Balanced Input for Phono Preamp?

I’m wondering why the Stellar Phono has not a balanced XLR input, mainly for MC cartridges. I know how @Paul likes it in a system.

Maybe @DarrenMyers can answer this question. In effect I do not know the real benefits that a TT-Phono Preamp connection would have from a balanced cable and I will be happy to better understand. Many TT have not a balanced output or they need mods to apply them.

And another question is: what do you think about balanced phono cables terminated with RCA? If I understand well they ground directly with the RCA connector metal part. I have a Gold Note Mediterraneo turntable on the way and they offer a phono balanced cable terminated DIN/RCA (2k euro), is it a good choice for the Stellar Phono Preamp?

Sorry for my ignorance if this is a banal question, I love this forum also for learning more about our gears.

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Here’s hoping Darren chimes in, but in the meantime, I can offer the following: Phono cartridges, by operating principal, output a balanced signal. It is odd there are so few balanced phono preamps given the very low signal level of phono cartridges, especially moving coil designs. Balanced connections would be very beneficial for reducing noise and give a 6 dB boost in output. The downside to a balanced phono preamp is it requires twice the components in the amplification stage, so it increases cost. I’m sure the increased cost had a direct impact on the Stellar Phono Pre not having a balanced input. Darren has said the new PerfectWave Phono Pre he has been working on will have balanced input. Not sure when (or if) the PerfectWave Phono Pre will be released.

With respect to cables, I thought using balanced style cable (two leads plus a separate shield) would be a good thing. That thought was proven wrong when Galen Gareis, of Iconoclast Cables, said it is a bad thing. Since I’m not a cable expert, I can’t really comment on the optional cable for your turntable.


Balanced operation always provides the benefit of common mode noise rejection. As pmotz correctly points out, a phono cartridge is inherently balanced by design. There is no source component I can think of better suited to the advantages of balanced mode than a phono front end. I honestly don’t understand why balanced inputs and outputs haven’t been an option on every phono stage for years, except for the the added complexity pmotz mentions. But quite a few phono stages on the market today already offer balanced out, so it isn’t as if manufacturers really consider the added complexity that big an issue for consumer acceptance. Btw, as long as the cable shield isn’t grounded to the RCA shell (that isn’t really necessary and many tonearms actually don’t ground the shield that way), balanced operation can be accomplished with a RCA input. Ron Sutherland proved that with the Little Loco Mk1 (which I now own). I enjoy the advantage of CMMR on the input side of my Little Loco connected to my SME tonearm with a standard DIN/RCA configuration. It works! My Little Loco is hum free due to CMMR.


Thank you. Happy to know from PS Audio, Darren or @jamesh opinion. And if the DIN/RCA terminated Cable named EXTRA that Gold Note claims “fully balanced” on the website can work with the Stellar Phono Preamp single ended input.