I’ve been mentioning JMF Audio a lot lately, and that’s mostly because we keep bumping into each other out in the world of audio. I first heard the JMF amplification at AXPONA 2022, when I felt their mark on a system consisting of Vivid Audio and Ideon. Since then I’ve encountered this French brand at a number of shows, and most notably at Dr. Vinyl‘s house when I visited a few weeks back. I might have said something about JMF becoming my favorite solid-state amplification right now, and JMF’s Laurent Fusilier immediately corrected me: “Your favorite amp, you mean.”
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
I felt adventurous at Munich 2023 and took a trip off-site to the HifiDeluxe show a few miles away–it’s sort of like T.H.E. Show back in the days when they were orbiting CES in Vegas. JMF Audio’s US distributor Michael Vamos of Audio Skies accompanied me, and I was treated to an excellent JMF system that also included a pair of big horm speakers, a digital transport and all the cables. The only other brand in the system was Vertere, who supplied the gorgeous analog rig.
Here’s what was remarkable about the JMF Audio room. Ever since I first mentioned this brand, I’ve been describing them as having simple cosmetics–with all of the beauty on the inside. JMF is providing the closest thing to a true bespoke build in solid state electronics I’ve seen. This is a hand-built masterpiece, with gold-plated PC boards that require a special solder that JMF makes. But I learned two things with my visit to this room. First, there’s nothing simple or plain about the cosmetics when you get up close–this is extraordinary yet tasteful casework. Second, many of the pieces had see-through tops so I could finally witness the glory inside.
While the Vertere Acoustics/Benz Micro rig certainly sounded impressive, I was taken with the beautiful and substantial JMF DMT 3.7 transport. This transport handles CDs, SACDs and, most importantly, Blu-ray Audio. I have many Blu-ray Audio discs in my collection thanks to 2L Recordings, but I rarely have a decent player to handle that chore. But here’s the coincidence–2L Recordings uses JMF power filters and conditioners in the recording chain. It seems natural that JMF would return the favor by making a Blu-ray transport. It makes sense, especially when JMF was the first company to reach 768 kHz sampling rates.
Want one more reason to check out the JMF DMT 3.7? It’s also a network streamer.
How was the sound of the JMF Audio system? Superb, of course. What I love most about JMF is its rare ability to make the music sound lit from within. In a way, this is one of my highest forms of praise for audio, and a quality that is only evident in the finest gear I’ve heard. This means that the music is highlighted in a way that draws you in closer and lets you bear witness to the intentions and meanings of every note. It’s a nebulous term, but that’s because it’s an emotional reaction: “This is special. Not all gear can do this.”
This means one thing, of course–I’m going to try my darnedest to get some JMF for review as soon as possible. For the last year or two I’ve been exposed to some of the best gear I’ve ever heard, and that seems to have opened a big door into a world where there’s much to celebrate in this industry. Munich 2023 was a treasure trove of state-of-the-art gear, the so-called Big Stuff, and JMF certainly deserves a seat at the summit.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from Munich 2023, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.
Also don’t forget to check out our latest collaboration – a solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800g of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top which also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.