The Fosi MC101 is a stereo amplifier that offers the user tone control options not seen often in the small amplifier market segment. Fosi Audio provided the unit evaluated in this review. The MC101 is listed for $79.99 on the Fosi Audio website.
In the box:
The amplifier ships with a Bluetooth antenna and a DC power brick for the stated voltage of 12-24 volts. There is a user manual in the box.
Moving from left to right on the front of the amplifier are the following controls.
Bass adjustment knob: Turning this knob allows the user to adjust the preferred bass level.
Treble adjustment knob: As with the bass adjustment, the user may decrease or increase the treble to the desired level.
On/off/Bluetooth/RCA toggle switch: Depressing the switch to the lowest level powers off the amplifier. Moving upward from the off position is the Bluetooth input, with the top position employed for the RCA cable input in the back of the amplifier. There is a small light below this control. The blue light is for, you guessed it, Bluetooth. When the RCA input is selected, the small light is red.
Volume knob: The bronze-colored knob is the volume control.
The center of the front of the amplifier has a VU meter surrounded by a bronze metal strip.
Rear Input and Outputs:
There are RCA inputs for the right and left channel. There is a single pre-out that can be used for a powered subwoofer and right and left speaker outputs. For this evaluation, banana plugs were used to connect the speakers.
I listened to several genres of music including classic and hard rock, classical instrumental and symphonic pieces. I used my computer as the music source and my Burson Conductor as the DAC. The speakers used are Wharfedale Diamond 12.2 bookshelf speakers. With the tone controls flat, and gain set to -10db about ¾ of the volume was required for a satisfactory listening level. The user manual notes that Fosi employs a Taper A potentiometer for volume control. This method is akin to the natural logarithmic function of the human ear. The optimal tone setting for my personal preference has the bass slight to the right of the mid-point and the treble at 75% of the maximum. The bass knob has a gain of ± 12 dB, which is twice the ± 6 dB of the treble adjustment provided. The bass response during hard rock songs such “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin is more than adequate for my listening. The Fosi MC101 is surprisingly accurate in the presentation of classical music. Bartok’s Romanian folk dances were lively and detailed. There is a noticeable shallow depth of sound stage as compared to my Fosi DA2120A and NAD 3045. The overall presentation of the MC101 is very close to the more expensive DA212A. There is no lack of volume for those who wish to rock hard.
The Fosi MC101 is a stereo amplifier. The audio source must provide an analogue signal, or a separate DAC unit is required.
With a price under $100, Fosi has delivered a solid amplifier with bass and treble controls. The addition of Bluetooth is a feature rarely seen at this price point. The fine print on the amplifier is difficult to read. Those seeking an amplifier for a desktop system may wish to consider the Fosi MC101.