Pros: Great bang for buck. Nice sound. Stylish design.
Cons: Slightly light weight build compared to another European industry leader.
The Music Hall brand has been around for a good while and specializes in having OEM product designs made to meet their audio standards, which are quite high. The MMF-2.2 is their entry level table and it comes with a Music Hall Tracker cartridge pre-installed.
It's a neat looking table in its high gloss black finish. For the more adventurous, it is also available in Ferrari red. The operation is pretty straight forward and it is capable of quite good sound. Very good by most folks standards and exceptable by the standards of the more jaded.
The limiting factor is primarily the included phono cartridge, which while being a good budget cartridge, doesn't quite get the last bits of info from those black discs. Trouble is that a significantly better cartridge will set you back at least another $100 and it can go up from there. The arm on this table is capable of supporting a pretty nice cartridge up to and including some moving coil units selling for around $400, nearly the price of the table. The MMF-2.2 is distinguished from its predecessor, the MMF-2.1 by its improved tonearm.
The table is belt driven and comes with a rather thin, steel platter and a felt mat. The platter is then the next weakest link in the chain here but it gets the job done fairly well at this price point. The table requires some assembly and has fairly well written instructions for those that know something about turntables. Perhaps a little advanced feat for a novice, but nothing that couldn't be sorted out.
In comparison to the Rega P1, which is a similarly priced, entry level turntable, the MMF-2.2 is its sharper dressed but less fit brother. The Rega has a more utilitarian appearance with its matte to satin finish but it has the more robust tonearm and an more easily upgradable cartridge. You can easily just replace the stylus on the Regas ortofon cartridge in seconds if you desire but I think it sounds a bit better stock than the MMF-2.2. The platter of the Rega is also a more beefy affair than that of the Music Hall and is non resonant. Both tables are belt driven, both are made in europe (Rega in England and Music Hall in Czechoslovakia), both feature a dust cover. The anti-skating system is also a liitle odd on the Music Hall by comparison to the Rega but it'll do at this level and that's one of the least likely items to effect performance. Sonically, both tables sound very nice and are quiet and easy to listen to for hours on end.