Is stellar phono preamp the top of line?

I’m thinking of replacing my EAR 834P phono stage with the Stellar phono pre.

But while perusing the forum I saw some mention of a “PerfectWave” phono pre? Is there such a thing? Is it in the works?

Enquiring minds want to know…

I’ve owned both and i would never give up my EAR 834P.

Rumors are out there on the PW phono, but no idea on release date. Others in the know will chime in I’m sure.

1 Like

There is meant to be a Perfectwave Phono on the way. I read that it was due about now but being impatient I decided to go for a Stellar Phonostage. I’m delighted with it, so a I’m a happychappie.

1 Like

Compare the two? One problem with the 834 is that it doesn’t have variable loading for my MC cart

Warmth and detail with the 834P. Just never felt the same degree of engagement with the stellar. (I tried it three times, long story.)

I don’t have an exotic cartridge, so I haven’t felt limited by the lack of variable loading.

I’ve used it with an MM Shure V15 type III as well as an MC Denon 301MkII. Both sound great. (different systems).

Moving the tubes around did make a difference, if that’s anything,

I’m pretty sure the ‘PerfectWave’ phono pre was intended to be another BHK signature design. It was in early prototype last I heard (my intel may now be stale) and the fate of that project after BHKs passing is unclear. At least I can’t remember reading anything about whether the project will be carried forward.

People from Boulder recently confirmed that Darren is working hard on PW Phono stage, but at the moment just a prototype. I think I’m waiting since 2 years almost and meanwhile I bought the SPP and I’m very happy.
A masterpiece needs its time to be created, take your time Darren and let us dream, high expectations here.


It’s hard to get excited about acquiring the stellar knowing there’s a “better” one on the works…

If you don’t want to wait you could buy a Rega Aura. That’s what replaced my Stellar Phono Pre and I couldn’t be happier.

If you’re look for the tube warmth of the EAR and the adjustments of the Stellar you might want to look at the Modwright PH-9.0

1 Like

I’ve owned the PH 9.0, which I traded back to Modwright for the PH 150. The PH 9.0 is outstanding, so popular Modwright’s been back ordered since it was introduced. Unlike the EAR, it has adjustable MC loading. It has the warmth EAR lovers crave, without the limitations. Be aware it has been further improved as the 9.0X, with Lundahl step-ups. Getting it even closer to the PH 150 design-wise. I traded up to the PH 150 only because I wanted the whole enchilada after tasting the PH 9.0. I can’t recommend this phono pre enough for those who want some tube warmth in the mid-band. A smashing product.


What happened to the Aura?

1 Like

I was reluctant too in June 2020 when I bought the SPP after a few emails with Darren about the upcoming model…

I also created a thread:

At the moment I used it for 2 years and I’m so happy, never looked back.

If the new one is at the “prototype” step of the process I’m confident a few months are needed before the launch.


I had the EAR Phonobox, which is the upgraded version of the EAR 834P. I enjoyed it a lot, nice valve warm sound, but in all honesty a little bit slow, lacks a bit of bite. If feels bad critiquing it as it was so much fun. It is loaded at 100ohms, which suits most MC cartridges.

The Stellar Phono has a very good reputation in the UK, but as very detailed an analytical, which many may want - but not me. One of my main requirements is a separate power supply, and a good one.

I had the Modwright PH9.0 at home on trial. It was very good. I got some noise because of seating the valves, so I started to question build quality. I was a bit worried about the balance on the demo unit I was offered, but spoke to Mr Modwright direct and ordered a 9.0X from the dealer. I was told it was for immediate delivery and then found out Mr Modwright had 35 machines to make before mine, and then international shipping, so I cancelled my order.

I ended up with something in between the two, a company I’d never heard of until I spoke to my dealer, he brought one round and I purchased it. It was made to order in Poland, but only took a few weeks and I was able to keep the demo unit in the interim.

What I found was a lot of excellent phono stages in the $1,500 to $2,500 mark, but very few up to $5,000. There are a lot more more expensive ones, my dealer has a couple at £35,000 and £50,000.

RE: Rega Aura. @Serhan that’s what I’m using now and love it very much. Maybe my statement was confusing.


The Modwright 9.0 looked interesting. I was watching a Steve Guttenberg review and he mentioned that it didn’t have enough gain when paired with his First Watt SIT-3 amp which had 11dB gain.

I use a FW J2 has a bit less gain, so looks like the Modwright might not work for me.

Now granted, I’m almost exclusively classical and jazz guy, so don’t need huge gain, but still…

Wish it were possible to try it out with my setup.

You have a wonderful analogue setup. I too should get the Aphelion at some point as it would compliment P10 & Aura. Somehow I was under the impression that @owlsalum had Rega Aura with (SOTA + Hana)

The Stellar isn’t in our PerfectWave line up so I wouldn’t say it’s the top of the line, but because of how good it sounds, it certainly could be.

There is a new phono stage coming out soon in the PW line. I’ve seen Alpha units floating around (looks stunning inside) but I’ve yet to hear one. Darren hasn’t been very open with my team about it. I guess he doesn’t want us saying too much about it until it’s officially released.


You should be in sales!

How long does it take from Alpha to production? I’m weighing whether I should wait or not.

This is the direction I am headed. I need to get past getting a new amp first and selling my BHK 250. I am tired of the PSA sales which devalue my equipment and making resale a PITA.

I like the PSA gear, I just don’t like losing money on gear that I intend on reselling to move up the food chain.