Stellar Phono Pre feeding two devices simultaneously


I am considering connecting my new Stellar to both my main listening system via the XLR outputs and to my Nuwave Phono Converter via the single-ended RCA outputs when I want to do some vinyl ripping.

Although I believe the design engineer for the Stellar has moved on to another company, maybe someone else in the PS Audio organization or an end user of the Stellar can answer this question:

Are the XLR and RCA outputs of the Stellar buffered/isolated from one another so that connecting the two output sets simultaneously will not degrade the audio signal from either?

Thanks for your thoughts.

if no answers, try it out

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Before I purchased the Stellar preamp I asked James that very question. He checked with Darren who was still there at that time and was told that it was ok to use both the xlr and rca outputs simultaneously. I too use the rca outputs to feed my NPC for recording purposes. It has no effect on the sound quality!


Excellent! Thanks for the information!

Normally the XLR output would be obviously higher than the RCA. When you use both simultaneously do you notice a difference? I seem to remember Ted Smith saying that if you use both outputs on his DAC then both outputs revert to an unbalanced signal. I wonder also if the device receiving the RCA input is turned off, whether the XLR output might then revert to a louder balanced signal.

I am a person with just enough knowledge and just enough ignorance to ask stupid questions on this topic.

If my suspicions in regard to these questions are true I would not take them as contradicting Darren’s reply. Nobody is likely to use a long interconnect from a phono stage so for practical purposes the sound quality is not going to suffer if your XLR output is carrying an unbalanced signal.

The difference with the DAC and the SFP is that the DAC uses output transformers. The SFP has active output stages which are independent of each other. Signal level to XLR does not change at all and continues to be running balanced mode.


Don’t be afraid to use higher than your normal gain settings when using the NPC and Vinyl Studio to make your recordings. Adjust according to how loud the particular record was mastered. you should be able to set the level so you get just under clipping on peaks!


That’s why I asked if the two outputs were buffered/isolated and, if they were, there would be no interaction between the two. With a previous device of mine, the Lumin X1 which had transformer coupling at the output, both the XLR and the RCA connections were tied to the same secondary on the transformer and it was a definite no-no to connect them up at the same time.

I’ll try them with both connected and either one or the other and see if there is any difference just to be sure. I suspect a change in amplitude may be the result but not a change in frequency response because, as I understand the design, it is directly coupled from input to output with no capacitors in the signal path.

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No level change at all!

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I use both and that works fine

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I try and not run Vinyl Studio into clipping. Is there a better way to do it? I end up getting about four or five clips per side.

When recording digitally one not need record at the highest possible level. There is no advantage in doing so. Instead, it is much better to record with peaks at -12dB or so.

Once recording is completed, raise the volume on the digital file.


Okay. Would that be the “normalize” function in the software? I admit I am partially stuck in the analog RTR world.

What I do is find the loudest area of the recording and I play that and adjust the level so it is just below clipping. I want to get the best signal to noise ratio rather than using digital level adjustments.

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Yes, this is normalizing. It is a lossless process.

There is no issue with S/N when recording at -12dB because the recording equipment is digital. Unlike analog, digital has vanishing low self noise.

We pegged levels when recording to tape because tape is inherently noisy and we wanted to bury its self noise as much as possible with the signal we were recording. This is wholly unnecessary with digital.



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It can be difficult for those who learned recording to tape to accept how digital works.

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They are not buffered or isolated from each other. However, there is no problem using them both at the same time as you propose.


Are there no ultrasonic or very low frequency effects which can get unwanted presence by that practice?

Many thanks for the information.