Import prices, etc

When discussing price, it should be noted that the trade in allowance for your old gear is very generous. I don’t know of another company or dealer that gives you full original retail for your old gear. You’d be lucky to get 80% of current s/h prices elsewhere.

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Indeed I am public service minded. I trust the information is very informative and usefull.
It is one thing to read reviews of people that participate in a Beta test program that certainly provides them benefits. I did not say the reviews are not true, but the cost of EUR 3000 and a EUR 2000 difference to a similarly specced alternative with which it has not been compared yet are 2000 reasons to ask for an AB comparison review by an independent reviewer prior to buying such a unit.

For overseas Stellar customers, the participation in the Beta test program was denied and as such I indeed have not been able to listen to the Stellar Phono Preamp. So you are right I have not heard the unit, but I do know that ELAC does mind Audio quality as well and is able to sell the unit for EUR 2000 less, yet have similar specs and additionally a mono switch and balanced inputs.

So I do not see how it’s just a public service message, but rather information relevant to those considering to buy a phone stage with the best quality-feature per cost value. Which has always been the advertised position of the Stellar series in the PS Audio portfolio.

Takes one troll to ruin an otherwise fun and informative thread. Now I’ve seen the words “Elac” and “Alchemy” more than my entire lifetime. Good job…

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Well everybody is free to spend his money like you want.

If you prefer to spend US$ 1500 or EUR 2000 more than for an alternative product. That is OK, many of you had the opportunity to listen to the Stellar Phono Stage, it is not my intent to spoil the experience.

I asked for an AB comparison review.

But it is my intent to safe others the disappointment once they would have found out about the much cheaper alternative after they spent the hard earned money.

Since I apparently started this s**tstorm, perhaps Elk will be kind enough to allow me a final observation or two before we all move along.

There are no doubt many other examples of high-functioning step-up devices out there. However, I can only compare the Stellar PS to what I have. That, and I’m hardly a professional reviewer with deep knowledge of the category (that would be Mikey). Given the reputation and skill of Wayne Colburn (designer of the Pass pre-amps and phono amps), I thought the XP-15 would be at least one worthy benchmark, especially since Darren espoused some of the same design philosophies during his presentation. And by no means did the SPS “struggle” in my comparison - by any stretch.

I’m not a big fan of taxes and regulations that impede trade, but one has to deal with the hand one is dealt. I summed up my philosophy in a post elsewhere regarding availability and support in the South Pacific 240 volt land:

“… if I were situated Down Under or otherwise at the far end of a long supply/distribution chain that had to thread thru a myriad of add-on costs including transportation, distribution, tariffs, etc, (all of which add nothing to core functionality) then I would put an emphasis on sampling the local cooking, such as favoring Halcro or Plinius over Pass Labs.”

Fortunately, there is no shortage of excellent products at all price points available in the EU. It’s unfortunate, but if trade policies push the retail price beyond what is reasonable to consumers, fortunately there are suitable alternatives.

I can’t make the rules, but I can adapt a “farm to table” audio diet and feast quite well, regardless.


P.S. I’ll post further thoughts on the Stellar after it burns in a bit more.

You provide a platform to write impressions about the Stellar Phone Preamp. All information / impressions, as customer who has choices, I gave, were relevant to the Stellar Phono Preamp.
This threads title is “Beta Test Impressions …” not “Sound Quality Test Impressions …”.

When sites or magazines review or test units they very often perform comparison tests including all relevant relevant aspects. And for any reader of those reviews/tests, price information is very relevant.

For the price level of the Stellar Phono Preamp as it is, it is reasonable to ask for a AB comparison test with alternative phono preamplifiers in order to be able to make a unbiased decision. What I did, was explain what that alternative is. At no point did I make an uneducated statement whether the Stellar Phono Preamp or the alternativ sounded better. When asked, I did explain why I considered the alternative to be a decent contender. Sad if such information gets deleted, @Elk did not move it to another thread like you suggested.

You just don’t know when to stop do you?

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I am actually interested in hearing the beta testers impressions because I have vested interest in analogue… but everytime I look in you are talking pish…!


Thanks, Rudolph, and much of what you did of value remains (and not trashed). Your suggestions about pricing and other brands to choose from do not add any value to a discussion about how beta testers are fairing with the new product.

These testers are volunteers, they are (in several cases) offering comparisons to existing products.

But, I think perhaps you have a different idea of what this thread represents. We have, for years, offered the chance for people to audition new products in their homes and give us advice on what they like and do not like as well as opinions on
sound quality. We do not regulate their comments and they are offered to folks in the spirit of user feedback. These are not reviews. They are user feedback of a new product.

Over time we will submit review samples of new products to reviewers from magazines and websites. They will, in turn, provide people with comparative products and strong opinions one way or the other.

This thread is not that place.

Maybe Paul, but as a Customer we have to consider costs as well. The Preamp is considerably more expensive then the other Stellar components, many Beta Testers are those who Connect the Preamp to Signature line components and equally priced (money no object) turntables.
That is no Stellar line price. The SGCD, I appreciated as high sound quality for a fair price unit. But that unit is / has to be used all the time I listen to music, no matter what I listen to, so worth, the for me already challenging EUR 1800. The Phono Preamp, regardless how much I enjoy listening to Records, is a component I utilize considerably less than the SGCD,. If you look at the Stellar system pictures in the PS Audio WEB Site, they contain very good but certainly not much above the SGCD price level turntables. Rather even below that price level. Following the philosophy you promoted in one of your videos. I am truly convinced a better Phono Preamp improves sound quality of any turntable. But I question which limited budget (Stellar customer) analog audiophile would spend more on his Phono Preamp than on his turntable including tonearm and cartridge.

If PS Audio had put this unit in a signature enclosure I would not have made any comment, but since it’s in a Stellar enclosure I am afraid that we will not see a Phono stage at the budget that matches the original Stellar line price philosophy (money is an object) anytime soon.

So just buy an EU based product and move on.


I established this thread to remove the off-topic posts and the bickering from the phono pre thread.

The bickering has continued. I have deleted all such posts. If it continues I will close the thread.


My perspective differs.

I appreciate the Stellar phono pre was built up to a desired sound, rather than built down to a price.

The Stellar phono pre is priced in the same broad category of the other Stellar components. Sprout is entry level; BHK and DSD, advanced. The Stellar phono pre does not belong with these other two and fits nicely on the middle with the Stellar line.

I am unsurprising Beta testers are using the new phono pre with high end equipment. This is the equipment they own and enjoy, and PS Audio products have long punched above their weight. There is no reason the new phone pre should be any different. :slight_smile:

I would not be surprised if PS Audio subsequently releases a phono pre which snugs in nicely with its higher line products.


This is also imo a good sign for how product development is handelnd. I’m always curious when a product line of very different components is equally priced.

I wondered so with DMP, DSsr., BHK pre, P10 etc.

I similarly always wonder about an entire line of identically priced components. Which one is the good buy, which the one subsidizing the others?

Indeed - BHK is hard at work! : ). I have no idea on the time frame, however, and the price will also be what it is. If you want to build to a price point, you don’t hire Bascoms and Darrens and Teds.

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In the price range that seems to be desired and the recipient of consensus rave reviews is the Gold Note PH-10 made in Italy. It sells for around 1500 Euros and even has the option of a separate power supply upgrade. Plenty of EU dealers.

I guess the BHK phono get’s so out of range in price compared to the rest (except the TSS) that there’s the immediately following need of another preamp in the Obsidian line :wink: So the “non-fitting” price distance in this case within the current lineup is the other extreme.

Stellar phono “doesn’t fit” into the perfectwave line and BHK phono will not from the other side either I guess.

Yup - Steve, let us forget the uninformed opinions expressed hereabouts lately ; ). The early guesstimate on the BHK Phono was $10k. No idea if that is low or what, as it is Yet Another Future Product That Does Not Exist : ). As mentioned, when you are working with established geniuses like BHK, I really don’t think most real potential buyers care a whole lot.

Indeed at least buyers of single components into another setup won’t care.

And the typical audiophile knows, if he buys one component above his usual range he will sooner or later arrive in the higher range completely…so in this regard not a sales disadvantage long term :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: