Music Hall MMF-1.5 Review

by crackler01

After some time, today I bring you the Music Hall MMF-1.5 review.

The renaissance of vinyl records has become a fact. We check whether the inexpensive Music Hall MMF-1.5 turntable is a good proposition for those who begin their adventure in the world of turntables.

Music Hall MMF-1.5 Review

Music Hall MMF-1.5 Specifications

General Section

  • Power supply: DC12V,2.0A, universal power supply
  • Power consumption: 4W
  • Dimensions: 17.1(W) x 14.5(D) x 5(H) in., 435(W) x 367(D) x 127(H) mm
  • Weight: 12lbs. | 5.4Kg

Turntable Section

  • Type: 3-speed full manual
  • Motor: DC motor
  • Driving method: Belt drive
  • Turntable platter: 305mm dia. aluminum die-cast
  • Speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78rpm
  • Wow and flutter typical: less than 0.1% WTD at 3KHz RMS(CD-4005), limit: Less than 0.15% WTD at 3KHz RMS(CD-4005)
  • S/N ratio: TYPICAL: More than 65dB (DIN-B) (SS-4242), LIMIT: More than 62dB (DIN-B) (SS-4242
    Speed tolerance: 3000Hz +/-1%(CD-4005)

Cartridge Section

  • Type: Moving magnet
  • Stylus: Diamond stylus
  • Channel separation: more than 15 dB at 1KHz (CD-4005)
  • Channel balance: within 2.5 dB at 1KHz (CD-4005)
  • Phono output level: 1.5~3.6 mV at 1KHz 5cm/sec (CD-4005)
  • Line output 90-216 mV at 1KHz 5cm/sec (CD-4005)
  • RIAA: 20Hz~20KHz: +1/-3 dB

Cartridge

  • Cartridge: Music Hall Melody
  • Output voltage: 2.5mV +/- 3dB at 1KHz 3.54cm/sec
  • Channel separation: Measurement point 1KHz over 18dB
  • Channel balance: 25 dB or less at 1KHz
  • Frequency response: Measurement point 10KHz / 1KHz 0 +/- 3dB
  • Tracking force: 2.0 +/- 0.5 grams

Tonearm section

  • Type: Static balanced S-shaped
  • Effective arm length: 230mm
  • Overhang: 15mm
  • Offset angle: 22 degrees
  • Tracking error angle: 3 degrees or less
  • Stylus pressure adjustment method: Rotation movability (1-rotation 4g)
  • Applicable cartridge weight: 5~8.5g (including headshell 15~18.5g)
  • Anti-skating adjustment range: 0~3g
  • Arm lifter: Oil damper type
  • Height of stylus: 8~10.5mm
  • Lifter descent time: 1.5~3 sec (stylus pressure: 2g)
  • Horizontal sensitivity: Less than 0.2g
  • Vertical sensitivity: Less than 0.2g

You can download the manual here->Music Hall MMF-1.5 Manual

Music Hall MMF-1.5 Review – Intro

The offer of Music Hall turntables is so rich and varied that basically every lover of music played from vinyl records will find something to suit their needs. Their prices start from $250 for the cheapest USB-1 turntable, and end at $4500 for the most expensive model MMF-11.1). However, it should not be forgotten that Music Hall has very strong and well-selling mid-range turntables, such as the MMF-5.3 or the designer, beautifully presented Music Hall Ikura.

But in the case of this manufacturer, also among the models priced lower, you can find decent quality turntables, and a good example is the MMF-1.5. It can be an excellent basis for expanding your analog system, which cannot be said about CD players, for which we do not have so much development potential. In fact, the only option to improve the sound of CD players (mainly budget designs) is associated with the purchase of a high-class external digital-to-analog converter.

However, in the case of turntables, all the fun of configuring the great audio experience consists not only in expanding the system with an additional external phono preamplifier but also with a good cartridge. And there are plenty of these on the market, so depending on the model we use, we can radically change the sound of our system. The cartridge is therefore one of the most important elements of each turntable, as it has a great influence on the final sound of the turntable and the entire audio system. But also experimenting with phono preamplifiers can bring great benefits, because this device largely depends on whether we will be able to use the full audio potential of the cartridge installed in a turntable.

Music Hall MMF-1.5 Review – Construction & Design

The Music Hall MMF-1.5 turntable in its price group impresses with both its aesthetics and the degree of design advancement of specific elements. The Music Hall MMF-1.5 is in my opinion one of the most beautifully presented classic turntables. The plinth looks beautiful and is the essence of the MMF-1.5, and its execution of MDF covered with a real cherry veneer gives it an exclusive character. The plinth consists of one segment, which is typical for the cheaper Music Hall turntables. More expensive models, such as the MMF-3.3 or MMF-9.3, have a two-segment or three-segment plinth, respectively, which helps to absorb all vibrations, and thanks to greater inertia, provide a more stable base.

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Test

The drive used in the MMF-1.5 is a solid, failure-free system, consisting of a DC motor and a system of transferring torque to the platter with a belt. Such a drive has one key advantage – the rubber belt significantly dampens any vibrations coming from the motor axis, which directly translates into less nervous drive operation and a more linear rotation of the platter. The platter itself is made of aluminum and its diameter is 305mm. Its assembly is not difficult, just put it gently on the main axle and it’s ready. A special, quite heavy rubber mat is placed on the plate. It plays a very important role because it not only increases the adhesion of the vinyl record to the platter, thus preventing the record from slipping but also acts as a torque store from the engine.

Sale
Music Hall mmf-1.5 3-Speed Belt Driving Turntable (Cherry Veneer) with a Built-in Phono PreAmp S-Shaped 9” Tonearm Removable Headshell and Vibration Damping Feet
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Music Hall mmf-1.5 3-Speed Belt Driving Turntable (Cherry Veneer) with a Built-in Phono PreAmp S-Shaped 9” Tonearm Removable Headshell and Vibration Damping Feet
  • Three Speeds: It has a built-in speed control circuit that ensures the precision of the three speeds when playing vinyl...
  • Melody Cartridge: A top-quality music hall melody cartridge comes pre-mounted and precision-aligned
  • Speed Control: A built-in speed control circuit ensures the accuracy of the mmf-1.5’s 3 speeds
  • Built-In Phono Preamplifier: A built-in phono preamplifier allows you to connect directly to your current system
  • Dust Cover: The included hinged dust cover keeps your mmf-1.5 protected when not in use

The main axis is seated in a classic, virtually noiseless sliding bearing with brass elements. In addition, there is damping in the form of washers between the bearing cage and the plinth. It is also worth noting that an important element contributing to the elimination of vibrations are also the special rubber feet supporting the plinth, made in such a way as to gradually suppress any vibrations.

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Speed Switch

The tested turntable has a very convenient rotational speed control system. With one, precisely working knob, we can choose one of the three available speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpm.

The rear slim panel of the MMF-1.5, in addition to gold-plated RCA outputs, is equipped with a switch, thanks to which the signal can pass either through the built-in preamplifier or without it.

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Back Side View

Thanks to this, we can use an external phono preamplifier of a higher class than the one built at the factory. On the back, there is also a potentiometer for precise adjustment of the turntable rotation, as well as a socket for an external power supply. The turntable is equipped with an elegant, transparent dust cover that enhances the retro feel.

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Tonearm

Music Hall MMF-1.5 Review – The Tonearm and Cartridge

The tonearm is made of light and rigid aluminum. Its shape with a gentle curve resembling the letter S is to improve the guidance of the cartridge along the grooves of the record.

The tonearm is installed on a massive but precisely made base with an oil-damped lowering lever system.

In addition, there is a precise, magnetic anti-skating adjustment and a very easy-to-use head with a quick mounting system to the arm. If we feel like experimenting, we can alternate two identical heads with completely different inserts. Of course, if we do not have a second head, the assembly and replacement of the insert from one to the other is not difficult to carry out.

The tested turntable is factory-equipped with a decent-quality MM-type magnetic cartridge called Music Hall Melody, made to order by Audio Technica. It is a well-made, basic model among Music Hall cartridges, offering a lot of pleasure from listening to vinyl records. However, during the listening session, divided into several parts, I also used another, more structurally advanced Sumiko Pearl cartridge.

Music Hall offers vivid and saturated sound, as well as natural, unpressed high tones.

This beautifully presented turntable has one more advantage, especially from the point of view of people starting their adventure with vinyl, namely, it has a built-in, structurally simple phono preamplifier, which supports MM cartridges. So at the very beginning, we don’t have to bother buying an external preamplifier. We can leave it for later when we become familiar with this turntable in the basic configuration. Only then can it be great fun to try to raise the sound quality to a higher level by replacing the cartridge or the phono amplifier.

Sale
Music Hall mmf-1.5 3-Speed Belt Driving Turntable (Cherry Veneer) with a Built-in Phono PreAmp S-Shaped 9” Tonearm Removable Headshell and Vibration Damping Feet
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Music Hall mmf-1.5 3-Speed Belt Driving Turntable (Cherry Veneer) with a Built-in Phono PreAmp S-Shaped 9” Tonearm Removable Headshell and Vibration Damping Feet
  • Three Speeds: It has a built-in speed control circuit that ensures the precision of the three speeds when playing vinyl...
  • Melody Cartridge: A top-quality music hall melody cartridge comes pre-mounted and precision-aligned
  • Speed Control: A built-in speed control circuit ensures the accuracy of the mmf-1.5’s 3 speeds
  • Built-In Phono Preamplifier: A built-in phono preamplifier allows you to connect directly to your current system
  • Dust Cover: The included hinged dust cover keeps your mmf-1.5 protected when not in use

Music Hall MMF-1.5 Sound Test

The situation with turntables is such that, regardless of the model and manufacturer, they will always present a sound different from what we usually deal with when playing music from digital sources, mainly CD players. The tested model already in the factory configuration, i.e. using the Music Hall Melody magnetic cartridge and the built-in Phono preamplifier, can enchant the analog atmosphere of the sound being played. For people who have no experience with analog systems, a vivid and saturated sound, as well as natural, unpressed high tones may be a big surprise.

Music Hall offers a dense, oily, and low-reaching bass, slightly softened in character, which could be heard especially in Marek Biliński’s pieces from such albums as “The Garden of the King of the Dawn” or “E ≠ mc²”. The bass is well-balanced when it comes to weight in all its sub-ranges, i.e. there is no increase in the mids and upper parts, or a strong weakening of the bass, which is usually typical of cheap turntables. So for its price range, the MMF-1.5 works great.

However, if we want to go further in terms of sound quality, changing the cartridge for a better one or using an external higher-class amplifier is a very good solution. Using an external preamplifier in the form of the Music Hall Mini Plus model (recommended by the distributor), but still keeping the stock cartridge, I noticed much better transparency in the low-frequency range. The upper-frequency range was also significantly improved because when using the built-in preamplifier, the treble range was slightly veiled, and the vividness outweighed the detail.

Music Hall Mini Plus Low Noise Phono Pre-Amp for Moving-Magnet and High-Output Moving-Coil Cartridges
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Music Hall Mini Plus Low Noise Phono Pre-Amp for Moving-Magnet and High-Output Moving-Coil Cartridges
  • CARTRIDGE LOAD CAPACITANCE – Fine-tune the pre-amp to match the characteristics of your chosen MM or MC cartridge.
  • RUMBLE FILTER – Filters out disrupting frequencies that degrade the overall sound quality and bring your music to...
  • TRIM-GAIN CONTROL – Gives you control to match the output with your stereo system. A magnificent improvement to the...
  • OTHER FEATURES - Gold-plated RCA Inputs and Outputs, High-quality 1/8” headphone/line output, Rigid Chassis...
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX - Music Hall Mini Plus Phono Preamp, AC Power Adapter, and a Limited 1-Year Warranty.

The mid-frequency range remained juicy with a dense texture, but after using the external preamplifier, much more information appeared in the midrange. Stereophony also gained sharpness in the location of the sound image, although I must admit that with the use of the built-in preamplifier, the stereo image was also at a decent level, especially in the context of the extensive sound and drawing of individual planes. So I had no problem pointing to specific phantom images on the stage, stretching between the speakers.

However, the best and most exciting setup turned out to be the one with the Shelter 201 cartridge, probably one of the best of its kind in its price group. Unfortunately, this cartridge isn’t available in the US, only in Japan. But I have an alternative for you – the Sumiko Pearl cartridge which is also great.

Sumiko Black Pearl Moving Magnet HiFi Pick Up Cartridge with Precision Diamond Stylus
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Sumiko Black Pearl Moving Magnet HiFi Pick Up Cartridge with Precision Diamond Stylus
  • Moving magnet cartridge with spherical stylus
  • High output for easy matching to a phono stage
  • Wide frequency response for a smooth and warm sound
  • Replacement Stylus and Stylus Guard Available

Music Hall MMF 1.5 gained a lot from replacing the cartridge because its sound became technically more perfect. The bass gained control and became more diversified, thanks to which I could pick out much more content from the played Marek Biliński albums. I also experienced the same while playing the album “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. Each of the tracks sounded much better – with much more detail and a more mature timbre. The midrange gained even more openness and saturation, but not at the expense of losing the phenomenal vividness that characterized the sound of this turntable all the time, even when it worked in the factory configuration. The use of the Sumiko Pearl insert gave the effect as if we had removed an invisible curtain from the loudspeakers. Suddenly, much more information and details appeared in the sound.

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Video Review

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Review – Good to Know

Buying a budget turntable does not have to mean that the user remains at a constant level in terms of the quality of the reproduced sound because there are simple ways to significantly improve the sound without incurring major expenses. During the test of the MMF-1.5 in various configurations, it turned out that it is very susceptible to many changes, including not only the replacement of the cartridge but also the possibility of extending it with an external specialized preamplifier. The distributor recommends one of the better configurations of this turntable, which consists in replacing the factory-installed Music Hall Melody cartridge (which, by the way, is not that bad at all) with a much more advanced cartridge Sumiko Pearl. It is one of the best currently on the market.

However, in order to use the properties of this cartridge, it is not enough to use a very simple preamplifier built into the turntable. In this case, the Music Hall Mini Plus model turned out to be a very good choice. This inexpensive configuration showed that the MMF-1.5 turntable is an excellent base for expansion, and most importantly, it translates directly into higher-quality sound. However, it should be remembered that each element of a given analog system has a limit of its capabilities, beyond which we will not improve anything else in the sound. Therefore, cartridge and phono preamplifier should be selected wisely, based on the experience gained so far, or we can entrust the entire operation to a trusted audio salon.

Final Verdict

The Music Hall with the MMF-1.5 model proves that even with such an inexpensive turntable, you can experience the sound characteristic of analog technology. The tested turntable in its basic version, based on the factory Music Hall Melody cartridge and the built-in phono preamplifier, can sound very decently. We deal with even sound, without negative exaggeration or significant silting up of the sound, especially in the treble range. If someone is satisfied that the upper-frequency range is subdued, the basic version of the MMF-1.5 will be a good choice.

We are dealing with a vivid and even oily presentation, in terms of midrange and bass, the low tones go surprisingly deep, for a budget design. However, we will experience even greater emotions when using higher-class phono cartridges or preamplifiers. A turntable configured in this way provides a lot of joy from playing black records, revealing sonic nuances and flavors that we will not hear in the case of the basic version of this turntable. The most beautiful thing about an analog is that when you buy an inexpensive turntable like the MMF-1.5, you can carry out many sonic experiments right at the start, without investing a lot of money.

Music Hall MMF 1.5 Pro & Cons

Pros

  • Great sound for the price
  • Built-in phono preamplifier
  • Good Music Hall cartridge
  • Easy to adjust the speed

Cons

  • Non-adjustable feet
The Music Hall MMF 1.5 at its price stands out due to its impeccable workmanship, functionality and mature analog sound, at the same time being an excellent base for expansion, without investing much money - in many cases the effect will exceed expectations.
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