Musical Paradise MP-301 Mk3

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews & Opinions' started by Kneedeepinit, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Kneedeepinit

    Kneedeepinit Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    Location:
    calgary alberta
    the pictures looked so nice and the reviews were so positive that I bought one of the MP 301 MK3 amps. I was a little leery of the low power but I have a set of sensitive speakers so I figured it might work.

    6.5 watts is not a lot of power for my musical tastes which is progressive rock and 1st Wave 80-90's alternative. I also listen to modern Christian music but most of it is so horribly recorded that I struggle to listen to it when I am not in a noisy car.

    I spoke to the owner in person and he suggested the correct tube set which is the 6L6. The package arrived 2 days later via expedited mail but I was gone to the cabin for the last 4 days. I got home tonight in eager anticipation.

    First impression is that the box was a lot heavier than I thought it would be. The unit is not that big but weighs a ton. I have shipped a few things and thought I was pretty careful but these guys are way better. Perfect fitting double box.

    [​IMG]

    tubes carefully packed

    [​IMG]

    and a ton of rigid foam protecting the unit.

    [​IMG]
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. Kneedeepinit

    Kneedeepinit Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    Location:
    calgary alberta
    My listening space is 15 x 11 with one wall open to the kitchen and dining room.

    [​IMG]

    The speakers are Klispch KG4 which have a 94 db rating. I paid $50 for them because the cabinets were pretty rough but they cleaned up nice.

    The CD player is a $10 Value Village Sony 5 cd player. I do not mind the sound from those Sony's, much better than some Philips and other more expensive players I owned. Tomorrow, I will be using a Parasound CD player in the big boy room.

    The other input was a IPOD. The owner of Musical Paradise must be cringing but my review will be based on the equipment I have, not the equipment I want.

    I warmed up the amp for 5 minutes. I will be cleaning up the installation when I decide its final home but tonight, it is shown with a bunch of wires and a $2 power bar from the Dollar Store.

    [​IMG]

    It sure is pretty with the lights out, but then again, they all are.

    [​IMG]

    First negative feeling is that I wish it had another light on it. You can tell it is on because of the tubes but I would pay $10 extra for a sexy blue LED power light.

    Buddy, Daisy and I settle in for a few songs

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Kneedeepinit

    Kneedeepinit Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    Location:
    calgary alberta
    here is the review. I listened to some Dave Mathews Band, U2's BAD, Radiohead's Sail to the Moon and Tracy Chapmans' Fast Cars.

    In its present location, the MK3 is all the amp these Klipsch could ever want. Listening to CD's, it is hard to turn the volume past 9 o'clock for modern mixes, 9:30 is very loud for vintage music. Tomorrow, the amp will be placed in a much larger room with some vintage JBL speakers and I will see how it does there.

    On the IPOD, this is the best I have ever heard MP3 sound.

    The bass feels heavy but it isn't a bad heavy. It is a very full bodied bass. At lower and medium volumes, these are a joy to listen to. This was the most surprising thing about the listening experience. This amp has replaced a very good 60 watt per channel amp and it sounds like it has more power. I can't explain it but I know what I am hearing.

    The mids are very clean. The imaging is perfect, not to sharp, not too laid back. The highs are good but the rest of the spectrum is exceptional. The amp may need to be broken in or this might be a result of the horns. Either way, I could listen to this all day and I am just being picky right now.

    This is the first time I really picked up on the subtle drum brushing on Fast Cars or all the layers of Sail to the Moon.

    I have bought and sold quite a few pieces of equipment but this is about as close to being a keeper as I can imagine. It is a bargain at the price and I would not feel cheated if I paid $1,000 for it.
     
  4. intoaudio

    intoaudio Active Member

    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    Edmonton AB CAN
    I also have a couple of Gary's amps and they both make my monitor audio rx 6's sing. I have a MP 301 MKII and the MP 428 300b. The 300b is in my main system now.
     
  5. Kneedeepinit

    Kneedeepinit Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    Location:
    calgary alberta
    [​IMG]

    I got up early to try the MK3 in a big room. This is a secondary listening room for me because the acoustics and shape are terrible. The room is L shaped with the primary space being 21 feet by 19 feet. The stereo is located on the long wall which is 32 feet in length.


    [​IMG]


    I can place my speakers for optimal listening but then they have to go back to the wall for normal living.

    The speakers are JBL Decade 36 (L36) which are my favorite rock speakers. I have a pair of L26 and they are just as nice. I restored them and am giving them to my youngest daughter. The L36 has a 10" woofer and the highs are designed to be forward. The specs on it are 76 db but that seems crazy low.

    The source is a Parasound C/DC 1500 CD player and a Sony PS-T30 turntable c/w an ART DJ phono amp.

    The system currently in use is a Yaqin VK 1200 which is a tube preamp c/w an 80 ss amp section.
     
  6. Kneedeepinit

    Kneedeepinit Super Member

    Messages:
    1,243
    Location:
    calgary alberta
    [​IMG]

    Daisy and I settled in to listen to a few tunes. Using the better CD player, interconnects, and power supply, the amp was even more clear today. I have heard equipment labelled as transparent and I now know what that means.

    The JBL are an old fashioned rock speaker and this is a good amp for it. I would be risking hearing loss if I turned the CD volume past 9:30 in the large room. The highs and mids are just perfect, exactly what the speaker designer had in mind when they were built.

    Using the turntable, I played Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Welcome to the Pleasuredome. It is a good song to test rock speakers as it has very forward lyrics and a deep bass line. You can't fudge the bass by turning it up too loud or the vocals will destroy your experience. At 10:30 volume, this amp is as loud as I would ever listen to and that would only be for short intervals.

    Here is the only flaw I have found. There is a short passage where the song has a bass rumble. It sounds like rolling thunder. The MK3 did not produce it at the level of the Yaqin but it was the same as a Pioneer SA 9100 60 watt amp and a Yamaha Natural Sound 85 watt amp

    If I was going to demo the speakers for sale, I would still use this amp over any other i have tried. This amp is staying in the big boy room. I may bring in the Klipsch as they might be a better match for them but it isn't necessary, the JBL prefer these over anything else I have tried.

    If you are a Cerwin Vega / Mach 1 guy, this might not be the amp for you. A 100 watt Bryston or Carver is what you need. For the rest of us, this stupid little 6.5 watt amp is a crazy overachiever.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. islanddave

    islanddave Active Member

    Messages:
    132
    Excellent review. Thank you very much. You had chimed in earlier during a post I had regarding this little amp and it's use with l 26's. Seems asthough they would be a good fit. Once again thank you very much!!!


    Dave
     
  8. KenP

    KenP Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    686
    Location:
    Canada,Ontario
    I just bought one of these amp (mk2 version) for $200, all I can say is it's the best $200 I've invested in stereo in quite awhile. Looks good and sounds great, plenty of power for my ls3/5a's.
     
  9. gtube

    gtube Active Member

    Messages:
    152
    Just opened this thread again tonight. What a great review with so many pictures and details. I appreciate it. I hope our moderator won't delete this thread. I think he deletes older threads in this section frequently. Instead of deletion, Please move this thread to a proper section.

    For Rock music, using Shuguang EL34B on the MP-301 MK3 would sound a lot better, especially the bass and dynamic.
     
  10. canuckaudiog

    canuckaudiog On a quest for high fidelity

    Messages:
    7,799
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    I just wanted to add my two cents as I have owned the Musical Paradise MK3 since the day it came out and am pretty familiar with it.

    Well, for the first month or so I owned it I used the stock tubes. Honestly, out of the box this is a fantastic sounding little amp. Being my first tube amp as well I figured it was a low cost enough for me to dive in and find out what all the fuss was about. I'm sure glad I did. It's a fabulous sounding little unit, and what is really astonishing is the full range sound of this tube amp. It's full sounding, lovely warm and musical. I really enjoy the tonality and emotional character of it, it's easy to listen to and the amp really disappears. It's transparent in nature. Couple this with Garry's MP-D1 tube DAC and you've got a real winner of a set-up. It's easily the most fidelity you're going to find for under $1000 - you'll be hard pressed to find a better deal, even with vintage gear.

    I took the liberty of upgrading the stock tubes. I decided to change the tubes to Genalex KT66's, NOS Philco 6SJ7's, and NOS GE Jan 5670W's for the DAC. What an improvement. The immediate difference I noticed was the sheer amount of detail in the music. Not only did it become a bit warmer, the power increased a little bit and most of all there was far more detail in the music. The one thing I exclaimed about when I first heard this tube amp was just how much detail and richness in the music there was. With these better tubes the richness and detail increased even more. It's really amazing just how great this set-up sounds, and still is under $1000. Well worth the investment!

    The other thing I want to mention about this amp is that I am using very unforgiving, inefficient speakers. The IMF RSPM Mk IV's you see in my signature are what are being powered by this little guy. Granted I am in a small room and don't need much volume to get loud, regardless the truth is this little performer really makes these beautiful speakers sing. It goes to show you just how much value is packed into this amp and just how well designed it is. Garry, you've done an incredible job with this product and I especially thank you for taking it upon yourself to make this sort of fidelity affordable and available to consumers like myself. Without it, I wouldn't be sitting here listening to Diana Krall and being put right in front of her, as though she is here in the room.

    All in all, if you're thinking you want to give tubes a try and see what the fuss is all about like me, this little tube amp is the perfect way to start out. In fact, it's not only an entry into the tube world it is also a great performer so you aren't just getting an entry level amp. I think you'll be hard pressed to find something better for the same price, it's that good!
     
  11. davidflas

    davidflas Easily Confused Subscriber

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    Lake Worth, FL,USA
    My MP 301 MK III arrived today! It sounds great right out of the box. I am currently listening to Both Sides Now, 24/96 flac via Songbird, sounds amazing. Once I've spent some time listening I'll post a review with pics..

    Update: I've had the integrated for a little over a week now and have been doing a lot of listening. Overall, I like the spacious sound of the integrated, but the high frequencies are very harsh. I am wondering if it is because I am using low sensitivity NHT Classic three speakers. Perhaps tube rolling could fix the harsh highs and make the sound less "thin" I'd like to keep the speakers if possible. I have not changed the location of my system, I just replaced a pair of Emotive UPA-1 amps and an Aragon 18k MK II preamp. I love the sound at low volumes, but it seems I need more power for my speakers. The room is small, 11 feet X 12 feet with a 7 ft ceiling.


    Any suggestions would be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2012

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. mndiggerco

    mndiggerco New Member

    Messages:
    21
    My MP 301 MK III arrived today. I got both the 6L6 and EL34 tubes with it. The EL34's do produce some hum when I plugged my Grado 60i's into it which I don't hear with the 6L6's.

    My biggest test was with what speakers to use with it. CD and SACD played through it via a Sony DVD/SACD player on hand.

    Diana Krall Live in Paris, Ramones remaster, Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition SACD, and Clockwork Angels by Rush.

    Speakers tested were Polk Audio bookshelf, Wharfedale Dayton 2, Advent Baby II, and JBL 2800. This all in a spare bedroom that is used as my office.

    In order of preference:
    Advent Baby II - nice rich sound, great with 6L6, more so with the EL34.
    Wharfedale Dayton 2 - flat, smooth, but lacking low end.
    Polk Audio's - similar to the Wharfedale, but sounded a little more forced.
    JBL 2800. I was hoping these would add the bass with the 8" woofer. I guess there is a reason these are $10-20 at thrift. Too shrill and no more bass than the Polk and Wharfedales.

    I never had to put the volume past the 9:00 position in that little room for some decent sound from the Advents. All in all I really like what I'm hearing so far. I will need to acquire some larger speakers at some point. I'm debating on either some Klipsch floor standing speakers, or maybe a pair of the Fostex full range.

    I need to try some vinyl through it when I have time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  13. gtube

    gtube Active Member

    Messages:
    152
    Thanks for your support and review. If you like a lot of bass from a bookshelf speaker, I recommend B&W 602 S3 which is my favour bookshelf speaker. Fostex requires a very complicated cabinet to produce good bass. That is a lot of work. Old Klipsch does not have deep bass too except for the new reference series.
     
  14. rushzap79

    rushzap79 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    I’ve had my MP 301 MK3 for over a week now and I am really loving it.

    I have it connected to an Oppo BD-80 Blu ray, SACD, DVD-A player for digital playback.

    I also have it connected to my Project Phono Box which connects to my Project III Debut turntable.

    For speakers, I’m using Bowers & Wilkins 602 S3 bookshelves

    The first thing I played was my Beatles Mono CD box. These really sound amazing and I really did not need a subwoofer for low end. The sub is connected to my Yamaha AV 465 receiver.

    The new 2012 Zappa remasters (One Size Fits All, Zoot Allures, Apostrophe) sound warm and very detailed with this tube amp.

    For vinyl, I decided to play the new Rush album Clockwork Angels. I’ll never listen to the cd again as this tube amp also made this LP sound warm and detailed unlike the cd. Other vinyl auditions that passed the test were:
    Beatles UK Blue Box BC-13
    Rush – Power Windows
    Bob Seger – Night Moves
    Aerosmith – Rocks
    Led Zeppelin – Presence

    I would highly recommend this tube amp! It feels like a steal for $299!
    Richard
     
  15. kevb

    kevb New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    near Ottawa, ON
    OK.....starting to get interested in picking one of these up. Have some PSB headphones and a little system in the bedroom that might respond well to this amp. I'm starting to put aside my nickels and dimes. Also have a pair of Sovtek KT-66's that I can pop in right away as well.

    I have many sets of speakers that I can choose from as well....

    Any comments to the sonics from the headphone output?
     
  16. mndiggerco

    mndiggerco New Member

    Messages:
    21

    I haven't listened extensively with any headphone. I have plugged in my Pioneer SE-30 and Grado sr60i for brief moments and only with the Diana Krall Live in Paris CD. I'm really into the live sound that CD presents in which it sounds great with or without headphones and this amp. Later this week I'll finally have some more time to spend listening to it.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. MWalt

    MWalt Super Member

    Messages:
    4,889
    Location:
    NE OHIO
    Great review! I have always been curious about the Musical paradise line.
     
  18. jimfet

    jimfet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,057
    Location:
    N.C.
    Carefull. I noticed a pack of wild dogs.
     
  19. Gridslayer

    Gridslayer This and that... Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,149
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Thinking about getting this amp. Just sold off my KEF's which had a 91DB sensitivity (to pay for a new amp). Now I'm using mini Advents, which have an 87db rating, until I can get something more sensitive and a bit more low end. Will this amp work ok with these Mini Advents till I can get something else?
     
  20. canuckaudiog

    canuckaudiog On a quest for high fidelity

    Messages:
    7,799
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    How big is the room?

    I ran much less sensitive speakers (82db/85db) with the MP301 and it worked out great.
     

Share This Page