My "Stellar" Phono Preamp experience and some NPC repair tidbits

I received my new Stellar as a result of the March 2023 sale about a week ago and finally got around to reconfiguring my system racks that required removing of my old reliable NPC and installing the Stellar in its place. After about an hour or so of moving, dusting, and re-cabling everything I was ready to enjoy the new preamp. I flipped the switch on the Stellar and beautiful blue and red LEDs illuminated and I, or so I thought, was ready to listen.

I popped two of the five supplied “AAA” batteries into the remote and tried to change the loading, gain, input selector and unmute on the Stellar but I got nothing. Zero. Nada. Bupkiss. Either the remote was bad or the Stellar was not “listening”. Both of those assumptions were wrong. Whoever packed my Stellar put the incorrect remote in the box. The remote I got was a little plastic job instead of the possible metal one pictured in the manual.

Perturbed, on Friday I called into PS Audio (name withheld) and told them of what had happened and the nice person on the other end of the line apologized profusely and promised to get the correct remote out to me overnight for delivery on Saturday (yesterday). In an email, the nice person in Boulder assured me that he had personally handed the shipping label to whoever it was that was going to ship the replacement remote out. Nothing came so I assume that something broke down at PS Audio or was otherwise lost in translation.

Until I get a remote, my new Stellar is about as useful as a boat anchor. Why? Because several critical functions (input (MC/MM) select, loading, gain) can only be controlled via remote. There must have been a reason that the design engineer chose to have these critical functions be made slave to a set of batteries and/or a remote but a couple of buttons on the front would seem to not be out of the question. The “mute” function can be toggled via a long press on the PS logo light on the left side of the Stellar so there is that.

I apologize if I sound sarcastic, but I am upset that my new Stellar has been relegated to “boat anchor” status until Boulder sends me the correct remote.

How strange. I wonder what remote they sent you?
After you get going you’ll probably love the sound and also the ability to change loading from your listening position with the remote.


And it’s plastic!

That looks to me like the SGCD remote.

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LOL. Close enough for “government” work.

I had issues with the remote, I can feel your pain. That was fixed. Now I own 2 remote controls, one for spare.
After having said that, you’ll love it so much that soon you probably forget that issue.

Good luck.


I just hope they have one in stock. Yes, once this is resolved I know my ears will be smiling!

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Mine is made of plastic and it works great

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Mine is plastic too, works as expected. I prefer all functionality available on the unit itself. My rack is not line of sight from listening chair so remotes are a waste.

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Thanks for letting me know it’s plastic. The picture in the user’s manual gave me the impression is was metal. Possibly early ones were metal and soaring production costs have factored into how things are being made these days.

I hear you regarding line of sight. I purchased an IR repeater/extender to make my system do what I wanted it to do from the prime listening position.

Do you have a wired sensor to each component from the repeater, or did you find a different configuration?

I have a system with an IR sensor to receive the remote commands, converts and transmits those signals via RF link and then retransmits then via a single high- powered IR “blaster”. Also, Logitech used to make remotes that would do the same.

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It would be great if someone could send you his phono remote codes (stored within a remote app) to use on your side with the same app. Not sure if that works.

That’s the type of system I’d like. Any brand name or you integrated it yourself?

This product looks nice BlastIR Wireless Pro IR Repeater — Sewell Direct

Thanks for getting me thinking.

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If the remote goes it’s a toothless one-leg dog. I think about this issue with my Stellar Phono many times. It’s a nice pre but without a remote it’s not good.


I would sell you my Stellar but it’s on sale again and am unwilling to lose more money on a sale of PSA gear. I am going to remove it from my system and let it age in the box for a while.

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Sorry to hear that. I got the wrong remote too when I bought the SPP a few years ago. It was a remote for Power Plant Regenerator.

My cart was okay with the default setting, so I was able to listen while waiting for the correct remote.
You can unmute by a long press of the standby PS Audio logo button.

You got lucky. I have a MC cartridge that needs 100 ohms and high sensitivity. Their design group needs to rethink this before making another piece of gear that is slaved to a pair of batteries.

If I could offer some constructive criticism, Quality Assurance and/or Quality Control needs to pay a little more attention to things like this.