Music Hall MMF 2.2 review
The Music Hall MMF 2.2
Compared to Rega and Technics, Music Hall is relatively young, having released their first turntable 12 years ago. The Music Hall MMF 2.2 isa classy-looking belt-driven table in a high gloss black finish, and is also available in white and Ferrari red for $50 more. The sound quality is as good as the design, and at this bargain price, it is also Music Hall’s most affordable model.
Features and setup are more or less similar to the Rega P1, although the MMF 2.2 requires that you remove a couple of transit screws for the decoupled motor. Unlike the Rega though, the MMF 2.2 tonearm can be adjusted for height. The MMF 2.2 also has adjustable feet — a welcomed feature when your supporting surface is less than perfectly level. A nice set of phono cables also comes with the rest of the package.
The 4.5-pounds machine-balanced aluminum platter is driven by a suspended asynchronous two-speed motor, which keeps any undesirable vibration from getting to the LP. It runs on a high precision, stainless steel and bronze bearing assembly, which has a Teflon base to provide a fluid and quiet operation.
Each MMF 2.2 model has a pre-installed Music Hall Tracker cartridge made by Goldring. The tonearm has adjustable VTA for precise cartridge alignment. It should be mentionned that the tonearm is a substantial advance from 2.1 models of the past. Music Hall went up the ladder and replaced the old-style tonearm with a more robust alloy model, the same one previously found on its MMF-5.1 turntable, which retails for $875.
Steady, reliable and smooth – those are three words that will spring to your mind when listening to the Music Hall 2.2. It works without a hitch or whisper. What the 2.2 does very well is deliver the presence and “weight” of a good analog system, and just lets the music sing, rendering all the purity of the tones.
The tonearm and cartridge do a solid job of tracking and make playing records a total pleasure. The felt mat seems prone to static, and it might leave more “mat” on the records than you could care for, but let’s not nitpick about this. It’s easy enough to replace it with another mat.
And how does the MMF-2.2 fare against similar turntables? Well, it combines many of the best qualities of both the Rega P1 and the Technics SL-1200MK2: it displays most of the P1’s sense of liveliness and focus, but also carries a healthy dose of the SL-1200MK2’s bottom-end punch. The Music Hall’s Tracker cartridge is also somewhat more refined-sounding than the Ortofon OM5E: It has a slightly laid-back quality that is easy to listen to, though its sound at times seems a touch less dynamic and exciting.
Finally, the ability to adjust VTA on the MMF-2.2 is a big plus over the other entry-level, belt-drive competitors (Pro-Ject Debut III and Rega P1). In fact, this is probably what sets the Music Hall apart in this price range.
Don’t worry about a break-in period either; the MMF-2.2 sounds fantastic right out of the box.
The table requires some assembly, but novices shouldn’t be scared away; fairly well written instructions are included.
Set up is quite easy, and basically involves removing a pair of motor-transport screws, looping the belt around the pulley and the rim of the sub-platter, setting the platter on the spindle, putting the counterweight on the tonearm, setting cartridge tracking force, slipping the anti-skating weight in place and sliding the dust cover onto its hinges.
To go from 33 to 45 rpm, simply remove the platter and loop the drive belt around the motor pulley’s larger diameter rim. The process should take no more than 30 seconds.
Note: One thing to watch is the mass of any cartridge you may wish to use. The Grado Gold, at 5.5g, is near the upper limit for the tonearm with the standard counterweight.
- The Music Hall Tracker cartridge the MMF-2.2 comes with has excellent musicality, but inner groove distortion may be an issue on particularly long sides. If the Grado Gold is too expensive an upgrade, you can replace it with an Audio Technica AT120E. However, since it weighs 6.5g and since the MMF 2.2 has weight limitation of 5.5g, you will need to buy the optional Pro-Ject 7.5g counterweight for cartridges from 6g to 9g (since the Pro-Ject Debut III has the same weight limitation).
- It is recommended to replace the stock mat with a Z-mat (such as the static-free LP Gear Z-mat) or some other solution.
- Eventually, you might want to replace the platter with the Project Acryl-it platter (which pairs well with the MMF-2.2).
At a bit over $400, the MMF-2.2 is a great value out-of-the-box and very upgradeable with all of the adjustments it offers. Replacing the cartridge, adding a Pro-ject Speed Box and switching to an acrylic platter are all solid future upgrade options that will continue to improve the sound that you can get out of this table.
- Creek OBH-18 phono stage: it isn’t the best, but it is very good and affordable.
- Cambridge Audio Azur 540p phono stage: this highly praised phono stage goes really well with this turntable.
You can view other preamps that we recommend here.
|Music Hall MMF 2.2 2-Speed Audiophile Turntable - (Black)|
$449.00used from: $429.00
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|Music Hall MMF 2.2LE 2-Speed Limited Edition Audiophile Turntable|
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|Music Hall MMF 2.2 White Turntable with Cartridge|
$499.00used from: $429.00
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- Low noise fully manual two-speed (33/45rpm) belt drive design
- Separately isolated asynchronous motor
- Real wood plinth, with high gloss piano black (or Ferrari red) lacquer finish
- Non-magnetic alloy platter and felt matAdjustable-height alloy tonearm
- Comes with Music Hall Tracker moving magnet phono cartridge with replaceable elliptical stylus
- New height adjustable vibration dampening foot
- High precision stainless steel and bronze bearing assembly for quiet fluid operation
- Hinge dustcover
- Power supply: 110V 60Hz
- Power absorption: 2VA
- Speeds: 33.33 and 45rpm
- Speed deviation: +-0.9%
- Wow and flutter: +-0.15%
- Rumble: -70dB
- Tracking force: 1 to 3g
- Effective tonearm length: 229mm
- Overhang: 17mm
- Platter diameter: 300mm
- Platter weight: 1.7kg
- Dimensions: 16.3″ (415mm) x 9″ (230mm) x 4.3″ (110mm)
- Weight: 7.8kg (17lbs)
Manual:Get it here