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.
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’.
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.
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.
A diminutive little box, in which is a simple but objectively and subjectively top-class circuit typology. 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.
a fun, enthralling experience in much the same vein as the M6, but with improvements in every area.
Switchable inputs, plenty of adjustment, accurate RIAA equalisation and a neutral sound.
Small in stature with plenty of useful features, but does Pro-Ject’s new USB phono stage have the performance to match?
Arcam have been known to produce some fine phono stages and the rPhono continues that tradition.
A phono stage is a preamplifier used to boost the minute signal of a phono cartridge, while reversing the equalisation curves used when cutting the record. Here’s our complete guide.
Another top class product from Cambridge Audio, the CP2 phono stage is up there with the best in its class and beyond.
Buying a record player is not always as easy as acquiring the most expensive turntable you can afford and plugging it into an amp and speakers. In this article I will guide the prospective purchaser through the minefield of phono stages, since upgrading the phono stage can provide one of the most dramatic improvements to sound quality.
A Low-noise MM/MC phono stage that won’t break the bank.