• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Classic Audio MC Pro Phonostage Review

Rate this phono stage:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 7 3.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 6 2.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 53 25.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 140 68.0%

  • Total voters
    206

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
44,215
Likes
232,387
Location
Seattle Area
This is a review and measurements of the Classic Audio MC Pro by Michael Fidler. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $850 (£650/€750).
Michael Fidler MC Pro Phonostage preamplifier review.jpg

As non-fancy enclosures go, this is pretty nice looking and with some unusual features such as low frequency blending to reduce noise, mono switch and selectable gain. Back panel shows another unusual feature: balanced XLR out:
Michael Fidler MC Pro Phonostage preamplifier balck panel balanced review.jpg

I like balanced output as audio gear has its only ground loops which we don't want to add the heap that phono stage may bring. As such, all of my testing was done using that output.

Check out how beautiful the insides look:
800sideopen.jpg


There should be a transparent top as an option for folks to enjoy looking at it!

Tested gain setting was 63.
Classic Audio MC Pro Measurements
Let's start with our usual dashboard of 0.5 mv input:
Classic Audio Michael Filder MC Pro Phono Stage Preamplifier Balanced Measurement.png


Notice the total absence of distortion as it should be. I don't have a ranking table to show you for SINAD but typical values are in 60 dB range so this is quite good.

Company advertise hyper accurate RIAA equalization which I was able to verify:
Classic Audio Michael Filder MC Pro Phono Stage Preamplifier frequency response Balanced Measu...png


Our overload test shows more headroom than I am used to see with moving coil phono preamps:
Classic Audio Michael Filder MC Pro Phono Stage Preamplifier Balanced Distortion and noise vs ...png


Stepping through different frequencies we see remarkable ability to keep distortion at bay regardless of what it is:
Classic Audio Michael Filder MC Pro Phono Stage Preamplifier Balanced THD vs frequency vs leve...png


Measuring distortion by itself naturally shows excellent response:
Classic Audio Michael Filder MC Pro Phono Stage Preamplifier Balanced THD Distortion Measurement.png


Conclusions
The MC Pro is a very accurate phono stage with very low noise and distortion. Company has full set of specifications which means great attention was paid to these factors. I like the unique design with extra features and of course, XLR balanced output. The cost is up there for a non-high-end phono stage but I think it is justified given the performance and features.

It is my pleasure to add the Classic Audio Michael Fidler MC Pro phonostage to my recommended list.

Manufacturer Specifications:

ParameterMeasurement
RIAA Accuracy±0.1dB, 40Hz to 22kHz
Channel balance±0.1dB, 40Hz to 22kHz
Signal to noise ratio (220Hz to 22kHz)81.5dB, ref 500µV, 10Ω cartridge
Total harmonic distortion<0.0005%, 20Hz to 22kHz, at 21V RMS
Maximum output (20Hz to 28kHz)21V RMS (XLR), or 10.5V RMS (RCA)
Maximum input at 1kHz7.3mV RMS at 63dB gain, 2.3mV RMS at 73dB gain
Maximum input at 10kHz35mV RMS at 63dB gain, 11.3mV RMS at 73dB gain
Overload margin, ref 500µV, at 1kHz23.3dB at 63dB gain
Overload margin, ref 150µV at 1kHz23.8dB at 73dB gain
Gain at 1kHz (RCA)63.17dB, 1440x, or 73.1dB, 4520x
Gain at 1kHz (XLR)69.19dB, 2880x, or 79.12dB, 9040x
Minimum load impedance1kΩ (RCA), 2kΩ (XLR)
Output impedance75Ω (RCA), 150Ω (XLR)
Input impedance120Ω
Subsonic filter23Hz, 3rd order, for -23dB at 10Hz
Low frequency crossfeed65Hz to 600Hz, -4.3dB to -21.6dB at 50Hz
Dimensions (W*H*D)172*60*155mm
Power consumption6W max powered on, 0.2W standb
----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome. Click here if you have some audio gear you want me to test.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
Last edited:

sweetsounds

Active Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
132
Likes
267
@amirm Simply wow, what well designed analog electronics are capable of.

The remaining spuriae look power supply related.
To see the full capabilities of the unit, could you test with a better one?
 

001

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
Messages
505
Likes
918
This might come across as a bit 'nerdy', but it is such a pleasure to see this designed, engineered and manufactured to high standards [and other previously reviewed equipment]. I have a sign above one of my server rooms that says 'Take pride in a job well done'. This is an example of that.
 

MaxwellsEq

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
1,525
Likes
2,268
Don't you think companies prepare those "test" devices before they are sent to you? Such tests cannot be trusted - my point of view.
Perhaps you can buy an off the shelf version and send it to Amir so that he can compare the two. If there was a measurable difference, your hunch would be proved correct
 

Grotti

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
528
Likes
1,154
Don't you think companies prepare those "test" devices before they are sent to you? Such tests cannot be trusted - my point of view.
You should ask yourself why so many devices send in by the manufacturer fail on Amirs work bench.... So no, I don't think that a manufacturer (especially not one who is capable of "composing" such a beautiful PCB) takes the extra effort to produce a unicorn for testing purposes.

And if so the risk of getting caught in case of customers measuring their own gear is much too high nowadays thanks to Amir, VintageFlanker, Archimagos and a lot of other folks out there. So I don't think that we can't trust this review...
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,819
Likes
6,631
Location
UK
This product is outside of my knowledge zone, as I know next to nothing about vinyl & it's associated tech (turntables, etc), but yes that is one clean looking circuit board, lol!

Some of the measurements like the frequency response linearity look terrible, inasmuch it high passes part of the bass - is that to avoid rumble, is there rumble you can't get away from when using vinyl?
 

F1308

Major Contributor
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
1,053
Likes
901
Performance is well out of track in 2023.
Voted POOR.
 

restorer-john

Grand Contributor
Joined
Mar 1, 2018
Messages
12,481
Likes
37,903
Location
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
The performance looks to be excellent and the construction, component quality and overall fit looks pretty decent.

But, it's USD$850.

Next version should have selectable input capacitance (DIP switch inside) and maybe even 47k + 100k load selection.

It's an MC (current) stage (60dB) optimized for 500uV. Totally different design to an MM (voltage) needing 47kR loading.
 

Newman

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
3,332
Likes
4,077
I’ve had my eye on this one, so very pleased by how well it reviewed. Especially the good (high) input clipping voltage, which was not mentioned on the spec sheet.
 

AudioSceptic

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 31, 2019
Messages
2,661
Likes
2,502
Location
Northampton, UK
This product is outside of my knowledge zone, as I know next to nothing about vinyl & it's associated tech (turntables, etc), but yes that is one clean looking circuit board, lol!

Some of the measurements like the frequency response linearity look terrible, inasmuch it high passes part of the bass - is that to avoid rumble, is there rumble you can't get away from when using vinyl?
Yes, plus the unavoidable effective mass-cartridge compliance LF resonance, generally between 5 and 15 Hz. I agree that the response rolls off too high; it should be flat to 20 Hz.

("Rumble" used to refer to poor main bearing quality; it now seems to refer to any LF noise, such as ripples in the vinyl.)
 
Top Bottom