StellarGold Preamplifier - You're Gonna Love This One!

Paul has a weird habit of trashing the opposition as flawed.
The BHK says “The volume and balance control duties are handled by a combination of an input stepped attenuator, built around the highest quality passive components for coarse volume adjustments, coupled with controlling the actual gain of the vacuum tube for finer steps. This unique topology, which can be controlled from either the front panel rotary controller or the remote control, provides the lowest possible impact on music passing through–and is one of the primary reasons the BHK Signature presents music in such a revealing, open manner.”
I don’t understand what that means.

There are loads of good digital and analogue volume controls out there at all sorts of prices. The Leedh system is a high quality lossless digital OEM product used by companies from Lumin to Soulution.

Auralic have their own, my Luxman has an electronically controlled 88-step dual mono resistor attenuation.
The Japanese love of integrated amps has been going for 50+ years and the pre-amp section is not compromised. If Luxman didn’t love of pre-amps they wouldn’t have made the CL-1000 pre-amp that costs about $20,000. Their integrated amplifiers include discrete pre-amp sections that are of high quality, but can be bypassed if you want to use an external one. The tone controls and the volume control can be bypassed separately. It gives the owner options - can’t say fairer than that.

Yes definitely. I don’t doubt what you hear, it’s just difficult to understand by a pure theoretical point of view.

I think the BHK approach was one of the superior ones sonically, although my impression from forum posts was, that its operation caused some quirks for some.

These are interesting points of views.

I have a Stellar Gain Cell DAC and a Wyred4Sound mPRE as preamps. I compared them to the Schiit Freya S and the Freya S did not sound good at all in my system; it sounded metallic and dry to me. I tried passive and the 2 other gain settings.

I want to compare the Gold Stellar to the Stellar Gain Cell DAC.


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I’m in the SG beta both for the DAC and the Pre and previously had the SGCD, all fed into M1200s. The SG DAC and SGCD are very different creatures. The SGCD is a good start into a higher end system, while the SG DAC and Pre take you well along that journey.

However much I enjoyed the SGCD (fed by a Sonore Ultrarendu) the SG DAC (fed by an Airlens) is better by far. More open, greater presence, tighter bottom end and lovely, solid mids and airy top end. It draws me into the music much more than the SGCD ever did and on the right recordings I feel like I am in the room. Well worth checking out!



In a not so hypothetical question, if you could only keep one to pair with the GCD serving as DAC or pre, which would you keep, the SG pre or the SG DAC?

The DAC, for sure. It is much better than the DAC in the SGCD.


My primary reason for wanting to get the unit was so that I could add my turntable to my rig

Does that mean the preamp has a phono section? Or did you already have a phono preamp and nothing to play it through?

I had similar experience. ARC LS28 SE which sits between the 5 and 6 ref someplace. The difference was large.

Yes to the latter. I have the Stellar Phono, also designed by Darren Myers, and was eager to get it connected. My vintage Yamaha PX2 table is nearly ready as well.