Classic Audio by Michael Fidler

FAQ - Classic Audio Limited by Michael Fidler

Do you ship worldwide?

Yes. Units have now been shipped to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, EU countries, India, and many other places around the world. US, Canadian and Australian dollar prices include shipping costs, the same for Euro prices with shipping to the EU. For other countries, shipping costs are calculated at sale and added onto the base price, with payments accepted in US$, CA$, AU$, and € according to the customers choice.

US, EU, and UK power adapters

Linear PSUs for standard mains voltages

So far, import duties have not been charged on orders to the USA and Australia, but other countries, such as those in the EU, may charge additional import fees to receive goods from the UK. If reductions are possible, the company is happy to fill out customs forms as instructed by the customer, provided that the customer takes full responsibility for the accuracy of the declaration as it applies to their country.

What's your returns policy?

Variable! For UK customers, returns are accepted within 14 days of delivery, for a refund minus the cost of postage and packaging as per the sales receipt. For overseas customers, returns are only automatically accepted for genuinely faulty units or if the units are damaged in transit. Returns for other reasons may be dealt with at the discretion of the company on a case-by-case basis, but the company does not make a rule of accepting no-fault returns due to the high cost of postage overseas.

Returns of faulty or damaged units by the customer may be charged the cost of repair and re-commissioning if the damage or fault is determined to be caused by misuse; for instance, power supply circuitry damage caused by use with a non-standard or inappropriate power adapter. Please note that the company does not accept returns of products that have been modified by the customer. The company reserves the right to decline further orders after a return has been made. Potential customers are advised to make certain they are ordering the product that best fits their needs before placing an order.

Is there a warranty on products?

Within reason, yes! All products are sold with a conditional 2 year warranty, to cover potential manufacturing defects and the possibility of failure when used as intended in accordance with the operating instructions. Unfortunately, after a series of consecutive abuses of the previous guarantee against failure due to a small minority of users connecting units rated for 9V AC to 24V AC Rega power supplies (with two units destroyed in a row in one case), it is now at the company's discretion to determine whether any potential fault is caused by misuse and revoke warranty in such cases.

Although advice is freely given, the company also cannot take responsibility for setup issues that can be inherent to some turntable setups, such as mains noise pickup from miswired turntables or excessive RFI generated by non EMC compliant devices in close proximity. While the company will ensure that all units sold are to a high standard of performance, it is up to the customer to make sure that their setup is free of issues before ordering, as the company is unable to assist in remedying setup problems originating from other devices due to time constraints. To prevent frustration on both ends of potential sales, customers may asked to briefly run through their intended setup to ensure the best chance of success before placing an order.

Spare parts and repairs?

It's possible! As of May 2024, no units have developed faults when operated as intended since September 2022 (missed solder joints - sent all the way to Australia of course!), and have therefore shown excellent reliability, considering the hundreds of devices in operation at the time of writing. Potential short-term failures are covered by conditional warranty, and while not yet seen, long-term failures are an inevitability given the sheer quantity of units in the field. The company therefore keeps a small stock of spares for both current production and legacy products to cover the eventuality of repair.

The company offers a repair service for units that have failed outside of their conditional warranty period, although any such units must be returned to company premises for repair, full re-commissioning and re-testing to the original specification at sale. Repairs by the company are not possible on units modified from their standard form at sale, refraining from direct participation in remote DIY or third party repairs.

Spartan 10 legacy phono preamp

Spartan 10 - now discontinued

The company keeps some external metal parts for legacy products, though some of these are end-of-run 'B-grade' parts that may offer improvement only in the case of significant cosmetic damage (if such damage is sought to be repaired). Spare metal parts are never sent out for re-fitting or modification due space limitations; they are retained for on-premises repair service only, with the exception of some small external parts (such as control knobs) on a case-by-case basis.

Although the company may decline involvement in some remote repairs, all schematics and parts lists of legacy/discontinued products are and will be made available on the products' website pages, so that any professional repair service will be able to fix failed units. 99% of parts found in the company's products are readily available from major component suppliers and online retailers, to guarantee future proofing and a number of repair options for the user. A quantity of power supplies are also retained for replacement in the event they are lost or destroyed.

Can products be customised?

All products must be sold as standard. A great deal of time has gone into optimising all of the products available on this website, and it is highly unlikely that modification of these products outside of their original specification will bring any positive effects. The company commits to continuous improvement of all products, but does not customise any products sold or send out parts from newer or different versions for updating standard earlier versions. Customers may of course use third parties or even their own technical prowess to modify the company's products, however please be aware that this will be outside of the conditional warranty terms and returns/repairs will not be possible.

Is there a PSU upgrade?

No. This question seems to appear perennially as a result of the dubious marketing strategies of other companies, seemingly designed to wring as much cash out of buyers, with little regard to evidence of benefit. Customers are happily informed that the 'standard wall-wart' supplies offered with all units are entirely optimised and there is no benefit to be obtained by using different, more expensive units. In fact, quite the opposite, as the company has yet to encounter a transformer-based power supply that offers as low an idle power consumption and capacitive isolation from the mains as the types presently supplied. This will be covered soon in greater detail...

Power supply warning

Power supply warning shipped with all units

Supplied PSUs are linear types as standard, and while they are contained within 'wall-wart' enclosures, giving the initial impression of low-cost design choices, they are a world apart from the cheap switching PSUs that are unfortunately so often included with modern audio equipment. Swapping them out for other types is highly discouraged, as doing so can potentially overload the product's internal rails, cause the regulators to drop out, inject excess noise, or simply cause early failure. The company does not wish to waste its own, or its customer's time making sub-optimal products to dangle 'upgrade' carrots for quick cash. Customers are advised to spend their excess cash on records!

No variable cartridge loading?

Indeed, this rather tricky subject is soon to be covered in a series of articles on moving magnet and coil input circuitry, but it has been revealed through quite extensive research that variable loading is quite undesirable for 99% of applications, particularly those relating to MC cartridges. With these devices, variable loading inevitably deviates away from optimal absorption of radio frequency interference at the point of resonance with cartridge inductance, increases insertion loss, and can therefore degrade signal-to-noise ratio.

The moving-magnet phonostages here are optimised for a total input capacitance agreeable to virtually all MM cartridges on the market once tonearm and cable capacitance are taken into account. As the input capacitance works as part of an RF input filter, reducing or removing it would increase the likelihood of interference in use. If the need for reducing capacitance is felt, then the best course of action is to reduce the length of the leads from the turntable. This is facilitated by the compact size of the phonostages here, allowing closer placement.

Will you make a power amplifier?

Eventually, yes! At the moment, the company suffers from space limitations when is comes to storing parts, and a standalone or integrated power amplifier requires large parts that take up plenty of space. Once the company moves to new premises then work will begin on a linear power amplifier project...