New plan for PS Audio phono preamp?


When I have something more concrete I’ll let you all know. Right now what we’re discussing is little more than a sheet of paper with a schematic scrawled upon it.


While Paul is contemplating his navel/schematic, some of us are building our own phono stage courtesy of Darren Myers’ efforts: (link to DigiKey on this page to buy parts)

I had some retired 12V 9AH AGM batteries from my UPS 1500 that I resurrected with my desulphator, so I’ll be using those, plus I splurged and bought some PRP resistors (the same Paul uses in the DS and PWD DACs). Should sound pretty good.

So once Darren gets those printed wiring boards on line to sell I can start construction. (hint, hint)

It’s an inexpensive option while you wait for Paul.



Minor point, there are no PRP resistors in the DS (or DS Jr). PRP makes great resistors, but not the particular low temperature coefficient precision thin film metal resistors used in the DS.


Well . . . bah. I must’ve seen them in the BHK preamp, then.

Paul McGowan said When I have something more concrete I'll let you all know. Right now what we're discussing is little more than a sheet of paper with a schematic scrawled upon it.
Cool. Rational or not, keeping everything in the analog domain could be seen by die-hard vinyl-heads as a benefit of the Stellar system even over some of the higher priced PS Audio offerings that require conversion to digital along the path (i.e., those with a digital only preamp). My current phono preamp is a tubed Jolida, but it only has single ended outputs. Going balanced from cartridge coils to amplifier output makes a lot of sense to me (as in the Ayre approach), though would require either a new phono cable or an adaptor to balanced inputs. I would think that even turntables with RCA outputs are still balanced if the outer 'ground' isn't grounded (IYSWIM).


After reading this post, now I’m wondering. I have always had single-ended-only preamps until I bought the BHK Signature last fall. If I got an XLR interconnect to run between my NPC and the preamp, would I have a fully balanced path even though the cables coming from my TT have RCA connectors? (I run a balanced cable from the pre to the BHK 250.) Should doing this provide a sonic benefit? And do I leave the ground wire from the TT connected to the screw on the NPC or not if I go balanced? Thanks!


Indeed you would. And, the NPC has a differential input too - even if you are using single ended RCA cables from the phono. This means if your turntable is wired such that both sides of the cartridge coil are traveling along the cable, as they usually are, the ground side isn’t grounded, but instead goes into the NPC differentially - balanced - and thus you’d have a fully balanced signal in to out.


Thank you, Paul. I will definitely try a balanced interconnect between the NPC and the BHK pre.


So Paul, the phono preamp news has been pretty much non-existent lately. Any updates for us who are actively looking for a new phono pre? (hint, hint)


It’s been mid-burner on the engineering schedule. Darren’s finished the PCB and delivered it to BHK who is now in Colorado attending his annual three week sabbatical with Arnie Nudell attending daily live concerts of the New York Philharmonic.

Hopefully, when he returns to Santa Barbara we’ll get him back to work.


Thanks for the update Paul. Please tell those slackers they can watch the NY Philharmonic any time and to get busy on the phono stage!! 21_gif24_gif


On it!

Paul McGowan said

Indeed, Bascom is hard at work on a new tube/MOSFET phono stage and it will be in a full chassis and not cheap. How much will depend on his final circuit and what it costs us to build it. But definitely far more than the NPC.

I haven’t anymore info on it than that - though I have seen the circuit proposal and it’s, well, amazing in its concept. His use of the tubes in the initial RIAA circuit is novel and should sound pretty amazing.

No clue when it might become a reality.

Thanks for the update Paul,

One ask - please, please, please have two inputs laugh- 2 balanced and single ended would be the ideal (switching the input from either balanced or single ended depending on needs). My ASR is an amazing phono stage, it is the earlier version from 2004, and the reason I have never had the itch to upgrade is that it has two balanced /single ended inputs both separately configurable. My version of the ASR cannot handle 47K load, so essentially it is limited to MC carts, but I love that it can accommodate both of my turntables (or two tonearms). If PS had a dual input phono stage, I feel it would give you a nice competitive advantage over some of the insanely priced competition and would make me think about upgrading the ASR (I am assuming of course that Mr. Kings phono circuit will be as good as his pre-amp - in which case it will be killer!).




Just realized that I hadn’t updated my signature in a while - I’ve been a VERY HAPPY camper with BHK Pre since last Oct!


They have certainly been busey for a quite a while with little or no info about a “replacement”

Seeing that it was talks to phase out the NPC for more than 2 years and I bought mine brand new a few months back. Is there really a replacement in the works?


The NPC is the only PSA product I’ve ever returned to PSA even at its price at the time of $999. I simply couldn’t get rid of a persistent hum which was not present with my ARC and Allnic phono preamps. The SQ was inferior as well.
I would be a buyer if PSA developed a stand alone A/D converter, however. I have a lot of vinyl which should be ripped to digital. I would also be a buyer for an inexpensive ultrasonic record cleaner. So, get on it PSA!


I’m happy with mine. It sounds good and is dead silent. But it’s not an exceptionally good buy here in Norway with a cost that is more than twice the price in US. (approx $2 250) which makes the competition hard if you only want a good RIAA.

So the only thing that made me buy one ist that it is A/D so I could drop the use of a preamp and only use the DSJ as DAC/Pre.


Yup. There are two in the works, a Stellar phono being worked on by Darren Myers and a BHK worked on by himself. Darren’t will likely be out around March. It’s on its second round of PCB changes and looks excellent. Bascom’s I am not sure where he’s at. I’ll do some checking.


So they will represent both higher (BHK) and lower (Steller) quality than the existing NuWave?


My bet is that the Stellar will beat the NuWave and the BHK will beat the Stellar. If the Stellar did not beat the NuWave there wouldn’t be any point to it.