PS Audio Stellar Phono mini review

Gonna upload my usual Vulgar Language review of the amazing Stellar Phono Preamp I just bought used at a great price. While I had no PS Audio gear in my rack for a few months (I’ve told that story too many times). I’m back in the fold. I have the DSSr, PW Transport (with the 3 I2S L,C,R outputs). No intensions of ever getting or needing the newest DAC or Transport. Not as flexible as the prev. gen. so I’m not missing anything.

Getting back to Phono Preamp. Darren Myers really outdid himself on the circuitry and flexibility of this Phono Preamp. I’m running it with the MoFi StudioDeck/Ortofon MC Quintet Black with the Stellar set to low gain/custom/20Ω and it sounds as good as the DirectStream DAC Sr. !

It also goes to show that PS Audio products have a “sound signature” whether Paul & Co. want to admit it or not.

When I dipped my toes into the Vinyl Waters, I knew it would cost me a kings ransom to repurchase much of my old collection and get sucked into buying new heavy pressings of mostly Jazz favourites and some Rock stuff too.

I will not repurchase Vinyl that I already have CD/SACD/DVD-Audio versions of. I have the DSSr. to play all that stuff with.

I have the MoFi StudioPhono Preamp designed by the legendary Tim De Paravacini and for the under $1000 Phono Preamps, it’s the one to beat IMHO at $350. Darren’s design however, blows it away. Again, these are two different products at targeted price points. Both highly flexible in the MM/MC loading capabilities. Both sound amazing but the Stellar amazinger !

Having interviewed Darren over two years ago in a God awful 1st Zoom I’d eve done for the AZAVClub. Darren championed through it and with editing that I did and that he gave final approval on (as I do with everyone including more recently Jared & Jaime of Jolida at CAF 2022). Darren gave us some great insight into his design process and things got a bit personal (you have to fumble through the Zoom Video).

It’s a Great F%$#@ing Preamp. That’s always my favourite Audiophile Adjective. I don’t believe in all that flowery BS used in the trade mags, YouTube reviewers, & Audiophiles in general. I am hearing good things coming out of the grooves that I didn’t hear with TDP MoFi Preamp. And it’s not a subtle difference.

And yes those are Hockey Pucks used as “Ventilation Extenders”. Great for dampening too !. I use them under all my Speakers to isolate them from the Ceramic Tile flooring.

Front Panel Settings

Rear Panel 20Ω (as close as I could get to it by eye) for the Cartridge

Yes I forgot the GND lead but it’s connected now - made no difference really.

BTW, the PS Audio Universal Remote sucks when it comes to controlling anything except mute and power on/off.



Great timing, I’m considering adding this phono pre-amp to my system and have been reading everything I can find on it. One thing for sure, everyone gives this unit a big thumbs up and salutes Darren Myers for an outstanding design. Maybe today is the day I pull out the credit card.

Funny, I told myself the same thing about repurchasing vinyl when I got back into it. Not quite how it’s worked out though.

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Here another happy owner of the SPP. I’m enjoying it since 3 years. Darren was working on a new version I hoped PS Audio could launch last year but I have no news today about this project.

IMO the Stellar phono stage was a huge step above the GCPH in terms of SQ. It was a remarkable advance in that respect.

Ordered mine today, can’t wait to try it out.


Loved my SPP. Had to spend considerably more to get sonic improvement. Now the Rega Aura is end game for me at more than twice the price.

Is that a BAT integrated? I’ll bet that’s nice sounding too.

It’s the BAT-VK50SE from 1999. I bought it used from TMR two years and and put 8 fresh 6H30’s in it. Had the whole thing factory refreshed including replacing the 6 pack cap packs with Mundorf part in oil caps ( one per side) this year. If I could have afforded it, I would have got the cap packs replaced with Transformers.

It’s mine forever now. I couldn’t recoup what I’ve sunk into it including the original used purchase price + the cost of repairs.

I wouldn’t part with it anyways. I didn’t buy the BHK preamp that TMR had at the time because it doesn’t have the dual variable XLR outputs plus a pair of fixed outputs like the BAT has. I use all three.

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I believe TMR has several SPP in stock.

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So I’ve had my new PS Audio Stellar Phono Pre-amp in my system for a few days now and could not be happier. Also trying a MC cartridge for the first time, an Ortofon Quintet Blue. I have never enjoyed vinyl more, so impressed with the sound. Listening to album after album in total amazement. Best addition to my system ever!