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MM Pro By Michael Fidler Phono Stage Reviewed

As far as I can determine, £600 is enough to buy you the finest moving magnet phono stage currently in production. And that phono stage is the MM Pro by Michael Fidler. I will stand by that statement until someone shows me verifiable scientific data, not just audiophile hyperbole, to prove otherwise.

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Edifier MR4 Active Studio Monitors Reviewed

a quality speaker for media consumption and perfectly suited to on the go use with portable interfaces. If you’re starting out in production, content creation, recording your band or trying to build a bedroom setup on a budget, you could do a lot worse.


Aiwa AD-F500 Cassette Deck Repair & Review

My experience working on the AD-WX727 and AD-wX929 twin decks, the latter returning for a second round left a bitter taste in my mouth. But they did produce some decent hardware in the same era and this, the AD-F500, is one of the more economical examples. It has proven itself to be competitive in its performance and good value on the used market for the right price.


Aiwa AD-WX929 Double Cassette Deck Repair

Better than the WX727 in some areas, it does an acceptable job playing back pre-recorded tapes. But the best thing the WX929 has going for it is a few extra metal components which add to its scrap value.

Phones With Cables

Sivga Luan Open-Backed Headphones Reviewed

A pleasant if not strictly neutral listening experience. Beautifully built and generously accessorised out of the box. if you seek exquisite build quality, a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience, and maximum value for money, you’ll find all three here.

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Yamaha CDX-496 Belt Replacement & Review

a run of the mill CD player from the mid-2000s when mainstream hi-fi separates were teetering on the verge of extinction. A no-nonsense 'Natural Sound' CD player, Well worth the money.

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Sony CDP-361 Belt Replacement & Review

Ordinary in its appearance and almost empty inside, Sony's CDP-361 is more than a flimsy metal box filled mostly with air. Easy to service and very little in them to go wrong, If you're after a high-quality, fully functional CD player, or transport to feed discs to your DAC, the CDP-361 and its ilk should make your shortlist.

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Pro-Ject VC-S3 Record Cleaning Machine Reviewed

The VC-S remains ahead of the competition. Most record cleaning machines are, in reality, primitive, dysfunctional, uncomfortable loud, poorly constructed and ugly enough to upset a blind man's aesthetic senses. It's a wonder some of them work at all. The VC-s has some way to go in terms of refinement, but it's still one of the best looking and most efficient record cleaning machines you can buy.

Denon Speakers Fronts

Denon SC-M5K Bookshelf Loudspeakers Reviewed

Manufactured in the late 1990s by Mission, sold to partner Denon UD-M5 stereo receiver or the UD-M7 component stereo system. Loads of them around now for bargain prices. Great little speakers for a small room or compact system.

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Origin Live DC100 Turntable Motor Upgrade Kit Review

kindly contributed by Nipper Varney covering his Origin Live DC100 motor kit. "When half the price of this Origin Live DC100 Motor Kit will buy you an Audio Technica record player complete with motor, PSU, arm, cartridge and phono stage that is able to provide quartz accuracy for speed control first time and every time (as well as three speed settings and the ability to adjust speed) there is no getting away from £530 being expensive for something which is just tasked to turn a platter at one of two constant speeds, especially when the Speed-Box casework is so cheap that it requires masking tape on the back to label the adjusters. That it is also far noisier and much more temperamental (in needing to settle down over days to work optimally) than my Technics SL1200GR turntable, which is silent even with my ear right beside it, is also undeniable."

Front Panel

Spartan 10 By Michael Fidler Retrospective Review

The review below was kindly contributed by Nipper Varney. This review was written some time ago and is reference in Nipper’s recent phono stage comparison contribution. The Spartan 10 has now been discontinued, replaced by the Spartan 15, so I am publishing this as a kind of retrospective as there are certainly plenty of Spartan 10s out there ‘in the wild’.

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Phono Stage Comparison – Classic Audio Spartan & Pro, Pro-Ject, ...

The review below was kindly contributed by Nipper Varney. Michael Fidler of Classic Audio asked me if I would consider publishing a review of his latest Spartan 15 phonostage contributed by Nipper. I agreed and what follows is a fantastic in-depth comparison of a number of phono stages, including the Spartan 15. Also featured are the Spartan 5, Spartan 10, MM PRO, MC PRO, and units from Pro-Ject and Ifi too.

Classic View

Edifier WH950NB High-Res Bluetooth Headphones Reviewed

The Edifier WH950s offer you a lot for your money. They’re ideal for a busy digital lifestyle where conveniences like the excellent active noise cancellation implementation come into their own. While they’re not the last word in sonic fidelity, they do offer everything you might expect from a high-end pair of Bluetooth headphones.

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Kali Audio LP6 Active Monitors Reviewed

the LP-6 is the very foundation of what a great reference monitor should be. You can be confident that your productions on these monitors will translate as you intended across all manner of systems and devices. And they’re a joy to listen to as well, when you want to kick back and chill with your favourite tunes.

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MC Pro by Michael Fidler Moving Coil Phono Stage Reviewed

The finest technical performance of any phono stage I can find on the market at any price. The MC Pro 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.

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Technics ST-600L FM/ AM Tuner

An excellent tuner that never seems to get a mention. Tuners in general are quite unpopular these days. This humble late ‘80s tuner is a capable performer though, and a neat, discrete package that modestly hides its true colours.

Sivga Oriole Out Of Bag With Cable Plugged In

Sivga Oriole Headphones Reviewed

similar to the Robin, as one would expect given their obvious similarity. I prefer the style, and they’re as impeccable in build and finish as any other Sivga headphone I’ve tried. Unlike plastic-laden rivals for similar money, they should last a lifetime if you look after them.