May 31, 2024

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Review: Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 Musical Fidelity

Review: Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 Musical Fidelity

Obviously you don't buy a pre-amp like Musical Fidelity's Nu-Vista Vinyl 2. It is a device for true vinyl enthusiasts and is priced at €10,990, which might be the ultimate purchase for them. It also remains a subwoofer; It therefore fits into a broader system that may also consist of higher-order components. You wouldn't put a €500 record player on this thing.

A Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 owner discovers a device that meshes with his love of vinyl. You can of course use it with a single tone arm turntable, but everything is supplied to suit more complex systems. This is actually demonstrated by the presence of four separate inputs: two pairs of harness pairs for unbalanced cables, and two pairs of XLR for balanced connections. So you can easily connect multiple record players to this amplifier. Or turntables with multiple tones and cartridges.

The Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 fits into Musical Fidelity's upscale Nu-Vista line. This has been around for some time, but we are talking about a device that belongs to the latest generation. After all, Musical Fidelity some time ago acquired Audio Tuning (Pro-Ject's parent company) and has been systematically revamping its product lines. With great respect for the past and with a respected MF developer (Simon Quarry) behind the drawing board. This device is produced in Slovakia, and Audio Tuning continues to focus on production in Europe.

“Heroic build quality”

The relationship with other new Nu-Vista devices is so strong, you'll notice it right away. Accommodation is very special, at least for us. In the past we've visited the Nu-Vista 800.2 integrated amplifier and Nu-Vista DAC. The Vinyl 2 sleeve is almost identical to those.

In tactile terms, this means: It's amazingly made of solid aluminium, with a beautiful front panel that curves inward at the top and bottom. But it's not just the front that has a high-quality finish, the entire device is solidly built. You can easily determine the thickness of the top panel yourself because you can look at the device through some of the recesses with mesh.

The Nu-Vista Vinyl 2, like other models from the Musical Fidelity line, is available in black or brushed silver. You can save a lot of space for it. With a width of 48 cm and a depth of 51 cm, the device really has plenty of space. This is not a phono subwoofer that you can simply place on a hi-fi rack or on a piece of furniture. Once again a clear indication that this device belongs to a sophisticated system that can be parked in a separate listening room.

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The manufacturer provides you with the best-fitting screws and feet. Musical Fidelity themselves talk about “heroic” build quality, with what sounds like a marketing department that has had too much coffee. However, they are not wrong; You also have to be heroic to lift this 22kg speaker out of the box (but it's still easier than the 41kg of the 800.2!).

Why screen?

In the middle is a large white OLED display, with large rotary buttons on the left and right. You may be wondering why the display is on a phono amplifier? It's not quite typical of an analog device. In this case, it turns out to be a clever addition rather than a gimmick. With the Nu-Vista Vinyl 2, you don't have to fiddle with dip switches or other clumsy switches to properly set the device for a specific cartridge. You can do this here through the on-screen menu. This fits the profile of a user who likes to really try different items.

There's also a surprisingly sturdy remote with Vinyl 2. It's the same remote made from a single piece of aluminum as the other Nu-Vistas, but with modified switches. This allows you to increase or decrease the gain (and you also have extreme options) and load while listening. Or turn on the subsonic speed filter in three steps.

Not just Rhea

True vinyl collectors sometimes come across records that use a different formula. They also thought about that in Musical Fidelity. You can replace a standard RIAA curve with one from Columbia or Decca via the on-screen menu or remote control. It's interesting to do something with an album that has an RIAA curve, and you'll immediately hear how different but very popular equalization curves sound. As we listen to Random Access Memories and try out the three options, we can imagine that some people are intentionally choosing the wrong EQ curve.

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On the plus side for record player collectors, Vinyl 2 remembers all cartridge settings and curve selection for each input. This way you can easily switch between different turntables. After that, you may no longer need the information on the screen, in which case you can dim it to an almost invisible degree.

Novistor power

The way you can adjust settings using the remote and the appearance aren't the only reasons why a demanding listener will choose the Nu-Vista Vinyl 2. Perhaps the most important reason is internal – which explains the Nu-Vista name. After all, this is a discretely designed balanced Class A amplifier with a tube stage based on eight Nuvistor 7586 tubes. These are not mid-tubes as you might imagine. Nuvistors were technologically the latest step in tube technology, developed when (and let's be honest: much more convenient) solid-state solutions were already on the rise.

Novistors certainly add something in terms of timbre, but in a very modest way compared to classic triode tubes. The rest of the Vinyl 2's architecture is also impressive, for example, the expensive passive EQ section. The main point of interest (just as with other Nu-Vista devices) is the power supply. In addition to the large toroidal transformer, the device is equipped with wide-band power filters, including DC interference. You'll notice this too, because the device is completely silent between songs. The low s/n ratio is also important for reproducing the smallest details captured by a low-output MC cartridge.

Vinyl heaven

We've put “Il Viaggio” from the MC9 cartridge on X2 B, the new album by Melanie Di Biasio released in the fall. It has become a distinctive work, in which the Belgian artist searches for her Italian roots and translates them into songs that feel very personal. Vinyl 2 manages to convey this successfully. For example, the phrase “I never kneel to pray” resonates in the exam room in a very endearing way. Di Biasio mumbles more than she sings, as carefully as if she were standing in a wide churchyard – which, of course, is exactly the point. It's impressive: all aspects of this beautiful recording by the Belgian jazz singer are revealed by Nu-Vista Vinyl 2, and it's a rich and deeply satisfying experience. We were able to experience De Biasio live in Brussels at the end of last year, but this vinyl version is no less good. It may be very simple in terms of configuration, but in this system musical fidelity ensures that we can really hear the size of the room. There's also a lot of fine detail that can quickly disappear into the background with a different composition. The harmonic sounds of the piano, the soft flute, and especially the whistles of birds echoing away in the background… we serve them all.

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Tracks from the listening portion like the product from the Marantz reference album are also performed strongly. Musical sincerity strives for absolute authenticity; There's less coloration and more neutrality than you might expect when you hear the word “tubes.” Perhaps the most powerful thing about Vinyl 2 is that – if the turntable and cartridge are set up correctly – it quickly makes you realize that records can deliver incredible quality and experience. Better than streaming? Well, we're not going to have that discussion (technically no discussion is actually possible), but with this device and the other right parts, you won't be tempted to bother with those kinds of comparisons.

Conclusion

Buying a subwoofer for more than 10,000 euros is not a bad thing, of course. You can say the same about its footprint. But you get a great device that gets the most out of your vinyl. The complete absence of noise, thanks to the advanced power supply, and the smooth, organic sound of the nuvistor stage makes the Nu-Vista Vinyl 2 a speaker that will make your vinyl collection sound its highest quality.

Add to that extensive modulation options that you can tune from the comfort of your couch, and you're talking about an amp that won't miss a beat and will please even the most discriminating vinyl players. One for the happy few, no doubt, but we have no doubt they will be truly happy.