Darren Myers certainly has marked many good products with his expertise and electronic / audible craftsmanship. I listened to his enthusiastic presentation of the upcoming Stellar phono stage. Off course I’d like to own a completely discrete ultra low noise wow factor phono stage one day. But there is a very good reason I buy a Stellar Gain Cell DAC instead of the signature line components that would hit me in total with EUR 16000 (DS DAC + BHK pre amp) instead of EUR 2000 for the Stellar deal. The suggested price tag of the new Stellar phono stage is US$2000 and it’s not even fully balanced. Which is a pity as the Gain Cell DAC has a good balanced analog input.
May I suggest to raise Darren’s design to the signature series as DM Phono stage and ask him to make it fully balanced. This would allow PS Audio to even raise the price a bit and still sell it for profit.
I think a phono stage should never cost more then 50% of the pre-amp for a sound system that is sold to clients for which money is an object.
With the experience Darren has now I am sure he and the Sprout team can come up with a Stellar phono stage design that would bring the price down to US$900. These are my Dutch 2 cents on the subject.