Turntable of the Year under $7500
The Music Hall mmf 1.5 is a three-speed (33⅓, 45 and 78rpm), belt-driven turntable — with dustcover — that comes complete with a tonearm into which has been preinstalled a ‘Melody’ moving-magnet phono cartridge. And it also has a built-in phono preamplifier, so the mmf1.5 can be connected directly to the line input of any amplifier… quite handy given that in recent years not a few amplifier manufacturers have done away with phono inputs on their products (though most are now rushing to put them back again!).
If you don’t think there’s anything at all remarkable about the previous paragraph, it’s because you haven’t peeked at the recommended retail price of the Musical Hall mmf 1.5. No need to peek; we’ll tell you. You’ll get change from six hundred bucks.
Why do we think that’s remarkable? Because we have reviewed a great many turntables whose dustcover is an optional extra that will set you back around $100. And most turntables don’t have a phono preamplifier built in, so if you need one, you’ll be up for anything from $150 for a basic no-frills model, to... well, see our phono stage awards for more on phono preamplifiers.
Then there’s the cartridge that comes supplied with the mmf 1.5. The Melody is made especially for Music Hall by audio-technica, whose most popular low-cost cartridge is the AT-95, which usually retails for around $80. So if you had to buy a dustcover, a preamp and a cartridge, you’d be up for $330, which is already more than half what Music Hall is asking for its mmf 1.5, with which all three come as standard.
And check the finish! — most budget turntables look like budget turntables, whereas Music Hall has made the mmf 1.5 as flash as possible, from its high-gloss cherry-wood veneered finish and nicely engineered S-shaped tonearm (which has a removable headshell) to its high-quality hinged Perspex dustcover. And it has a high-quality heavy-duty rubber platter mat, not your flimsy felt.
The sound it delivered was also excellent for the price, presenting admirable detail, good channel separation and excellent frequency extension in both the bass and the treble. It also tracks remarkably well… if noticeably less so on the innermost tracks of an LP.
For getting back to the black stuff, to hear the way vinyl can deliver ‘mood’ better than digital, we salute this $599 exceptional-value performer, which also looks exceptionally good into the bargain. More info: www.convoy.com.au
JUDGES’ COMMENT “For getting back to the black stuff, to hear the way vinyl can deliver ‘mood’ better than digital, we salute this exceptional-value performer.”
Convoy International’s Steve Burton collects the Award for Music Hall.