Recently I began spending more time with the turntables in the budget range, primarily due to 2 reasons. First reason, I am intending to give a present to my teenage son for his 18th birthday, but yet I don’t want to spoil him with an expensive gift at such a young age. Furthermore, it will be his first TT, I do not know if he will continue with this pastime or even take very good care of it. On the other hand, I do know that if the quality is really bad, it will turn him off as would any ordinary person. So budget and quality has to meet for me to decide. Second reason is that I have gotten quite some requests asking about the reviews of TTs that are inexpensive, especially whether these new entry level TTs are worth it for beginners. With these 2 reasons, I am going to share my experience so far after spending some time with this TT the Music Hall MMF-2.2.
Music Hall’s entry to turntable segment
Well if you look at this TT, produced by Music Hall, one would likely ask about its core expertise and whether quality wise, if it is as good or even better than some of the old boys in the market such as Technics and Rega. From the entry point of view, Music Hall, began entering this space giving consumers another option about 13 years ago. Probably if they had any beginners flaws, they would have ironed some of them out fairly well.
Appearance and outlook
The first thing that catches most people’s attention is the appearance and outlook of a TT. In this case, the Music Hall MMF-2.2 looks classy to me, arriving with a high gloss black colored finishing – but you can also get it in red or white color for a little bit of premium like fifty dollars or more. If you are looking for something that is belt-driven system, this is it.
Plus points of MMF-2.2
The MMF-2.2 is designed with low resonance in mind, as the solid MDF chassis sits on the vibration damping rubber feet – bringing you great base foundation. I must admit that it is constructed using excellent quality components and these are the signs whether this TT can achieve excellent performance. This machine has a heavy steel alloy made platter that spins on a super high precision stainless steel and bronze bearing assembly that enables it to achieve great stability in speed and producing silent and smooth rotation (thanks to its Teflon base too!) – not many budget turntables actually have such qualities if you ask me.
How does it work? Well, the motor mount and belt driven system successfully isolates the motor’s vibration from the sturdy chassis to stop hum or noises from being brought to the cartridge. Also there is an external AC power supply that aids in the reduction of other possible hum. Not to mention that the table is solid, it works with the aluminum tonearm that delivers fantastic tracking so that it follows the grooves of your records.
Well thought out design
Furthermore, there is a silicone-damped lift that is useful in lifting and lowering of the tonearm – intended to provide an additional layer of protection for your album and the stylus. I must point out that this tonearm is an upgrade from the previous models. Basically, this MMF-2.2 upgraded its tonearm to the same quality as the old one from MMF-5.1. It stands out well if you are concerned about the accuracy of the cartridge alignment, as it has a VTA that is adjustable. To add icing to the cake, this TT has a tracker cartridge from Music Hall that is already installed to your machine.
MMF-2.2 Set up
Set up of this MMF-2.2 is quite easy, probably comparable to if you have had the Rega P1. Yes, you do need to assemble it, however do not worry as you will be guided by the step by step instructions in the manual. This TT allows you to adjust both the tonearm for height and also adjusting the feet. This is very useful when you place your TT on a surface that isn’t fully flat.
At this price point, does it bring great sound performance?
With so much good things said, here comes the most important part: is the sound performance good? Firstly, at this affordable price point, I say that it has great sound quality. Warm, natural, smooth are the 3 main things I associate with its performance. For vinyl beginners, you would not be able to find fault with it as it functions without redundant hums or hitches. This is the hallmark of a good analog TT where you can appreciate the pure tones from your TT.
Option to upgrading
Another plus point is that you are actually able to adjust the VTA. When you look at other comparisons at this budget, you will appreciate this feature of the MMF-2.2. Some people also prefer the pre-installed cartridge over the Ortofon 5e. To bring more improvement to the sound, you can upgrade the cartridge to Grado Gold Cartridge . If you are not satisfied with the phono stage, you can also upgrade it.
What is the cons?
Some drawbacks that this TT has is that the felt mat is kind of vulnerable to static. Well, it also depends on your records, but this is a small issue, you can just find a replacement on amazon easily. For those of you who are lazy, you may find it a chore when you switch from 33rpm to 45rpm. You need to remove the platter and put the drive belt around the motor pulley’s rim – if you look at it from another point, that is the fun of TTs.
Top 5 reasons on why I like MMF-2.2
- The focus on noise reduction and it has lived up to its reputation. Not many TTs at this price can promise this important feature.
- Note that this TT is not a low-grade machine, its invested using high quality components made to ensure quality top notch sound performance. It can be seen from its body and many of its different parts.
- Great sound performance: brings you warm, natural and smooth sound to your demanding ears
- You can upgrade your MMF-2.2 part by part, gradually – you have the option to do so. This is something that many manufacturers fare poorly in. Music Hall must have put in users long term usage thought into the design of this TT. I applaud that especially at this budget friendly price.
- Easy set-up, in other words, no nightmares for the beginners or those who are afraid of making damages to their newly bought TT.
In conclusion, if you want great sound performance, you are demanding but yet don’t want to spend a fortune – this is it.