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To drive my Heresys...


Stainz
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Early impressions of Musical Paradise MP301 Mk3:  Right off,  the MP301 was well packed, double boxed, tubes packed in a foam surround.  The power tubes were 6L6 Chinese generic, and the preamp tubes were Chinese Shuguang branded.   What immediately surprised me was that my Cornwalls got loud with just a slight twist of the volume control, and that's in a rather large room with 12' ceilings.  Vinyl sounded especially smooth and pleasant through my Black Cube phono preamp.  Some of my CD's had a hint of harshness.  First thing I did was replace the Chinese preamp tubes with some vintage NOS RCA black 6SJ7's.   I decided to try the reissue Mullard EL34 power tubes to replace the Chinese 6L6's.  This improved the treble on CD's; however, I needed more smoothness and warmth.  After spending gobs of time reading reviews and forums, I decided to go with the Russian Tung-Sol 7581A power tubes which took this amp to where I wanted to be sound wise.   Smooth midrange and bass with clean, clear highs.  This is a fun little amp which I expect will only get better with time.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

My latest addition to my MP-301 MK3 & Heresy? A JBL SUB 550P sub-woofer!

 

I ran a 10 kilohm resistor from each speaker hot (red) to a junction of a female RCA phono jack center and a 1 kilOhm resistor, the other end of that resistor passing through the female RCA phono jack's ground lug and then to the nearest speaker return (black) terminal. Quarter Watt metal film resistors are fine. Make certain your soldered connections are good, your speaker binding posts are tight, and your speaker leads, now terminated in banana plugs, are inserted all of the way. What you have is an attenuated speaker-level L+R  signal. You'll need a sub with line level unfiltered L+R input - like mine. I set my sub's Low Pass Filter to ~60 Hz, level at min, and connected my sub to the female RCA jack hanging off my amp (Yes, in a proper box with proper  connectors would be better... this was faster and easier.).

 

The low bass is there now! Careful in adjusting the level, lest you want to sound like a boom box... This was made possible by the $600 list sub being sale priced at $189 earlier this fall from Amazon Prime.

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Interesting to hear all these impressions, I'm still after the right way to do tubes and this sounds tempting.

 

How does it hold up with busy music? I'm thinking of larger big bands for example. I've tried both an extremely low budget tube amp and tube preamp and both times found that while they could do well with single instruments, they would smush the sound together a bit when there was some commotion. I use an Emotiva amp right now and am after something that can be a suitable stand-in for it as needed.

 

For those of us who wouldn't want to mod it, would it be detrimental to the sound to feed it with a solid state preamp to keep a subwoofer in the mix?

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I tried the EL34B's I ordered with it and ended up putting the OEM 6P3P's, ~6L6G, back in. I also tried the NOS RCA 6SJ7's in and left them as they looked neater and I couldn't tell any difference in sound.

 

My sole source is a CD player - a SS Onkyo C-7030 - so, no, I wouldn't think a SS preamp with a L+R sub output after the volume control, would matter. As far as 'busy' sounds from large bands, I have listened to Loreena McKennitt's "Nights from the Alhambra"; Paul Simon's "Graceland" (First release - before all of the compression!);  and Herbert von Karajan conducting Tchaikovsky with the Berliner Philharmoniker. over both my 50 Wpc Emotiva A-100 BasX the finest 'sounding' amplifier I had heard - before getting the tube amp - and the tube amp. Some instruments sound as if hanging in space with the SS amp - even more do with the vacuum tube amp! I still don't understand how they can sound different.

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  • 7 months later...
I pulled my mini review from the Canuck Audio Mart Forums to post here. I really enjoy this amp with my Klipsch Heresy 1's. 
 
 
Two weeks ago I received my Musical Paradise MP-301 Integrated Amplifier and I am very happy with my purchase. 

I just wanted to write a quick post about my impressions and leave some room for others who recently bought this same amplifier to leave some thoughts. The MP-301 seems to be a Modern Classic and is well loved here on Canuck Audio Mart I think due to it being designed in Canada and having a bit of a following that way. I live here in Edmonton and that seems to be even more true as Gary the owner of Musical Paradise lives here and is a member of the local HiFi club. 

The MP-301 has been out for a while now but these impressions are from the Current Version: MP-301 MKIII 2018 Deluxe Version.

First of all this amplifier arrived quickly from China after it left the factory, but that was weeks after I paid for it and about a month before I decided to purchase the amplifier, let me explain. 

On April 5th, I emailed Garry to ask if he had a sign up or an automated email notification setup for when the new version of the amplifier became available as the MP-301 was currently sold out in all forms as it was being revamped and the factory was not currently producing the MP-301. 

The email response was short and abrupt telling me to check back at the website closer to the end of the month. 

I looked on April 17th, to see that the MP-301 was listed for sale in it latest and updated form. I purchased the amplifier only to receive an email that stated again briefly and without any ceremony that I should not expect the amplifier to ship until the end of the month as the amplifier was currently not being produced. 

I accepted this. I thought of cancelling my order since I was a bit put off by the communication style that Musical Paradise used to talk to me with but I also am assuming that this is a pet project of an already busy man with a day job who is making inexpensive and widely lauded tube amplifiers and other Hi-Fi devices, who is hopefully better at designing circuits that interacting with his customers. 

The amplifier shipped from China on April 30th and arrived on May 2nd, exactly as Gary said it would... so what can I say? He delivered and I can excuse Musical Paradise for what I perceived as being curt, for being efficient as he delivered on the schedule that he promised on April 5th. 

So kudos, thanks for keeping your promise. 

The amplifier arrived in good condition, double boxed, clearly marked "Fragile", and with plastic corner pieces. This package could have easily survived a trip around the world and I suppose that was what was intended. 

The amplifier is sturdy, has clean lines and a great fit and finish. This was one of the things I was worried about but I shouldn't have. This amplifier is well assembled and well finished. It looks great. I have no complains on fit and finish. 

Now to sound. I have a pair of Klipsch 1977 Heresy Speakers that I bought this amplifier to pair up with and it is certainly a better fit for these speaker than the Rega Brio (2017) that I was previously using. The Klipsch Heresy Speakers came to life.

Some highlights: 
- wide soundstage
- brought forth as much bass as to be expected from the Heresy Speakers 
- oodles of detail in comparison to my Rega Brio (2017)
- no audible hum from even these very efficient horn speakers 
- excellent tone and extension 
- it made some of my music sound new again, and I heard detail in a way that I hadn't before on the Heresy Speakers in particular 
- what jumped out at me initially and stuck with me was the way this amplifier sounds so natural, especially with the vocals

I also connected the MP-301 to my Focal 705V bookshelf speakers that I have. These speakers gave off a lot more enjoyable sound with the MP-301 as opposed to the Rega Brio, I especially noticed more natural sounding mids, deeper detail retrieval and more firm and quick control of the base (which I did not expect) (and again needless to say these are bookshelf speakers so the quantity of the base was restricted by this fact as well). 

The next thing I did was take some advice from the forums and bought some Tung-Sol 7581A, this really changed things for me. I had read that these tubes paired with the MP-301 are detailed, neutral and can make quiet listening/near-field listening much more enjoyable. This all happened and transformed this amplifier to something that took my breath away with its convincing realism, tone and detail retrieval. I am speechless and I am looking forward to many enjoyable musical experiences with this amplifier. Who knew you could get so much excellent sound for so little money... and I thought that the Rega Brio was a great deal... 

Another thing I did the other day was some headphone listening. I used my Mr. Speakers Aeon Closed Backed headphones and I was blown away by how they sounded with the MP-301. The headphones were driven with authority and sounded the best that I have heard them. I typically use my Chord Mojo with these headphones, and during the testing I compared them side-by -side using the Chord Mojo as a DAC into the MP-301 to try and only test the MP-301 as best that I could. The MP-301 clearly did a better job and I got a better grip on the base, more detail and extended highs from the MP-301 versus only using the Chord Mojo. 

I am currently listening to this amplifier and enjoying it greatly. 

The amplifier is running the Tung-Sol 7581A's that I previously mentioned along with NOS RCA Black Metal 6SJ7 that shipped from Musical Paradise with the amplifier. The first tubes which I deemed to potentially be lacking were the EL34s that are an option on the Musical Paradise website (EL34-B 'Electron Tube' MADE IN CHINA), only a $5 upcharge but probably not worth it now that I hear the Tung-Sols... but I digress. 

If you are thinking about buying this amplifier I would say go for it, so long as you understand its limitations being a tube amplifier with only ~6.5 Watts depending on tubes. This amplifier in my mind represents excellent value for money. 

Thank you Musical Paradise ! ! ! ! ! :D :D :D :D :D :D


 

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Edited by Canuck
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Canuck, I am glad you are enjoying your new MP-301 with your '77 H1's. As I said earlier, I have the same amp & speakers, along with a JBL SUB 550P sub-woofer set @ 60 Hz. I did swap the 6P3P outputs for the EL34B's that came with the amp, when one channel developed a sporadic static/hiss (Gas?). It still has a pair of NOS RCA 6SJ7's. I elected to get another pair of them from my surplus tube supplier as well as a pair of NOS RCA 6L6Y's (Mil-Spec 6L6's - packed 7/55!), all pretty black metal tubes - ~$39 shipped for the four. I did blow the OEM fuses - 1.6A SB. Garry said they were for 220/240 Vac - get 2A SB - which I did - no more blown fuses! BTW, my simple L+R sub-woofer output and that JBL acoustic suspension sub extend the bass below 55 Hz for the H1's. Of course it's not a VT sub... Heresy approaches a Cornwall!

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Nice write-up Canuck.  This echoes much of my experience as well.   I've had the MP-301 for over a year now, and continue to enjoy it's lively sound.  Right now, it is utilized in a bedroom system connected to an Arcam MCD cd player, Morrow cables, and Klipsch Forte I speakers.  Wonderful way to fall asleep.  I couldn't resist trying the Shuguang KT-88 tubes found for a good deal on eBay.  Full soundstage, very good bass, and clarity.   Tube rolling is part of the fun in owning this little amp.   

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