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High quality PSUs

All too often, cheap switching power supplies are commonplace in consumer audio, leading to a troubling variety of ill effects ranging from audible mains buzz, all the way to damage to the equipment unfortunate enough to be connected up to these cheap and noisy devices. In order to suppress the switching noise to the legally required levels, the output has to be coupled back onto the mains with a small capacitor, injecting mains currents into the audio ground path.

In addition to this, these cheap units mostly use a sub-optimal 'single supply rail' arrangement where the ground which the audio signal is referenced to is injected with the highly non-linear power currents of active amplifying devices which often significantly degrade distortion performance. Sometimes an internal DC to DC converter is used to generate a split supply, but that brings the screeching switching electronics into the enclosure right alongside the sensitive linear audio path.

Split Supply

Bucking the current cost-driven trend, Classic Audio Ltd believes in investing in high quality parts to avoid trouble straight out of the gate. Instead of having a switching supply that injects noise, and makes a prerequisite for a compromised design, Classic Audio uses an old-fashioned low frequency transformer based design that takes the transformer and its troublesome magnetic field out of the enclosure and down to the wall socket.

To ensure the customer gets excellent sound straight away, no products are advertised with optional premium 'upgraded' (read adequate!) parts. All Classic Audio components are optimised as standard, with literally 100 times less capacitative coupling to the mains than other manufactures who offer linear upgrades that only partially improve a design intrinsically compromised for use with switching adapters. That standard means that Classic Audio power supplies are low frequency, linear, split supplies that keep the power currents out of the ground path, just like the one pictured above; a power supply you can truly rely on not to get in the way of the music!

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Spartan 10 phonostage

With the first batch of 10 units out on demo duty or in the hands of customers, the Classic Audio Spartan 10 phonostage is being tremendously well received by its first users. Not only does it have a spec that breezily wipes the floor with all other MM stages in its price range and well above, but also features an entirely original design that includes low frequency crossfeed, a mono switch, uncompensated low distortion input amplifiers for 0.0007% THD throughout the audio band, ±0.1dB RIAA accuracy, and an ultra-flat subsonic filter that stops subsonic disturbances from not only getting through to the output, but also from eating into the final headroom of the phonostage.

Spartan 10 phonostage

Spartan 10, second batch model

The first batch of Spartan 10 phonostages have now either been sold or are doing the rounds as demo units, all to a happy reception. Classic Audio is now busy working on the second run of units which will total 45 and, if all goes to plan, will be available from the end of January 2022.

The second batch of Spartan 10s will be sold at a price of £350 plus the cost of P&P and a suitable power supply. Buyers can source the latter themselves if they wish to, or Classic Audio Ltd. can provide a UK type PSU.

A quick testimonial

Michael Higgins bought the third production Spartan 10, after a recommendation from the owner of the first one, and hasn't looked back...

Michael Higgins Spartan 10

Spartan 10, serial number 003 after delivery

The Spartan 10 is an extremely well engineered phono stage far exceeding its modest price tag.

I have owned & reviewed many phono stages, however the S10 is quite unique with its incomparable sound stage, clarity & separation. The higher frequency definition is just exquisit, presenting percussion, instruments & vocals in what I can only describe as aural perfection.

The level of customer service I have received from Classic Audio before & after purchasing the S10 has been second to none, Michael is an absolute pleasure to deal with & if you haven't yet purchased a Spartan 10, the only question I would have to ask you is "Why not?"

Michael Higgins, Somerset.

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