Stereophile Announces Stellar Phono Winner

It’s been well regarded in the UK as well. HiFi News and Record Review included it in a top 5 of new phono’s this year, no actual winner (that’s very American), just 5 good new units at a range of prices:

EAR Phonobox (£1,000 to £1,500 - x1.25 for US$)
Mofi Ultraphono and Studiophono £500/£300)
Primare R35 (£1,345)
Pro-Ject Tubebox DS2 (£550)
Stellar Phono (£2,495)

Rega are of course very popular, but no new units until September this year. We have lots of good units up to about £1,500 and then some good much more expensive stuff, the Stellar Phono falls in the middle, which is a good thing.

It would be nice to see a version with a separate power supply, comparable to the Cyrus Signature. Personally, I went completely the opposite direction with an EAR Phonobox: valves, no dip switches, no volume control, unbalanced only, MM/MC, a third the size and a nice 17% discount from the dealer.


After a celebratory lunch today with the Award Winner :cowboy_hat_face:


I hope you were buying. :champagne:

Strictly Dutch. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was buying favors :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:. The Undue Influence of a BLT.

Congrats to Darren, Paul and the team as well. I know that Darren sweated bullets getting it accomplish his vision. I have been very impressed with mine and never thought a phono pre would impress me.

BUT NOW I HAVE A BIG “SYSTEM” ISSUE. Not sure how to fix it!! With the Stellar phono, my expenditures have tripled on MORE DAMN vinyl. Guess its better than buying drugs…


Boy, analog product of the year. What an honor. Thanks, Peter.


In Stereophiles latest edition of their “best components of the year”, I was happy to see that the Stellar Phone Preamp won the overall best component of the year (editor’s choice award) for analog products.

Very impressive!


Vinyl is just another kind of “drug” with perhaps fewer health-related side effects?

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I would prefer the word “addiction” or passion or …

Your comment about health related effects reminds me of a comment made by my mother 40 years ago. I was into road bike racing but did not have much money for entrance fees. My mother told me: “for every event you want to enter, just tell me and I will send a check.” She then said something to the effect: you can never spend too much money on things that bring you good health.

I would say the same goes for good musical listening.

And the Stellar PP is a great reason to build a new record rack!


Ata boy Darren & CONGRATS !!!
How about a Class A solid state mono amp that you don’t need a hand truck to move and that doesn’t heat an entire room on its own accord.

For anyone who hasn’t read the actual award article in current Stereophile, and if you’re interested in the phono pre, you really should read it. They go out of their way to praise how good it is at such a relative value, suggesting that it doesn’t give up much against units 10x and 20x the cost. Really impressive writeup.


I didn’t know Darren is friends with Neil Young?

Thanks so much for the kind words, everyone!

We have an amazing team here at PS Audio and it’s truly an honor to be a part of it. Looking forward to future products! :wink:



Hey Hey…I’m Old…
Rock and Roll used to be bold
Until the Rights to Us were Sold…


Email to Jake following the surgery on my dominant hand:


I forgot to mention that my hand felt good enough a couple of days ago to unpack my new AudioQuest cables [purchased from The Cable Company]: Water balanced XLR (to run from the Stellar Phono Preamp to the Stellar GDAC); Water RCA (to run from VPI Prime Scout turntable to the Stellar Phono Preamp, and an AC cord upgrade: Monsoon 15 amp; replaces NRG-Z3 (to run to AC from the Stellar Power Plant 3).

But I have yet to install the SPP because it means moving both M700 monoblocks and my ROTEL RCD 1072 CD transport (ancient, but run through the GDAC via AudioQuest Coffee coax), and that means pulling out the audio rack, etc. etc.

But the SPP is unpacked and dayumm! It’s a thing of wonderment and beauty. Not to mention it was named the Stereophile…well, I won’t mention it…"

By now we all can acknowledge the award the Stellar Phono Preamp 3 won as Stereophile magazine’s Analog Product of the Year. So tomorrow it gets installed and I can’t wait!


Congrats @DarrenMyers! I might need to break down and get one now … or at least try one out.

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My right hand is still healing but it was well enough yesterday to do what needed to be done. The components have been rearranged in the audio rack, the Monsoon 15 amp cord has been swapped to run to AC from the Stellar Power Plant 3. The NRG-Z3 I had been using with the SPP3 has replaced the Stellar Phono Preamp stock AC cord, the Water balanced XLR cables now connect the Stellar Phono Preamp to the Stellar GDAC and finally the Water RCA cables now connect the VPI Prime Scout turntable to the Stellar Phono Preamp.
Normally this isn’t at all the way I do things; I like to hear one change/swap/substitution at at time, but I decided to do all the changes to minimize wear and tear on my hand.
Things are warming up and burning in and I haven’t yet fussed with the Stellar Phono Preamp to optimize with my phono cartridge. That will come in a day or two when I have time off from work to fine-tune.
The Stellar Phono Preamp is heavy and solid and matches my other components perfectly. Mikey liked it; I agree. But his review was based on hearing it! I will get back to you soon on that aspect.
But Paul and team, this is an amazing and spectacular product.

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If it only take RCA as input, is the balanced output only so that it works well with the current BHK preamp? I’m thrilled to be test driving this unit. So much to like. So quiet!