Have you heard the murmurings on the grapevine and want to get the lowdown on the turntable on everyone’s lips? Do you need a Music Hall turntable review that can weightily explore the Music Hall MMF-1.3 without hesitating? Want to see how the Music Hall MMF-1.3 compares to the closely-related MMF-1.5?
Well, step forth and we will do exactly that, exploring some of the key features as well as how they compare against the well-matched MMF-1.5.
Table of Contents
- Key Features
- Comparison: Music Hall MMF-1.3 vs. Music Hall MMF-1.5
- Final Words
- FAQs Music Hall Turntable Review
So, today we will be looking at Music Hall classic turntable: the Music Hall MMF-1.3. This is an entry-level offering from Music Hall, so the sound quality is not going to be quite as amazing as their other higher-end products.
- The drive on this reasonably-priced turntable is a belt drive – better than the direct drive for a number of reasons – and is powered by an electronic speed-controlled motor.
- Unlike many other products in this price range, this motor can play at the three main speeds of 33, 45, and 78 rpm, catering to all vinyl record types.
- Comes built with an Audio-Technica AT-3600L cartridge.
- The design is modern and sleek and very much in alignment with all the trends towards hyper-minimalism in vogue at the moment.
- The plinth and platter are made from aluminum, a great material with abilities tending toward reduction of resonance.
- The built-in phono preamp is more than capable of keeping up with some great hi-fi gear, much as the dust cover is capable of keeping up with growths of dust.
- The vibration-damping feet ensure that there is a smooth sound throughout the experience.
It was a great idea on Music Hall‘s part to partner up with a reputable brand like Audio-Technica on this one. While this might be a relatively inexpensive cartridge, it is very much in alignment with Audio-Technica’s aim to bring high-quality audio to the masses for affordable prices.
It is all too common that when buying a new turntable, the cartridge will have to be immediately swapped out because the manufacturer thought they were big and clever in focusing on the turntable and cartridge manufacturer. Not so here, for this is an excellent-quality cartridge that, when paired with the built-in pre-amp and speed accuracy of the belt drives makes for a devastating combination of parts.
At the heart of the aesthetic pleasure of this budget turntable is the piano black aluminum plinth chassis. Sure, it is all about playing records, but when your turntable looks like this, you will be hearing things slightly differently afterward.
Constructed from aluminum, it is no surprise this turntable weighs so little and looks so good. Wood or steel would certainly have added to the overall weight, doubling it in some instances from 11 pounds to nearly 20.
Sadly, for all its beauty, the finish is a little impractical, especially for those audiophiles sharing a house with the roaming hands of toddlers. Yes, this finish is pretty susceptible to the kind of scratches incurred by inexperienced fingers. Thankfully, though, the four soft vibration feet at the bottom of the chassis more than compensate for this oversight.
As is rather standard these days, the platter is also made from aluminum. This also keeps the weight down but, as we say, it is nothing overly special. In fact, now more than ever it is incredibly common for record players and turntables to have platters made from aluminum.
Thankfully, this Music Hall turntable stands a little by offering a platter edge that is incredibly shiny, having been polished to a sheen that is almost reminiscent of shiny chrome. This adds an additional shine to a unit that is already gleaming, though this will likely add anxiety to those already worrying about the chassis’ susceptibility to scratches and fingerprints. Show your vinyl collection who’s boss and smother it in fingerprints, or just watch this YouTube video instead.
The fact that the motor here is driving the platter via a belt is going to be one of the reasons people will be drawn to this vessel. It is the belief of audiophiles that the excellent sound offered by belt-drive turntables (without an integrated amplifier) is due to the fact that the belt has the ability to absorb external vibrations in a way that direct-drive turntables simply can’t.
Sadly, even though this Music Hall turntable has a belt drive that offers a great sound, there is no variable pitch control or raised bumps on the edge of the platter by which to adjust the speed to get the best speed accuracy when spinning your record collection.
For a turntable in this price range, you would expect at least something to tide over those who are otherwise conscious of the speed at which their turntable is spinning. Without such tidings, we are expected to just believe that the speed at which the platter is spinning is indeed correct. Such exercises in trust are a little too much of a stretch for some users, especially those who have had to deal with abandonment issues at some point in their lives.
Still, though you can’t technically adjust the exact speed at which the platter is spinning for apt speed accuracy, part of the semi-automatic operation of this turntable means that you can choose to spin the platter at up to three different speeds and even auto-stop.
If you have already inspected a bunch of other record players – either because you are in the market for one or are just curious – you will no doubt already have noticed that it is rare enough to see an entry-level turntable that features the ability to play at these three different speeds.
It is far more common to just receive a turntable that can only play records at 33 1/3 and 45 rpm. Sure, 78 rpm records are scarcely ever manufactured anymore, if at all, but it is still nice to have the choice. Some people might even be inclined to listen to their 33 1/3 and 45 rpm records at 78 rpm, believing that it sounds great on such a beautiful turntable. It is their right to think so, though it seems other turntables don’t agree.
Comparison: Music Hall MMF-1.3 vs. Music Hall MMF-1.5
Why not compare the Music Hall MMF-1.3 with its competitor, the Music Hall MMF-1.5?
In what way are the two turntables similar?
- They are both manufactured by the same company – an obvious point that is also worth noting, as they both use the same or similar high-quality parts, something that has been known to plague other mass-produced turntables.
- Both turntables have almost all of the same features:
- 3-speed functionality
- Manual movement of the tonearm up and down to and from the record
- No auto-stop mechanism.
- Both are also endowed with motion from a belt drive, though this is incredibly common among turntable manufacturers. Direct-drive turntables really are more of a niche kind of thing reserved for DJs and the like.
In what ways are the Music Hall MMF-1.3 and the Music Hall MMF-1.5 different then?
- The latter is endowed with an S-shaped tonearm which is often deemed by audiophiles to be more desirable than the straight tonearm that is featured on the former turntable.
- The 1.5 has a pitch control adjustment (that could admittedly be a little more obvious) which is performed by pressing and holding down the speed selector knob until it blinks before turning it to adjust the speed. The 1.3 is not at all endowed in this respect.
- The 1.5 is at least a pound heavier than the 1.3 due to the installation of components that are better overall.
- The 1.5 comes fitted with a conical stylus, something that is deemed better than the elliptical stylus that is fitted with the MMF-1.3.
- Because of the reasons listed above (and some acts of god), there is an audible difference between the 1.3 and the 1.5. The latter inherently sounds better, boasting warmer tones overall with a less brittle high-end. Sure, the 1.3 is a great turntable for the price, but for only a hundred dollars you get something that is a considerable step up, at least in terms of the sound.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now feeling ready and able to go forth and make a choice between this turntable and others safe in the knowledge that you know the key features back to front.
FAQs Music Hall Turntable Review
Are Music Hall turntables good?
This remains to be seen by each individual user because what is good for one person might not be for another. That being said, Music Hall offers such a wide range of turntables at such varying budgets that it would be difficult for there not to be something that at least interests everyone. The higher-end models by Music Hall are especially good and have been one of the leading developers of audio technology in the modern audiophile market.
Where are Music Hall turntables manufactured?
Music Hall turntables are manufactured in the Czech Republic in a factory that has been making turntables for over 50 years, fitting arms, cartridges, and dust covers to their turntables with parts that result in their consistent placement on the ‘Recommended Components’ list in Stereophile Magazine. The electronics are developed and designed in the US and then manufactured to strict specifications in the Far East where workers are less likely to put up a fight for being paid unfair wages. Such is the way of the world at the moment – one of the worst effects of globalization writ large and unstoppable.
Are Music Hall turntables made by Pro-Ject?
Yes indeed. Much like the tonearms, the turntables are made in the Czech Republic by Pro-Ject, hence why they are so similar and are often put up for the same rewards and commendations in the audiophile world. During the time that the founder Roy Hall was working at the Litovel factory, he specified that their top-of-the-line ‘9cc Evolution’ carbon fiber tonearm should be formed of one piece with a non-removable headshell. His will was done and that is why things are as they are.
How much does a Music Hall Classic turntable weigh?
The Music Hall Classic is a turntable that has already been much lauded in the audiophile world. Sure, the more affordable turntables are likely what many know Music Hall, but it is the Music Hall Classic that really helped them establish themselves as a brand to be reckoned with on the world stage of audiophilia. The symbolic weight of this turntable is met with a real-world weight of 15.2 lbs, with dimensions of 17-1/8″W x 6-1/4″H (with the dust cover down) x 14-1/2″D.
How much is a Music Hall Stealth turntable?
Though Music Hall is far more well-known for their belt-driven turntables – whether they be the more affordable ranges or the high-end Music Hall Classic – this offering is no doubt a pleasing one to those more interested in direct drive turntables. Indeed, if you want to start using a Music Hall turntable for your own DJ’ing setup, it will only set you back $1649. Yes, it is sad but Music Hall is currently not offering a more affordable direct-drive turntable, so DJ’ing with one is currently the preserve of the monied and privileged.