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PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamplifier | Review

by Marc Phillips in Analog

After arranging to review the PS Audio Stellar phono preamplifier, I realized that the first time and only time I’ve reviewed a PS Audio product was way back in 2008, when the GCPH phono stage arrived on my doorstep. I evaluated about a dozen phono stages in the $800 to $1200 range over the course of that year and while I ultimately chose the Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE as the one I liked the best (I bought it and still have it around somewhere), I was equally impressed with the GCPH for some [...]


  • Rega P10 Turntable | Review

    March 22, 2020 // 15 Comments

    By means of introduction to the Rega P10 turntable, let me start by saying that I work as a mastering engineer. For some time, I’ve wanted to upgrade my current turntable, a Rega P3, to address a few issues. While using the turntable to check test cuts (done by myself and others), I realized that the speed-accuracy on my P3 is not great (it runs fast). While wow and flutter is generally low enough so that it won’t interfere with my listening enjoyment, it isn’t good enough for me to [...]
  • Pear Audio Blue Kid Thomas turntable | Review

    March 20, 2020 // 1 Comment

    The Pear Audio Kid Thomas turntable I had in for review came to me by way of Dr. Vinyl, a local audio dealer, and Audio Skies, the US importer for Pear. I had seen this turntable at a variety of audio shows, and almost always paired with some exquisite speakers and electronics from GamuT. In the spirit of full disclosure, those demos have always been among my favorites. So, when it came time to go shopping for a new, upscale, and modestly unaffordable turntable, this was one of the first places [...]
  • Lab12 Melto2 Phono Preamplifier | Review

    October 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

    The Lab12 Melto2 phono preamplifier reminded me of how I sometimes get really excited about trying new outboard phono stages—and this is from a guy whose first article about phono preamps was dismissively titled “Little Black Boxes.” I find that a good phono pre is something that makes an immediate impression, a component that, in the first few minutes of operation, hands you its calling card and quickly informs you “this is what I’m about.” This has happened three times in my life. [...]
  • Dr. Feickert Analogue Firebird Turntable | Review

    September 18, 2019 // 3 Comments

    The Dr. Feickert Analogue Firebird turntable signifies a lot of firsts in my vinyl-loving life. It’s the first turntable I’ve used that accommodates two tonearms, and lo and behold I’ve got two tonearm and cartridge combos mounted on it right now. It’s the first turntable I’ve used that has more than one motor to spin the platter. (It has three, in fact.) Finally, it might be the heaviest turntable I’ve ever reviewed. I’ve had seat time with many, many high-mass turntable designs [...]
  • D’Agostino Momentum Phono | Review

    July 21, 2019 // 1 Comment

    There is no lack of religion, opinions, or passion when it comes to vinyl. Which table, which tonearm, which cartridge, which geometry or even which equalization curve to use? Lots of smoke. Maybe even some fire. But even then, we don’t regularly pay enough attention to one of the most important elements, the phono pre-amplifier, that little gadget that amplifies the electro-acoustic signal deep in our delicious grooves, down anywhere from 40 to 75dB, depending on whether you choose a moving [...]
  • Gold Note Mediterraneo Turntable | Review

    June 23, 2019 // 1 Comment

    Wow! What is it about Italian audio gear? I have been recently blessed with a veritable feast for both the eyes and the ears …. Right at the tail-end of my time with the lovely Sonus Faber Sonetto II speakers, this lovely morsel shows up: the Gold Note Mediterraneo turntable (website) fitted out with the company’s B7 ceramic tonearm. Just like Sonus Faber speakers, this ‘table reeks of classic European style and panache; it’s a visual work of art and thing of beauty. Don’t be [...]
  • For us analogoholics, you can never have enough LPs or turntables to play them on! For the last few years, I have been blessed with the company of an AMG Viella V12 turntable. It’s big, it’s fast, and generates  a sound that I have not been able to surpass with any digital setup to date. To change things up, I decided to put it on ice for a couple of months and listen to something smaller and simpler to see how it could fit the bill. Speaking to Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings, US [...]
  • Thales Simplicity II Tonearm Review

    December 16, 2018 // 2 Comments

    On March 27th, 1983, the New York Times published an article titled “Sound; Tonearms: Is Linear Better?”. The article read like a technical paper, more sophisticated than some of today’s articles found in Audiophile magazines. Without too much introduction, the article jumped right into contrasting the pros and cons between tangential versus pivoted tonearms as if it was normal kitchen table talk. But when Sony released the first commercial CD player in 1982, the sale of turntable [...]
  • VPI Player Review | The Millennial Audiophile

    October 20, 2018 // 0 Comments

    VPI re-imagines the turntable, and creates a new product category with the Player When I speak about record collecting with the under thirty-five crowd, initially many of them see vinyl as a low-fi medium, much like cassette tapes, and 8-tracks. This impression was created by dusty hand-me-down turntables, and record collections of which most have unkempt and dirty grooves. Along with many of the new records purchased during the “2008 vinyl resurgence” being played on these [...]
  • ZYX UNIverse Optimum

    ZYX UNIverse Optimum 1Ω MC Cartridge | Review

    August 25, 2018 // 4 Comments

    Astonishment, personified US $16,995.00. There, I’ve said it, in bold. That’s nearly seventeen thousand dollars for a phono cartridge. I still remember the first turntable I bought back in 1981, it was a Luxman PD-284 which cost me $150 dollars. If I had known that 36 years later I’ll be laying my hands on a $17,000 cartridge, I would have taken up aerobics or knitting instead. To put it into perspective, the price of Gold closed trading at $ 1,225 per ounce at the COMEX exchange today. [...]
  • Pure Fidelity Eclipse Turntable Review

    August 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

    Pure Fidelity Eclipse Turntable Review: Total Eclipse of the Art, as originally seen in The Occasional Magazine. [...]
  • by Carlos Guzman Technics RS M63. That was the first cassette deck recorder I bought with my own money. On monthly installments, I paid $21.50 for 24 months with my funeral home’s attendant part-time job. I would prefer the RS M85, but I couldn’t afford the payments so, I was very happy with my new acquisition. A 3-head machine with a decent sound and beautiful digital meters. By those days, TDK was my preferred tape and I bought it by boxes of 10. I recorded hundreds of tapes on that [...]
  • Audio Cassette Revival: For Real?

    June 16, 2018 // 6 Comments

    by Carlos Guzman With the new tape revival around the world, more and more audiophiles are getting into the exclusive, and sometimes expensive, hobby of open reel playback. Many companies have resurrected the old “pre-recorded” reel tapes market but this time with exclusive music and performers dubbed on high quality tape from ATR or RTM, running @ 15ips on a 1/2 Track format and with such a high sound quality that right now this is the best media to take you closer to the “real [...]
  • This is an article that first appeared in our new online PDF, downloadable magazine The Occasional this February in our Winter 2018 edition. We’ll be rolling out articles from it over the next several weeks in anticipation of our upcoming third issue – the Spring Edition – which is scheduled for publication this month. We hope you enjoy this new, exclusive content, and that you’ll check out the current Winter Edition of The Occasional and its 140 pages of fresh high fidelity [...]
  • Review: ZYX 4D Ultimate MC Cartridge

    March 31, 2018 // 2 Comments

    This is an article that first appeared in our new online PDF, downloadable magazine The Occasional this March in our Spring 2018 edition. We’ll be rolling out articles from it over the next several weeks in anticipation of our upcoming third issue – the Summer edition – which is scheduled for publication in May. We hope you enjoy this new, exclusive content, and that you’ll check out the current Winter Edition of The Occasional and its 140 pages of fresh high fidelity reviews, [...]
  • Playing records is – as my good friend once told me – the audiophile version of the Japanese tea ceremony. It is all about preparation, and presentation. There is a strong visual aesthetic to the act of putting an LP on a turntable, cueing up the tonearm, and dropping the needle into the groove. If you’re not sure of how to do it, it shows, and you lose some of the inherent grace, intelligence and sophistication that having a turntable, and a record collection, connotes in many [...]
  • The List: Five of the Best Turntables in the World

    November 26, 2017 // 13 Comments

    Welcome to something new we’re going to try here on PTA thanks to our friend Wynn Wong of Wynn Audio in Richmond Hill, Ontario. I’m going to be curating a new list every month featuring different categories of gear that I think you – our readers – have to hear under any circumstances you can arrange: beg, borrow, steal, drive for hours, hop a train, take a plane… you get what I’m saying. Price will not be a factor, with individual pieces on each list reflecting a spectrum of what [...]
  • Virginia is for Lovers. That’s what the bumper sticker said on the car in front of me. The air was muggy, and charged with electricity as the windshield wipers tried to clear the rain from a summer thunderstorm. I was sitting with Christopher Hildebrand, and Sara Moriarty in their station wagon idling at a traffic light; that’s when I noticed the slogan. As I took in the scene of strip malls, and gas stations my mind wandered past the lowland forests in the distance, and the surrounding [...]
  • KEF LS50 Wireless loudspeakers, Shinola Runwell turntable, Roon Labs, TIDAL and Spotify -- all in one system. [...]
  • Review: Audio Research Reference Phono 3

    August 6, 2017 // 5 Comments

    By Richard Mak Closer to the master tape In the world of high end audio two of the most revered names in the industry are McIntosh and Audio Research. McIntosh, founded in 1949 by Frank McIntosh and Audio Research in 1970 by William (Bill) Johnson, represents two of the oldest U.S manufacturers still in operation. Their coveted and fiercely loyal customer base can only be matched by the loyalty of their employees, many of whom have been with the company for over 30 years Together, McIntosh and [...]