Musical Fidelity MF100 Review. The MF100 are semi-open back portable headphones designed to deliver a pristine flat sonic signature for your iOS and Android smartphones. Their fold up for portability and are very lightweight.
The proud British Hi-Fi manufacturer, Musical Fidelity, is a brand that we are very familiar with here at The Pro Audio Web Blog. Having previously presented us with their industrial looking audiophile EB-50 earphones, we were blown away with how pure and slick they sounded for an unbeatable price.
Building upon the legend of the EB-50 earphones, Musical Fidelity have announced two sister models; the EB-33’s, and the MF-100’s. However, today we will be reviewing the MF-100’s as they are Musical Fidelity’s first closed-back over ear headphone design. Certainly if you are someone who enjoyed the EB-50’s, then there is no shadow of a doubt that you will want the MF-100’s after this review.
Unboxing, Extras, and Build Quality:
With sparse angelic packaging, Musical Fidelity has employed a clever state of visual minimalism to represent the type of [pure] sonic performance that you are to expect from the MF-100’s. Unfortunately this state of anticipation continues to build alongside frustration, as this tomb is one that does not want to be opened. Perseverance is certainly necessary, unlike a sharp object. Turning to such an aggressive implement will surely damage the gold dust inside, so let that be a gentle reminder.
Following the possible breakage of a fingernail, you are greeted with a luscious black interior that literally flows like velvet. Thanks to the inclusion of a super slick black [velvet] carry case, an alternate pair of short-pile velvet ear-pieces to the leatherette ones installed, and a silver 3.5mm to ¼ inch jack, Musical Fidelity have put together an entirely relevant regal package for the modern consumer that screams quality like no other. Actually the MF-100’s themselves look stunning as well. A true feat of engineering excellence, Musical Fidelity have outdone themselves with producing a set of earphones that not only sound great, but also look a million dollars, are lightweight, and are as functional as most on-the-go headphones can be.
Alongside a modest user-adaptable length of headband, the MF-100 design allows for the driver housings to have a 90-degree horizontal tilt, and a 45-degree vertical tilt, that easily accommodates most head, or ear, shapes. But of course, if you would like to change the ear-pads then Musical Fidelity have made this easy for you by making an inconspicuous lip between the ear-pads and driver housing. All-in-all it took us just under a minute to change both sides, and we felt that for glasses wearing users, you would probably prefer the ‘velvet’ pair because they are a bit more gentle, but please be aware that if you are planning to convert to the ‘velvet’ ear-pads then they can get a touch sweaty. This entirely depends on the environment that you plan to use the MF-100’s in, but is still notable.
As previously mentioned, in every sense of the word Musical Fidelity has nailed the aesthetics. The MF-100 design is ultra contemporary and practical thanks to a folding mechanism, in-line iDevice control, and ridged cable that grips to external garments. You will also find that their ultra low profile that the MF-100’s will look gorgeous on almost any ones head.
As we have one bone to pick, our immediate concern is with the 1mm wide cable that travels from the headband to the ear-cups. It is totally unprotected, and we know that this can be a deadly weak link. In the wrong hands, or dropped, this vulnerability can become a time bomb, so please treat them well and they will last you a good stretch of time. Other than this we might suggest that the MF-100’s can feel a little hard on the head. Typically we have only experienced this when wearing glasses and the velvet ear-pads do help to alleviate this. During extended periods of listening you might feel that if you have larger ears that you might experience some discomfort.
Reporting to have a 20Hz-20kHz frequency response, the MF-100’s sound sharp and detailed. Not too dissimilar to the sonic signature of their successful EB-50 sister, the MF-100’s will suit an audiophile perfectly. Musical Fidelity has not reinvented the wheel here, because they don’t need to. Their sound is articulate, not so warm, and responds to transients well. You don’t have such a big bold bass that you might associate with other manufacturers, but you are rewarded with a realistic sound that still has power. Kick drums cut across clear, and the sweetness of the upper-mids and into the treble allows finer instruments to flourish. This being said, the tone is nicely saturated with crystal clear highs, a fluid mid-range that sits there being patient for it’s que, and a bass that never misses a beat.
With the wrong equipment, or if used with lossy formats, the treble on the MF-100’s can venture past safety and become sibilant. If this is such a problem we have noticed that they do respond well to equalisation from quality apps like SoundForge’s ‘Equaliser’ without loosing their unique signature.
When listening to classical genres, the MF-100’s treat the broad range of instrumentation with style and substance. Leading to a sound space that sounds open and airy, you are treated to a realistic performance with a stereo image that is highly desirable. This image does not sound stuck to your head, nor thrown, because it sounds realistic. All of these qualities listed amalgamate as one complete unit to produce a set of headphones that translate well across a wide variety of genres; the only exception being ‘heavier’ rock, where the wash of harmonic distortion can feel harsh amongst crystal clear replication. Other than this the MF-100’s are one of the modern greats, and we have thoroughly enjoyed their sonic performance.
There is nothing more to say, we love the MF-100’s for being a brilliant set of headphones that will satisfy the most discerning ‘on-the-go’ audiophile with the added bonus of looking beautiful, and coming with some excellent added extras. The Pro Audio Web Blog awards the Musical Fidelity MF-100’s with a full five star rating.