Classic Audio by Michael Fidler

Review Index

MC PRO Phonostage

Audio Appraisal March 2023

After reviewing the SPARTAN 5 in November 2022, Ashley asked to review the MC PRO as well, publishing his review after 3 months of continuous listening and comparison that led him to conclude it was the best dedicated MC phonostage on the market.

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I have spent the past three months trawling through every phono stage on the market, trying to find something with a specification that comes close to that of the MC Pro. In that time I have played numerous albums with several cartridges, and not once has this little box provided anything less than stellar performance. It’s not going back.

My search of the market left me empty-handed. The MC Pro currently offers the finest technical performance of any phono stage I can find on the market at any price. It is a product that will shake up this stagnated industry for the better. It demonstrates that real-world performance is not wizardry or pseudoscience, but competence and ability. The audio industry needs more of both if it is to stand a chance of survival, and Michael Fidler is a clear frontrunner.

Ashley Cox, Audio Appraisal

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Sound Perfection Reviews March 2023

Oscar had been following Classic Audio Ltd. for a while when he asked to review a phonostage for SPR. We decided on both the SPARTAN 5 and the MM PRO in a head-to-head comparison against his current phonostage.

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Both pre-amps just get out of the way of the music and do what a good pre-amp should, but they do it better than many. Spending time to match components, and designing an optimised circuit really does pay off. If you want colouration, go elsewhere, if you want accuracy and longevity, you cannot go wrong with Classic Audio Ltd.

I honestly didn’t know what I was missing out on before listening to these in my system, plugging my Pro-Ject Phono-box back in makes the system sound broken and lacking dynamics and detail. This is not something I was fully prepared to hear, and I certainly didn’t expect such a stark difference between the pre-amps.

Oscar Stewart, Sound Perfection Reviews

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SPARTAN 5 Phonostage

Audio Appraisal November 2022

Audio Appraisal's Ashley Cox published an excellent no-nonsense review of the SPARTAN 5 phonostage a month after it was released in September 2022.

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The Spartan 5 is a diminutive little box, in which is a simple but objectively and subjectively top-class circuit typology designed by a man who clearly knows his stuff where the humble vinyl and its playback transducer are concerned.

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

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SPARTAN 10 Phonostage

HiFi Pig January 2022

HiFi Pig reviewed the now discontinued Spartan 10 phonostage shortly after it was officially released in January 2022. This was the company's first review.

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Never heard of Michael Fidler? Take note, this is an excellent first product from a young man about to release lots of new products. The first is this MM phono-stage. Everything is there for £350 in this tiny box, including a subsonic filter dealing with that horrible and inaudible 8-12Hz vinyl noise, plus another low-frequency crossfield filter that just works to reduce audible low frequency noise. All it needs to do is sound good, and luckily it ticks all boxes for me.

Janine Elliot, HiFi Pig Magazine

PDF archive in case of broken link.