MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

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angelface
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MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:18 am

Finally after months waiting to visit UK I have finally plugged my Music First Baby version 2 with 31 step volume control and only XLR connections into my system. I got this due to some over ambitious best offer bids on eBay. The guy wanted 1700 quid so I made an offer of 1000 quid and he refused it. I then made my final offer of 1100 quid and much to my surprise he accepted the offer. This is not the baby reference but is similar to Classic V2 now available except it has 31 steps of Reference but only one input/output.

I like my BC pre a lot and it made my DAC3.7 sound better than the DAC controlling the volume (Digital) so with some trepidation I plugged it in.

I have now been listening to MF for 3 days with plenty of swapping with old pre. For information my source is CDSE2 transport with PSX-R with Mono X power amps into Wilson Benesch Arcs.

MF seems to be more detailed and natural. The dynamics and separation seem better too. I do find the low bass a bit too much on some tracks though.

The BC seems fuzzy in comparison with a bit more upper bass. Please understand this is relative; it is still an excellent pre-amp with a very low noise floor. The XLR connections are really tight and precise compared with the MF too.

I have a long way to go and I want to do a blind test with my wife (especially screecy violins!) but I am pleased with the new bit so far.
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby callen24 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:37 pm

this is the pre i have, but labelled stevens and billington

i paid £940, sold my copper classic because this sounded better. even at £1100 i think it is worth it.
i have two outputs, 2 inputs. one of each in XLR and RCA.

How much volume are you using in normal volume i.e. 9 o'clock , 12 o'clock?

is yours silver?

i think what you are describing is why some of us like mfa, but not other people's cup of tea
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, mfa Baby classicV2, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, AT95e/paratrace, Clearaudio nano, Project RCM

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby hifinutt » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:58 pm

i remember when caine lent me his lovely vbs pre 3 and i remember thinking this is as good as the mfa mark 2 silver . i guess its down to facilities like the pre 3 has a remote and much more control over volume with 200 steps . i currently use my bc dac as a volume control in the evenings due to this fine control . the modwright remote is not so precise and not so easy to get volume ok . i rely on remotes as as you know adverts get louder on classic fm and i get complaints from my beloved !!

keep us posted on your experiences
modwright 36.5 dual mono
msb s200 power amp
bel canto 3.5vbs/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd /Marantz sacd, sigmas conditioning
proac studio 125, cabling
rfc /chord epic //Townshend /acoustic zen

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:27 am

hifinutt wrote: i currently use my bc dac as a volume control in the evenings due to this fine control . the modwright remote is not so precise and not so easy to get volume ok . i rely on remotes as as you know adverts get louder on classic fm and i get complaints from my beloved !!


Do you want to buy it now or wait until you need to sell your modwright?
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:29 am

callen24 wrote:How much volume are you using in normal volume i.e. 9 o'clock , 12 o'clock?

is yours silver?


I think mine is black (copper wired!)

Volume control goes between 8 and 4 and I have it between 12 and 1 o'clock
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:32 am

Last night my wife came upstairs for a listen.

We started with a recording of Vivaldi's Gloria. She preferred the first movement with BC but the third with MF. She finds the strings too bright and the MF makes it worse. We tried the duet (3rd movement) and she much preferred the MF.

I then played some London Grammar and she thought it was wonderful with the MF.

Testing continues..
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby hifinutt » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:22 pm

angelface wrote:
hifinutt wrote: i currently use my bc dac as a volume control in the evenings due to this fine control . the modwright remote is not so precise and not so easy to get volume ok . i rely on remotes as as you know adverts get louder on classic fm and i get complaints from my beloved !!


Do you want to buy it now or wait until you need to sell your modwright?


ha thanks stephen , i have managed to hold on to after a very tight financial period and its really really good so would be crazy to sell the modwright. it has a certain rightness in its sound . if i had to downsize , it would be that puresound L10 which has now been sold . i should start improving finances very soon and can upgrade speakers again. the proac 125 are delightful in midrange but not quite as good as some in the treble [but then what do you expect for 300 quid !!! they are an amazing bargain]

looking forward to your thoughts
modwright 36.5 dual mono
msb s200 power amp
bel canto 3.5vbs/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd /Marantz sacd, sigmas conditioning
proac studio 125, cabling
rfc /chord epic //Townshend /acoustic zen

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:37 am

I see there is one of these for sale in the private ads (v2 but with multiple inputs).
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby callen24 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:26 pm

As you've raised this in the past I wonder whether you have considered the violin issue a characteristic of your speakers, or the recording you use?
Last edited by callen24 on Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, mfa Baby classicV2, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, AT95e/paratrace, Clearaudio nano, Project RCM

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby MiniCoupeman » Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:37 pm

Got Hi Fi News today ( a couple of days ahead of publication) and there are two MF pres in the classified.

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby hifinutt » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:32 pm

ooh well spotted
modwright 36.5 dual mono
msb s200 power amp
bel canto 3.5vbs/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd /Marantz sacd, sigmas conditioning
proac studio 125, cabling
rfc /chord epic //Townshend /acoustic zen

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:32 am

callen24 wrote:As you've raised this in the past I wonder whether you have considered the violin issue a characteristic of your speakers, or the recording you use?


I think there are several possibilities

1) I listen mainly to rock so my system may not be great for classical. The brightness of my front end with the brightness of the speakers is countered a bit by the warmth of the power amps
2) Violins are screechy and although my wife played the violin she has somehow forgotten
3) It is just a bad recording. Certainly some CDs are better than others however generally as my system has improved bad recordings often sound better too.
4) I just need to buy one more expensive component to reach Audio Nivana ;) I think the MF is staying but it certainly doesn't make my system perfect
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby callen24 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:10 am

x300, and all cyrus seem to go well with mfa. the jump from mono x to x300 felt very similar to going from 2 smarties in mono , to mono x. just more of the same, in every dept
cyrus stream X2, CDi, Oppo HA-1SE, IMFs, mfa Baby classicV2, Mono X300,  VA Beethoven Baby Grand
ML binarystar digital, DenchXLR, RFCneptune RCA, VanDamme OFC spk cable. AG 500 ac regenerator and Townsend Seismic sink stand.
rega P3-24, psu, AT95e/paratrace, Clearaudio nano, Project RCM

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby hifinutt » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:44 am

angelface wrote:
callen24 wrote:As you've raised this in the past I wonder whether you have considered the violin issue a characteristic of your speakers, or the recording you use?


I think there are several possibilities

1) I listen mainly to rock so my system may not be great for classical. The brightness of my front end with the brightness of the speakers is countered a bit by the warmth of the power amps
2) Violins are screechy and although my wife played the violin she has somehow forgotten
3) It is just a bad recording. Certainly some CDs are better than others however generally as my system has improved bad recordings often sound better too.
4) I just need to buy one more expensive component to reach Audio Nivana ;) I think the MF is staying but it certainly doesn't make my system perfect


may i say that putting a valve pre amp like that bargain modwright 9.0 se would be a total cure for screechy violins . they have a wonderful midrange and while i adore mfa , they have a different presentaion to mfa
modwright 36.5 dual mono
msb s200 power amp
bel canto 3.5vbs/vbs1 FM1 tuner
onkyo sacd /Marantz sacd, sigmas conditioning
proac studio 125, cabling
rfc /chord epic //Townshend /acoustic zen

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Re: MF Baby v2 versus Bel Canto Pre3VBS

Postby angelface » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:58 pm

Problem is although I am sure a valve pre would solve my screechy violins, I absolutely love the sound with most of the music I listen to often particularly female vocals. London Grammar is wonderful 8) Evenscene sound good too. Rock such as Def Lepard and Muse sound better.
CDXTSE2/PSX-R(Nordost Silver Line)BC DAC3.7VB(Atlas Navigator)MF Baby Mk2(Atlas Navigator)2xMonoX(Coherent 4D)WB Arc
HUMAX Freesat+/Sony BDPS280>AVMaster8 and SP+>Spendor C5e>> Monitor Audio RXW12 sub>>4xSpendor SR5