Future-Ready Design: With compatibility with Open Source software and a Roon-Ready certification, the MX-Stream proves itself as a future-proof investment. Its adaptability to emerging technologies ensures that it remains relevant and cutting-edge in the dynamic landscape of digital audio.
  3. Versatility in Connectivity: From Bluetooth convenience for wireless streaming to USB/PC integration for desktop audio, the MX-Stream offers diverse connectivity options. Whether you prefer traditional interfaces or cutting-edge technologies, MX-Stream accommodates a variety of usage scenarios.
  4. Stability through Wired Connections: Wired connections, recommended for stability, set MX-Stream apart in congested network environments. Its Ethernet elegance ensures a consistent and reliable audio transmission, especially beneficial in areas with numerous Wi-Fi networks competing for bandwidth.
  5. Seamless Third-Party Integration: MX-Stream’s flexibility extends to third-party applications, allowing users to transition effortlessly from the manufacturer’s app to familiar interfaces like Spotify Connect and TIDAL Connect. This integration provides a tailored and user-friendly experience.

Considerations for Potential Buyers:

  1. Complexity for Novice Users: The MX-Stream’s array of features and settings might be overwhelming for those new to high-fidelity audio. Novice users might find a steeper learning curve, and consideration of their comfort level with advanced audio technology is advised.
  2. Price Point: While the MX-Stream offers various advanced features, its premium quality comes at a corresponding price. Potential buyers should evaluate their budget and consider whether the extensive capabilities of the MX-Stream align with their specific audio needs.
  3. Software Challenges: Users should be aware of potential software challenges, such as difficulties in logging into NAS servers or occasional quirks in playback indicators. While workarounds exist, individuals with specific software preferences or requirements should consider the device’s compatibility with their existing setup.

In conclusion, purchasing the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream hinges on individual preferences, technical aptitude, and budget considerations. For audiophiles seeking an unparalleled sonic journey and embracing advanced features, the MX-Stream is a compelling choice. However, those seeking a more straightforward setup or constrained by budget may find alternative options more suitable.