Ready for lower noise than physically possible with passive moving magnet cartridge loading? This original design fixes the shortfalls of previous attempts. New innovation allows the MM PRO's active loading front end to cut down the 47kΩ loading resistor noise of conventional moving magnet inputs, for a blacker background than previously possible...
The MM PRO phono stage
Continuously variable noise cancelling low frequency crossfeed, a precision ±0.1dB RIAA dedicated equalisation amplifier stage, 3rd order subsonic filter, gain switch for HOMC, and a fully balanced output that can drive 20V RMS into a 2kΩ load make for what may very well be the best MM and HOMC listening currently on the market.
Inside the MM PRO
Read an in depth description of the MM PRO's many features, now available direct from Classic Audio Ltd. for £600/€700/$800, inclusive of postage to respective regions.
Experience the low colouration of hand-matched RIAA capacitors in a unique design for just £150. After a long wait to get the metalwork just right, the SPARTAN 5 phonostage is now available in quantity, ready to order in the UK and to the EU. Units have now been dispatched in the UK and Italy with more to follow soon to the USA...
Black SPARTAN 5
Well-reviewed in Audio Appraisal, the SPARTAN 5 offers a significant step-up over integrated phonostages and many external ones, featuring a mono switch, linear split power supply, and second order subsonic filter, all elegantly woven into a single low distortion amplifier stage for a giant-killing performance.
Michael has a Pro series lineup on the way including moving magnet and moving coil phono stages, with more products to come. If the Spartan 5 demonstrates what he can achieve on a budget, I very much look forward to seeing what he comes up with next. The Spartan 5, £150 is available now from Classic Audio Ltd. If you’ve been eyeing up another model, even one that is considerably more expensive, the Spartan series should be underlined at the top of your shortlist. They represent high-end objective performance and save you a boatload of cash. Highly recommended.
Ashley Cox, Audio Appraisal
All too often, cheap switching power supplies are commonplace in consumer audio, leading to a troubling variety of ill effects ranging from audible mains buzz, all the way to damage to the equipment unfortunate enough to be connected up to these cheap and noisy devices. In order to suppress the switching noise to the legally required levels, the output has to be coupled back onto the mains with a small capacitor, injecting mains currents into the audio ground path.
In addition to this, these cheap units mostly use a sub-optimal 'single supply rail' arrangement where the ground which the audio signal is referenced to is injected with the highly non-linear power currents of active amplifying devices which often significantly degrade distortion performance. Sometimes an internal DC to DC converter is used to generate a split supply, but that brings the screeching switching electronics into the enclosure right alongside the sensitive linear audio path.
Bucking the current cost-driven trend, Classic Audio Ltd believes in investing in high quality parts to avoid trouble straight out of the gate. Instead of having a switching supply that injects noise, and makes a prerequisite for a compromised design, Classic Audio uses an old-fashioned low frequency transformer based design that takes the transformer and its troublesome magnetic field out of the enclosure and down to the wall socket.
To ensure the customer gets excellent sound straight away, no products are advertised with optional premium 'upgraded' (read adequate!) parts. All Classic Audio components are optimised as standard, with literally 100 times less capacitative coupling to the mains than other manufactures who offer linear upgrades that only partially improve a design intrinsically compromised for use with switching adapters. That standard means that Classic Audio power supplies are low frequency, linear, split supplies that keep the power currents out of the ground path, just like the one pictured above; a power supply you can truly rely on not to get in the way of the music!
Forget the flowery language marketing hype! More than 6 out of 7 listeners on this customer's independent YouTube channel preferred the sound of the Spartan 10 in a proper blind comparison, with a competitor product going for almost three times the price.
Blind pol l results; #2 and #3 are the Spartan 10 with and without LFC
The poll also shows a clear preference for Classic Audio's low frequency crossfeed technique with 59% of those who chose the Spartan 10 favouring the sound with the filter switched in. For purists, a defeat switch is provided allowing the listener to make their own choice.
Annotated comparison video from the Audiophil YouTube channel
Are you part of the discerning 86%? Does low frequency crossfeed make a difference? Why not put on a pair of high-quality headphones, switch into full HD, and find out for yourself? Talk is cheap, but hearing is believing - especially if done without seeing. At the end of the video it appears that the Spartan 10 has a 14dB, or 5 times greater, noise advantage over the competition, demonstrating the careful design choices in the input amplifiers. No small details being buried under amplifier noise here!
Want the low down on new products, projects in development, and general regular updates?
SPARTAN 30 line and headphone amplifier prototype
Follow the Michael Fidler - Classic Audio Ltd. Facebook page for early information.